16 New Granite State Breweries
Get ready to experience the thrill of discovery. From the top of the state to the coast, here are 16 new breweries you need to visit.
Blasty Bough Brewing Company
3 Griffin Rd., Epsom
(603) 724-3636, blastybough.com
You’re forgiven for not knowing the definition of “blasty bough.” The term refers to a branch of pine turned amber by the sun, which settlers used as kindling. Yes, back in the day fire was important for cooking and warmth, but flame was also necessary to boil wort to make beer. The “farm-to-kettle” Blasty Bough Brewing Company is located at the historic McClary Hill Farm, which was once a community hub where people came for produce and dairy products. Owner David Stewart started brewing in the ’80s (you might say before brewing was cool), and saw creating a brewery as a way to get the farm back up and running. He hoped to recreate that community gathering space feel for both locals and visitors — a place to share stories, play games and make new friends. Currently, all the beers are ales, but Stewart is hoping to include lagers this winter, and he eventually wants more variety as time goes on. Try the spruce red ale, and be sure to get a ticket for one of the music nights they host a few times a month.
To Share Brewing Company
720 Union St., Manchester
As the October issue headed to press, Aaron and Jenni Share were still working hard on getting To Share Brewing Company up and running, and the buzz — and anticipation — was growing. Those strolling along Union Street in the northern part of Manchester in late August might have glimpsed local artist Shaina Gates as she painted colorful murals on the exterior (pictured below). That’s just one of the ways the Shares are connecting their brewery to the community. The idea, they say, is to make this slightly out-of-the-way spot a comfortable gathering space for locals. The residential location — not too far from Elm Street and just down the way from the Currier Museum of Art — helps foster that welcoming atmosphere. They will offer 10 beers on tap, including IPAs, an ale, a stout, and rotating seasonal and experimental beers. Games, like corn hole (year-round), their huge collection of vinyl records they want to incorporate, and a future patio for outdoor seating will all help make this a place where you’ll want to hang out for an afternoon (or day). Keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates.
Odd Fellows Brewing Co.
124 Main St., Nashua
After running a sports bar for about seven years, the owners decided it was time to start brewing their own beers. When the opportunity to move into the building beside the bar presented itself, they made the decision to open a new brewpub.
It opened in February, and their brewer, John Lespasio, was excited to finally get started. Schooled in brewing in Denmark, his first job as master brewer was at a pub in Copenhagen. The plan is to offer a wide variety of beers on tap (12) with one nitro tap. The menu features elevated pub food that will pair well with the beer. They are also planning to include ever-changing seasonal and experimental beers.
North Country and White Mountains Region
Copper Pig Brewery
1 Middle St., Lancaster
Darrell Bodnar, owner and brewer, and Michael Holland, owner, brewer and chef, had been brewing for almost a decade, during which they had fun experimenting and trying new things. Then, about two years ago, they decided to get serious about starting a business. The pair got a huge boost from the community to fund their undertaking and opened up the brewpub five months ago (ask about the ice jam that delayed opening). They have great food and live music, and the staff members are all extremely friendly and fun. Tourism plays a role, but the locals are what make the place what it is. The crowd favorite beers are the 007 Double IPA and the Ice Jam Lager. In the future, look for their expanding hours and possible brewing of cider and wine.
1766 Brewing Co.
7 Route 25, Plymouth
This brewery with an eye to history takes its name from the year Plymouth organized as a town. Getting its start in the back of The Last Chair restaurant, 1766 Brewing Co. quickly began selling out of beer. The decision was made to expand into one of the storage units in the restaurant’s back parking lot. Now, another move is in the works. The plan is to move the tasting room to the heart of Plymouth, and to offer a food menu of their own. (As of press time, they hoped to open the new tasting room in October.) The 1766 has a good variety of traditional beers, and the brewers are working on experimenting with some more unique styles as well. Be sure to try the Golden Stout or the flagship 11th Regimen IPA.
