Back in 2018, the Insider took you on a tour of the regional brewpubs in the Greater Concord area. We’ve been sticking a bit closer to home these days, so we decided to take a trip down memory lane and give you some updates on those places.
We had stopped into several breweries within about a half-hour of Concord back then and found that although a lot of stuff is similar, every brewer has his or her own identity, and it shows in the beer.
Here’s a roundup of some of the microbreweries we found within the Monitor’s coverage area.
Concord Craft Brewing Co.
117 Storrs St., Concord. 856-7625, concordcraftbrewing.com.
Downtown Concord’s own little brewery, Concord Craft Brewing Co., has been delighting beer fans from the heart of downtown since January 2017, and there’s no signs of anything slowing down over there any time soon.
The brewery offers beers in 4-ounce tasters or full pints – the presence of pints indicating that food is also served, but that not the main draw.
“We try to think of ourselves as primarily a beer destination,” owner Dennis Molnar said in 2018. (The brewery is now working on an expanded kitchen, so maybe that will change.)
They have a dozen beers on tap, about half of which are consistent and the others change up by availability and season. Most of the names of the beers make reference to the fact that the brewery is in the capital, such as Kapitol Kolsch, The Gov’nah and The Senatah.
The beer can be sipped on the premises or taken home. It’s also on tap at more than 60 restaurants, including most of the beer-serving ones in Concord now.
Every once in a while, Concord Craft will concoct something pretty funky that you probably don’t see too often. For instance, they made a jalapeno cream ale in 2017 that made a return this year for Cinco de Mayo.
Concord Craft Brewing Co.’s tasting room and outdoor seating is open Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 8 p.m.; Friday, 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Due to limited indoor space, advance reservation is encouraged by calling 856-7625. Curbside pick-up, delivery, and shipping are available, too.
126 Hall St. Unit B, Concord. 818-9102, lithermans.beer.
Lithermans Limited is Concord’s other brewery, but we don’t mean that in a disparaging way – there are only two places in Concord and one had to be listed first, so we went alphabetically.
Lithermans is the result of a hip-hop group that never really took off the same way groups like, say, Milli Vanilli or the Wu-Tang Clan did. But that’s okay, because rather than making music now, Michael Hauptly-Pierce (“MHP”) and Steve Bradbury (“Doc Jones”) focus most of their time and energy on creating cool beers with musical themes and names.
They keep between eight and 12 beers on tap – there were nine when we stopped by in 2018, with a 10th on the way, Hauptly-Pierce assured us – and in the first two years they’ve been open have produced 111 unique brews (that number is probably higher now).
There’s always something going on at Lithermans, with a new beer coming out just about often. Sometimes they’ll even put out about five in a week, after which point there might be a little break to let people catch up.
When they added food to their lineup less than a year into the business, “it was a game-changer,” Hauptly-Pierce said in 2018. “It changed why people come here.”
He doesn’t mean the place has become a serious contender in the gourmet restaurant world, but now that you can get a full pint and a bite to eat, there’s a lot more reason to take that long, strange trip down Hall Street and find the place.
Once you do find it, you’ll be tempted to stay awhile – and try a bit of everything. With names like Bow Wow Yippie Yo IPA and Lil Peach of My Heart, you’ll get a chuckle as you start singing songs in your head (or out loud) while sipping away. Outside of the tap room, you can get Lithermans beer at places like Local Baskit and Concord Food Co-op, among others. They’re on tap at Tandy’s, the Barley House, Penuche’s, True Brew Barista and Dos Amigos and others. You can also get some varieties in cans, as well as growlers in 32- or 64-ounce varieties. Currently, due to COVID-19 concerns, glass fills are unavailable, but you can get 32 oz crowler cans. You can order online and pick up at the brewery, too.
There have been one or two strange brews whipped up at Lithermans since they opened almost four years ago. There was a crisped cream ale made with crisped rice (like that cereal with mascots Snap, Crackle and Pop) and a smoked Scotch bonnet pepper ale. Those are not currently available, but you get the idea of the unique flavor options pouring out of this place.
The hours at Lithermans are Wednesday through Friday, 4 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.
Henniker Brewing Company
129 Centervale Road, Henniker. 428-3579, hennikerbrewing.com.
We visited Henniker Brewing Co. in February 2017 for our first-ever Field Trip Issue, so we knew we had to go back for this issue to see what was new since we last stopped in.
Henniker is quickly becoming one of the bigger and more successful breweries in the region – their beers are now sold in Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont and now Philadelphia, too, as well as most of the Granite State.
