Taking a break from yardwork this weekend, my family and I headed up to Henniker Brewing Co. for a quick tour and some hard-earned beers. Henniker has been around since 2011, when there were fewer than 20 breweries in the state, and has built a solid reputation as a loyal community-oriented business. But despite that, and despite its convenient location — just a half hour from our house — we’d never been there. To be honest, I’ve always thought of it as a good option when no other local beers are on tap, but it has never been my first choice.
Then they hired their new head brewer, Devin Bush. His revamping of their classic recipes and introduction of some new styles have completely changed my opinion. He’s given new life to their beers with impeccably clean, bright, bold flavors. The bar has been raised. After a full flight of beers in the tasting room, I left feeling excited for what the future holds for Henniker. Definitely proud to have them on the roster of New Hampshire breweries.
Beyond the beer, the Henniker tasting room provides a comfortable atmosphere and cheerful crowd. With the garage doors open to outdoor seating, the feeling of spring permeates the building. While we were there, there was also a band playing outside, giving a pleasant party-vibe to the whole scene.
As we waited for our brewery tour to begin, we saw a familiar face walk in (followed by the cameraman who has made that face familiar to us). Anthony Wright and Daniel Richert have recently begun Wright Hopping, a project in which they’re visiting 30 New Hampshire breweries in 30 days and producing a short video at each one. About to finish his schooling at The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Anthony (a Brazil native) realized that he hadn’t seen nearly enough of New Hampshire yet. Combining his urge to explore and his appreciation of craft beer as a social unifier, he and Daniel began their project.
Most brewer interviews and brewery videos are targeted at people who already know a lot about beer (mostly homebrewers or other folks in the brewing industry). Wright Hopping is unique in its unpretentious, casual tone. Roughly two minutes each, the videos introduce us to different brewers across the state and go whatever direction they naturally go. Learn what a gruit is from Bruce at Earth Eagle Brewings, hear the guys at Schilling explain their three-headed wheat logo, see the array of German grains used at Neighborhood Beer Co.. Short, sweet, unpredictable, and entertaining.
The best thing about visiting a brewery is that you never know what you’ll find. This weekend, I found a new appreciation of one of our state’s best-known breweries, and a new pair of adventurous friends spreading the word about the New Hampshire craft beer scene. I’ll drink to that!