Vulgar Brewing Company 603-333-1439 378 Central St. Franklin, NH
If you want a reason to go to Franklin, NH, Vulgar Brewing Co. is it. I had so much fun there and I have so much to say about this craft brewery. As soon as you walk in you feel welcomed. We all had a seat at the bar and I was immediately impressed at how immaculate everything was and how friendly the bartender was. Come to find out Shelly was also one of the owners. Shelly and her husband Jason and their good friends Megan and Damon (head brewer) are co-owners. The couples met years ago in Texas at a homebrewers club. They became fast friends. Shelly and Jason wanted to move from Texas to New Hampshire and continued to look toward opening a craft brewery with their friends from Texas. That happened 2 years ago when Vulgar Brewing opened. They are located in what was once a town stable. As a matter of fact, the windows in the kitchen area are where the horses would stick their heads out for their feed. Don’t worry, there is no sign of horses in the kitchen now. I asked about their logo of the bird. Come to find out it is a Purple Finch which is the state bird of NH which they named, Flip the Bird. If you are wondering how the name Vulgar came to be their name, well, that goes back to when Shelly was 19 and met Jason’s parents. After they met, Jason said, “what do you think?” The word that came to mind was “vulgar”. Not meant in a bad way. They were down to earth and said what was on their minds, quite colorful at times. That name stuck and Jason began using it when he was doing home brewing. When it came to naming the brewery, it was a perfect choice.
The beer choices are numerous. I settled on “Disgruntled Pelican”, excellent! It is a smooth, crisp fruit beer with a hint of basil and peach aroma and slight peppery notes. It is not sour and it isn’t sweet. It is GOOD and goes down smooth! Paul (my husband) had the “Hypnodance Stout” which is a Russian Imperial. I am not a dark beer fan, however, I may change my mind after tasting this beer. I loved it. My friend had the “I Said Beech” which is a smoked beer. I have never heard of that but was pleasantly surprised. I had a taste and I immediately knew why it was called a smoked beer. The flavor was great with a hint of smokiness, which made me want to go to a campfire.
We had some snacks while we were there. We had the sausage rolls and garlic twists with homemade ranch dressing and marinara. They were excellent! Can’t wait to go back and try their pizza and some more beers.
Kettlehead Brewing Company 603-286-8100 407 W. Main St. Tilton, NH
Kettlehead recently celebrated its 4th birthday. We visited the day before Halloween and all the servers were dressed in costumes and everyone was in a good mood and friendly. Kettlehead is a large open space field with tables and a game room, also with tables. The bar has plenty of seats, so we sat at the bar which I feel is the best place to be. Sitting at the bar, you get to chat with the bartenders and meet people next to you. Kettlehead has a great selection with 14 beers on tap. It was difficult making a decision with so many beers to choose from. What I love about Kettlehead and what makes it easier to make a decision is that they offer 4 different pours. You can get a flight, a full pint, a half pour, and a 4oz pour. This made it possible for me to try a few different brews. I started out with “Das Kettlehead” which is a type of Octoberfest. I liked the flavor, however, for my taste, it was a bit too bitter. I believe a true Octoberfest drinker would love it. My next taste was “Ahead of the Carve”. This is what Kettlehead calls a Golden Stout. I have never heard of this and I thought, well, I better give this a try. Wow, I am sure happy I did. It was very smooth, with a hint of Carmel. I think this would be a great brew to have with a bowl of chili. To finish off my tasting experience, I ordered “Lupulin Milkshake with Raspberry sprinkles”. Oh my goodness! I have never had a beer like this. It really is like drinking a raspberry milkshake minus the sweetness. Don’t confuse it with a sour, it is not a sour at all. It is a dessert at a brewery!
Kettlehead also has quite the food menu complete with a kids menu. However, we didn’t have any food while we were there. I did see many dishes passing by and they sure looked good. I really want to try their homemade hummus on my next trip there.
Northwoods Brewing Company 603-942-6400 1334 1st NH TPKE Northwood, NH
As I walked into Northwoods, I thought, wait, am I in the right place. There was a bakery counter in front of me. Then I looked to the right and there was a large bar with huge glass windows showcasing the brewery. Wow! I looked up and there was a “Big Ass Fan” It is the biggest fan I have ever seen and yes, that is really its name. Northwoods currently has 18 beers in the tasting room. Everything from “Mountain Bloom” which is a sour to “Dark Roast Coffee Porter” to “Mac & Margie” which is a DIPA. I tried the “Coffee Porter” which has a very smooth velvety feel and notes of semi-sweet chocolate to finish. I really enjoyed this brew. I also tried “Landlocks & Brookies” which is a Pale Ale. The description says “Notes of peach rings, papaya, pineapple, and lime.” My palate is not as discriminated however, I did taste the notes of pineapple ad lime which made it a very fresh crisp beer. A great choice for warm weather.
