The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Brew Pubs
New Hampshire

 

 

 

Keene

Manchester

Portsmouth

West Lebanon

 

 

 

Elm City Brewing Company
222 West St #46,
Keene, New Hampshire 03431
(603) 355-3335

After leaving Manchester, we moved on to Keene and had dinner at
Elm City Brewing Company.
Also located in a converted mill building, the Colony Mill Marketplace, the brewpub was jumping on a beautiful Saturday evening.
Upon being seated, I spotted the glass on the table filled with Trivial Pursuit cards.
Cool, something to do while waiting for our food to arrive!
The menu states that the salad dressings are all homemade. This is always a plus in my book; good bleu cheese dressing is worth the trip alone. The food was phenomenal!
Even though I'm not a huge fan of fruit flavored beer (besides pumpkin), given the name, I had to have the Peachy Keene Kolsch.
Too light and sweet for my palate, but this does make a good session drink for those warm, humid New Hampshire nights and a good brewpub intro for macro-beer drinkers.

 

 

Milly's Tavern
500 Commercial St.
Manchester , NH 03101
Phone: (603) 625-4444

Milly's Tavern, a brewpub, is in a converted Manchester, NH mill building dating to 1881.
As we approached, the “Yes Pumpkin Ale” sign is quite visible.
Thinking “this had to be from last fall,” I was highly surprised to see Pumpkin Ale listed as being on-tap.
As a fan of this style, I had to sample it. The beer menu states that this is one of their most popular beers and that one can try it either on its own, or with a glass “rimmed with our house blend of sugar and spices.”
Ingenious!
As we later found out, when on a private brewery tour conducted by owner Peter Telge, a master brewer since 1994, the beer is brewed with fresh, locally grown pumpkins, not canned pumpkin as other breweries use.
The ale was dead-on, by far the best I've sampled of the genre. Slightly spiced, not cloyingly sweet, lightly carbonated, amber colored, and the sugar and spice (and everything nice) mix really accentuates the beverage.
This one's a keeper!

There are only eight taps and the brewery produces 18 different beers, so what's on tap will change with each visit.

 

 

 

Redhook Brewery &
Cataqua Public House

1 Redhook Way
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801
(603) 430-8600

The first stop on the breweries/brewpubs of Southern NH tour was the Redhook Brewery in Portsmouth, NH.
The dining/drinking area reminded me a lot of the Harpoon facility in Windsor, VT, where Jennifer and I stopped last summer. I sampled the ESB or “Extra Special Bitter.” This was my first taste of Redhook.
I have to say that the ESB left something to be desired. The pour had very little carbonation and was just lacking an “oomph” factor.
I'll definitely try other Redhook beers, though, especially the IPA, to render a fair judgment on the brewery.
Adjoining the brewery is the Cataqua Public House which serves food.
Cataqua, which derives its name from the Piscataqua River which divides New Hampshire and Maine, serves pub food and a variety of Redhook beers available only at the brewery.
The hops for their cask and firkin beers are grown on site.

 

 

Seven Barrel Brewery
Plainfield Road
Colonial Plaza, Rt 12-a
West Lebanon, NH 03784
603-298-5566

The Seven Barrel Brewery is across the street and visible from the southbound exit of I-89 in West Lebanon, NH.  It's kinda dingy on the outside and rustic on the inside.  It's not very large, with a very small bar.  They have eight of their own beers, and a cask, but nothing else.  The beers seem true to style, but a little thin. Service was good, food was cheap.