Two Nashua drink-centric events will showcase plenty of summery sips, whether you stop by the Millyard Brewery’s SummerFest to sample some new brews or surprise your senses with a blind tasting of sparkling wine at WineNot Boutique.
It’s been nearly four months since the Millyard Brewery opened in downtown Nashua, and now it’s adding new beers to its original lineup. The American IPA and Marzen Octoberfest will debut at the brewery’s SummerFest event on Saturday, July 23, joining the five current selections: Nashua Pale Ale, Jackson IPA, Boott Porter, Amoskeag Pilsner and Penacook Strong Ale. There will be four-ounce samples of the new brews available for $2 each, plus pints of the originals, beer flights, food from Riverside BBQ, music and more.
Co-owner and head brewer Ken Unsworth said the American IPA is sure to be a hit for summertime.
“Right now we have the Jackson, which is a New Zealand-style IPA, but we wanted to bring that IPA home with the American and make it really, really hoppy,” he said. “It’s quite a bit hoppier than the Jackson. It’s light in color and has a lighter body but with a little punch behind it.”
The Marzen Octoberfest is a malt-forward, traditional Bavarian-style Oktoberfest beer. Unsworth said many local bars and restaurants are anticipating Millyard’s first fall beer, so he decided to keep it classic with an Oktoberfest, yet unique by choosing a style that isn’t commonly brewed in this area. He’s introducing the fall beer at SummerFest because he’s still testing the recipe and is looking for feedback. The American IPA is also a test batch but doesn’t require as much workshopping and is expected to have its official release shortly after the event.
“I’ve made several IPAs, so it’s mostly just hoping that it comes out the way I want it, but I still want the public’s feedback because I might need to make some minor adjustments,” Unsworth said. “But I’ve never made a marzen. We just started developing that recipe, and that will take three to four batches to perfect, so we’re definitely looking to make the public part of that testing, just to see if we’re headed in the right direction.”
The new beers aren’t the only big thing happening at Millyard Brewery. Next month, they will begin renovations on the 11,000-square-foot adjacent space, transforming it into a large taproom with air conditioning, televisions, couches, high-top tables and a 20-foot-long bar with 15 taps. The space is set to open Sept. 15 and will have at least 10 of the 15 taps filled, including the five original beers, the two SummerFest debuts and new additions like a witbier, brown ale and red ale.
Unsworth said that he and the brewery staff are looking forward to the opportunity to get to know their customers at the SummerFest event.
“We want to get some facetime with people and thank them for their support over the past few months,” he said. “We’ll actually get to hang out and talk to them rather than having to juggle a bunch of tasks while they’re here.”
While sparkling wine is often associated with celebrations and special occasions, WineNot Boutique owner Svetlana Yanushkevich says there’s no reason it can’t be enjoyed on an ordinary day, too.
“We want to introduce people to the idea that this is a beautiful type of wine for any season,” she said. “Especially in the summer months when everyone’s in a happy, bubbly, sunny mood.”
On Thursday, July 28, Yanushkevich will host a blind tasting of sparkling wines with nine different varieties, ranging from the simple and inexpensive to the high-end and exotic.
The session will begin with a 15-minute introduction of the types of wines featured, how they’re produced, the best tasting techniques and what to look for when tasting. The wine bottles will be concealed in brown paper bags, giving participants the opportunity to guess which wines they’re tasting and vote on their favorites before the labels are revealed.
“A lot of people are only familiar with Champagne and prosecco, so we want to show them all the amazing variety and uniqueness of the styles within this narrow category of wine,” Yanushkevich said.
There will be three themed flights with three sparkling wines in each. The first flight will be light, fruity and refreshing wines in the $15-to-$25 price range.
“Those will be wines like a prosecco, which doesn’t have many exotic flavors but is just a fresher style that’s more fruit-forward and good for summer,” Yanushkevich said.
The second flight will have exotic wines made in unexpected regions or with uncommon grapes, such as the Steininger Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé Sect 2013 from Austria and the Miolo Brut NV from Serra Gaúcha, Brazil.
“My favorite sparkling is the Steininger. It’s very full-bodied with powerful red grapes, and to make a cabernet sauvignon into a sparking wine is very unique,” Yanushkevich said.
“The one from Brazil just arrived in New Hampshire two weeks ago. People don’t think of Brazil as a wine country, but it’s actually becoming well-known in South America for its sparkling wines.”
The third flight will feature high-end wines from the famous Champagne region of France, including the Magic Door Champagne La Cle de la Femme, produced with 80 percent pinot meunier and 20 percent chardonnay and aged for a minimum of 20 months; the Heidsieck Monopole Gold Top Brut Champagne 2005, a rare vintage wine; and the Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose NV, a three-grape blend aged for over three years in a 2,000-year-old chalk cellar.
“We wanted to show the differences of styles that come from the small but most famous region for sparkling wine in the world,” Yanushkevich said. “These ones are more expensive and best for special occasions or meals.”
The wines will be paired with fine international cheeses, French chocolate truffles and black caviar from Iceland. These pairings were chosen, Yanushkevich said, because the freshness and acidity of the wine complement the creaminess of the cheese, richness of the chocolate and saltiness of the caviar.
“This isn’t a snobby, technical-type event. People talk about what they’re tasting and what they like, and everyone feels like they know each other by the end,” she said. “It’s social. You learn a little bit and have fun.”