The Cask and Vine
A haven for lovers of wine, food and, of course, beer
One of the Granite State's hottest new places to grab a beer, Derry's Cask and Vine, has its roots in - of all places - a film festival. Concord's annual SNOB Film Festival to be specific. That's where, in 2010, owner Andy Day was exposed to the artistry of local craft beer. At the event, Day sampled White Birch Brewing's Barrel Aged Tripel, a brew aged in Pinot Noir barrels. The beer, made in Hooksett, blew him away.
"White Birch Brewing's beer started everything for us," Day says. "It was the best thing I'd ever tasted to that point."
It's an experience that has stuck with him. Since Day and co-owner Alana Wentworth opened Cask and Vine earlier this year, supporting local brewers has been a top priority for the business. Flagship selections from emerging New Hampshire breweries such as Throwback Brewery and the aforementioned White Birch Brewing are always featured on tap at the restaurant's bar.
"Being small guys, we like to support other small guys," Day says of their commitment to local beer.
Aside from just "small guys helping small guys," support of local brewing is in step with another element that is so important to the character of Cask and Vine: being different. Above all else, Day and Wentworth strive to push the envelope and make their restaurant a place where new and exciting things happen all the time.
"We're always doing something different here," Day says. "We try and do things no one has ever done before."
One example of their boundary pushing came in August, when for one week Cask and Vine was completely transformed into a beach. Yes. Completely.
"We filled the entire bar with sand four-inches-deep," Day explains.
He's not exaggerating, either. Check out the pictures of the event posted on Cask and Vine's Facebook page. The sand was real, and there was a lot of it.
Another example of the outside-the-box thinking employed at Cask and Vine is the "Distributor Showdown" that took place in July. Four beer distributors were pitted against one another in a four-round competition for the chance to take over Cask and Vine's taps for a month. Customers were allowed to vote for the winner.
The "Distributor Showdown" was an ingenious bit of marketing and quality control. All in one, the competition served to boost customer involvement, while forcing distributors to up their game and come up with the finest beers possible. According to Day, that's what Cask and Vine is really all about: providing the most exciting and enriching experience possible for the customer.
"We want people to go, 'Wow, what a great night,'" Day says. "It's about the experience."