Meet the Brewer: Dam Brewhouse’s Sarah Dreshaj
Campton brewhouse focuses on craft brews and community
Meet the Brewer: Dam Brewhouse’s Sarah Dreshaj
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 continuing a 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 Sarah Dreshaj. Sarah is the co-founder and one of the brewers of Dam Brewhouse, a craft micro-brewhouse that’s been operating north of the Campton dam since 2018. Read on to learn all about the 128 barrel-per-year capacity facility and one of their owners and brewers.
About the Brewer
New Hampshire Magazine: What is your title at the brewery?
Sarah Dreshaj: John Anderson and I are both owners, managers and brewers.
NHM: How did you get into the brewing business?
SD: John started home brewing with a friend over 20 years ago. We have been brewing together for 10 years starting with mead and then venturing out to other brews we enjoy. We were looking for a new career that we could do together and would satisfy both of our personalities. We started looking for a place to open a craft beverage facility and began writing a business plan in 2014. After John’s hours were cut in 2017, we worked at speeding up our timetable for opening Dam Brewhouse.
NHM: Why did you choose to work in New Hampshire? What do you appreciate about the craft beer scene here?
SD: I grew up on Lake Winnipesaukee. John has lived in New Hampshire for over 25 years and he currently resides in Campton. When we started researching for our brewhouse business plan, it was clear that Campton was a great place for a small brewery. It’s close to all the outdoor activities in both the summer and winter, and we find a lot of customers coming to use after taking part in local recreational activities. We also really appreciate the collaborative nature of the New Hampshire Brewers Association. We have a great variety of small craft brewers in New Hampshire, which is great. Each one different than the other in how they make their own style of beer.
NHM: What style(s) of beer are you personally most fond of?
SD: We enjoy all kinds of well-balanced brews, but we usually search out a good lager even within a single style because there is so much variation. Small changes can make for wonderful nuanced differences.
About the Brewery
NHM: What’s your annual production size, in barrels?
SD: In 2019 our production size was 128 bbl, and we are on track to make 180 bbl this year.
NHM: When did you open to the public?
SD: We opened our tasting room for the first time on December 21, 2018. We spent five years planning and purchasing the property that the Dam Brewhouse is now on. We had trouble finding the financing the property due to some liability issues, and it ended up taking three years to resolve the problem before we were able to close on the property. It took another two years to plan and refurbish the barn to make the brewery and tasting room. With some exceptions, we did most of the brewery remodel with the help of many of our friends. We learned quite a bit about remodeling during the process and are very grateful for all those who helped make the Dam Brewhouse what it is today.
NHM: What sets you apart from other New Hampshire breweries? What’s unique about your style or mission?
SD: We strive to make the beers that our customers want to drink. We are always asking for ideas, and many of those ideas come to life in the beers that we share with our community. We work to make balanced and easy to drink beers of all styles, most of which we gluten reduce for all our gluten sensitive friends. A true gluten-free beer is a beer made with products and in a facility that doesn’t contain any gluten. Our facility is not a gluten-free brewhouse, as we still use barley malt, but we do make gluten-reduced beers. We encourage people to meet up with a friend for a pint, and enjoy a place where people are more important than their devices and where the conversation is at least as good as the beer. We even have a guitar hanging on the wall for our guests to play and share some music.
NHM: How many beers and what styles do you offer at any given time?
SD: We keep eight different beers on tap that are constantly rotating, three of which we keep consistent like our Mud Puddle, dry Irish stout, Dam Delight, light American Lager, and Fruit Basket our New England style IPA. All are gluten-reduced and the remaining five change often. We do keep our beer lists up to date on our website and social media.
NHM: What’s your most popular beer?
SD: Fruit Basket, our easy drinking New England style IPA, is our most popular beer.
NHM: What’s next for your brewery? Any expansions/changes or upcoming milestones or events to note?
SD: Change seems to be constant in our little brewery. We just finished updating our beer garden with a better roof and a little heat to keep people warm and our elements dry in the colder months. Our expansion plans are in the works, but it will take some time. We will reveal them soon!
NHM: Where can your beer be purchased?
SD: You can find our beer at our tasting room. Our beer does go out to some restaurants and bars in the area like Mulligans in Waterville Valley Town Square, Tartaglia’s Pizza, Big Daddy Joes, Exit 28 Farm to Table, Walters Basin, The Little Red Schoolhouse and Uno’s in Tilton. There are no retail outlets for our cans of beer at the moment because we prefer to build relationships and talk with our customers at the brewhouse tasting room.