New Hampshire Beercation Suggestions
Don’t think that New Hampshire has enough breweries to make a beercation worthwhile in the granite state? Well, you better think again. New Hampshire now has over 45 breweries and some of them are making the state a craft beer destination. And, because it’s sandwiched in between two popular beercation meccas, Vermont and Maine, you can easily swing by a few of your favorites in those states during your NH trip. Another game plan is to hit Massachusetts breweries in and above Boston then continue on to New Hampshire. Or just spend the entire time in New Hampshire. Really, it’s up to you and how you want to customize your brew journey.
Like Vermont, some breweries now sell their beer at various farmers markets. And, a few distribute to local watering holes. For us, the best experiences are always to go right to the source. Here are some breweries and beer-related stops you should make during your New Hampshire Beercation.
Smuttynose Brewing Co.
105 Towle Farm Rd, Hampton, NH 03842
Just a 15 minute drive from Hampton Beach’s picturesque coastline, sits the 3rd largest producing brewery in the state: Smuttynose Brewing Co. Having celebrated their 20th year anniversary in 2014, they opened up an impressive, new brewing facility on the historic, mid-1700s Towle Farm (pronounced Toll). There are 14 acres in total on the brewery campus which includes not only the brewery but also their farm to table restaurant, Hayseed, ample parking and disc golf course.
Prior to the visit, we had no idea just how many beer styles Smuttynose Brewing Co. produced. Although we tend to steer towards IPAs and saisons, we do love a good brown ale every now and again. Old Brown Dog Brown Ale was quite exquisite. But we’d have to say the winning lineup was just about everything we tasted from the experimental Smuttlabs series. Think small batch beer where the brewers can push the limits getting as creative as they dare. Many of the Smuttlabs brews are saison/farmhouse ales. Fantastically tart or funky or both!BEER LIST FULL BREWERY REVIEW
A must-do while visiting Smuttynose is eating at Hayseed. Located just across the way from the brewery. It’s the original farm house on the property but has been moved and restored. Everything on the menu is delicious. For instance, their savory Beer Cheese Spread made with cheddar, mozzarella and parmigianno-reggiano then blended with Finestkind IPA, herbs and shallots. Or maybe you’d like Fish & Chips. The fish is locally caught Gulf of Maine white fish that’s ale battered and deep fried. The entree is served with house cut pommes frites tossed in malt vinegar and a side of peas. So good!FOOD MENU
Smuttynose plans a slew of events throughout the year that you might want to work into your New Hampshire beercation. My mother lives about 45 minutes from the brewery and this summer participated in the ‘Will Run 5k for Beer‘. After the run, there was a party on the brewery grounds with music, picnic-style lunch and of course, BEER. She said it was a blast. Perhaps we’ll give it a go in 2018 – although I despise running almost as much as I do standing in line for beer releases. Ha! Be sure to check out their calendar while planning your New Hampshire beercation.EVENTS
7 Hobbs Rd, North Hampton, NH 03862
Owners Annette Lee and Nicole Carrier, have done a wonderful job turning the 1860 Hobbs Farm into a brewery and gastro pub. The whole business concept is farm to table through and through. They don’t just grow their own hops but they are cultivating a full-on working farm. Pigs eating spent grains. Goats producing milk for goat cheese. Produce grown onsite. And, the brewery itself is in the beautifully restored, former sheep barn on the property.
