Meet the Brewer: Bad Lab Beer Company’s Chuck Morrell
The head brewer at the Somersworth spot talks shop
With more than 70 craft breweries spread across the state (and new ones opening seemingly every week), it’s no secret that New Hampshire is home to some great beer. To help you get to know some of the Granite State’s favorite sudsy spots, we’re implementing a new series of “Meet the Brewer” profiles to introduce you to our top-notch New Hampshire breweries and the men and women behind them.
For our latest profile, meet Chuck Morrell. Chuck is the head brewer of Somersworth’s Bad Lab Beer Company, a popular spot that just opened its Brewpub Restaurant. Read on to learn all about the 2,200-barrel-per-year capacity facility and their head brewing honcho.
About the Brewer
NH Magazine: What is your title at the brewery?
Chuck Morrell: I am the head brewer.
NHM: How did you get into the brewing business?
CM: I started out working for a commercial brewery in Vermont back in 2000. Through the course of 13 years out of 17 years in the brewing industry, I moved into each department until I resided as one of the elite senior brewers for Long Trail Brewery.
NHM: Why did you choose to work in New Hampshire? What do you appreciate about the craft beer scene here?
CM: I saw room for growth and new styles in NH. From IPAs to sour beers. it has everything I was looking for and is still close to the family and friends that I left behind. I moved in 2013 when the explosion of nanobreweries really took off and wanted to be a part of the scene. NH has a little of everything when it comes to geography and population. It was coastal NH that won my heart, and I have enjoyed learning more about the people in it every day.
NHM: What styles of beer are you personally most fond of?
CM: I love all styles of beer. It depends on the situation and atmosphere. We are a seasonal climate that allows brewers to make a variety of styles. In the fall months, my palate wants spice and darker beers with some warmth. In winter months, I want a good stout, porter or brown ale.
NHM: What’s your personal favorite of the beers you make?
CM: I love the big, high ABV beers. Sitting around by the lake after dinner and having a glass or two is all that I need. The complexity of the malts and the balance of the hops and alcohol requires a lot of skill, and if done right, will leave you wanting more. We currently have five different beers aging in bourbon barrels and I can’t wait to release them. For me, I put my soul as a brewer into those barrels. If I have to pick just one favorite, it would be the Scotch strong ale because of the level of detail with the ingredients.
About the Brewery
NHM: What’s your annual production size, in barrels?
CM: We haven’t been open for a year yet, but our capacity is around 2,200 barrels. It will likely take us two years to get up there! [Editor’s note: This interview was conducted before the brewery’s year anniversary, which took place in September.]
NHM: When did you open to the public?
CM: We opened to the public in September 2016.
NHM: What sets you apart from other New Hampshire breweries? What’s unique about your style or mission?
CM: We’re not trying to be everything to everyone, we just brew what we like. Our mission is to make the best beer possible. Our brewers use high quality ingredients from hop growers, maltsters and yeast producers who care as much about the quality of their products as we do. For us, the process is just as important as the product. Whether we are matching the mineral profile of our water to match water from a specific region of the world, or experimenting with new methods of dry hopping, our end goal is always the same. We want to make good beer.
NHM: How many beers and what styles do you offer at any given time?
CM: We currently have four core offerings (our pale ale, Belgian-style white ale, IPA, and double IPA), but also offer small batch releases all the time. Our restaurant will have 16 rotating taps, and we are on the verge of releasing our first barrel-aged offerings as well. [Editor’s note: The pub is now open!]
NHM: What’s your most popular beer?
CM: Our Belgian-style white ale and Trillion Lights have really taken off.
NHM: What’s next for your brewery?
CM: Our restaurant will be open in late June 2017, and we couldn’t be more excited! Every day can be a beer dinner when you have awesome beer and food to pair, and a great atmosphere to enjoy them in.
NHM: Where can your beer be purchased?
CM: Our beer can be purchased at our upcoming restaurant, and at bars and package stores all over NH.