NORTH CONWAY, NH – This time of year many Manchester residents load up the minivan and head north for a little summer getaway. And as a wise man once said, what’s saison for the goose is saison for the gander, so this week your intrepid beer surveyor did the same. Thus, this episode of Brewery Scene comes to you special delivery from North Conway.
One of the newer additions to the North Conway scene (OK, technically it’s in Intervale) is Ledge Brewing Company. They aspire to be “a small-batch brewery and tasting room focused on good times and excellent beer.” Started just barely pre-pandemic by three friends Silas Miller, Ian Ferguson and Cody Floyd, Ledge practices traditional brewing balanced with evolving American craft beer techniques. They aim to cultivate conversation and camaraderie while serving great beer in an outdoor-activity-focused environment.
Ledge Brewing Co is in an industrial-looking building on the east side of route NH 16 in Intervale. Some maps will show it appearing to be in Lower Bartlett. Signage along NH 16 is poor to non-existent (their website attributes this to local laws) so you may need to rely on navigation systems and GPS to help you find them. Note that to reach them from NH 16, you first turn east onto Town Hall Road, then very soon you’ll see an entry leading north into private land, marked with signage for multiple businesses, one of which is Ledge Brewing.
Once you’re parked in the fairly large lot, follow the signs & arrows for Ledge Brewing along the path around the nearest building and you’ll be lead to the adjacent building which houses Ledge. They have some outdoor tables along with plenty of indoor space.
Their indoor space is vast — their brewing space plus two large public rooms that are clean, bright, and well-appointed with large prints of athletic people engaged in vibrant outdoor activities (mountain biking, running, climbing, kayaking). One room contains a massive concrete bar, and embedded in the bar surface are metallic implements related to outdoor activities. For example, near where we sat was a disc brake from a mountain bike. It did not protrude from the surface, but was embedded into it, with the surface then polished so that the brake had a bit of shine to it. Nearby were other implements I did not recognize, but which looked like they could be used in rock climbing.
Bartender Matt was very friendly and welcoming. After serving our flights he was happy to talk about how their business was doing post-pandemic, and tell us stories about the various challenges he faced while building his house.
Unlike many bars, taps are neither on the wall behind the bar nor between the bartender and the patrons. Instead, they are at the right end of the bar, and they emerge from a massive block of granite. This is not your ordinary beer tower — here, the beer literally flows from granite.
We visited on a Wednesday afternoon when business was fairly slow, but it gradually picked up as our stay wore on, eventually reaching a dozen or so patrons.
While chatting at the bar we met fellow Manchester resident Mike Dixon. Mike loves the north country and spends as much time there as he can. One of his favorite activities (other than hiking) is to visit Ledge Brewing — he loves the people and the atmosphere and the beer.
In not uncommon brewery fashion, they have rotating food trucks on Fridays and Saturdays during the warmer months to cater to patrons’ hunger pangs. Their on-line calendar (here) specifies which trucks are scheduled.
On other nights, they offer little aside from chips & popcorn. However, their website proclaims “Outside food is welcome,” so we decided to try that out. We brought crackers, cheese, chicken, and hard-boiled eggs. A modest picnic. The bartender Matt was emphatic that it was welcome, and indeed It did go well with flights of beer on their impressive concrete bar. While we were there a family came in with a hungry teenager. We suggested ordering pizza for delivery, but they declined, adding that they’d return after finding him some food elsewhere.
We shared three flights so were able to taste each of their ten beers. Below are our thoughts….
My wife tried the “Send It” tart cherry lemon hard seltzer, and I had a taste. It was way better than I expected. To repeat a phrase, I could have drank it like kool-aid. However, I had beer in mind, and it was decidedly not that.
Neither of us are huge fans of New England IPAs, but after some enticing by Matt we included the “As You Wish” in a flight and both tried it — and both very much liked it. I would say it’s the best NEIPA I’ve ever had, full stop. But as I said I’m not generally a NEIPA fan, so others might feel differently.
I very much liked both the Gotlands swedish farmhouse ale and the Sad Songs Only saison. Also the Vaquera mexican lager, very refreshing and with a clean finish.
At the Ledge bar they do pours of 4, 12, or 16 ounces. Growlers also available.
Ledge Brewing Company is located at:
15 Town Hall Road
Intervale, NH 03845
Phone: (603) 307-1070
They are open: