The Hippo


Jun 2, 2020








Southern New Hampshire Brewers Fest. Photo credit Betty Kaplan.

Granite State Brewers Association Summer Fest

When: Saturday, July 26, from 1 to 5 p.m. (VIP admission at noon)
Where: Arms Park, Manchester (located in the millyard)
Cost: $30 general admission, $40 VIP admission, $20 designated driver, $15 VIP parking

Try a brew or two
Brewers Summer Fest comes to Manchester


 Brewers from all over the state will be in Manchester on Saturday, July 26, for the Granite State Brewers Association Summer Fest, which features only New Hampshire-brewed beer.

“The craft beer industry has been going crazy for the past year or so,” festival chair Peter Telge said. “In a way, we’re all in competition with each other, but we’re all striving for the same thing — to get people to drink New Hampshire beer.”
Fans of local craft beer will remember the Southern New Hampshire Brewers Fest held at White Birch Brewing in Hooksett during previous summers. It grew so large that this year, the Granite State Brewers Association decided that it was time to find a new venue. Telge, who also owns Milly’s Tavern and Stark Brewing Company, recommended Manchester, and more specifically, its millyard riverside green space, Arms Park.
“A lot of the different breweries wanted to do it in their backyard, and I thought this was the best location,” Telge said. “It’s centrally located in the state, with hotels and tons of parking … for all those reasons, I pushed for this city.”
As of press time, more than 25 local breweries from all over the state will be participating in the festival, and Telge said there will definitely be more by next week. Festival-goers will get a chance to meet brewers and sample craft beers from both large and nano-sized breweries, from Portsmouth to North Conway and everywhere in between.
“I think that’s the biggest draw here,” Telge said. “There’s no other festival where you can meet every New Hampshire brewer. … There’s a lot of [festivals] around the state. None of them will have that amount of New Hampshire breweries.”
Telge said that each brewery will be bringing an assortment of brews for guests to sample, with over 100 different craft beers in roughly 20 to 30 different styles. Festival-goers will be able to try 2-ounce samples from any of the participating breweries. There will be plenty of variety, including seasonal brews like summer ales and shandys.
“You’re going to get a nice assortment of beers,” Telge said. “Typically you feature beers that are in season, although I know there will be some stouts and IPAs that are good any time of the year.”
Telge said that his brewery, Stark Brewing Company and Milly’s Tavern, will probably feature a Hefeweizen, Mountain View, Milly’s and maybe a blueberry beer, too.
Since there’s plenty to try, Telge recommends taking notes and chatting with brewers.
“[At festivals], I come in and rate beers, and which beers I really like,” Telge said. “There’s a lot of good beers out there.”
The festival will also feature live music, including a performance by Alli Beaudry, and a chicken wing competition. About a dozen restaurants will prepare their own chicken wings for the competition, and festival-goers will be able to vote for their favorites by cell phone.
The festival benefits New Horizons for New Hampshire. Telge sits on the board at New Horizons and recommended the festival at a winter meeting when the organization was looking for events. He said that, more broadly, it will also benefit the local economy, which is one of the reasons city officials were on board.
“I went to the city first and asked them if they would be willing to work with me. … Basically they were all on board because these things bring tons of business to the local economy,” he said. “I know when Exeter does its [Powder Keg Beer & Chili Festival], they have their biggest weekend all year for business.”
Telge anticipates about 1,500 people to attend this year’s festival and thinks it’s only going to grow from there. He said that one Vermont craft beer festival attracts 35,000 people, and it will be in its 15th year.
“It’s basically similar to what we’re doing here,” he said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that in the future we’ll have 5,000 to 10,000 people.” 
As seen in the July 17, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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