Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Hampshire Brewery Map, Trailies

So, I have mentioned before how Blogger allows you to monitor what websites referred people to your page. This month gave me one that inspired me to start a "Page Reference or Search Term of the Month" Award. Hopefully each month will give me something that I think is funny. And if you are the person who came here by way of the random link, please let me know what you were looking for or how you ended up on this site. We'll give a retroactive award to our Russian friend from I'm still looking for some explanation man. Gimme the story. This is America. We have free speech here.

So, without further ado, the inaugural award; Somehow, someone got to my blog from Montel Williams' Wikipedia page. I searched all over it but I could not find any links to my site on his wiki entry. Not that I expected there to be one, but someone found a way to get here from there. So, either Google is lying to me or there is a way to fake the URL that you came from before getting here. Pretty strange. Now, what I really need is for someone to actually put up a link to my site on his wiki page.

Back to the trail. New Hampshire has a pretty strong craft brewing community, and they are very focused on building sustainable communities by using local sources for everything that goes into running a successful brewery and making world class craft beer. All of it's breweries are fairly close to each other, so a full state brewery tour could be done in a few days to a week, depending on what outdoor activities you want to fit in during your trip. Here is the map with all of the breweries listed;

A. Throwback
B. Smuttynose
C. Portsmouth
D. 7th Settlement
E. White Birch
F. Squam
G. Woodstock Inn
H. Tuckerman

Best Beer Concept: 6288 Stout, Tuckerman Brewing. It's not really the concept of the actual beer, but the concept behind the name that makes me like this one.
Best Label Art: Dippity Do American Brown, Throwback Brewery.
Best Beer Name: Indomitus, White Birch Brewery.
Most Local Community Loving Brewery: All of them. I couldn't give this to just one brewery. I tried, but they each declined and tried to give it to the rest of the breweries collectively. They really all believe in cultivating community and living sustainably and blah blah blah... I'm sick of the hippie speak.

And finally, I look at my site as the 2011 version of the 2004 Howard Dean Presidential campaign. New Hampshire is one stop of many. So, not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, next up is Virginia, then New York, then on to North Carolina, then Rhode Island, and then we're gonna go to Washington and take back the White House.... yeaaarrrhhh!. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out this clip. Skip to about 0:50.

Monday, July 25, 2011

New Hampshire - Brew Pubs

New Hampshire has a good amount of brew pubs, so I'll list them out real quick.

Italian Oasis Restaurant and Brewery, Littleton: Normally I wouldn't think Italian food would pair well with craft beer, but it seems like this one has been pretty successful. Perhaps all of their beer is red wine flavored.
Seven Barrel Brewery, West Lebanon.
Flying Goose Brewpub, New London.
Martha's Exchange Restaurant and Brewing, Nashua.
Elm City Brewing Co., Keene. This is one of those ones that toes the line between brewpub and full brewery, since they do bottle. As usual, I felt lazy when I was doing the breweries post, so I left them out.
Milly's Tavern, Manchester. Toes the line.
Moat Mountain Smoke House and Brewery, North Conway. Toes the line.
Woodstock Inn Brewery, North Woodstock. This one doesn't really toe the line. It's absolutely a fully distributing brewery. Their bottles are available all over NH, MA, VT, RI, and CT. I feel bad for leaving them off of my original list. They make 12 beers, one of which is the Autumn Ale Brew, and I really like it's label. It's three deranged looking pumpkin-people stirring a boiling vat of what I can only assume is the Autumn Ale Brew. In addition to the brewery, they are a fully functioning inn, so if you are going on a Beer Trails sponsored tour* of New Hampshire, you should stay here in order to get me back into their good graces.

*These tours do not exist yet, but they sound like a good idea. I won't follow through on it, so whoever wants to, the name is fully license-able. For a fee.**

**Although I do not have a trademark, so said fee would most likely not be enforceable. But I probably shouldn't have said that out loud.

