The Hippo


Nov 13, 2019








Lined up for a taste at Vintage & Vine. Courtesy photo.

Weekend on the Water

Capital Cup Brewfest is just one of the components of the weekend-long festival in Concord. Also on Saturday, Sept. 12, check out the Dragon Boat races on the Merrimack from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Teams of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a helmsman face off in an Eastern Regional Dragon Boat Association qualifying event. If a leisurely trip through town is more your style, take a Super Tours Duck Boat Tour, offered at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 each. The city-wide tour includes the NHTI campus, McAuliffe-Shepherd Discovery Center, Capitol Center for the Arts, the State House and surrounding historic buildings and the site of the original Concord Coach factory. Throughout the day Saturday, enjoy live music and kids’ activities. Head back to Riverfront Park on Sunday, Sept. 13, for the Concord Crew Regatta from 8 a.m. to noon and the popular rubber duck race at 1 p.m. See thousands of rubber ducks race down the river for the chance to be one of the first ten to enter the duck trap and win cash prizes. Ducks cost $5 each or five ducks (also called a Quack Pack) for $20. Other events during the day include food vendors, a 30-plus vendor craft fair, live music, a rock climbing wall from EvoROCK & Fitness and kids’ activities.
Other drink fests this weekend
The 19th annual New England Homebrewer’s Jamboree will be held at Tamworth Camping Area (194 Depot Road, Tamworth) on Friday, Sept. 11, and Saturday, Sept. 12. Homebrewers from across the region will get together for a weekend featuring live music, an onsite homebrew competition, brewing demonstrations, homebrew clubs and a brewer’s dinner. Purchase tickets for the day, one or two night camping, the brewers dinner or the entire weekend. See
Wicked Wine & Brew Fest returns to Funway Park (454 Charles Bancroft Hwy, Litchfield) for an afternoon of tasting from a selection of state and New England wineries and breweries. Able Ebenezer Brewing Co., Rockingham Brewing Company, Moat Mountain and Moonlight Meadery are among those attending the festival. Sampling tickets cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door, which includes admission, access to event vendors and entertainment, ten sampling tickets and a commemorative glass (while supplies last). Designated drivers or those age 6 to 20 can purchase tickets for $5. See
Capital Cup Brewfest
When: Saturday, Sept. 12, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Where: Riverfront Park at the Everett Arena, 15 Loudon Road, Concord
Tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 the day of. See
Vintage & Vine
When: Saturday, Sept. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m.; VIP tasting begins at 4 p.m.
Where: Strawbery Banke Museum, 14 Hancock St., Portsmouth
Rain or shine event costs $65 for general admission, $120 for VIP,  $15 for general designated driver, $25 for VIP designated driver. See

A toast to the weekend
Enjoy drink festivals across the state

By Allie Ginwala

With the kids back in school and summer vacations at the beach a happy memory, it’s time to welcome in a new season of sweaters, pumpkin-spiced everything — and fall drink festivals. From Litchfield to Tamworth, check out the festivals this weekend that highlight both local brews and wines from around the world.

What’s brewing in the capital
As part of Weekend on the Water, a two-day event celebrating Concord’s stretch of the Merrimack River, Capital Cup Brewfest returns for the third year with beers to sample from over 25 breweries.
“There’s lots of different festivals through the state, and he really wanted to create something in his hometown,” Simon Keeling, Weekend on the Water committee chair said of NH Distributors’ Chris Brown, who came up with the concept of bringing the brewfest to Concord.
A partnership between Rotary Club of Concord, Concord Parks and Recreation, Concord Crew and NH Distributors, the weekend of events is geared toward young adults, with Dragon Boat races and Super Tours Duck Boats. A brewfest seemed like a natural fit.
“It’s a good base of a crowd to pair those … and really try to bring a lot of attention to the river as well to the Concord community,” Keeling said. “[We] felt that if we all did our own events to a certain extent and brought them together it would bring something special.”
Beginning at 1 p.m., guests can head over to the brewfest to start sampling beers from 603 Brewery, Stoneface Brewing Co., Long Trail Brewing Company, Berkshire Brewing Company, Foolproof Brewing, Rising Tide Brewing and more. The first 400 people will also get a commemorative glass.
“They can go in and sample and taste the beers from the different brewers and walk around,” Keeling said. 
With the breweries set up in a circle, the free flowing format allows guests to taste and chat with the brewers in an open, outdoor setting. Each brewery typically brings a couple brews to sample, Keeling said, like a popular beer as well as something seasonal or new. 
“Brewfest is very affordable too,” Keeling said, noting that the $20 day-of ticket price is lower than other brew festivals in the area.
Since both Weekend on the Water and Capital Cup Brewfest began three years ago, Keeling said the number of overall attendees has increased, with 2,000 people heading to the waterfront last year. 
An evening of wining and dining 
Since the late ‘80s, Strawbery Banke Museum’s annual fall fundraiser has taken many forms, from evening galas to car shows. But for the past handful of years, Vintage & Vine has given guests the chance to dress up, enjoy a night out and support the museum.
“We have over 40 restaurants all from the area and we’ve got wine brokers and vintners from all over the country who come out and set up tables under tents throughout our grounds,” Alena Shellenbean, manager of special events, said in a phone interview.
Guests have the chance to wander the museum’s nine acres during the evening, taking in the gardens and architecture while tasting plenty of food and wine.
“The buildings themselves aren’t open, but the grounds are and all the houses can be seen from the outside,” she said. “It really is a walk-around sort of event.”
Partnering with the New Hampshire Liquor Commission for the event, all of the wines available for tasting can be purchased in the state’s outlet stores.
“It’s a really good chance to try a bunch of new wines,” Shellenbean said, “wines made all over the world and available in New Hampshire.”
Some of the wineries represented are local, such as Zorvino Vineyards, Flag Hill Winery & Distillery, Jewell Towne Vineyards, Sweet Baby Vineyards and Moonlight Meadery. Others will be poured from Crush Wines, Perfecta Wine Company, Southern Wine & Spirits, Pine State Beverage and Martignetti Companies of NH.
Guests can visit over 31 tables pouring up to a dozen wines each and chat with representatives who can answer questions and share more about the wines being tasted.
The restaurants at Vintage & Vine all come from the surrounding area, each with a bite for guests to sample. Participating restaurants include Row 34, Brazo, Anju Noodle Bar, Blue Mermaid Island Grill, Three Chimneys Inn, Breaking New Grounds, Vida Cantina and more.
“And we have a VIP area that has the higher-end wines to try and a few different restaurants that are bringing some really special dishes,” Shellenbean said, noting Ristorante Massimo and Martingale Wharf, among others.
A final food feature is the star chef demonstration, where four chefs will be grilling onsite for guests to see and then sample. 
“The vast majority of food is the restaurateurs bring[ing] it from the restaurants, but these four will be showing off their culinary skills right on the grounds,” Shellenbean said. 
This year’s star chefs are Brandon Blethen of Robert’s Maine Grill, Julie Cutting of Cure, Steve Harding of Garden Grille and Dennis Margera of Poco’s Bow Street Cantina.
As far as she can remember, Shellenbean said this event has always been held in the fall, a fitting time to spend an evening outdoors.
“We’ve been out all summer enjoying the beaches and on vacation and September is kind of a chance to come home and really use those last warm days to appreciate what we’ve got,” she said. 

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