N.H. brewers ready to tap their best Irish brews

Sunday News Correspondent
March 09. 2018 6:40PM

Greg Ouellette, head brewer at Martha's Exchange Restaurant & Brewery in Nashua, pours an Irish Red ale, which is expected to be a top-seller during St. Patrick's Day celebrations next week. (CHRIS GAROFOLO/SUNDAY NEWS CORRESPONDENT)

Brewpubs and craft beer producers across New Hampshire are prepping their best Irish red ales and Guinness-like stouts for St. Patrick's Day, notably one of the busiest drinking days of the year.

Many in the state's booming microbrewery scene are offering suds-slingers a little more than green dye in their ales. Local brewers are getting ready to tap some new choices, including IPAs and seasonal blond ales, for March 17.

"They may not be your typical beers that we think of for St. Patrick's Day, but are for sure great choices for those looking for an alternative," said Ryan McKernan, cellarman at Smuttynose Brewing Company in Hampton.

"Low alcohol is going to be your friend. Smuttynose Vunderbar Pilsner is a great example for a local pilsner with lots of flavor that will definitely help anyone pace themselves throughout the day," he said. "Other examples of New Hampshire beers with low alcohol would be Moat Mountain Helles Lager and Henniker Kölsch."

Other Granite State breweries are spotlighting beer styles from Ireland, including an oatmeal stout from Keene's Elm City Brewing Company.

"We usually brew a stout for St. Paddy's Day because Ireland is known for their great stouts," said Debra Rivest, owner of Elm City since 1995. "The stouts are definitely more traditional."
Shane Sorenson, co-founder of Long Blue Cat Brewing in Londonderry, puts a few Irish touches on a window in preparation for St. Patrick's Day. Like many brewpubs in New Hampshire, Sorenson said they plan on serving traditional Irish meals like corned beef and cabbage and shepherd's pie. (CHRIS GAROFOLO/SUNDAY NEWS CORRESPONDENT)

Alison Leleszi, co-founder of the Derry-based Rockingham Brewing Company, said every year they turn their Curly's Gold, an American wheat ale, into an emerald green.

"It's a bright, fun and easy-drinking beer for the holiday. We'll release it in our taproom on Saturday, March 17 at 12 p.m. and then it will remain on tap until the keg is gone," she said.

While a handful of in-state breweries are dropping new products for the holiday, others are opting for a more reserved day for their clientele.

"We've just never geared anything toward St. Paddy's Day," said Randy Booth, head brewer with Hobbs Tavern & Brewing Company in West Ossipee. "Right now we're just getting everything together preparing for another crazy summer, so St. Paddy's Day usually gets lost in transition."

Outside of the beer industry, the Seabrook-based Smoky Quartz Distillery will release its single-barrel, small-batch bourbon called V5. The sweet and creamy bourbon is aged in 15-gallon white-oak barrels and is made with 100 percent locally sourced organic corn.

New England Sweetwater Farm and Distillery will do their cucumber-flavored vodka in honor of St. Patrick's Day. On Saturday, guests may visit their Winchester tasting room to sample the product, as well as a specialty martini made with the vodka.

Bar manager Elaine Foster pours green whiskey melon shots while testing it for St. Patrick's Day at Backyard Brewery and Kitchen in Manchester. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Here are a few of the new or specialty brews on tap around the state for March 17:

603 Brewery

Address: 12 Liberty Dr. No. 7, Londonderry; 603brewery.com

Style: A spring seasonal called Ice Out Blonde Ale, a bright and fresh Belgian style beer with peppery notes.

International Bitterness Units: 31

Alcohol by volume: 7.4

Backyard Brewery and Kitchen

Address: 1211 S. Mammoth Road, Manchester; backyardbrewerynh.com

Style: Traditional Irish red, described as more malty than hoppy.

IBU: 35 ABV: 5.7

Elm City Brewing Company

Address: 222 West St., No. 46, Keene; elmcitybrewing.com

Style: Oatmeal stout, full-bodied, deep roasted barley with chocolate malt flavor.

IBU: 30 ABV: 4.8

Henniker Brewing Co.

Address: 129 Centervale Road, Henniker; hennikerbrewing.com

Style: A hoppy farmhouse ale called Rustique with notes of tangerine, pineapple and melon combined with a dry finish.

IBU: 25 ABV: 6.5

Martha's Exchange

Address: 185 Main St., Nashua; marthas-exchange.com

Style: Will feature a crisp, clean Irish red and dark, creamy stout.

IBU: 27 (red), 33 (stout)

ABV: 5.0 (red), 5.5 (Stout)

Stark Brewing Company

Address: 500 N Commercial St., Manchester; starkbrewingcompany.com

Style: An Irish red called Tasha's, a slightly bitter caramel malt, and an Imperial Stout with black color, chocolate undertones and hints of vanilla.

IBU: 25 (red), 40 (stout)

ABV: 5.0 (red), 8.5 (stout)
Assistant brewer Paul Mulhern looks at his Irish red beer which he is making for St. Patrick's Day at Backyard Brewery and Kitchen in Manchester. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

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