New Hampshire beer and breweries

New Hampshire ranks 11th nationally in craft breweries per capita, after only Maine and Vermont among East Coast states[1]

The U.S. state of New Hampshire is home to several breweries that produce a wide variety of beer. Along with two national breweries, the state is home to some of the oldest microbreweries and brewpubs in New England.



New Hampshire has a long history of brewing, though the recent microbrewing movement has been somewhat slower to catch on here than in neighboring states.[2] There is evidence of brewing at Strawbery Banke, now Portsmouth, as early as 1635, with most beer being brewed at taverns for the next two centuries. Despite Portsmouth's waning overall importance in the state, the Frank Jones Brewery was the dominant brewery from its inception in 1859 until New Hampshire began Prohibition in 1917. Many breweries were consolidated in the years following the repeal of Prohibition, and the state went without a brewery from 1950 until the opening of the Anheuser-Busch regional brewery in 1970. Portsmouth, however, has been restored as the brewing capital of New Hampshire with the state's second and third largest breweries, Seattle-based Redhook, and Smuttynose Brewing Company, the largest and oldest New Hampshire-based brewery.[3] Despite lagging behind its neighbors, a nascent craft beer culture is emerging in New Hampshire, and the state recently released an official brewery map to promote local beer.[4]


Smuttynose is the largest brewery based in New Hampshire and certainly its most well-known, having been called the "home brand."[2] It is also the oldest craft brewery in existence in the state. Its sister restaurant, the Portsmouth Brewery, was the first brewpub in New Hampshire, and is known nationally for its Russian imperial stout, which has been called both the best beer in America and the most sought-after beer in America.[5] These breweries, along with many others in the state, brew variations on traditional American, English, German and Belgian styles. The recent emergence of many upstart nanobreweries will allow future exploration of these and other styles in small batches. A nanobrewery is defined as brewing 4 US beer barrels (124 US gallons) or less per batch.


National breweries

New Hampshire is home to two regional locations of national breweries, but the latter can be considered a craft brewery and is listed as such.

Craft breweries

As of August 2011, there were seven breweries operating in New Hampshire that could be described as craft breweries. At least two produced too much beer to qualify as true microbreweries. New Hampshire's relatively lax laws regarding self-distribution of small microbreweries has led to several nanobreweries appearing in recent years.[6]


As of March 2010, there were nine brewpubs in New Hampshire, several of which self-distribute their beers to numerous bars throughout the state.

Not for profit breweries

  • Bow Lake Brewing - Bow Lake Village (Strafford)-a not for profit brewery founded in 2009

Defunct breweries and brewpubs

  • Castle Springs Brewing Company - Moultonborough
  • Franconia Notch Brewing Company - Littleton
  • Frank Jones Brewing Company - Portsmouth (the facility and equipment were purchased by Smuttynose in 1994)
  • Manchester Brewing, LLC - Concord
  • Nutfield Brewing Company - Londonderry
  • Pennichuck Brewing Company - Milford
  • Souhegan Valley Beer Company - Merrimack
  • Stone Coast Brewing Company - Laconia

Homebrew clubs

Beer festivals

A growing number of annual beer festivals and events are gaining a following in New Hampshire. In addition to traditional beer festivals, a number of organizations have begun using local craft beer samplings as fundraising events.

Cider and mead

New Hampshire is also home to a handful of cideries and meaderies.

Beer blogs and websites


  1. ^ Craft Brewing Industry Statistics
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^

External links

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