Downtown: Concord Craft Brewing to serve full pours; Brewers Festival on tap

  • Co-owner Beth Mayland pours beers at Concord Craft Brewing in Concord on Friday, July 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Samples of beer, or tasters, are put together at Concord Craft Brewing in Concord on Friday, July 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Co-owner Beth Mayland servers a tray of tasters at Concord Craft Brewing in Concord on Friday, July 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

Monitor staff
Sunday, July 16, 2017

For beer drinkers, it’s a good week to try something new in Concord.

The city’s only downtown brewery, Concord Craft Brewing, poured its first official pint Friday and is open for extended summer hours. And the New Hampshire Brewers Festival is coming up Saturday with more than 40 breweries bringing the goods to Kiwanis Riverfront Park.

Six months after Concord Craft Brewing opened on Storrs Street, it’s now serving food, which means it’s allowed to sell 16-ounce servings – not just 4-ounce samples that breweries are otherwise limited to in New Hampshire.

“We’ve always sort of wanted to be able to serve larger pours and not just tasters, in part because people come in and they taste what you have and sometimes they like one the best and they want to have a full glass of it,” said Dennis Molnar, who co-owns the business with his wife, Beth Mayland.

Until recently, Molnar had to break the bad news to his customers and explain the unfortunate meaning of the law. Not anymore.

“Happy customers are good for business,” he noted.

On Saturday, Concord Craft Brewing and the city’s other microbrewery, Lithermans Limited on Hall Street, will be two of the participants in the New Hampshire Brewers Festival, which is coming to Concord for the first time in its fourth year, setting up by Everett Arena.

The festival, which is put on by brewers throughout the state, bills itself as “the largest single collection of New Hampshire’s breweries anywhere in the state this year.”

Executive Director CJ White said the more than 100 New Hampshire-made beers on tap at the festival make it the most diverse collection of offerings around.

White said between 16 and 20 of the breweries are offering their own versions of a special release beer for the festival. They all took a base recipe and made it their own by adding a twist, allowing drinkers to compare and contrast on the recipes.

In fact, the University of New Hampshire will be on hand to tout its minor in brewing, and NHTI will do the same for its chemistry course on brewing – so, call it an educational experience.

“In addition to drinking the beer, you can also learn about the beer,” White said.

Tickets start at $40 apiece and are available online. Proceeds go to support the Granite State Brewers Association, which supports and lobbies on behalf of local breweries, and the local firefighters unions.

In the meantime, some of the state’s best offerings are available straight from the source here in Concord – in their full, 16-ounce glory.

Lithermans Limited began offering food and full pints in May and Concord Craft Brewing followed suit last week. Molnar said he’s not trying to compete with any restaurants – after all, they’re his customers, too – but to satisfy his customers and the law, he needed to put together a simple menu.

Molnar’s beers are being served at 40 restaurants now, he said, including about 20 in Concord and others stretching as far away as Dover and Hillsboro.

Concord Craft Brewing also did its first run of cans at the end of June, packaging its Kolsch and double IPA. It’s planning for another visit from the mobile canning crew on Aug. 2, Molnar said.

The brewery has eight beers on tap and is open from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, nreid@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @NickBReid.)