The message to take away here is that I followed very loose guidelines when writing my posts for New Hampshire and beer from a lot of these brew pubs is available in stores across the state. I haven't tried too many beers from The Granite State, but eventually I'll get around to it. I just hope I don't wait long enough to get there that I'm paying someone to take me on a Beer Trails tour.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Hampshire - Breweries in Planning & Road Trips

I've been really busy lately, and it's not going to get any more open for a while, so in an effort to get back on schedule, this post is going to be short on details and long on brevity. Except for that first sentence.

A couple quick updates before we get started. This past weekend I had beers from two breweries that I've mentioned in past posts. The first was Cisco (Massachusetts) Summer of Lager. I was surprised to see them on a menu in Philly, so I tried it out. I wasn't very impressed with it, maybe because it was pretty hot out and it was maltier than I expected for a beer with Summer in the name. But it's the first I've tried anything from them, so I won't write them off yet. The other was Flying Dog Tire Bite and it was a great choice for a hot afternoon.

Also, on Sunday my friend and I brewed a batch of what will be dubbed Amy Wombat Wheat in honor of Abby Wambach, her difficult-to-remember name, and the U.S. Women's soccer team. And even though they lost, Wambach scored, so our beer is destined to be spectacular. Either that or you will choke while taking what seem to be very easy penalty kicks, I mean sips.

These breweries are currently being planned in New Hampshire:
1. Prodigal Brewery at Misty Mountain Farm, Effingham. - Don't know much about them. They only have a facebook page, not an actual website.
2. 7th Settlement Brewery, Dover. They are really into community, so much so that their brewery will be a Community Supported Brewery, which is exactly like a CSA, only for beer. The hope to use 100% local ingredients, which is pretty much the entire point of a CSA. You buy 96 22oz bottles up front at $6 each, and then over the course of the year you go pick them up. You get a refund of $1 per bottle at the end if you bring them all back. I think they may need to decrease the amount of bottles you have to buy up front, because people definitely enjoy trying new beers more so than trying new vegetables. But it's a pretty cool idea and I think it could catch on, hopefully with a few tweaks. It doesn't look like they will distribute at all, so unless you live in the area, you won't be trying them any time soon.
3. Throwback Brewery, North Hampton.
The name is a nod to the fact that they want to emulate pre-prohibition brewers by using farm fresh, local ingredients, and by recycling their spent grains by sending them to pig farmers for feed. The guys at Throwback also hope to get to 100% locally sourced ingredients. In any region, climate limits the types of hops, malts, and fruits available, but they want to work with what they can get from New England. They say that there is a good blueprint of doing this if you just look to wineries. Regional winemakers end up making wine with the ingredients that fare the best in each set of unique conditions. That means that wine from each region has its own flavors and are unique to the rest of the world. Throwback thinks that can be done with beer. It's a great concept. They are also looking into using solar power for their brewing. They will distribute mostly in NH, but don’t have a full list yet. They make 7 beers, with pretty good names and interesting labels. Dippity-Do American Brown is my favorite just for the picture.
Honestly, the ideas of sustainability and using local ingredients are so pervasive in the craft brewing community that I might just stop mentioning it. If a brewery blatantly tries to waste energy or is openly discouraging a sense of community and local identity, then I'll mention it. But otherwise, just assume that each brewery loves local ingredients, recycling, bio-fuel, and pre-heating water with the sun. 

Road Trips:
If you are into hiking, New Hampshire is a state for you. There are plenty of mountains, and the Appalachian Trail runs right through NH, including Mount Washington. Even though I don't hike much, I like the concept of it, so I read a hiking blog called Easy Hiker, and I found an article about the Franklin Ridge hike in New Hampshire. Looks pretty cool.
There are also plenty of places to ski in the state, including Tuckerman Ravine, which is near Tuckerman brewery. And I've learned from a simple wiki search that the ravine is actually part of Mount Washington. The really cool part about the ravine is that in the spring there is still plenty of snow from the winter, so people will hike up the side of the ravine, and then ski down the ravine, even up until July.

