Last Thursday and Friday my wife and I took a mini vacation. Now, it may surprise you to hear that, although I am a New Hampshire beer writer, I have yet to go to some of the big breweries of the state. This little two day beer-cation took us to Tuckerman Brewing Company, Moat Mountain, Woodstock Inn, Henniker and Flying Goose.
Our journey started heading up to to Tuckerman Brewing Company where co-owner Kirsten Neves was gracious enough to open the doors and show us around. Tuckerman Pale Ale truly is one of my favorite beers and I tell everyone I know. For a beer that is on nearly every tap handle and grocery store cooler in the state, Tuckerman is small! You don’t need to swivel your head to see everything from the storage room, the tanks and the bottling line. The hard work by the brewers really shows by being able to turn out beers as quick as they do, at the consistency they do. Tuckerman has been around for 16 years and has seen the ups, downs and the current upswing of the craft brewing industry. They have stuck to only four brews (Tuckerman Pale, Headwall Alt, Altitude and Stout). They purchased the location next to them where they will be able to play around with pilot batches for local pubs in the future. I highly recommend a visit to one of NH’s oldest (and still kicking ass) breweries.
We continued to Moat Mountain Smokehouse for some lunch. A short 15 minute drive from Tuckerman, Moat Mountain is known for their big beer cans and great BBQ. We got there right before the lunch rush and immediately jumped into a sampler. It was very cool trying the beer straight from the taps, with my favorite being the Czech Pilsner and Lisa’s being the Iron Mike Pale Ale. The food is great too. I had a brisket sandwich on cinnamon raisin bread, which at first sounded weird but tasted really good. BBQ and Beer goes together like Peanut Butter and Jelly and Moat Mountain is the best place to experience the pairing.
As we were about to leave Moat Mountain I received an email from Garrett Smith, the rep of Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery. The day before there was a fire at the Inn’s office which completely destroyed the building. This housed 8 people as well as all the office files and equipment. We had a tour set up be we rescheduled for the day after so they could focus on the clean up from the fire. We took the ride from North Conway to Lincoln, NH which is a ride straight out of a story book. The perfect weather and mountain views made the ride super enjoyable.
We pulled into Woodstock Inn, where we were also staying the night, and saw what was left of their office building. With all of the wreckage left from the blaze it was amazing to see the brewery and inn staff not phased. They all had smiles on their faces and continuing about their day serving the customers. Instead of smelling wort, all you could smell that day was burned wood. If there is a room available in the Woodstock Inn I highly recommend staying there. Not only is it rather inexpensive, it is a 30 second walk at most to the brewery, which servers beer until 1am.
After a round of Hobo Golf we went back to the brewery to try their beers. I have only had their Pig’s Ear Brown Ale so it was a treat to try the rest right from the brewery. The food is great their as is the included breakfast (if you stay at the Inn). The next morning we met Garrett and he gave us a tour. The brewery was in full swing at 8:30 in the morning. A little known fact, Woodstock’s brewing up until early 2013 was contract brewed out of Shipyard of Portland, ME. I don’t consider myself a know-it-all but I was shocked by that fact. The addition to the Inn’s restaurant as well as the entire Brewhouse is only 7 months old but you would think it has been there forever. We tasted their Red Rack Red Ale straight off the bottling line and toured their entire facility. They do public tours every day at 12pm.
Heading south about an hour and you will get to Henniker Brewing Company. Brewer Chris Shea welcomed us with open arms and showed us the brew house. Henniker currently makes 3 beers; a Wheat, Amber and an IPA. Chris is formerly from White Birch Brewing from up the road in Hooksett, NH and brings years of brewing industry skills into these beers. He is currently brewing a Porter which is tasting quite nicely (perks of being there as its being brewed). Their beers are currently in bombers but Chris will be slowly rolling out the beers in cans in the future.
Last but not least, we headed west to Flying Goose Pub for lunch. Located in New London, NH, Flying Goose is a brewpub with about 15 of their own beers on tap. I had been here once before a couple years ago, but because it was 30 mins from Henniker we couldn’t resist. I tried their Kolsch, Steam Beer, Black IPA, Red and Oatmeal Stout. My favorite was the Black IPA (no surprises there). To conclude the great 36 hour beer-cation was my 1000th unique beer check in on Untappd. I have definitely forgotten to check into beers on that app before so I am sure it's not my official 1000 but it was cool I hit the mark at the end of the trip. To sum it up, New Hampshire’s oldest breweries are still going strong and one of it’s newest has only just begun. I would like to thank Kirsten at Tuckerman Brewery, Garett at Woodstock Inn and Chris at Hennicker for taking time out of their day to let us in outside the normal touring hours! What breweries have you been wanting to see but haven’t made the time to see? All it takes is a little beer-cation.