They also source many ingredients from local farms and choose meats that are organic, humanely raised and antibiotic free. Their fresh, seasonal menu changes often so be sure to check out their website for eats available the day you visit. Currently for summer they have a Maple-Braised Carnitas or Fish Tacos (locally caught fish, of course!) topped with poblano goat cheese yogurt, house hot sauce, pickled shallots, shredded cabbage, cilantro and Pineland Farms jack cheese. Drool! Their menu notes the wide-selection of dishes that are vegetarian, vegan or gluten free. The Veggie Burger is a house made patty with vegetables, chickpeas and quinoa then topped with roasted New Hampshire mushrooms, gruyere cheese and pickled beet ketchup served on a spent grain bun.FOOD MENU
The taproom has 16 rotating brews with a variety of styles to choose from. Goodies like Cheek Squeezer Sour Blonde Ale, Hopstruck Red IPA, Hank’s Pale Ale and more. They do offer 4 oz, sample-size pours (aka Flights) where you can pick 4 different beers for $8. It’s a good way to get a feel for what you might like to order a full pour of or perhaps get a growler filled so you can take the liquid goodness home. Throwback takes the local ingredients sourcing seriously. They aspire to use ingredients that are 100% locally sourced – within 200 miles of the brewery. Currently, their beers use 70-90% sourced local ingredients.TAP LIST
Earth Eagle Brewings
165 High St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Specializing in Gruits with rather unique and creative botanical ingredients, Earth Eagle Brewings is a nano-brewery alongside a homebrew store. Because of their small size, they experiment the heck out of their beer recipes. And, they’re even coming out with a book called Against All Hops about brewing botanical beers without hops.
‘White Light’ is described as “a mostly pilsner malt bill with some oats and wheat. The current version of our delicate blonde gruit has Scotch Broom, Scurvy Grass, and Clarey Sage sharing spice duties. Simply put, mind-blowing. BLENDED with last years’ batch which has been aging in an apple brandy barrel for over a year.” Yes, please!ALL ABOUT GRUITS
But don’t worry, if gruits aren’t you’re thing, Earth Eagle also keeps a rotation of brown ales, porters, Belgian ales and other traditional beer styles with a twist. What do we mean by a twist? Think, unexpected ingredients such as New Hampshire spruce tips, foraged sweet fern, Japanese knot-weed, hibiscus… sounds like anything that grows and is edible is fair game! Since their beers are brewed in such a small batch, they go quickly. The selection is always changing. So you might want to follow the brewery on Facebook to stay in the know when things get tapped during your New Hampshire beercation.FACEBOOK ANNOUNCEMENTS BEER LIST HISTORY
Great Rhythm Brewing Co.
105 Bartlett St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Hop Head Alert of the Juicy Kind! Pale Ales, Session Ales, IPA, Double IPAs, Sour IPAs… oh my! Great Rhythm Brewing Co. has certainly mastered the Art of Hops creating well balanced and easy drinking hop-forward brews. In their words, “Great Rhythm Brewing Company is the result of an unwavering pursuit to create the most flavorfully hoppy beers for every occasion.” We can dig that.
PRO-TIP: There currently isn’t food available, so best carb up prior to arriving.
Their location on Bartlett St. opened in Aug 2016 and is proving to be a destination spot to anyone doing a New Hampshire beercation. Want more details on the type of beers they brew? Check out their website for full descriptions, what beers are are currently on tap or available cans to go.BEERS TAP LIST
Portsmouth Book & Bar
40 Pleasant St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Love Beer? Love Books? How about Books and Beer together? Then you’re in luck. There’s a place in Portsmouth just for you! It’s a quirky, fun concept that combines good beers with a used book store.
You’re not going to find whalez and unicorn beers on tap here. But you will find a tasteful list of draft brews with some local selections. And, thousands of carefully curated books for sale. Sit back on a cozy couch or belly up to the bar with a good book and a pint.TAP LIST
Stoneface Brewing Co.
436 Shattuck Way, Newington, NH 03801
Industrial-cozy is how we’d some up the feel inside the taproom. Love the atmosphere with the strings of lights dangling from the ceiling above the wooden community tables throughout the space. Here you’ll find many different styles of IPAs from piney to juicy to malty alongside traditional beer styles like kolsch, porters, blonde ales and more. Pair the beer with a little something, something from the pub menu. The menu changes but currently they’re serving up smoked meat delicacies like pork tacos, confit wings and BBQ of the day. There’s also a nice selection for the vegetarian with fried wild mushrooms, grilled peach salad, veggies burger and more!