Great North Woods Region
Coös Brewing Company
13 Merrill St., Colebrook
With 15 years of brewing experience, five years of planning and a full renovation of the space, Colin Finn opened up this northern brewery and taproom. Finn chose Colebrook out of a desire to bring good craft beer to an area of the state sorely lacking in local breweries. After opening in June, he’s been regularly selling out of beer and hopes to keep business going strong. He offers three beers on tap, all of which are very clean and have distinct flavors. The lineup includes a New England IPA, a wheat-forward wit, a half sour Berliner-style weiss beer, and in the future, Finn hopes to brew up some darker beers as well.
909 Islington St., Portsmouth
For those keeping an eye on Portsmouth, it’s probably no surprise that Tom Bath chose the up-and-coming West End for Loaded Question’s location. As downtown Portsmouth grows ever more crowded, this once sleepy part of town is now home to restaurants, cafés and even another small brewery, Liars Bench Beer Co. Receiving an introduction to craft beer on the West Coast, Bath started homebrewing in 1995, and like many homebrewers, opening his own brewery was a longstanding dream. But, unlike most, he turned the dream into brick-and-mortar reality. After working for many years as product designer at REI, Bath decided it was time to brew for real. He makes sure there’s always a good variety on tap, but one of the most popular brews is the Sparkle Toes Double IPA — named by his 2-year old. Given where he first fell in love with beer, you might think it’s all West Coast-style IPAs all the time, but change is the philosophy at Loaded Question. The beers rotate often, and Bath loves to experiment and toss around ideas for different styles.
Chapel & Main
83 Main St., Dover
If you’re looking for a place to eat truly great locally sourced food and drink awesome local beer, Chapel + Main in downtown Dover has a full menu of both. Brewer David Yarrington, the former master brewer at Smuttynose Brewery, has been brewing since 1994. Yarrington teamed up with Ben Lord and the other owners of the popular Black Birch in Kittery, Maine, to create a brewpub in Dover — Chapel + Main is the result. The beer is traditional in style, but depending on new trends and the season, they do love to branch out and experiment. Check out the live music on Sundays and come back frequently as the menu is always changing.
The Outlaw Brewing Company
215 Scotland Rd., Winchester
Down a quiet road on a peaceful plot of land close to Keene and Peterborough you’ll find what is likely the state’s smallest brewery. With its 450-square-foot taproom, The Outlaw Brewing Company really puts the tiny in nanobrewery. Rick Horton quit his job back in April to commit to the brewery full time, and it’s been going strong since, even exceeding his own expectations. Horton originally began brewing in the ’90s, and after weathering some bad breaks, he finally got back to what he loves — making beer. Outlaw has eight beers on tap, including a vanilla porter created as a fundraiser for the local historic society. Horton is also collaborating with the nearby Ashuelot Brewing Company on an Octoberfest, and is working on an outdoor seating space that includes space for games and a firepit that can be used all year long.
Branch and Blade Brewing Company
17 Bradco St., Keene
College rugby pals — and craft beer fans — Trevor Bonnette and Jesse O’Bryan are now business partners. After homebrewing for a few years, they decided to take their love of beer to the next level by opening Branch and Blade Brewing Company in Keene. With the help of a contract brewer, they founded the brewery in January and opened this past May. Happily, the beer has been flying out of the taps ever since. Give the experimental IPAs a try, such as their frappe IPA, the triple IPA and even a sour version.
Post & Beam Brewing
40 Grove St., Peterborough
Former editor-turned-brewery-owner Erika Rosenfeld liked drinking Jeff Odland’s beer. So much so, that after about a decade of drinking his brews, she realized she preferred what he made over anything she could buy. Her beverage “ah-ha” moment coincided with both a desire to change her career and the opportunity to bring a great local brewery to the then-brewery-less town of Peterborough. Rosenfeld purchased and renovated the historic, about 181-year-old G.A.R. Hall, which has a rich history and many past lives. Now, after extensive renovations, it once again serves as a lively community gathering space. Just with more beer. Odland’s beers are subtle and traditional in style, and the New England pale ales were sold out not long after they opened on July 28. While the weather is still mild, Post & Beam has a great outdoor patio overlooking the river.
Monadnock Brewing Company
78 Cheshire Turnpike, Langdon
After his mother-in-law gifted him a homebrewing kit for Christmas, Jerry Henry was hooked. Today, he and his family run Monadnock Brewing Company, where Henry is the head brewer and chemist. They specialize in authentic German beers, as well as many styles of IPAs.
