2011 NH Brew Fest Recap

This past weekend was the 3rd annual NH Brew Fest and what a great day it was out in Portsmouth. This event hosted over 100 beers from 30+ brewers. I signed up for the VIP session and while we did get a chance to sample some exclusive beers first, early attenders to the first session were also given what was left which I thought was excellent.

On to the beers I sampled

Sixpoint Autumnation
Redhook Saturnlia on Cask
Federal Jacks Oaked Porter (Cask and Non)
Portsmouth Dirty Blonde with Lavender on Cask
Ommegang Gnomegang
Elm City Oatmeal Pale Ale
Martha’s Exchange Apple Brown Betty
Lowell Beerworks Godzilla
Sam Adams Maple Pecan Porter
Long Trail Triple Bag
Tuckerman ALTitude
Throwback Spicy Bohemian
Gardner Ale House Chocolate Stout
Otter Creek Black IPA
Smuttynose Winter
Ipswich Barleywie
Woodstock Autumn Ale

Which one was my favorite? If you read my recap from last year you know I LOVED Gardeners Oktoberfest. This year I didn’t even try that beer during the fest, afraid it would win again, but I will be making my way to their Ale House soon to grab a growler. This years title goes to Elm City’s Oatmeal Pale Ale. This will be the new style I will beg from other breweries to make. I had my first of this style in Portland from Burnside Brewing Co. and since then I was craving more. Elm City nailed it on the head with this one with a nice malty character and a pale finish that makes you stop, look at the beer and go “wait, what the…wow”.

Other notables were Woodstock Inn’s Autumn Ale and I did quite enjoy the Sixpoint Autumnation which was perfectly described to me S “not pumpkin pie in a glass” which is what I dislike. It was tough to handle some of the bigger beers during the VIP session because I didn’t want big samples of 9-15% beers an hour before the festival started. If you get a chance to get down to Lowell Beerworks in a week or so to try their Godzilla, holy shnikies was that flavorful but at 15% I wasn’t about to ask for another.

The first session crowd was excellent too. Very nice people who came out to enjoy the nice weather and enjoy as many great beers as they could. With this event being local I find it hard to call out flaws, but I didn’t find any. The lines moved smoothly and the brewers went right up until last call.

Another successful year and I will be counting down the days til next year. If you went to the fest leave a comment and let me know what you thought.