Pour your own beer at Central Ale House

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Bar manager Sophea Yay with a Central Ale House membership card.
Bar manager Sophea Yay with a Central Ale House membership card.

MANCHESTER, NH – And now for something completely different, likely to stop you in your tracks during your next downtown pub crawl.

Central Ale House at 23 Central St., brings a fresh idea to nightlife, with a Pour-Your-Own beer feature. Bar manager Sophea Yay is happy to walk customers through the process of being their own bartender, which begins with providing some basic information (and ID) to activate your membership card.

Once you’ve done that, you are free to swipe and sample.

Colorful "graffiti" on an exterior wall perks up the alley next to Central Ale House.
Colorful “graffiti” on an exterior wall perks up the alley next to Central Ale House.

You can decide which of the dozens of beers on tap you’d like to sample, including 20 accessible from the Pour Your Own/Pay by the Ounce Beer Wall. You can choose to pre-pay – if you are having a quick drink before a Verizon show, for example – or post-pay, after you’ve sampled some of the best regional craft beer available. That’s up to you. All the beer is 33 cents per ounce, or $5.28 per 16-ounces.

Every so many swipes, your account will signal that you’ve reached the 32-ounce threshold and your bartender will check in with you to make sure you haven’t over poured. The checks and balances create a safe yet comfortable atmosphere, sort of like a night out in your own funky pub.

Yay explains that Central Ale House is a New England original, the brain child of Matt Gage and Michael Loughran. She and General Manager Jayce Longway manage the day-to-day operations, which includes bragging rights.

And there’s plenty to brag about.

The ale house features a beer garden out back with two fire pits. The eclectic interior decor came from local yard sales and thrift stores, and the outdoor alley also features some family-friendly graffiti. Wood used to create a rustic atmosphere – which is everywhere, from the singles on the facade to the tables and chairs – is all from New Hampshire, including the unique branch-style railing, which is completely recyclable, says Yay.

Sophea Yay next to the unique railing, which is a bunch of branches from her yard.
Sophea Yay next to the unique railing, which is a bunch of branches from her yard.

“They are just branches from my yard,” says Yay. “So if something happens to one of them, we can replace it easily.”

Although they’ve been open for business since January, summer months have helped seal the deal for regulars, thanks in large part to the beer garden. Central Ale House features live music, on Sunday and Thursday nights, with an open mic night every Monday. Other entertainment options include video games, TVs for sport fans, and a high-tech jukebox.

Beyond the beer, Central Ale House also has a full menu – and you can place an order online –  from apps, wings, wraps and sandwiches, to dinner offerings and original cocktails.

You can also book a private or corporate event

Original mural art inside the Central Ale House, part of an original concept for a neighborhood pub.
Original mural art inside the Central Ale House, part of an original concept for a neighborhood pub.

Central Ale House Pour-Your-Own FAQS:

How does the access card work?

Customers are age-verified and issued an ID card which you can use to run a tab by leaving a credit card with a staff member or you can opt to pre-load a dollar amount. Then you swipe your card into the wall tap and access is granted. You will see what funds are available on the main display, as well as how much you’ve consumed.

How does the establishment track consumption?
Servers can determine the total amount dispensed per table by looking at the display meter on the wall. In addition, the system also allows management to track total consumption and run reports using proprietary software.

So can I drink a whole keg of beer?
Not exactly. There is actually a limit to the amount of beer dispensed on each beer card. Central Ale House’s system will authorize 32 ounces of beer per person at which point the tap shuts off and the flow of beer is disabled. A server is then required to return to the table where that patron is seated to reinstate pouring privileges, after determining that the patron has not been over served.

Can I choose which beers come out of the tap?
Each beer has its own separate tap. All you need to do is step up to the tap with the beer you want, insert your card and pour your favorite beer. That also makes it easy to sample a beer by the ounce before you commit.


Central Ale House is open Monday – Friday from 4 p.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday from 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m. Contact them at 603-935-7779
info@centralalehouse.com.

 


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About Carol Robidoux 5448 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.