There are usually anywhere from 10 to 12 beers on tap at the brewery, where you can also get cans and/or growlers to take home. And in some cases, it’s worth it to go to the brewery instead of the convenience store to get your beer.
“This year we’ve started doing brewery-only releases in terms of cans, then we’ll send limited kegs out to the market,” said Ryan Maiola, one of the owners who also does sales and marketing, in 2018.
Also new at HBC is their branding. New labels now grace all of their cans, with all products sharing the same format – a solid color on the bottom with white on top and bold, sans-serif, drop-shadowed text. It gives HBC brand uniformity and helps people immediately recognize their beers from the other side of the store. T
Like at many breweries in New Hampshire, the crew at Henniker Brewing is always pretty busy.
For the rest of the lineup, 32- and 64-ounce growlers can be filled or you could get 12- or 16-ounce cans. They are now offering curbside pick-up, Tuesday to Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and patio-only service at the brewery.
Hours are Monday through Thursday, 3 to 7 p.m. and Friday and Sunday, noon to 7 p.m.
305 Baptist Hill Road, Canterbury. 491-4539, canterburyaleworks.com.
Canterbury Aleworks is a small operation – owner Steve Allman is the entire thing – but it’s not one to ignore.
Securely hidden in the depths of the Canterbury woods, this little brewery feels like a secret hideout from some movie set in the 1950s or so. Getting there requires navigating a twisty, muddy, unpaved road, but like most great things in life, it’s worth the journey it takes to get there. Once you get inside, there’s a cozy, speakeasy-type atmosphere that immediately takes over.
Allman said he usually has eight beers on tap, the products of “probably 40 or 50 different recipes.” There are four flagship beers and four that change up regularly. Usually something changes every three to four weeks, he said.
There’s no food served at Canterbury Aleworks, so that means you can only get one 4-ounce taster of each label there per day, or you could get a 32-ounce flip-top growler filled to take home with you.
“It’s really the nano nanobrewery of New Hampshire,” Allman said. “I don’t distribute, and it’s all I can do to keep up with selling growlers and tasters out of my backroom. Everything is sold right out of the store. That’s my ultimate business plan – to be able to continue to do that while continuing to grow a little more,” he said.
Allman said he’s thinking about adding cans this year to provide another option, but they wouldn’t be distributed to stores. He’s also not sure if he’d ever add food to his business, especially since there’s a piece of legislation making its way through the State House that would allow small brewers to serve pints without having to offer food. “It would just be great for all beer-interested people,” he said of the prospect of the bill becoming law.
The hours are 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for the taproom and patio, and growlers ordered before 4 p.m. can be picked up between 5 and 5:30 p.m.
Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille
40 Andover Road, New London. 526-6899, flyinggoose.com.
As its name implies, Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille is a lot more than just a little brewery – it’s also a full-blown restaurant with a full menu.
The restaurant has been there since 1993 and the brewery has been there since ’96. In all that time there have only been three brewers, so that gives you an idea of how important the beer side of the business is – and how good of a company it is to work for, according to Rik Marley, the current brewer.
“Tom Mills is the owner, and he’s a really good guy to work for,” Marley said. “By far my favorite boss I’ve ever had, and I will most likely retire from that place.”
So what makes it so special?
For starters, they have 20 beers available, plus a homemade nonalcoholic root beer for the kids. They have five different seasonals that are currently in fermenters at various stages of fermenting, including – get this – an oyster stout.
Yes, Flying Goose is making an oyster stout made with real oyster shells and oyster meat from Duxbury, Mass. “It does not taste like the ocean,” Marley said in 2018. “You would never know if I didn’t tell you that there are oysters in it.”
Instead, he said, the calcium carbonate from the shells buffers the pH level, and the salt kind of boosts the natural flavor the way it does when you use it on food. That salt also adds body and mouth feel, Marley said.
If you don’t make it to the restaurant, you can also buy Flying Goose beer at any of about 30 locations in the area that carry it, though stock varies wildly – sometimes as few as five stores will have any of their beer in stock, Marley said.
The restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m. and closes about 9 p.m. daily, except Sundays, when it closes at 8 p.m.
“Our focus is not on keeping people there drinking beer deep into the night,” Marley said. “We don’t stay open till last call. We’re balancing beer and food.”
You can take home any beer you want in 32- or 64-ounce growlers. Select beers are also available in 22-ounce bottles.
Oddball Brewing Company
6 Glass St., Suncook. 210-5654, oddballbrewingnh.com.
Oddball Brewing Co. likes to do things differently and march to the beat of its own drum.
