So, for my birthday/Valentine’s Day/President’s Day Weekend, we are on a mission: we want to visit EVERY visitable microbrewery in the state of New Hampshire. It looks like there are 20 or so scattered throughout the state. This isn’t counting the several breweries that we can’t go visit, places like Prodigal Brewing, which bottles its brews only and isn’t open to the public.
We have lists from Brew News, New Hampshire Magazine, and the tourism board of New Hampshire. None of them are comprehensive, and new breweries seem to pop up at least once a week. We visited a good handful of places we’d heard of only through other breweries (it’s good to know there is some camaraderie between the brewers and that they all promote one another!).
I’m also amazed at the difference in microbrewery culture between New Hampshire and states like Maine and Wyoming. Here in Maine or in my old home state of Wyoming, breweries pop up in pubs or at least large bars. They offer good grub in addition to good suds or they are, at least, willing to help you order food from a place next door. In New Hampshire, whether for local law compliance or personal preference or what (I don’t know), a lot of breweries tend to be situated in what look like overgrown storage units or warehouse garages. They offer tastes or half pours and, beyond that, beers-to-go in growlers, bottles, or kegs. The set-ups are always incredible and in open view of the tasting area, and when they are open, they are always packed with locals enjoying different flavors. So whatever the reason or whatever the business model, it seems to work for New Hampshire micros.
So the next 20 or so entries will chronicle our journey through this gorgeous state as we attempt to have a drink at each brewery and find of weirdest brews NH has to offer. Stay tuned!
Every day is Buy a Bear a Beer Day in Norway!
Being beer travelers (aka those who plan destinations based on microbreweries to visit), we HAD to stop into the Mack Brewery in Tromsø when we visited in December 2007 (apparently right before the moved operations to Balsfjord). Because it never really got light in this city, nestled in between the mountains and the sea above the Arctic Circle, people started drinking early, as in noon. When we got there at 3 pm, not only was the bar packed to the gills, but we were the only Yanks in sight. Though everyone did get a kick out of our crazy American bear antics. If you go, be prepared for a $16 beer. No joke. And that isn’t the tourist price.
When we agreed to go with Brewmaster Ted to the Wyoming State Microbrewing Competition, we had no idea we would have so much fun.
We packed up the van…
…and set up the tent…
…and stole the Snake River Brewing Company’s cornhole set…
We spent the day schmoozing with brewers from around the state…
…and with the cowboys and Indians…
…and even with the press! Here’s Ted talking with a chic from NPR.
And when it was all over, and we were still pouring our famous Half-Talked Hefeweizen…
…and some random guys had to come up and say, “Dudes, you guys won!”
We hardly knew what to say.
But we knew how to celebrate… by drinking whiskey from the chalice!
Ted won the most prestigious award for brews in Wyoming!
In a competition featuring standard amber beers, the Lander RyeBock, with it’s subtle hops and citrus finish, swept them all! Next time you’re in Lander, stop by the Coalter Block to try one of Ted’s famous, award-winning beers!
On top of a mountain.
It’s easy to do in Hawai’i, if you aren’t seduced by the thought of sitting on the beach drinking mai tais for days at a time. People don’t usually head to the islands to mountain climb, but they could if they wanted to.
Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Island of Hawai’i are both well over 13,000 feet, and the tips of Mauna Kea flirt with the same elevation as the tallest mountain in Wyoming, and that height doesn’t even begin to count the 35,000 feet of it that are under water.
While the summit of Mauna Loa is reserved for hikers and climbers, Mauna Kea plays host to a dozen or so international organizations that study space in some of the clearest air in the world with some of the most retro-space-aged equipment I’ve ever seen outside of Mystery Science Theater.
Some of them you can drive right up to, other you can even tour if you call ahead.
NASA’s infrared telescope is up there, as is a CalTech machine, a Gemini Telescope that jointly owned by several countries, a site that belongs to the National Observatory of Japan and the UK’s infrared telescope, and absolutely NO invasive species (unless you count the telescopes).
It’s a regular Alpine United Nations up there, and it looks like a scene from a creepy 60s science fiction movie that would be riffed by the MST3K guys…
An in accordance with Hawaiian law, the Hawaiian people are allowed to continue traditional practices and ceremonies at the top of Hawaii’s largest mountain.
He said his name was Ralph, and he was the kind of man who looked you in the eye and gripped your hand firmly, warmly. His deep blue suit with gold buttons and well-loved loafers made me picture him at home on a yacht.
We sat around a low table in the Pearl Street Meat and Fish Company, ready for the unique wine versus beer tasting, complete with cheeses that each had names we couldn’t pronounce. We exchanged stories about Dick Cheney and Fidel Castro, of living legally and illegally in Europe, of lives lived in a world of travel and wine and adventure.
Ralph had lived in Scotland, too. “What were you doing there?” We asked. “I was in the Navy.” Ralph traveled often from Chicago to San Francisco. “What do you do now?” We asked. “I was in the Navy” was all he said.
Once, someone stole his suitcase when he touched down at O’Hare. “The worst part was they stole my Anchor Steam.” His laugh was deep and contagious. It was his favorite beer.
When he got up to leave, he dismissed himself with grace and precision, a practiced, old-fashioned politeness that required us all to stand and shake his hand goodbye. “I Must be going now. I seldom have too much to do, but when I plan one thing, another always requires my attention.” “It was great to meet you! Where are you headed now?” We asked. “Down the road,” he said with a little smile.
Photos taken during Salsa Night at Cafe Boheme in Jackson, WY.
Not to constantly compare our lives to a Jimmy Buffett song, but…
Well he’s on his third drink before the wheels of the plane leave the ground…
And that’s just the start of a well-deserved, overdue binge
Meanwhile back in the city, certain people are starting to cringe!
You can’t fly to Mexico and NOT have a drink on the plane!
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