Burnt Timber Brewing & Tavern
96 Lehner St., Wolfeboro
Eddie Michno started homebrewing a decade ago while living in Alaska. At first, here in New Hampshire, he only brewed on his farm for wholesale accounts. Last September, he made the move to the current location — his new brewpub Burnt Timber Brewing & Tavern in Wolfeboro — and started offering farm-to-table food in conjunction with beer. Michno says his beers are not brewed to any certain style, and likes to put a twist on traditional recipes. Be sure to catch some live music and go for a pub run.
195 Peaked Hill Rd., Bristol
Woodman’s is truly a family-owned business, where each member pitches in to help and brings unique skills to the table. Owner and brewer Barry Woodman works with his wife, son and daughter to brew, maintain the tasting room, and come up with ideas for new beers and avenues for the brewery. Woodman’s is located to the side of their home, which is located on a quiet road in Bristol. When their tenant moved out of the in-law cottage, they seized the opportunity to create a brewery. Over time, they patiently built it into what you’ll find today — a cozy, welcoming spot for locals and travelers to gather. Try the maple cream ale made with local New Hampshire-made syrup from Salisbury Sugar Works.
Kettlehead Brewing Company
407 W. Main St., Tilton
This small craft brewery and pub is already a huge hit — tables can be hard to come by, but the wait is worth it. Try the flagship IPA, The Agent, and pair it with the Best of NH Editor’s Pick hog wings.
Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region
Polyculture Brewing Co.
Though they don’t have a tasting room yet, this Croydon-based, family-owned farmhouse brewery was a big hit over the summer at the Lebanon and Newport farmers markets. They’ve also taken their beer to local festivals, so keep and eye on the Facebook page for updates and announcements.
Empty Pint Brewing Company
17 Second St., Dover
This new nanobrewery will be located in the old fire station on Court Street.
14 Court St., Nashua
Northwoods Brewing Co.
Will specialize in hoppy ales and farmhouse beers
1334 First NH Turnpike, Northwood
Notable Changes and Expansions
Schilling Beer Co.
Schilling’s original home, an 18th-century grist mill on the banks of the Ammonoosuc River in Littleton (pictured above), is loaded with the cozy, rustic charm typical of such buildings, but is a bit short on space, especially given the brewery’s huge success. Happily, the recently completed expansion — located right next door — provides much-needed square footage, including more room for brewing their style of progressive, continental European-inspired beers, a retail shop and a tasting room complete with a deck overlooking the river. Though the expansion includes a new 20-barrel brewhouse, Schilling remains a microbrewery, meaning they produce less than 15,000 barrels a year. Quality, not quantity, is still very much Schilling’s focus.
The original brewpub is located at 18 Mill St., with the new store and tasting room next door at 26 Mill St. schillingbeer.com, (603) 444-4800
White Birch Brewing
Founded in 2009 by Bill Herlicka, White Birch has left its somewhat rundown Hooksett location behind in favor of a new — and much improved — tasting room in Nashua. Now owned by Herlicka’s brother Dave Herlicka, White Birch’s new digs are far more welcoming. With 12 beers on tap, a food menu and a comfortable bar, this is a place where you’ll want to sit and stay a while. The beers on tap are all different, ranging from IPAs to the sour styles for which they’re most well-known. The new tasting room, located at 460 Amherst St., is open seven days a week from 12-8 p.m. whitebirchbrewing.com
Rek'•lis Brewing Company
This once super-tiny brewery is now just tiny, growing from a 12-by-12 shed to a 264-barrels-per-year (up from 72) brewpub. Ian Dowling and Marlaina Renton opened Rek'•lis on Columbus Day weekend in 2016, and quickly found success in the small northern town of Bethlehem. The new brewpub offers anywhere from eight to 12 beers on tap at any given time, and the menu is small but considered.
It’s a popular, first-come, first-served spot, but if all the tables are filled, enjoy a beer on the deck while you wait. They suggest parties of four or more call ahead for wait times. 2085 Main St. reklisbrewing.com, (360) 852-1234