The brewery and tap room occupy a pretty small building in Suncook, but owner Bill Walden has managed to squeeze every last square inch out of that place to make it a successful beer business.
When you walk in, you’re in the tap room with a small bar and just a few spots to sit. Below you can see the tanks and hoses and all the equipment used to brew the beer. Up a couple of steps to a slightly higher deck is another big tank where liquids and solids combine to turn into beer, with places to sit around it.
There are usually six beers on tap, sometimes five, Walden said. “We sell fast enough that we often run out.”
They have three regular beers and two seasonals, and they’ll add one occasionally – it’s based on what customers want, Walden said.
Although the place is small, it does serve food like sandwiches, hot pretzels and Crock-Pot fare. This means, sure enough, that full pints are also available, though if you prefer you can still get a flight of tasters.
Growlers can be bought and filled at the brewery, and most beers are $5 fills (some specialty beers are $8 for a fill). Unusual beers they’ve made include a mango jalapeno sahti – a type of beer about 500 years old from Finland.
Bottles are available in some stores, but it tends to sell out quick, Walden said. On the other hand, places like Buffalo Wild Wings and Chuck’s Barbershop in Concord now have it on tap.
Tours are given on an informal, unscheduled basis. If you’d like to tour the place, just ask.
Hours are Friday from 3 to 7 p.m., Saturday 1 to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Big Water Brewery
24 Robie Road, Salisbury. 648-6068, bigwaterbrewery.net.
In a juxtaposition of name and reality, Big Water Brewery is actually a very small business.
“I’m a small brewery on residential property, so I’m not allowed to sell out of here,” said owner Benjamin Jones in 2018. “I brew out of my garage, and I was the last nanobrewery licensed in a home in New Hampshire. In May it will be three years in business, but I’ve been brewing for almost 20.”
Jones distributes his roughly 13 labels to about 50 different places throughout the state, with “quite a few” sours in the repertoire.
“I believe I make more sours than anyone else in the state,” he said. “They became popular and I continued to make them to keep up with demand.”
Jones makes a new beer about once every couple months, he said, with things getting a little slower in the winter. “I stock up in the winter, don’t usually brew that much,” he said.
It’s a three-barrel system that makes about 100 gallons per batch. Jones said he brews on average once a week, so about 5,000 gallons a year, or about 50 batches.
For odd beers, “I had a Belgian triple I aged in pepperoncini barrels,” he said. And “a citrus sour started as an experiment that I make regularly now.”
The beer is primarily available in 12-ounce bottles, but Jones will occasionally do some 22-ounce bombers.
In the future Jones said he would like to expand and move out to a commercial location – the reason he started at home was he just didn’t want to incur debt, he said, but as he’s gone along he’s realized it’s hard to get big without taking on some kind of debt.
As of now, Big Water Brewery beer is available at the Concord Food Co-op, Epsom Circle Market, and Squam Lake Marketplace and Area 23 and The Barley House serve them, too.
195 Peaked Hill Road, Bristol. 744-3669, facebook.com/WoodmansBrewery.
Woodman’s Brewery was created in a kitchen in a 5-gallon homebrew kit a number of years ago. The idea grew fast with every new piece of equipment purchased and tasty brews developed.
Soon enough, the cottage on their property became a brewery.
The goal at Woodman’s Brewery was to have five beers on tap to start, one being a seasonal or specialty.
At the brewery, 4-ounce tasters are available, as are 32- and 64-ounce growlers to take home. The beer list includes Blu’s Pale Ale, Woody’s Maple Cream, Alpine IPA, Dougie’s Double Hopped IPA, Fireglow Irish Red, and Ashlee’s Oatmeal Stout.
Hours are limited to Saturdays from 2 to 7 p.m. as they head into fall.
Kettlehead Brewing Company
407 W. Main St., Tilton. 286-8100, kettleheadbrewing.com.
Kettlehead Brewing is a small craft brewery focused on building better beers. Kettlehead brews are served from the taproom as well as packaged in cans to be sold on premise. The kitchen offers a small menu of locally sourced foods.
The brewery offers 4-ounce tasters, half pours, full pours and 32-ounce crowlers. There are about a dozen varieties listed, with flavors including Vampires Don’t Do Dishes (a sour with pomegranate, cranberry, cinnamon, vanilla and graham cracker), Dreamstate, El Dorado Flacon and Q.
Hours are Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11:30 to 9 p.m. Reservations for dining can be made by calling 286-8100.
