Outside is late 70’s industrial — metal, glass, and edged stone — all sharp edges and straight lines.
Walk inside and you’re greeted with rough-hewn wood and plenty of plants providing a much more organic and warm feeling.
This is Feathered Friend Brewing Company, one of Concord’s newest breweries & tap rooms. It’s on the city’s south end, an easy drive from Manchester, less than 30 minutes. They’ve been open about 19 months and are only about 500 feet south of Concord’s historic Gas Light Company Gasholder House (the big round red brick building that’s nearly impossible to miss as you drive past Concord on I-93). I stopped by on Tue 3 Oct to give it a try.
Inside is a spacious taproom, with a hard tiled floor but almost every other surface is wood. Tabletops and bar top are of course smooth, but walls are rough-hewn, contributing to the organic feel. Opposite the bar is a shelf of board games with a small sofa nearby, feeling welcoming.
On the wall behind the bar are two TVs, both with the sound off. One was showing a reel of skateboard stunts (including a blooper reel of crashes), the other a nonstop series of digitally remastered Baywatch episodes. David Hasselhoff, forever young!
Visible behind the taproom is their brewing space with tanks. A gently sloping ramp leads past the brewing area to an open garage door.
Walk through that door and you are out back where they have more tables along with overhead propane heaters when needed. Also a small stage where they have live music most Fridays and Saturdays.
Feather Friend has a significant community focus. At the moment their walls are adorned with skateboard-focused artwork, and sales of the artwork go to fund a new skate park to be built in Concord.
Additionally, $1 from each pour of their “Steam Punks” beer goes to the same fund. Also:
- Once a month they host a dog adoption.
- In summer they have yoga outside.
- Tuesday is video game night.
- On Wednesdays they have:
- a cornhole competition out back and
- a trivia contest inside.
- They have occasional private functions outside, such as a birthday party or a wedding.
One customer sat at the bar with his laptop open while reminiscing about helping one of the brewers load hops into a tank because the brewer had an injured arm. Other regulars greeted him by name.
In short, Feathered Friend’s taproom appears to be a classic “third space” — a place that’s neither home nor work, where there’s little to no financial barrier to entry and where the primary focus is conversation.
And, oh yeah, they also have good freshly brewed beer. What’s not to like?
Only a few people were present when I arrived, but more patrons gradually showed up. One bar stool down from me was Chris, who lives nearby and is a frequent customer. His Indian mortorcycle was parked out front. He is a dedicated fan and swears he would never go back to a Harley. He is also careful to limit his beer consumption when he’s on his Indian, which he takes to MOMs in Manchester whenever he needs service.
The music playing at a background level in the taproom was an eclectic mix of 70s-adjacent rock: three Led Zeppelin songs, one Rolling Stones song, three Steve Miller songs, and Three Dog Night doing “Never Been To Spain.” Not a single Fleetwood Mac song. Make of that what you will.
Feather Friend serves no food themselves, but their next-door neighbor, with whom they share a building and outdoor table space, is Smokeshow Barbeque, where you can of course get ribs, brisket, pork loin, collard greens, and something called OMG Shepherd’s Pie. This clearly demands a dinnertime visit!
They don’t do flights, but they will give you tiny taste pours.
I tend to like ambers, so I started with beer #11 on their menu, “Otto,” an amber lager, 5.2% ABV. It was noticeably bitter, but not overly so. A good beer overall.
Then I tried just a taste of beer #5 on their menu, “As I Fly,” a stout at 7% ABV. This was a very good beer. Less bitter than the lager, also with some slight sweetness. I thought of dark chocolate.
I finished off with #12 on their menu, “Bursting Bubbles,” an orange cranberry hard seltzer at 5% ABV. This was excellent, a very citrus-forward drink with a mild bitterness. If asked, I don’t think I could have pinned down orange nor cranberry as ingredients. What came to mind for me was grapefruit. Who can explain what BUBBLES to the surface of my mind? (See what I did there?)
As I was leaving I asked about getting some of their stout to go. The bartender volunteered that they had a version of that same stout which was aged for eight months in bourbon barrels, might I prefer some of that? A little bulb was glowing inside my brain so of course I took him up that offer. It came in a half-liter bottle whose label depicted a crow sitting atop a skull, both in front of a deep red moon. How could I not be entranced?
A note on beers to go: they sell four-packs but NOT MIXED four-packs.
Just the Facts
Feathered Friend Brewing Company is located at:
231 S Main St.
Concord, NH 03301
Note: Free on-street parking AND in parking lot across from Sanel Auto Parts
MON-WED 4-8 pm