Over 1000 people attended the Granite State Brewers Association Summerfest at Arms Park in Manchester yesterday. The event showcased New Hampshire's thriving craft beer scene with 29 local craft brewers represented. This was the first time the event was held in Manchester and the first time the fest was only open to New Hampshire craft brewers.
Brewers ranged from very small, like Tom Albright's one barrel brewing system at Out.Haus Ales from Northwood to large as in Smuttynose Brewing Company that is now distributing its beers in 18 states. All of the beer was brewed in New Hampshire but the availability outside the festival varies depending on a number of factors including quantity and ease of distribution. Much of the beer is available at specialty beer stores that are now scattered throughout the state. In some cases one has to go to the brewer to try the beer on site.
All of the beer was fresh and high quality but there were a few notable standouts. The Schilling Beer Company Erastus was exceptional. This amazing Belgian Tripel is currently only available at the brewery in Littleton. The citrusy Stoneface IPA was a close second. This beer recently came in at number 14 on the Beer Advocate most sought after American IPA's list. Drinkers can sample that beer currently at the Stoneface Brewery tasting room in Newington and on tap at many bars throughout mainly the Seacoast area. The brewers intend to release this exceptional ale in bottles by the end of the summer so it should be available at specialty beer stores like Craft Beer Cellar in Nashua and Portsmouth , Top Shelf Brews in Hampton, and BrewTopia in Keene. The surprise entry at the festival was the creatively hopped Lupulin Suplex Double IPA from Flying Goose Brewery in New London. That was a major league ale. The newly opened Lone Wolf Brewing Company in Wolfeboro also showed up quite well with a high quality Imperial IPA.
The New Hampshire Craft Beer scene continues to grow. In addition to the 29 breweries represented at Summerfest there are a handful more out there that have just opened their doors or are not part of the Granite State Brewers Association. Additionally, there are 13 new craft breweries on the way.
New Hampshire is on its way toward becoming a craft beer destination state on par with neighboring states Vermont and Maine. Craft beer is alive and well in New Hampshire.
Kevin Kervick is an owner operator of Craft Beer Cellar Nashua with his wife Karen and son Brian.
This writer has done a series of television interviews about beer culture and beer community with local entrepreneurs. You can find videos of those shows here.
The working title for Kevin's upcoming book is, Discovering Possibility: The Revolution for Virtue and Common Sense. Kevin offers common sense community building coaching to grass roots groups around the country that are interested in pursuing common sense approaches to community building.
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