Beer on tap – and on screen

Last modified: 6/26/2015 10:27:45 AM
Two years ago, Meagan Frappiea and Bryant Naro founded their own production company and set out to make their first full-length documentary.

The idea didn’t require a lot of brainstorming.

“All I knew is that I liked beer,” Naro said.

That impetus behind Brew Hampshire is the same reason guests will flock to the New England Brewfest in Lincoln this weekend. So perhaps it’s fitting that the documentary will debut as the finale to the three-day festival.

Both the film and the festival are a celebration of local craft beer and the people who make it.

“It really is about New Hampshire’s entrepreneurial spirit and how we foster that – and how that’s reflected in our beer community,” Naro said.

Frappiea and Naro, a married couple, are both Keene State College graduates. With several years of filmmaking experience for other companies, the pair started their own production outfit two years ago. He’s a cinematographer; she’s an editor.

“We’ve never really headed up something like this,” Frappiea said. “This is a great place to start because the brewing community was so friendly to us.”

Naro has a cousin who works at Throwback Brewery in North Hampton, so the filming started there. With the help of more than $8,500 from a Kickstarter campaign, the team visited 11 craft breweries in New Hampshire over two years. They even followed one company – Able Ebenezer of Merrimack – from their garage to the launch of their brewery. The film offers a glimpse of the breweries’ behind-the-scenes operations – all the nuts and bolts and hops of beer making.

They also chatted with other beer sellers and enthusiasts, including the founders of Granite State Growler Tours and a representative from Beer Distributors of New Hampshire.

The result is a blend of the couple’s passion for filmmaking and the state’s growing passion for craft beer.

“What we’re following is how people are able to do what they love,” Naro said. “There’s a lot of people who have left jobs that they are happy with and have a real success story making beer.”

Each brewery was different, but they can’t pick a favorite.

“A beer tastes so much better when you know the people who made it,” Frappiea said.

And that’s the philosophy behind the New England Brewfest, which will gather 34 small breweries at Loon Mountain this weekend.

“You get to try beer you don’t just buy at the grocery store,” said Mark LaClair, director of marketing for the Lincoln-Woodstock Chamber of Commerce. “You get to know some of the breweries and how they make their beer. You get to talk to the brewers themselves.”

The chamber of commerce has hosted the festival for 11 years. In that time, LeClair said the industry has grown tremendously.

“There’s been a big explosion of micro- and nano- and craft breweries popping up all over the place,” LaClair said. “And for good reason. They make very good beer. They make unique styles and crafts that you can’t get by buying beer at Wal-Mart, for example.”

The festival includes a bus tour of local breweries Friday, an expansive tasting Saturday night and the documentary screening Sunday. Frappiea and Naro said they’ll arrive much before their Q&A session with the documentary audience. Five of the breweries they visited for filming are participating in the festival, but more than 100 other varieties will be on tap during the weekend.

“We’re going to be there on Saturday to just enjoy the tasting,” Frappiea said.

Because the beer, really, is what started it all.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321, or on Twitter 

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