New Hampshire has been struggling with spring this year – the weather sure has taken its sweet time leaving behind the cold and embracing the sun and warmth we crave.
The beer industry always gets a head start on this – typically around St. Patrick’s Day, when legal drinking age adults return to their natural levels after a few months of post-New Year’s abstinence.
In addition to cookouts, tubing the Saco and hiking in the Whites, spring brings the start of beer festival season. There’s a wide range of festival models out there. Some benefit community non-profits like the Granite State Brewers Association or the Historical Society of Cheshire County. Other festivals are organized by distributors, like the Gate City Brew Fest. No matter what, beer festivals are a great way to get out of the house, hang with your friends and check out adventurous new beers or meet the folks who make your favorite. Below is a list of fests that Brew New Hampshire will be at this year, but before that, we’ve got some pro-tips to help you make the most of your day out.
DO plan ahead and make sure you’ve had a proper meal ahead of time, frequently mix water in between your beer samples and put on sunscreen before you go. Unfortunately, there’s usually a lobster-skinned person lurching around during the last half hour of a fest. YOU DON’T WANT TO BE THEM.
DON’T make the rookie mistake of not having a responsible, sober driver with you. There’s really no reason whatsoever to get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking. Besides, virtually every fest offers designated driver tickets at a reasonable cost.
DO bring a crew of folks along with you. At beer fests, there is fun in numbers. Whether you have the chance to hang with folks you don’t see very often because of busy schedules or your homebrew club needs a fun outing, round up your posse. You can even create your own games to play. The folks at Willamette Weekly created a Beer Fest Bingo board. Sure, it’s got some Oregon-centric squares but you can easily adapt it for the ‘Shire.
MAKE A PLAN to talk to brewers and industry folks (like your friendly Brew New Hampshire crew). The men and women in this industry are passionate about what they do, no matter their level of experience. Let’s face it, there are a lot of ways to spend Saturdays in the summer, but these intrepid beer people are at this fest to tell you about what they do and answer your questions. You might be surprised how rarely these conversations start, so don’t be bashful.
June 23-25 New England Brew Fest in Lincoln is one of New England’s longest-running and most multi-faceted fests. It’s also a great excuse to head north for a weekend.
July 15 Seacoast Microbrew Fest in Dover takes place over two sessions in the centrally located Henry Law Park.
July 22 The 4th Annual Granite State Brewers Association Brewers Festival is now in Concord on the beautiful Kiwanis Waterfront Park. You won’t find a bigger gathering of our state’s brewers!
August 19 The aforementioned Gate City Brew Fest brings you a great selection of beer, a chicken wing competition and a rare chance to get on the field at historic Holman Stadium without getting arresting.
There are many more events to be announced in the summer season, but we’ll be updating those on our event calendar and promoting them on social media, so stay tuned to those channels. In the meantime, Live Free and Drink Beer!