LONDONDERRY, NH – I’ve had 603 Brewing‘s Winni Amber many times and it’s always been a favorite. But I had never visited their brewery until last week – and I’m so glad I finally made it. As you can see from the included images, our arrival coincided with one of the most glorious sunsets in quite a while. I could’ve stood there, mesmerized, for much longer. Prioritization has always been a challenge for me! But my wife was not so easily hypnotized, so we entered the brewery. Teamwork!
603 Brewing started in 2012 in Campton, NH, as a part-time effort by three friends who met while studying engineering in college. At that time NH had far fewer breweries than today. By 2014, two short years later, success and growth enabled them to leave their other jobs and move to a larger space in Londonderry. Growth continued such that in 2018 construction began on a brand new brewing space & beer hall with seating for 100 customers. The new space opened in June 2019 and is the base of their operations today.
603 is situated in “Woodmont Commons,” in a part of Londonderry that appears to have been laid out just waiting for apartment complexes and commercial buildings to drop from the sky. But not too many have landed yet, so for the time being 603 and one other neighboring building look over cleared fields, awaiting additional future development, and providing terrific sunset views.
As you approach the beer hall entrance, it’s impossible to miss the large and incredibly inviting patio out front. Complete with flaming torches and a burning fire pit, it echoed the glowing sunset. But the weather was a bit cool to sit outside, so in we went.
They have plenty of room inside (seating for 100!), and at 4:30 on this Thursday evening it was not too busy (though it began to fill up as the evening progressed). Logo-bearing merchandise and canned beer for sale are displayed near the entrance. To the left of that is a counter where you can order your beer. Further to the left is the large seating area, with a view of the patio on one side, and a view of the brewing room on the other, with lots of large shiny tanks.
Music was a pleasant not-too-loud mix of contemporary rock & pop, sometimes leaning into country.
All tables were highly polished wood with live edges, adding warmth to what could easily be an industrial-feeling space. The view to the patio is through glass-paned garage doors that can slide upward in good weather. Below these doors is a half-height wall partitioning the room from the patio. I’m curious to come back during warmer weather.
The food menu is all listed on their website, where it’s categorized as:
Starters | On a Bun | In a Bowl | Pizza
Overall it’s a good assortment of creative appetizers, burgers, pizzas, etc. To start, we ordered some Korean Barbecue Nachos. They were delicious with their braised short rib. (I salivate just remembering them!) We followed that by sharing a 603 Burger, which was great – but it is tall enough that you may prefer to eat it with utensils. Fries were also great, with just the right amount of crispiness. At the end of our evening I was quite happily full.
They have a large array of drinks available – 18 beers, plus 7 flavors of hard seltzer, 2 wines, 3 hard ciders, and 6 non-alcoholic beverages. All are listed on their website.
To sample the beers, we ordered two flights of four 5-ounce pours.
- Coffee Cake Porter / 7.5% ABV
- Beer Hall Czech Dark Lager / 5.0% ABV
- Mitz Bourbon Barrel Aged / 11.9% ABV
- Knuckle Puck IPA / 7.0% ABV
- NH Apple Lager / 4.5% ABV
- Cranberry Orange 603 Hard Seltzer / 5.0% ABV
- Winni Amber Ale / 6.6% ABV
- Mitz Double Espresso Mitztini / 11.9% ABV ABV
Descriptions for some of those beers:
Coffee Cake Porter / 7.5% ABV – A rich pastry porter with caramel roasted malts aged over vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and coffee beans.
Beer Hall Czech Dark Lager / 5.0% ABV – Czech Dark Lager is our take on a classic Tmavé Pivo, or dark beer in Czech. Smooth, and ultra drinkable Beer Hall: Czech Dark Lager has incredible depth of flavor for a lager coming in at only 5% ABV. It pours almost black in color, shining with a dark copper to amber color when held to light, and is topped with a creamy tan head. Leading with a very slight sweetness on the pallet, CDL drinks clean with subtle notes of caramel and dark toasted bread. Mild roastiness is present from dark malts and a noticeable bitterness to finish.
Mitz Bourbon Barrel Aged / 11.9% ABV – Aged for 18 months. Selecting only the finest U.S. grown barley and corn for our mashes to age in freshly charred American oak barrels. Bourbon barrels have become a must when aging Imperial stout.
Knuckle Puck IPA / 7.0% ABV – A dry-hopped India Pale Ale with notes of citrus, berry, grapefruit, and pine.
Winni Amber Ale / 6.6% ABV – Our very first brew to go to market. Named after Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest of New Hampshire’s 944 lakes, boasting 288 miles of shoreline. Some told us we were crazy to release an amber as our first beer but we tend to disagree; Winni stands today as our number one selling beer. A rich amber ale brewed with a variety of English and Belgian crystal malts, producing a deep amber color and a complex sweetness. A blend of American hops gives a clean hop bite and a bouquet of citrus notes in the finish.
Mitz Double Espresso Mitztini / 11.9% ABV – American Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Stout With Coffee, Chocolate, Vanilla, Almond, and Lactose. Aged for 18 months.
Finally, our impressions from our flights… As I’ve often related, I’m not much of an IPA guy. So imagine my surprise when, out of the four beers in my flight, my favorite was the Knuckle Puck IPA. I thought I must be in one of those movies where the protagonist wakes up right at the start with amnesia. I looked across the table at my wife – nope, I recognized her and felt pretty sure she was the right person. I had another sip of all four beers in my flight. Same impression. Oh well. Maybe I’m finally growing up! Or maybe the Knuckle Puck is mildly hopped in comparison to other IPAs. I would certainly describe it that way. A very good ale, with hops that do not give you a punch in the face. I’m good with that!
The Beer Hall Czech Lager was also quite good, with a nice deep-roasted flavor.
The Mitz Bourbon Barrel Aged was also quite good, though the high alcohol content was quite noticeable. But that does go with the bourbon barrel aging to produce an overall pleasant flavor. And it’s probably a good thing that the high ABV won’t sneak up on you.
The Coffee Cake Porter was not bad, but leaned a bit too much to the sweet side for my taste.
From my wife’s flight, the Winni Amber is always a winner, hard to go wrong with that one. Since we’ve had it often, we tended to think of it as the “control” in the experiment that was our two flights.
The Mitz Double Espresso Mitztini was delicious with a fittingly strong coffee flavor that balanced the high ABV well. Very good.
The NH Apple Lager was quite good, but we had to double-check the menu because we both thought we were drinking a cider rather than a lager. But at any rate, very good.
And the Cranberry Orange 603 Hard Seltzer was also quite good, easy drinking, would be great iced on a hot day.
In summary, I would happily return to the 603 Brewery Beer Hall. The food and the beer each provided a more than pleasant experience, and they’ve got plenty more food & beer that I have not tried yet, so I’m left with lingering anticipation, and that’s always a good thing!
Just the Facts
603 Brewery and Beer Hall is located at…
42 Main Street,
Phone: (603) 404-6123
Email: Use “contact us” link on website
Wed: 4 – 9 p.m.
Thu: Noon – 10 p.m.
Fri: Noon – 10 p.m.
Sat: Noon – 10 p.m.
Sun: Noon – 4 p.m.