Small Bites: April Food News
The latest statewide food news from cuisine editor Susan Laughlin
Time for Takeoff
Craft beer is big business in New Hampshire. In fact, there are 65 breweries in the state, each offering at least three core beers. It’s a daunting task to try and sample them all, but Seth Simonian has made it easier. His Flight Center Beer Café in Nashua offers 48 beers on tap, most from New Hampshire craft breweries. Simonian says that most restaurants average about five taps and only one is dedicated to a New Hampshire brew. With just one available tap, it would will take a long time to rotate through the 200 available Granite State beers, and the list keeps growing. But at the Flight Center, he says, “I own the list — it’s the beers I enjoy most.”
Why did he call it the Flight Center? Well, obviously, they serve a nice flight of four beers for $16, but the other reason is Simonian’s love of aircraft. He is a qualified pilot through Daniel Webster College, but banked a turn toward beer after he married. The huge aircraft image covering an entire wall of the former Cooking Matters space takes center stage, while co-owner Liu Vaine is working on portraits of important pilots in aviation history for other walls. The place has an interesting vibe and is a must-stop for anyone interested in New Hampshire beer.
The Flight Center’s kitchen offers just enough richly satisfying menu options to complement a session of beer tasting. Shown above on the right is the truffle tater tots dish topped with Philly cheesesteak. Other options include a variation on a Cubano with fried plantains and a pulled pork slider. Simonian also runs Hop Head United, a group dedicated to educating the public on the finer points of enjoying beer, and he plans to base Hop Talks out of the Flight Center. Other events include scheduled tastings and beer dinners.
Now, if only they would open a beer café at the airport — then it would really please “flight” lovers from near and far.
99 Bottles of NH Beer on the Wall
A bottle store that showcases New Hampshire beers recently opened at The Flight Center Beer Café as well. You can buy beer by the six-pack or mix and match your own.
New Hampshire brews that are self-distributed and available in limited quantities are front and center. In total, the shop offers more than 500 craft beers from New England and beyond.
Event of the Month
Craft Beer Week (March 31-April 8) comes to The Flight Center Beer Café with The Hop Talks Brunch, April 2, 2 to 6 p.m. Hear the stories behind the beer in this unique, educational tasting and pairing session. This NH Craft Beer Week version of The Hop Talks will focus on the 2016 New Hampshire beer freshman class: those breweries newest on the scene. Also planned are speakers from the state’s biggest distributors and a panel of women who work in the New Hampshire beer industry. For more information on NH Craft Beer Week and more events, visit granitestatebrewersassociation.org.