Next week I'll post about some of the brew pubs and some updates.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Hampshire - Breweries and Music

I don't know much about New Hampshire in general and I've only had beer from one of their breweries. But that doesn't mean I can't read about them online and either gush about them and how awesome they are or ruthlessly make fun of their cute attempt at becoming a legitimate brewery.

Let's start out in civilization and make our way out to the country. I want you to have every craft brew New Hampshire has to offer at your fingertips once your car gets stuck in a twelve foot snow drift and you are 150 miles from the nearest electrical outlet. So, buy a case from each of these breweries for your emergency survival kit and if you get stranded, well, you may as well get a little tipsy, because, honestly, a bear is going to eat you. 

Smuttynose, Portsmouth. They are the most recognizable beer from New Hampshire. The people who founded Portsmouth and Northampton breweries founded Smuttynose in 1994. I have had a pretty decent amount of the Smuttynose beers. Most recently the Big A IPA. I've also had the Winter Ale, The Pumpkin Ale, and the Old Brown Dog. They are all well done, but I think I like the Old Brown Dog the best. I'm a Brown Ale kind of guy. They make six year round beers and several seasonals and specials. Their labels are simple but I like them a lot. The labels for Big A IPA and the Robust Porter are my favorites. The name came from Smuttynose Island, which is actually in Maine, but is right on the border with New Hampshire. You can find their beer all along the East Coast from Maine to Florida. Definitely check them out.

White Birch Brewing, Hooksett. White Birch was started by a guy who has been brewing since 1994, but just started to do it commercially in 2009. All of their brewing is done by hand currently and they do about 2 barrels a day, but they are in the process of installing a new seven barrel system. It seems like a NH pattern, but White Birch tries to use local ingredients and packaging when possible and used all local labor for their facility upgrade. They are hosting the Southern NH Brewer's festival next weekend and I think it's really cool that one brewery, especially a new one, would invite a bunch of other breweries to their place for a festival. The craft beer industry really has a great sense of community and respect among the different breweries. However, I'm sure White Birch will find a way to rig any contest so that they win. They have three flagship beers, which are available in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, and they have a rotating cast of 21 different beers. I like one of their beer names; "Indomitus." Just sounds cool, and it's a barrel fermented wild ale that they say cannot be tamed. On the website the brewer wrote a bunch about the difference between oak and barrel aging, which maybe I'll try to decipher and share in the next couple weeks.

Squam Brewing, Holderness. Squam is a small and very new brewery. It's only available in NH and they brew six beers. Each has a label and a name that relate to Squam Lake. They make an amber, a bitter, an IPA, a stout, a winter wheat, and a summer wheat. But what is really cool about Squam is that they do small customized contract brewing. So, if you or me wanted to get some beer made for a special occasion, Squam would be the place to go. The minimum order is 31 gallons, so about 14 cases. But they will make whatever recipe you want to give them, or they will come up with one if you give them some ideas. You can use your own label artwork or for a price they can have someone design it. I sent an email to the guy who runs the brewery and he said that as far as he knows, they are the only place that does contract brewing on such a small scale. It would be really unique for a wedding or a family reunion. It would also be a great way for a homebrewer to scale up his operation. I think it's a great idea. He also gave me some background on the more technical reasons behind why a 55 gallon boiler only nets 31 gallons of beer. I'll probably get into it later this month.

Tuckerman Brewing, Conway. This brewery was opened in 1998 by two 24 year olds, but just like most 24 year olds, they didn't really want to try very hard and so they only brewed one type of beer. An American Pale Ale. In actuality, I think they were limited to one beer by capacity, so once they moved to a larger location in 2004 they started a second beer and eventually a third. The third beer is a tribute to Mount Washington, which I assume is close to their brewery. Don't know. Anyway, Mount Washington is 6288' high, and so their Stout is called 6288 Stout. It is a seasonal that has 6.3% ABV (to match the elevation) and some of the proceeds from its sale benefit the Observatory on Mt. Washington. Since cars that climb Mt. Washington get that neat little "This Car Climbed Mt. Washington" bumper sticker, I think Tuckerman should sell "This Human Consumed 6288 Stout" bumper stickers for people's foreheads. Or shirts. Or your chest if you detest shirts. Tuckerman beers are available in NH, MA, and ME, and they brew about 70,000 cases a year. And since it's trendy (and smart) they try to use local ingredients and packaging.

