‘Vulgar Brewing Company’ opens in Franklin 

  • LEFT: Vulgar Brewery bartender Roy Hubble pours a beer at Vulgar Brewing on Main Street in Franklin.

  • Vulgar Brewery bartender Roy Hubble pours a beer at the bar of the newly opened brewery on Main Street in Franklin. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Vulgar Brewery bartenter Roy Hubble works at the bar of the newly-opened brewery on Main Street in Franklin. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The sign for the new Vulgar Brewing Company in downtown Franklin. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Tyler Deschaine of Tilton (left) and Fred Garnish of Weare enjoy a beer at Vulgar Brewery in Franklin.

  • Joe Freni of Franklin, (left), Tyler Deschaine of  Tilton, (center)and Fred Garnish of Weare enjoy a beer at the newly-opened Vulgar Brewery Company on Main Street in Franklin. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/21/2019 4:29:52 PM

The once empty storefront on Central Street in Franklin is now filled with black-painted booths and sleek tables made from New Hampshire wood. Silver brewery equipment gleams in the street window. Original brick walls, preserved from another time, are a centerpiece of the room.

Vulgar Brewing Company, the mill city’s first craft brewery, is open for business.

“It’s been overwhelming, how excited people are,” said brewery owner Damon Lewis, walking into his business in its fourth day open. The brewery had been open for 15 minutes and the bar was already full. “People love the service, the atmosphere, the beer. They love to see good things coming to Franklin.”

Vulgar Brewing is not named for “vulgar” in the modern sense, meaning crass or rude; the name is based on the Latin word “vulgus,” which means crowd or people.

Lewis said he and his co-owners, his wife, Megan, and couple Jason and Shelly Harrington, all transplants to Franklin from Texas, see Vulgar Brewing as a gathering place for downtown Franklin – and a central piece of the Mill City’s revitalization.

“It’s a good anchor business to help bring people to the area. I think it’s a place for people who don’t have anywhere to go to come hang out, build that sense of community,” Lewis said. “We keep hearing from people that, ‘It’s so good to see positive changes coming.’ ”

The business had its soft opening on Oct. 10 and 11, and opened officially on Oct 12. Lewis said Vulgar saw 500 people throughout Columbus Day weekend. By that Monday night, they were almost out of food.

The brewery has three beers now. One is the Tall Man Indian Pale Ale, a crisp, citrusy IPA with notes of grapefruit and a dry finish. Another is Hail Saison!, a slightly spicy beer with notes of clove and pear.

Vulgar’s most popular is the Mill City New England IPA, a juicy brew with a citrus finish and a mix of Ekuanoot, Amarilli and Mosaic hops. A portion of each sale of that beer goes to Mill City Park, the non-profit working to bring a whitewater park to Franklin.

Vulgar’s storefront, at 378 Central Street in Buell’s Block, is right next door to Outdoor New England, a paddling and outdoor recreation store run by Marty Parichand, the executive director of Mill City Park.

The pub also boasts a pizza menu, with 14 pizzas. Options include “The G.O.A.T,” made with goat cheese, mozzarella, red sauce, mushrooms and arugula with cranberry reduction; “Pesto Both Worlds,” made with house-made basil-spinach pesto, mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes; “Royale With Cheese,” made with ground black Angus beef, red sauce, mozzarella, onions, lettuce, dill pickles and yellow mustard.

“Thai One On” is a pizza made with chicken breast, bean sprouts, shredded carrots, mozzarella, cilantro and crushed peanuts. It’s served with peanut sauce from Broken Spoon, a noodle bar looking to come to Franklin’s downtown soon.

Vulgar also has dessert pizzas – “Dem Buns Dough,” made with cinnamon, sugar and butter and finished with cream cheese frosting, and “Peanut Better Jelly Time,” which entails warm baked peanut butter on a soft baked pizza crust with a jelly drizzle.

On Thursday afternoon, the brewery was already filling up with customers.

Joe Freni, who’s lived in Franklin since the 1980s, said he’s been excited for the brewery to open since he heard about the proposal six months ago. He can walk down to Vulgar from his house.

“Beer is something that always brings people together. It’s a get-together kind of thing. It will be great to see that happen here,” he said. Freni said he’s looking forward to spending time at the brewery in the warmer months, when the brewery opens its large garage doors on the side of the building and opens up its patio area.

Tyler Deschaine, of Tilton, where Kettlehead Brewery is located down the road, said he’s excited to see what Vulgar will add to the craft beer culture Kettlehead started in the area.

“Kettlehead does all hazy beers. These guys have a different taste,” he said, sipping on the Hail Saison!. “It’s good to have a variety of different breweries.”

“They’re just establishing themselves, and you know it’s only going to get better as more tastes, more flavors,” he added, of Vulgar.

Fred Garnish, of Weare, said it’s refreshing to see an old building that was falling into disrepair be repurposed into something completely new.

“I hope it will open more people’s eyes to the possibilities of what they’re doing,” he said, of the revitalization efforts in Franklin.

Lewis said the brewery will likely be adding two new beers this week, one of which will be an oatmeal stout. They can have up to 12 beers on tap at once.

The brew pub has 13 employees, including its owners. Lewis said they are hiring now for a few more positions. The brewery is now open on Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m., on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“We wanted to start small, but we plan on adding days once we get our feet under us and everything is running smoothly,” Lewis said.

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