Bitter cynic that I often am, nevertheless I can sometimes still be happily engaged, as I was hearing Carl Soderberg wax eloquent about the dawn of the American revolution in New Hampshire during the Pine Tree Riot. This moving true story of British oppression actually happened not far from where we all now live. Carl and his partners were sufficiently impressed by this story to name their business after its protagonist, Ebenezer Mudgett, who did on that fateful day prove himself very able indeed. As have Carl and his compatriots, having created a thriving brewery in Merrimack.
(For the full story to which I refer, see the Able Ebenezer website.)
I first heard Carl relate this story at a tasting which was part of a charity event. The story impressed me, as did the beers they had on offer, one of which was Burn the Ships, which has since become one of their best-known offerings, winning many local awards. Burn the Ships is an IPA brewed with cherrywood smoked malt for a very distinct smoky flavor. (For a fun afternoon, compare to Great North’s Smokin’ Smoked Ale and try to pick a favorite.)
Able Ebenezer appears to have a strong business. Their beers are available at many restaurants and shops all over the Granite State. In Manchester alone at least fourteen restaurants serve them, and you can find them at Bert’s, The Packie, and Bunny’s, among other shops. Their very informative website has a large list of locations all over New Hampshire that carry their products.
Able Ebenezer is just a short drive south into Merrimack where, like many young breweries, they occupy a former industrial space. For most breweries, these spaces are cheap and functional, so they make sense. However, they are not necessarily cold nor unwelcoming. Able Ebenezer’s space is quite nice, with soft leather chairs in one room and a large live-edge wooden bar in another. This second room has a full-size glass garage door which lets in plenty of light and can be opened to the outdoors on nice days. And they do have plenty of outdoor seating for those days.
Able Ebenezer is open seven days a week, which is a little unusual; most similar places are closed one or a few days per week. But this makes it all the easier to sample their brews. Every Tuesday they hold a trivia contest in their taproom which highlights the convivial atmosphere.
One wall of the barroom contains cans in glass-fronted refrigerators. You can grab a four-pack and pay at the bar. Behind the bar are six taps, typically each serving a different beer. They do offer flights; each flight is six 4-oz pours of whatever is on tap that day. The flights are a great way to explore their beers if you have not tried them before.
Dog lovers take note: they are a very dog-friendly space, with plenty of water available.
Able Ebenezer is visited periodically by a rotating batch of food trucks from April through November & beyond. The latest news on food truck visits is posted on social media and updated frequently.
During my last visit in December, Donali’s Food Truck was in the parking lot, serving up sausages, tater tots & clam chowder.
As I write this, Able Ebenezer has six beers available on draft in their taproom, shown above, each of which I sampled during my last visit in December. However, they brew many different beers on a rotating basis throughout the year. Some are available nearly all the time, while a few are very seasonal. Since they opened, they have brewed at least 20 different recipes
One offering is Kilgore, third from left above. It’s a coffee porter brewed in partnership with A&E Coffee (at 1000 Elm St. in Manchester, and with a roastery in Nashua). I quite enjoyed this beer, which had a slightly sweet coffee flavor while also not overwhelming me with bitterness nor a jolt of espresso. (For the curious, this beer is named after Kilgore Trout, a character created by author Kurt Vonnegut. See full write-up by brewer Jake on their website.)
And of course it’s impossible to go wrong with Burn the Ships, a stand-out from any angle.
Another favorite is Lady of the Lake, a delicious lager. Very smooth. Nothing experimental nor overly challenging like you sometimes get with sours or NEIPAs. I had a friend over recently who claimed to not really like craft brews, preferring “just a Bud.” I offered him a Lady of the Lake and he was quite happy.
Also great is La Mere Marianne, which they describe as a “culinary ale.” When I first tried this I had to ask, “What is a ‘culinary’ ale?” Their answer: This beer is made in collaboration with the chefs at the Bedford Village Inn with new specialty ingredients each year. The idea is to combine the culinary expertise of an award-winning kitchen with the art & science of beer design. Boom! I’m in. And the results speak for themselves. The 2022 iteration is a blonde ale with added cinnamon, vanilla, black currant and lactose milk sugar. While I cannot personally claim to have a palate that discerns each of those ingredients, I can very much vouch for the overall result. I have some in my fridge as I write this, where I expect it will not last long.
In the taproom you can get a flight of all six beers on tap, can get a full pour of any beer, or get cans to go.
Just the Facts
Able Ebenezer Brewing Company
31 Columbia Circle
Merrimack NH 03054
Mon-Thu : 4pm – 8pm
Fri : 4pm – 9pm
Sat : 1pm – 9pm
Sun : 1pm – 7pm