The ninth annual Manchester Brewfest has now come and gone, but thankfully smiles still come to my face as I think back on it. The rain held off. Many patrons came, with dogs, kids, and adults all happy. Axes were thrown in a safe throwing-cage-on-wheels. Medieval jousting was done for the amusement of all. Delicious smells wafted from meats grilling on open flames. And of course a huge variety of beers were there for tasting.
I can’t claim to have tasted every beer available, but I did taste many. And while I did my best to take notes on the spot, between the milling crowd and my tiny glass getting refilled with incredible rapidity, I didn’t always get everything down. But herewith, some impressions…
To Share Brewing – Aaron Share was there with a seltzer he is now making, and it was delicious. A great balance of sweetness, mild fruit & citrus flavor and refreshing mouth feel.
– The Cat’s Meow – NEIPA – Very good NEIPA, just on the edge of cattiness. Recommended heartily to me by other fest patrons who are NEIPA fans.
– Goody Two Shoes – Kolsch Ale – very clean, clear and refreshing Kolsch style ale, delicious.
Rupee – Indian lager – For me this was the standout discovery of the fest. Absolutely nothing flashy nor unexpected, but easily the best lager I had all day. They are brewed in Massachusetts but should be available on retail shelves in NH, though you may have to do some searching. I will be checking Whole Foods & Costco.
Auspicious Brew – kombucha – I am new to kombucha, but these were very tasty. Super clean and fresh. Brewed in Dover NH.
Stark Brewing – Wheat Smoker smoked lager – An extremely good smoked lager, could compete favorably with Able Ebenezer’s Burn The Ships.
– Oddtoberfest – A delicious fairly traditional Octoberfest beer.
– Build Gourd Tough – A spiced pumpkin ale that is far better than that sounds. No factory-made sweet faux-fall-flavor here. A delicious beer lent a very mild fruitiness by the pumpkin, and a rich flavor from finely blended spices.
– Double Clutch Coffee Stout – A great stout, almost black in color, with a definite coffee flavor but not overpowering. Very nice.
– Big Effin’ Porter – robust porter – extremely good, possibly the best porter I tasted that day.
– New England Dream – peanut butter fluff stout – a bit of a novelty but very good if you like that kind of thing.
Henniker Brewing Co – Dinger American lager – Very good lager, super clean mouth feel.
In between tastings I wandered, watching the axe throwing and the medieval jousting, both a lot of fun. Also enjoying the live performance by The Shawna Jackson Band, running into neighbors and a nephew & getting recommendations.
All in all, a wonderful way to spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. And all funds raised donated to charity. This year’s beneficiary is Waypoint, a nonprofit agency providing a wide variety of services including: adoption, prenatal support, services for children with chronic health conditions, child care, mental health counseling, foster care, and many others. Numbers are still being crunched to determine this year’s financial outcome.
Given how successful this year’s event appeared to be, I expect it will be returning next summer for another fantastic Saturday. To quote Brewfest planner Peter Telge, owner of Stark Brewing Co. in Manchester, “Everybody loved it! So many compliments!”
Photo Gallery/Jeff Rogers
Brewers in 2023 included:
Food vendors in 2023 included:
Location in 2023: