The Hippo


May 29, 2020








A dish from a beer dinner at New England’s Tap House Grille. Courtesy photo.

The Tap Handle Show Beer Dinner

When: Wednesday, Dec. 10, guests should arrive at 6 p.m.
Where: New England’s Tap House Grille, 1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett
Cost: $65, limited space available, make a reservation in advance by calling 782-5137 or emailing

Beer over the air
Tap House Grille and Tap Handle Podcast team up


 Dan Lagueux, owner of New England’s Tap House Grille in Hooksett, gets pretty amped about his beer dinners. So it’s no surprise that Lagueux was practically speechless with excitement about the next beer dinner on Wednesday, Dec. 10, which will host six New Hampshire brewers (instead of the usual single brewer) and will host a recording for The Tap Handle Show podcast.

“We’ve got six brewers, and those have all been brewers that have done The Tap Handle Show,” Lagueux said. “It’s going to be really fun [and] dynamic.”
Before the dinner even begins, the six brewers will gather for a recording with The Tap Handle Show. Once recorded, the interviews will air in the next podcast episode. After that, the beer dinner begins with six courses, six beers and six brewers (one beer to a brewer, one beer to a course).
 “The biggest challenge we have is we have six bold and very definite beers that people want to feature,” Lagueux said. “Right now what we are doing is we’re taking each beer and doing some testing with it and pairing whatever we’re going to put on the menu.”
The six brewers range in size (the largest is Smuttynose) and include new brewers like Kelsen Brewing Company, which opened earlier this year in Derry, and Able Ebenezer, which also opened this year in Merrimack.
“There’s going to be a full dynamic of young entrepreneurs to seasoned veterans,” Lagueux said. 
That includes the entrepreneurs and beer fans who make up The Tap Handle Podcast, Tim Roberts and Michael Hauptly-Pierce. Hauptly-Pierce is also a beer judge and a brewer. The Tap Handle Podcast is recorded in southern New Hampshire and airs on Thursdays. The show includes interviews with brewers, tastings and ratings of brews, advice on brewing, music and tips from local beer businesses and restaurants (like Tap House Grille, Cask & Vine and Bert’s Better Beers, to name a few).
The dinner includes different styles of beers, but as Lagueux said, they’re all powerful brews. There’s an IPA, a pumpkin, a stout and a strong ale among the six, all with bold flavor.
“The last beer we tried, it was the Smistletoe form Smuttynose,” Lagueux said. “It’s got a saison yeast and black cherries so we’re going with a duck roast of some sort because of the sweetness and tartness to the beer.”
He’s planning on pairing a soup with the pumpkin beer from Able Ebenezer — which Lagueux also had a hand in making. New England’s Tap House Grille opened up its kitchen one Monday in October (since the restaurant is typically closed on Mondays) to roast the pumpkins that went into Able Ebenezer’s pumpkin beer, called Homecoming. 
“That was quite a show,” Lagueux said. “We’ve been supporting them since they’ve started because their story is great, they’ve got a good business structure and I feel like they’re going to do well in this industry.”
Another beer he’s looking forward to in the dinner is the 21st anniversary brew from Martha’s Exchange.
Lagueux said that the whole beer dinner is going to be a show-stopper, from the selected bold brews to the plates they’ll be paired with. The kitchen staff is made up of chefs with experience from restaurants like the Bedford Village Inn and Buckley’s Great Steaks. 
“We always have great specials every week, and our chefs are always inspired by this,” Lagueux said. “When we do these beer dinners, they become a showpiece for them. … We’ve done some crazy, crazy stuff.”
An example of that crazy? The chefs made their own homemade duck prosciutto at the last beer dinner.
“Everyone of [the beer dinners] gets more and more complex and elaborate,” Lagueux said. “Guests experience something spectacular. … It’s a medley of sensation for the whole evening.” 
As seen in the November 27, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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