Best of NH 2016 Breweries, Wine, Spirits, Cocktails and Pubs

Cocktails at Editor's Pick Codex in Nashua. Photo by Susan Laughlin

Bacon Stout: The Belly of the Beast bacon imperial stout from Rockingham Brewing Company in Derry is a deep black, sweet yet salty, smoky stout that’s brewed with specialty smoked malts and — here’s the kicker — real bacon. This beer is no novelty gimmick — it’s the real deal, and it’s real tasty. Though bacon is certainly present, it doesn’t take over, letting all of the flavors come together in harmony. 

Farm-to-Table Brewery: Throwback Brewery in North Hampton just keeps getting better. Worth a visit at any time, it’s especially fantastic in the summer when you can enjoy great local beer and food outside on the historic farm’s vast lawn. Like the beer, the nicely sized menu has a focus on sourcing local and, of course, suggests which beer to pair with your meal. You’ll find plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, as well.

German Beer Styles: If there’s a culture that knows a thing or two about beer, it’s Germans. Taking those tried-and-true styles and putting an American twist on them is the team behind Neighborhood Brewing Co. in Exeter. Joining UNH alumni Tim Diaz and Joe Berwanger is Mike O’Donnell along with the man behind the beer itself, German beer expert Horst Dornbusch. And when they say “expert,” they mean it. He’s a Great American Beer Festival award-winning brewer, an international beer judge and was one of the editors of 900-page “Oxford Companion to Beer.” At Neighborhood you’ll find a passion for both community and flavorful, easy-drinking beer.

Limoncello: Find award-winning limoncello made in Salem at Fabrizia Spirits. Just the zest of the lemon is used to flavor the liqueur, perfect for a finale of an Italian meal. They use the juice for ready-made margaritas and more zest for their infused vodkas. All can be found at most New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlets.

Local Brewpub: “Beer pairing food” may conjure up images of burgers and brats, but the fare at Smuttynose Brewing’s Hampton restaurant, Hayseed, is a little more sophisticated. With offerings like kimchee pulled pork, jambalaya and Vietnamese sausage, the cuisine is international,  but the sourcing is not. Seacoast suppliers like NH Community Seafood and Kensington’s Emergent Farm provide many of the restaurant’s meats, fish, eggs, and produce — and a hive of on-site bees provide the honey.

Local Spirits: When the genius behind Hendrick’s Gin builds a distillery in Tamworth, you know there is creativity cooking. Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile has already won national awards for its beet vodka. Other creative concoctions include Apiary Gin with local honey and Garden Flora Gin with New England wildflowers. The setting is worth the trip to the tasting room even if you don’t drink.

NH Hard Cider: If you’re not a fan of apple juice made into cider, consider North Country Hard Cider in Rollinsford as the perfect ferment of local apples and yeast. Find at least six options on tap for a flight tasting at the tasting room in the Salmon Falls Mills. Flavors range from the very dry original press to flavors of the week with influences of ginger, chili pepper and bitter apples.

Prohibition Cocktails: Codex in Nashua is a time-travel adventure where your server wears pearls and has a name like Lois. Sit at the bar or settle into the couches and chairs that are straight from your great-grandmother’s attic. The bar-tending crew knows how to please with unusual liquors for the most inventive cocktails since the demise of the Anti-Saloon League.

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