Definitely check out the website for the list of beers, the food menu and events happening.WEBSITE
7th Settlement Brewery
47 Washington St, Dover, NH 03820
Need something to cut through all of those hoppy beers and settle in with malt-forward brews? Then 7th Settlement Brewery located in the 7th settlement of the new world (Dover, New Hampshire) is your change of pace! Roasty, toasty ales and lagers abound in this beautiful taproom with exposed brick walls, big old windows, and hardwood floors. It’s just a quick 30 minutes from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The selection is ever changing and can be tracked on their website.BEER LIST
For sure hit up the food menu while enjoying a beverage. The farm to table concept taps into 65 farms and fisherman in the New England region. “We support a community of mindful diners, drinkers, brewers, growers and citizens. 7th Settlement aims to educate our community with the farm to table philosophy. We believe you should know who grows your food.” The menu is seasonal and incorporates the freshest of ingredients like handcrafted burgers, fresh fish, homemade breads and pastas, housemade chorizo, savory smoked meats. They even make their own tater tots in house! We recommend that you save room for dessert or take it to go.FOOD MENU
Oh, and the brewery just started a “no tipping” policy. Say what?! The brewery’s owners are instead dedicated to paying their employees fair wages and competitive benefits. Happy employees = happy customers.
Deciduous Brewing Co.
12 Weaver St, Newmarket, NH 03857
Hazy, juicy New England style IPAs (aka NEIPA), tart fruited berliner weisses, funky farmhouse ales, goses, beautiful barrel-aged lambics and more make up the ever-changing lineup at Deciduous Brewing Co. Word is quickly spreading about this New Hampshire brewery’s fantastic creations.
They even participated in the 2nd Annual ‘Funk on the Water’ this summer hosted by one of our Vermont favorites: Foam Brewers. To be invited to that brewfest, is quite the honor! Highly rated breweries like Crooked Stave, Almanac, The Alchemist, Allagash, Hill Farmstead, Cascade, Burial and Oxbow were among some of the brewery lineup.
Deciduous Brewing Co.’s can releases are generally on weekends and in limited supply. So plan your day accordingly. The brewery doesn’t currently have a website. You’ll want to follow them on Facebook to keep up with beer releases and what’s on tap.FACEBOOK
Concord Craft Brewing
117 Storrs St, Concord, NH 03301
Downtown Concord, New Hampshire is great fun to explore! Lots of shops and restaurants fill the 1st levels of the historic buildings up and down many of the streets. Definitely spend some time walking around the granite curbed sidewalks and check out the mom-and-pop businesses. When it’s time to take a break from walking, pop into Concord Craft Brewing which opened in early 2017 in the heart of New Hampshire’s capital city.
The nano-brewery tap lineup includes classic, approachable beer styles using local and organic ingredients as much as possible. Brewery tours are available at 5pm Wednesday through Saturday.BEER LIST
FUN FACT: “We have been producing steam on site with a natural gas fired boiler. While it is a little more expensive to brew with steam, it produces the most efficient and even heating source for brewing, which we think you will taste in the consistency and smoothness of our beer.” Neat!
We know you can’t possibly stop at every single brewery during your New Hampshire beercation. Here are a few bottle shops that you might want to swing by to snag bottles to enjoy at home. We especially recommend picking up anything by White Birch Brewing. They have quite nice fruited berliner weisses.
Another way to sample what New Hampshire breweries have to offer is to attend a beer festival like the NH Brewers Fest which takes place every July. You can find more New Hampshire brew fests on none-other-than BeerFests.com.NEW HAMPSHIRE BEER FESTIVALS
NH BEER WEEK
April 6-15, 2018
You could literally plan your whole New Hampshire beercation around NH Beer Week! 100s of craft-beer centric events take place throughout the state featuring craft breweries, home brewers, distributors, bars, restaurants and bottle shops. Check out the New Hampshire Beer Week website a few weeks in advance of April to see what events are lined up.NH BEER WEEK
GRANITE STATE BREWERS ASSOCIATION
(aka New Hampshire Brewers Association)
There are so many more NH beers to discover. So do make your New Hampshire beercation your own – based on what you like to drink. The Granite State Brewers Association has created a beer trail program. Get your beer trail card stamped at each participating brewery visit to earn beer related merch from the assocIation. You can download your very own passport on their website.NH BEER TRAIL PASSPORT