The brewery is holding two virtual contests in the lead-up to Halloween, a pumpkin carving contest and costume contest. Information can be found at kettleheadbrewing.com/october-contests.
442 1st New Hampshire Turnpike 2, Northwood. 548-2151, outhausales.com.
Billed as “Northwood, New Hampshire’s first Nano-brewery,” Out.Haus Ales is a three-barrel nano-brewery in Northwood. Built in the garage during the summer of 2013, the brewery was officially licensed in November 2013 and the beer became available January 2014.
The current line-up is Farm.Haus Flowers, Flower Barrel, Cherry Saison, Coffee Blonde, Smoking American Blonde, Out.Bock, IPA, Brown Ale and a Stout. Growlers , growlettesand 16 oz crowlettes are available at the brewery. Typical fill price is $8 for 32 ounces and $16 for 64 ounces, $3 for 16oz. Specialty beers may be more expensive.
Out.Haus beers can be found on tap at Area 23, Barley House and four other places. Their 22-ounce bottles are usually available at 12 different stores including Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett and Epsom Circle Market in Epsom.
Tasting room hours are Thursday and Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
The brewery is celebrating its seven years of brewing beers on Oct. 24 from noon to 8 p.m. There will be 18 beers to sample and bring home. Talk about a happy birthday.
Blasty Bough Brewing Company
3 Griffin Road, Epsom. 724-3636. facebook.com/blastyboughbrewingcompany.
Located on an old New Hampshire hill farm, on the same hilltop where a tavern operated decades before the Revolutionary War, Blasty Bough Brewing Company takes its name from a branch of pine, turned amber by the sun that is used to start a fire.
Blasty is all about place, celebrating local flavors, having fun with local characters and adding its own twist to traditional brewing styles. They want people to come and love the beer (of course), but also to feel connected to the landscape, history and to the flavors that come from the land. They work with a nearby farm to grow grain, and thrive off the idea of being a farm-to-kettle operation – with endless possibilities about what they can produce on the land that will go into their beers.
The beers change regularly and range from low alcohol session beers like the Old Immigrant to big, flavorful New England-style Double IPAs like the Fort Mountain. The current selection includes Boonie-Cruiser IPA, Summer Jam, The Blasty Bough, The Undauntable, Farmer’s Alchemy Saison, Heart of N.H. Craft and 1933.
There is a small menu of appetizers and a few meals, like a pulled pork sandwich, mac-and-cheese and chili and cornbread.
Prior to the pandemic, the brewery hosts the BlastyTrad concert series, which is on hold for now.
Take-out is available Friday, 4 to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. The “beer field” is available to enjoy a socially-distanced picnic.
Northwoods Brewing Co.
1334 First N.H. Turnpike, Northwood. 942-6400.
Adjacent to Johnson’s Seafood and Steak, this brewery opened in 2018 after the Insider did their tour. Northwoods focuses on hoppy ales, and farmhouse beers.
Sharing seating with the Rise & Shine Bakery Cafe, it offers full pints and pizza made almost entirely with locally sourced ingredients on dough made with an 8-year-old sourdough culture.
There about a dozen brews on the menu, with new ones coming out frequently. Flights of four 4 oz beers are available as well as 8, 12 and 16 oz pours. You can also get four-packs of cans, including mix-and-match flavors.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Vulgar Brewing Company
378 Central St., Franklin. 333-1439. vulgarbrewing.com
Another brewery which opened in 2018 was Vulgar Brewing in Franklin. The four-person team of Jason and Shelly Harrington and Damon and Megan Lewis met in a Texas homebrewing club. The Harringtons used Vulgar Brewing name for homebrews in 2009. Damon Lewis had been homebrewing since 2002, winning nearly 30 awards. They tossed around the idea of starting a brewery then, but life took them in separate paths.
In 2013, the Harringtons moved to New Hampshire for a job opportunity. They learned about the Mill City Park and PermaCity Life revitalization and spurred more thoughts toward opening a brewpub. The Lewises came to visit, fell in love with the state, and the stars aligned.
In October, they have nine beers on tap, including a farmhouse ale, a double IPA, a lager, a pale ale and a fruit beer.
To go along with your brew, you can order appetizers, salads, or a pizza.
Packaged beer is available to take home.
They are currently offering curbside pick-up and limited patio and indoor seating Thursday and Friday, 4 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 7 p.m.
Need more beer?
Follow the N.H. Beer and collect stamps along the way to discover new brews across the Granite State. You can also download the N.H. Brewers Association app to track your progress. More information can be found at granitestatebrewersassociation.org/nh-beer-trail.