Nearly all the buzz about growth in craft brewing has been around small local breweries, folks lining up for can and bottle releases and the diverse variety of beer styles and ingredients that can be actualized at that small scale. Another area of that growth – taproom restaurants – doesn’t get quite as much notice, but they allow for families, kids and even people who don’t drink to have a good experience at some of the Granite State’s finest breweries.
New Hampshire’s taproom restaurants have mostly opened as a secondary or tertiary expansion to an existing tasting room. The NH Liquor Commission allows each licensed brewery to have one retail license, but in order to be able to serve full pints, beverage manufacturers must also fulfill a state requirement for food service. This is the reason NH doesn’t have the popular taproom-food truck model people enjoy in San Diego and many other places. The plus side, is our native breweries offer a wide range of food, delicious beverages and even unique events programming to make the most of their space and bring Shirefolk and out-of-state tourists into their business.
Stoneface in Portsmouth is home to newest brewery taproom – it’s just two weeks old! While their event programming isn’t underway, the large community tables encourage conviviality and allow guests to look into their new canning hall and cellar. Food offerings focus on rich, often meaty foods that compliment the hops forward beers this three year old brewer has made its name with. We’re certainly excited to see how the restaurant project evolves, but you should check it out now!
The food at Throwback Brewery in North Hampton is locally-sourced, delicious and well worth your time to eat, but their programming schedule is really popping! From regularly scheduled yoga classes and cribbage tournaments to educational seminars with folks like Valley Malt. They’ve even hosted a book club!
Just south on Route 1 from Throwback is New Hampshire’s OG craft brewer – Smuttynose, who opened a new restaurant called Hayseed when they moved to the new home on the historic Towle Farm in Hampton. Hayseed is in the Victorian Towle farmhouse and features a diverse selection of brewpub classics as well as internationally-inspired cuisine all made with a healthy compliment of locally-sourced ingredients. Hayseed also hosts themed beers socials, like the recent Phunk N’ Fromage event featuring farmstead cheese paired with sour and wild beers. Smutty’s event schedule isn’t quite as full as Throwback’s but they make the most of the farm property they’re on – hosting bird watches, large parties and festivals or hosting a free-play disc golf course.
These three leading New Hampshire breweries have all added restaurants and hospitality staff to their breweries because they want you to come and visit, grab a pint, and enjoy the spaces they weren’t able to create when they first opened their doors. The experiences will help better connect you to each brewery as the circle of good times and good feelings continues to grow. Seek them out, share this post with your friends, and stay tuned to Brew New Hampshire‘s social media channels – you never know who else is going to make the move and connect the six pack you buy at the store with a nice afternoon friends out and about in New Hampshire!