The Hippo


Jun 3, 2020








More fall beer fun

On Saturday, Oct. 17, Redhook Ale Brewery (35 Corporate Drive, Portsmouth) will host the 7th annual New Hampshire Brewfest, featuring 50 brewers and 150 brews. General admission sessions will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. to make sure that the location doesn’t get too crowded, Prescott Park Administrative Assistant Linh Hua said. A VIP session from noon to 4 p.m. will give guests a more intimate experience and time to chat with the brewers and sample select beers. Participating breweries range from local to national with Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales, Allagash Brewing Company, Brooklyn Brewery, Maine Beer Company, Wachusett Brewing Company and more. 
“I would say [beers are from] kind of all around the U.S., but we do have a lot from New England and we want to showcase the local ones as well,” Hua said. Prescott Park’s The Prop and Dos Amigos Burritos are among the food vendors offering bites to complement the afternoon of beer. Tickets cost $45 for VIP ($50 day of), $35 for general admission ($40 day of). Admission includes a 5-ounce souvenir sampler cup, beer samples and live entertainment. See or

“Fall”ing for brew
Get a taste of unique autumn seasonals at local breweries

By Allie Ginwala

 As the leaves change, so do the local beer offerings, including plenty of pumpkin ales and Oktoberfest brews. While those capture a certain taste of fall, exploring other flavor profiles can keep your palate engaged throughout the season. The Hippo spoke with three local breweries about what makes a good fall beer and how they’ve branched out with unique seasonals.

Seasonally brewed 
For many beer drinkers, going from summer to fall means finding heavier beers with more body and deeper colors. 
“You see a little more smoke and earth coming into the flavors,” JT Thompson, minister of propaganda for Smuttynose Brewing, said in a phone interview. “For summer beers it’s more slightly unusual ingredients like citrus or lighter fruit flavors and in the fall that’s when people dig a little bit deeper into the spice rack.”
A firm believer in the seasonality of drinking beer, Thompson said weight and flavor profile should shift as the weather gets colder in favor of more robust beers.
Joe Ruotolo, owner, operator and head brewer for Border Brewery, agrees.
“Any beer that’s heavier, that’s chocolatey, nutty, maybe even with a little bit of spice like cardamom, nutmeg, holiday spices,” he said in a phone interview.
Rob North, owner and brewer of Great North Aleworks,  aims for solid drinkability in his beers, but also for the ability to pair well with food. His idea for a fall seasonal is one that can bridge the variability of autumn in New England, suited both for warmer days and to serve at the table for Thanksgiving.
“When I think fall I think of some of the holidays coming up in November, but we also [get] some of those hot days of Indian summer,” North said in a phone interview.
Beer: Cranberry Wit Belgian Style Wheat Ale
Brewery: Great North Aleworks, 1050 Holt Ave., Unit 14, Manchester,
Great North Aleworks opened in Manchester in late August and instead of just sticking to their three year-round beers for the first months of business, North launched right into brewing seasonals.
“It’s a great opportunity to do something special in the marketplace that is more targeted for the season,” he said. “We like to keep it interesting and fresh here at the brewery and I think it’s good for not only our customers, but for the employees to have an opportunity to explore new styles and explore different things.”
Cranberry Wit is a Belgian-style wheat ale that was developed four years ago as a homebrewing project.
“My wife and a friend of hers, they occasionally get together and do a little homebrewing and they wanted to do a cranberry beer, but a cranberry stout,” North said.
Not thinking those flavors were suited for one another, he suggested they try a wit beer instead. After brewing it a couple of times, they realized it was a natural pairing.
“The more I think about it, a wit beer being a little tart and a little spiced wheat beer, often with orange peel and coriander, to me [is the] perfect canvas for cranberry to accentuate that tartness,” he said.
Find Cranberry Wit on tap in Great North Aleworks’ tasting room through early December, when they’re planning to switch over to the winter seasonal, a chocolate stout.
Beer: Chestnut Saison, Frankenlager
Brewery: Smuttynose Brewing, 105 Towle Farm Road, Hampton,
While most New Hampshirites are familiar with Smuttynose Brewing, which recently moved to its new location in Hampton, some may not be aware of the company’s R&D facility, called Smuttlabs.
“It’s really about experimenting, and people want to know what’s new and cool and happening,” Thompson said. “We have the ability to do beers that are experimental and playful.”
The latest release from Smuttlabs is Chestnut Saison, a farmhouse-style beer with roasted chestnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg. Smuttynose also has a pumpkin ale, its core fall seasonal since 2003, and Frankenlager, the first beer brewed in the new brewhouse. 
“It’s fall themed,” Thompson said of Frankenlager. “It’s a maltier lager, light and golden color, but a little sweeter with a heavier body. And the name and branding, that’s fun beer for fall.” 
Thompson noted that finding the right balance in flavors for a fall beer lineup is important. With the pumpkin ale as the most popular this time of year from Smuttynose, the idea with adding Frankenlager was to make sure patrons have flavor options for the season. 
“And with Smuttlabs … it’s about creating a complete profile to hit the different niches in the market,” he said.
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale and Frankenlager are currently available, and Smuttlabs Chestnut Saison will be released Oct. 19. Find it in specialty beer shops around the state.
Beer: Jalapeno IPA, Peanut Butter Stout
Brewery: Border Brewery, 224 North Broadway, Salem, 
For Joe Ruotolo, brewing is all about standing out. 
“Anything that’s different is popular,” he said. “Our lineup changes every other week...because people want different things all the time and that also brings customers coming back to see what Joe brewed up next.”
Along with a pumpkin beer and vanilla Thanksgiving Porter, Ruotolo brews a peanut butter stout and a jalapeno IPA — which he sometimes mixes together to create a brew called “spicy nut.”
By brewing them separately and mixing together the finished products, he can have two different yeast profiles, which is what changes the flavor of the beer.
Sometimes his fall seasonals are so popular they become year-round options, like the vanilla bourbon oak stout, brewed with vanilla bean and bourbon soaked oak chips, and the peanut butter stout, which tastes “like an adult Reese’s cup.”
When asked exactly how he gets the peanut butter flavor into the beer, Ruotolo said it’s a trade secret that he’ll never tell — despite the fact that he is asked that question all the time.
Stop by the tasting room to try a brew or fill up a growler. 

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