When I last lived in Dover, there were very few places to go for a beer. This is many years ago, before the Barley Pub and the Brick House. Those places had just opened by the time I packed up my belongings and moved to Portsmouth. In the years since, many of my Portsmouth friends have moved back to Dover, a far more affordable place to live and do business, and as they’ve gotten to know Dover, I too have gotten to know Dover again.
I was sad to hear the Barley Pub closed down earlier this year. That establishment deserves a lot of the credit when it comes to making Dover nightlife what it is today, proving that a chill place to grab a beer and listen to live music could be done in Dover. Up until the Barley Pub opened, it was a town of rowdy beer halls and sports bars.
The Barely Pub will be missed by many, but its departure was almost simultaneous to the opening of 7th Settlement brewery at 47 Washington Street. Founded by two young entrepreneurs, Dave Boynton and Josh Henry, 7th Settlement is billed as New Hampshire’s first “community supported brewery.” This new kind of brewery runs similarly to community supported agriculture, where patrons buy in to the business of producing an edible product, reaping special benefits in return.
The founders are dedicated to supporting local farmers when it comes to making their beer, and when it comes to the food they serve in the brew pub. A few weeks ago, I met some friends there and was knocked out by the stylishly revamped mill space. High ceilings, exposed brick walls, room-length bar with plenty of high-top tables for meeting and eating with friends. In the back was a separated space, which I soon learned was for families. While this may seem somewhat cruel to quarantine parties with young children to a separate eating area, my husband and I breathed a sigh of relief when we realized we could let our daughter squeal and run around the table without child-free parties staring us down.
I started out with a pint of Inka Binka, an American Oatmeal Stout brewed by 7th Settlement’s sister brewery One Love, which shares brewing space in the 7th Settlement building. As promised it was rich and bold, enough so that I switched to the 1623 Settlement Imperial Brown Ale, a somewhat sweet sipper that went well with the parade of appetizers we ordered for our table of six.
I hate the term “farm to table” because really, where else does my salad come from besides a farm at some point, but 7th Settlement makes the term seem less obnoxious with their locally-sourced take on pub grub. The chef’s interpretation of simple fare like pretzel bites and French fries was elevated with made-in-house sauces. Even the kid’s menu pizza I ordered for my daughter was delicious and fresh.
If you’re thinking of checking 7th Settlement out, consider doing so this Sunday, when the brewery will donate 10 percent of the day’s proceeds to Seacoast Local, a non-profit aimed at fostering the success of NH Seacoast-area businesses and encouraging the “buy local” movement. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant will feature the signature Chef Whim’s menu, drink specials and more, I’m told. If you’d like a tour of the brewery, those will be offered at 2 p.m., but please call ahead to reserve a spot.
As I’ve settled into my life in the Seacoast area, it’s places like 7th Settlement with its fresh beer, fresh food and family-friendly atmosphere that keep me happy here. Please stop by and check them out. Not only are you supporting young business owners, but you’re supporting a small business that’s making locally made products and locally sourced ingredients an integral part of its business plan, and is doing it well.