I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I had a lovely experience in Londonderry the other day, and wanted to spread the word about this awesome new nano, so I figured I would resurrect the series.
From the Barrel is located in an industrial park, maybe a thousand feet down from Moonlight Meadery, and right off of I-93 in Londonderry, NH. The location is in prime placement for the end-of-the-day-commute (especially for me!). Like many new breweries, their sign is tiny, and their store front is a little hard to find thanks to weird laws set up by the state, town, etc… but once you find FtB, you’ll know your there. The place has an awesome green and black color scheme that comes across bright, inviting, and cozy all at once. The interior sports a nice open room with a bar that almost feels like your good friends bar in his basement, if your good friend ran an awesome nano-brewery with a nice tap setup, etc… This room leads out to another drinking room with a great window set up to look out over the 1-barrel brew house. FtB sports a nice big chalkboard behind the bar, which features all the beers available, as well as a tease of some of the beers to come, and the beers that have kicked. They offer tasting flights of everything for cheap, and do 32 oz. growler fills as well. At the time, no food is offered from the brewery, which is understandable since they are a brewery and not a pub (I suppose I should rant about that in another post…). When I arrived, a friendly couple was just leaving and was chatting with one of the owner/brewers but I happily took their place and had the bar to myself.
Owner Jay Anderson was attentive and friendly from the get-go, and you could tell he was doing something he loved. He talked with pride and proper trepidation about his jump into the industry, and his desire to produce a quality product. We chatted about New Hampshire beers and the fun of the industry while I sampled the beers, and I can say that, just from chatting with Jay, I am very excited to see where this brewery goes.
First up from the taps for me was (what is quickly becoming their best-seller, I’m told) Lily, a 7.5% IPA with just the right aromatics and bitter bite to make the beer hugely quaffable. I took home a growler of Lily, which is saying something from me, since I really have just been underwhelmed by IPA’s lately. After Lily came Sweet Jane, a 4.7% pale ale that I kind of wish I had sampled prior to Lily, as Lily’s beautiful hop profile muted much of the subtle nuance found in pale ales. From what I could tell of Sweet Jane, though, she was softly biscuity, with a middling herbal/pine hop character that made her very, very drinkable. I personally believe that any brewery that wants to succeed these days needs a good easy drinking beer, and though I couldn’t taste it in all of its glory, Sweet Jane was crushable and completely appropriate for all sorts of pub grub and easy drinking activities. I followed Jane up with Born in the Sun, a witbier that also came in at 4.7%. Born in the Sun had a great balance of orange peel, wheat flake, and coriander notes, while a slight tartness lurked below everything else and gave the beer a slight twang that I enjoyed. My second to last sample was their new beer for the day, Zed’s Dead Pale Ale, which rang in at 4.6%, and was equally crushable as Sweet Jane. From what I recall, Zed had more of a complex malt character going on beneath the mild hop bitters, which made the beer interesting and balanced. The final beer on tap was Remedy, which I already wrote a review on, but which was just as delicious the second time around. I see Remedy as its own sub-style of porter, as it has a healthy ABV (8.5%), yet is muddy brown in color and full of nutty and toffee flavors alongside the coffee and chocolate notes. I’m definitely a fan of Remedy, and am pleased to hear that Jay is thinking about putting some into a barrel to see what happens. Jay mentioned that he already has a small, virgin barrel out back, but also mentioned his interest in getting ahold of a rum barrel, which I think is a brilliant idea. He said that brewery is definitely looking into barrel aging, but that they obviously would have to be selective with their projects, since they are only brewing on a 1-barrel system, but the prospect has me excited.
FtB is putting out some superb, easy drinking beers, which has me very excited for things to come. Their owners seem to have some good heads on their shoulders, and are very friendly and inviting (which is always good in the industry). They told me that they try to constantly have something new coming out, which I personally feel is the best way to generate a constant customer base in the saturated beer market we live in today, and which will help to ensure my return in coming months. My one quibble with the tastings was that they should try to have guests drink their pale ales before jumping into the IPA, but at the same time, Lily was so good that I don’t blame them for starting me off with her… I’m excited to see where this brewery goes, and you all should definitely check them out! They’re open Thursday through Saturday at 15 Londonderry Rd, Londonderry, NH. Go visit!