Monday, October 17, 2011

The Year in Beer, NH Edition

I consider myself lucky that New Hampshire is fertile ground for local breweries and, of course, the festivals that celebrate the area's finest beers.

We have brew pubs like...

In addition, we have actual breweries as well, from the tiny...To the pretty good sized...
  • Red Hook Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, NH, which has a national presence so you can try some of their concoctions even if you aren't in New England!

To the rather big...
  • Anheuser-Busch Inc. in Merrimack, NH--winter home of the Clydesdales!

(Note: This list isn't meant to be exhaustive, but includes most of the places I've visited or beers I've had the pleasure of trying.)

There were a quite a few nice beer festivals this year, although I didn't get to go to every one--it's not really feasible, unless your life is devoted to sampling beer all the time!

This year, I had the pleasure of attending the following brew fests:
  • American Craft Beer Fest (ACBF), in Boston last June. This was the biggest of them all, with thousands of people attending at Boston's Seaport World Trade Center.
  • Southern NH Brewers Festival, held at the White Birch Brewing company in Hookset last July. This event was outside during one of the heat waves we had in NH this year, and--unusual for a beer festival!--they provided giant electric fans placed all around the tents, large buckets of bottled water on ice (very popular!), and free food as well. I really appreciated the thoughtfulness of the free stuff--it was very much appreciated by this attendee.
  • NH Brew Fest, held at Red Hook Brewing in Portsmouth, and presented as part of the Prescott Park Arts Festival last weekend.

My tastes in beer currently lean toward the "hoppier" beers--the more hops, usually, the better, depending on the hops. That means that I tend to gravitate toward the India Pale Ales (IPAs), and American Pale Ales, although I'm willing to try others, especially at the festivals.

Sandra, who doesn't really drink beer all that often, usually finds a few brews that meet her particular tastes. These usually include the "fruity" beers--ciders, blackberry or blueberry wheat beers, and some pumpkin beers as well. At the NH Brew Fest, she found a barley wine that she liked as well.

The festivals weren't just attended by local breweries; there were many breweries from all over the country, from states like Colorado, California, and even Hawaii!

The NH Brew Fest last weekend was probably the last fest I'll be attending this year, but I'm quite looking forward to them all again next year.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, October 6, 2011


It's autumn in New England. In the northern areas of NH, the trees are starting to show their wonderful colors, and pretty soon those colors will be making their appearance here as well. The weather is getting cooler, and the apple orchards are open for business, selling varieties such as Cortland, Gala, McIntosh, and my family's favorite, Honey Crisp.

As much as this blog is mostly about food, the Apple I'm thinking about this cool autumn day is a company. Its founder, Steve Jobs, passed away yesterday. My thoughts are with his family and friends as well as the employees of Apple. He will be missed by many people. I'll leave it to the pundits and others ponder how his passing will affect the company he so loved, as well as Disney, where he was the largest single shareholder.

With autumn the season where we gather the harvest for the year, it's interesting the Steve passed during Apple season.

I'd like to quote something Steve said in 2005, at the commencement ceremonies at Stanford University:

Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away.

I cannot think of anything better to say than what this intriguing man said about the subject.

Rest in peace, Steve.