A Coddiwomple to Canterbury Aleworks

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brewery


Barn


Another sunny Saturday in November with a clear calendar calls for a good old-fashioned coddiwomple. Wait now, say what? On their website Canterbury Aleworks defines coddiwomple like so: “Wandering intently, going no where in particular.” So already I have misused the word, for on this past glorious Saturday I was going somewhere quite specific — to Canterbury Aleworks to try several of their beers, including one which they call Coddiwomple. (Spoiler alert – it was pretty good!)

The Space

About 45 minutes from downtown Manchester, Canterbury Aleworks may well have the most character of any brewery I have ever visited. They tip their hat to their decidedly British slant by positioning a red British call box right out front beside the entry path, holding the OPEN flag.

The call box sits in front of a good-sized three-story wooden barn. Inside the barn is where the brewing happens. And it is also where the owner & brewer Steve Allman has recreated much of the appearance of an Irish or Scottish pub.


PubInside


“Allman” is a fitting name because, regarding the Aleworks, he plays all roles. It is very much a one-man operation and also clearly a labor of love.


peopleatbar


Note that while the Irish pub appearance inside is very charming, it is also not large, maybe 18-foot square, so be prepared to be friendly with your neighbors. Even getting in requires some patience, because very often the line for the bar starts just inside the door. But this is also when all the Irish and Scottish tchotchkes inside reveal their true purpose — everywhere your eye lands there is something interesting to look at and be curious about.

Our experience on this particular Saturday was great, all the folks inside were happy and accommodating. We were even offered a bear hug!


BearHug1


So have faith, your patience will be richly rewarded.

Once you have your beer, be it a flight of four 4-ounce pours or a single British pint, you can navigate to a seat (or standing space) inside. Or if the weather allows and the spirit so moves you, they have plenty of seating outside, in a space playfully titled “Beerhenge.”


beerhenge


outdoorseating


The Food

Canterbury Aleworks serves popcorn and that’s all. However, guests are welcome to bring in their own food, and we saw plenty who did exactly that. At a round table in the center of the room sat eight guys, and they had brought a well-stocked picnic basket that would have made Yogi Bear jealous, filled with several cheeses, crackers, and for the creme de la creme, very fancy folded, rolled and tied cloth napkins. It certainly gave us a bit of envy.


PicnicBasket


We made do with a sandwich from the Canterbury Country Store – which was quite good, but its presentation in a foil wrapping seemed sorely lacking in comparison with the lovely basket.


CanterburyStore scaled


The Beers

Canterbury Aleworks has been brewing beer since 2012. They serve flights of 4-ounce pours, proper British pints, will sell & fill 32-ounce growlers. (A British pint is about 19 US fluid ounces.) His high-ABV beer pours are 12 ounces. 

He has a large beer list for a one-man operation. Their website lists 16 distinct beers, with only two marked as currently unavailable. While we were there, we saw him mark one additional beer as OUT. Luckily it was not one that we hoped to try. So he had 14 beers when we arrived. We each ordered a flight of four and made sure not to duplicate any so that we could try plenty. But I’ve gotta say, after reviewing his list many times, there are still others I want to try.

Below is the complete beer list. See below for our thoughts on the eight that we tried.

♦ Dinna Fash
Fraoch style Gruit ale
8.4% ABV / 19 IBU / 24 SRM

♦ Hey! McCloud! Get off of my Ewe!
Scottish Wee Heavy aged on Scotch Oak
9.5% ABV / 29 IBU / 25 SRM

♦ Pub Light
American Blonde pub Ale
4.0% ABV / 12 IBU / 5 SRM

♦ Long Winter’s Nap
Bourbon Oaked Imperial Stout
11% ABV / 71 IBU / 42 SRM

♦ Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Belgian Saison
7.1% ABV / 33 IBU / 18 SRM

♦ Immense Intense Phat Alpha
Imperial India Pale Ale
8.0% ABV / 111 IBU / 9 SRM

♦ Coddiwomple
British Dark Mild with English Toffee
4.2% ABV / 22 IBU / 15 SRM

♦ Canterbury Ale
American Pale Ale
5.5% ABV / 38 IBU / 8 SRM

♦ Smoke House Porter
Smoked Robust Porter
6.2% ABV / 38 IBU / 29 SRM

♦ Galaxius Maximus
NEIPA
6.2% ABV / 40 IBU / 6 SRM

♦ Big Ben
Extra Special Bitter (British pale ale)
5.7% ABV / 39 IBU / 11 SRM

♦ We’ve been Jammed!
Raspberry Sour (contains lactose)
5% ABV / 27 IBU / Red SRM

♦ Mysterious Peasant
Bavarian Farmhouse Ale
7.4% ABV / 23 IBU / 25 SRM

♦ Oktoberfest
German Octoberfest / Märzen Lager
6.1% ABV / 20 IBU / 11 SRM

♦ Scrum
Rugged Brown Ale
7.4% ABV / 37 IBU / 24 SRM

♦ Granite Ledge Stout
Espresso-Oatmeal Stout
6.0% ABV / 29 IBU / 40 SRM


Orders


The cards above show the beers that my wife and I ordered for our flights. Her order begins with Cran Sauce, mine with Hey McLoud.


CranSauce
Cranberry Sauce is at right

Of the eight we did try, here are some of our impressions…

Easily my wife’s favorite was the Smokehouse Porter. This is not too surprising since she’s long been a fan of Great North Aleworks Smokin’ Rauchbier Smoked Ale (which, sadly, is not listed on Great North’s website at this moment). 

For my favorite, I might have a tie between the Smokehouse Porter and the Dinna Fash (Scottish Gaelic for Don’t Worry). Both were delicious.

Another good dark was Coddiwomple, which had a tinge of sweetness, due no doubt to the english toffee used in its brewing.


HeyMcLoud
Hey Mcloud is at right

We had two fruited beers, Cranberry Sauce and We’ve Been Jammed. Of the two, we both liked Cranberry Sauce, a cranberry Belgian saison. The cranberry flavor with a wee bit of tartness was definitely present, but far from overwhelming. The other, We’ve Been Jammed, is a raspberry sour with lactose, and we both found the raspberry to be just a bit too much. However, it could easily fit into the preferences of someone else.

The Big Ben was a very enjoyable British pale ale, with that hard-to-describe something that sets it apart from American ales. (Their website says the magical difference comes from the yeast.)

The Pub Light is described as an American Blonde pub Ale, and I would say it fits that description well. Were you to come here with a friend who just wants his Budweiser, this would be the beer to get him.

Just the Facts

Canterbury Aleworks is located at 305 Baptist Hill Rd, Canterbury, NH 03224.

Phone: not listed

Email: canterburyaleworks@gmail.com

Website    Facebook    Instagram    Untappd

Hours
Open March 11 – Dec 17
(check website for updates)
MONDAY – FRIDAY closed
SATURDAY 1-5 p.m.
SUNDAY 1-5 p.m.

Map:

map


 

About this Author

Jeff Rogers

Jeff Rogers is a native Hoosier who’s lived in the Granite State for 30+ years. He’s worked on airborne radar systems and written a lot of software. Today he lives in Manchester where he seeks to answer the age-old question: saison, lager, ale or stout?