Music to listen to until your iPod runs out of juice and/or your newfound bear friends get angry that you have run out of New Hampshire brews:
There aren't too many mainstream musicians from New Hampshire although I was just reading that the members of Aerosmith met while in New Hampshire. One band that I did find from NH that was somewhat interesting to listen to was Dreadnaught. They are a self described experimental rock band, and I think they are kinda jam bandish. Pretty decent. Here is their official website.

Next week, I'll discuss the breweries that are being planned, any brewpubs I think are worthy, and give a few road trip ideas, perhaps with some recommendations from my mom.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#9 - New Hampshire, "The Granite State" - Intro

It's fitting that during the week of the Fourth of July we celebrate our independence with the state whose motto is "Live Free or Die." New Hampshire was the ninth state to ratify the constitution and the first so far that has managed to nail both the motto and the nickname. You gotta be tough to live in The Granite State. Live Free or Die? Ballsy.
Let's celebrate our independence from average beer by taking a look at what New Hampshire has to offer to the American craft brew scene.
Population: 1.3 million (42nd in the U.S.)
Size: 46th largest state in the U.S.
#of Microbreweries: 5 (with 3 additional in planning)
# of Brewpubs: 7
Cities: Concord, Portsmouth, Nashua, Manchester
Cities I could have named without Wiki's help: Concord.
Tax Policy: I compare New Hampshire's tax policy to how one of my neighbors views the general societal norm of wearing shirts. He only wears shirts in the case of extreme cold and in that case, it's a wife beater or nothing. You cannot box that man in and tell him what to wear! He'll have none of it. In that same way, New Hampshireites hates taxes. No sales tax (cheaper cases of beer). No state or local income tax (more money to buy beer with). They keep their hard earned money and buy shirts with it. Cuz shirts are awesome. Let's try to spread that word. Because old tattoos and beer bellys everywhere are begging to be covered by some extra household income.

Brewers in New Hampshire very quickly took advantage of more lax homebrewing and brewpub laws once they were put into effect something like 25-30 years ago (I have no intention of checking that timeline, but it feels right). The bland beer that dominated for decades following Prohibition didn’t stand a chance in New Hampshire or in neighboring Massachusetts. The brewpubs that opened eventually became the full breweries that make up New Hampshire’s beer backbone and the three new breweries that are starting up are welcomed by a thriving Northeastern craft beer culture that New Hampshire played a pretty good role in cultivating. However, in no way did I do any research to back that last statement up. Again, it's a feeling. Writing down facts is more of an art than a science anyway. Just read any newspaper.
Five of the eight breweries are in the Southern part of the state, close to the major cities and the other three are located father upstate. There seem to be more than a few notable brewpubs so, I'll be delving into those in later weeks. I've noticed that probably half of the brewpubs in New Hampshire bottle their own beer, which makes it difficult to only call them a brewpub. But in my arbitrary mind, if you have a full restaurant at your brewery and you don't list where you distribute your beer, I'm considering you a brewpub. 

For the record, I’ve never been to New Hampshire, but my Mom lived there for several years growing up, so by genetics I am qualified to speak about it. Next week I'll probably be talking about the five breweries that are currently in operation.
Lastly, when you have a blog, Google tells you how many people click on your page, what websites they came from to find it, and what their search terms were. Most of mine are boring, like "PA brewery map." But some are awesome. So, if you are the guy in Russia who searches "" once a week on the search engine, leave a comment or email me or something. I'm really interested to learn how you found this site. I guess all of those bus-stop ads I put up in Moscow were worth it.