Not only is Northwoods a brewery, but it is also a bakery and a pizza joint. They have the best French crullers and cinnamon buns! Yes, of course, I had one while I was there. It is hard to resist. You can go in the morning, have a cup of coffee and a cruller. Then for lunch, you can move over to the bar and have a brew and a pizza. What more can you ask for?
The Lone Wolfe Brewing Co. 603-515-1099 36 Mill St. Wolfeboro, NH
The Lone Wolfe is just off the main drag in Wolfeboro. It has a great vibe as you walk in. They have a large bar and fortunately, there were three seats available. As I’ve said before, I love sitting at the bar because you get to talk to more people and interact with the bartender as well. Great for getting the inside scoop about the place. Lauren, our bartender has only been there for about a month so she asked Blake to come on over and talk to us. Blake has been there from the beginning. He told us that Jen and Graham are the owners and Graham is also the master brewer. When I asked Blake how they came up with the name, he smiled and told us that it’s because Graham is kind of a lone wolf. He started brewing in his basement by himself and continues to do all the brewing on his own, thus, The Lone Wolfe Brewing Co. If you are wondering why the extra “e” is at the end of Wolfe, think of Wolfeboro. Now the brewery has grown to a 10 barrel system and you can buy their beer in 130 locations.
Now on to the beers, there were 7 beers on tap and one guest brew on tap. They have 10oz and 16oz pours. Kevin had the DIPA which he liked very much and which is their signature beer. Paul had the Nitro Milk Stout, and he was very pleased with it. I went with the Gose because I am not an IPA person. I loved my brew. It was very smooth with no bitterness. When we got to ordering our second drink, Kevin and Paul got a second one. I was going to as well because I liked it so much but then something happened. Lauren was making a mixed drink in front of me, I asked what she was making because she was doing a lot of squeezing of limes and grapefruit. It was a Margarita! Not just a Margarita, but a fresh Margarita, no sour mix and certainly not premixed! I decided to order one of them and, Wow! It was fantastic! Lauren made the best Margarita I have ever had. Even though we are talking about breweries, I have to say, besides having great beers at The Lone Wolfe, they also have the best Margaritas in the area.
Burnt Timber Brewing & Tavern 603-515-1079 96 Lehner Street, Wolfeboro
We were excited to try Burnt Timber Brewing & Tavern because we have heard a lot about it. Burnt Timber has a lot going on for a small brewery. Cool music was playing and a very friendly atmosphere. There was no room at the bar, Sandra, the waitress said we could pick any table. She came right over and took our drink orders. Kevin had the “Double Shimmy Ya!” Which he said was very good. Paul had the “Smoked Porter” which he also really liked. It had a smoky aroma and a very smooth taste. I had the “Farmer Fudd-Saisson”. I loved this beer! I can’t wait to go back and have another.
Sandra was fantastic also. She had so much energy and knowledge of the beers and the menu. She clearly loves her job and Burnt Timber.
It smelled so good we decided to order some food. We ordered the pretzels with beer cheese dip to start and they were wonderful. Kevin ordered nachos and said they were the best nachos he as had in a very long time. Paul and I split the Smoked Brisket & Stout BBQ. It came with kimchi (fermented vegetables), cornbread, and warm tortillas to make your own tacos. It was so good! Plenty to share.
We had a chance to talk to Sandra a bit. We wanted to find out a bit more about the owners. Eddie & Mara began Burnt Timber about 5 years ago. Eddie is the master brewer and smoker. They smoke all their own meats which are locally sourced and ferment all their own locally sourced vegetables for the Kimchi. Everything is made on the premises. Eddie & Mara are from Alaska. Eddie was in the coast guard where he met Mara. They have a love of beer and cooking. They just decided to “go for it” and Burnt Timber” came about. We were curious about the name. It came out of all of the smoking of meats, Burnt Timber!
We had a great time exploring the microbreweries throughout the Lakes Region in NH and getting to know the owners. the beers were great as was the food. Every brewery had its own flair and distinct atmosphere. We encourage you to go try them all and tell us what you think! We would also appreciate you mentioning that you read our blog. If you have a place that we missed, tell us. We will make sure we get there and try it out and spread the word about it. Also, if you have a favorite microbrewery even outside of the Lakes Region, tell us. We do venture out of this area, especially if it is to try a new place. So, get going and start tasting!