Friday, September 15, 2017

Lithermans Limited Lithermans Limited podcast Non-Flash version of the podcast

Lithermans Limited opened in April of 2016 in a somewhat industrial looking commercial complex by the lovely Merrimack River in New Hampshire's capitol, Concord, spitting distance from Bow, NH, the hometown of Beer Hear co-writer Bob. It's about a half mile from the intersection of two interstate highways, Rt. 93 and Rt. 89. It looks a lot like the complex where Smuttynose began in Portsmouth. By the way, if you're curious about the name...

Brewing partners Michael Hauptly-Pierce and Stephen Bradbury met around 2002 when Michael was a manager at Home Depot and Stephen was one of his customers. They connected over music, jamming and recording some tunes, and eventually Stephen introduced Michael to homebrewing. They then went from jam buddies to brew pals, and it wasn't long before they pondered the idea of making it more than a hobby.
Brewers Michael and Stephen, and bartender Jen
Michael explained that small breweries in New Hampshire have a lot of advantages, such as being allowed to self distribute, sell samples to the public at their breweries, and sell beer at their brewery to the public to go, among other benefits. With a 3-barrel brewhouse in their 1500 square foot space, Lithermans most certainly qualifies as small! But the size of their brewhouse means that variety wins out over quantity. In their first year, they brewed about 70 different recipes. On the day we visited, they had just tapped an IPA, which was dry hopped with hops grown in Michael's yard. It was only 8 gallons, or about a quarter barrel.


We tried the "Misguided Angel", a hazy New England style IPA with a clean, assertive bitterness, which is one of the most popular in the current line up. Another popular IPA, the "Bow Wow Yippie Yo IPA", wasn't overly bitter and had a slight sweet malt note mixing with the hops. Their "This Is How We Guit!" had a murky light brown color with a faint sour note in the nose and mild sourness in the flavor, mixing with a light herbaceous note. The sour peach ale had a delicate peach aroma, a light body, tangy fruit flavor, and was mildly sour with a bit of a cereal grain note. The "Back 40 to Freedom" wet hopped rustic IPA had a most unusual hop quality, hinting at an almost pickle-like note in the flavor. The "Raspberry Beret" had a pale straw color, a faint fruit nose, and assertive bitterness over a gentle raspberry flavor.
Many of the bar stools have 7" records polyurethaned to them 
The brewery has a strong local following. They sell beer to accounts mainly between Concord and Manchester, where you can find it often on tap at good beer bars like True Brew Barista, and only within New Hampshire. Their cosy tasting room bar is often packed to capacity. They're open from 4pm to 7pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and from noon to 5pm on Saturdays, offering 8 or more different brews on tap, as well as cans and bottles, and a light food menu.
They're currently working on expanding the tasting room capacity to about 100 people, as well as upping the brewing capacity with the addition of two 7-barrel conical fermentors and a 7-barrel uni-tank which can be used as a fermentor or a bright tank. Currently brewing 6-7 barrels a week in two brewing sessions, they're planning on going to 3 sessions a week doing double batches to fill the new fermentors. The next step will be to upgrade the brewhouse to a 7-barrel system. That will be a bit easier as they increase their size to 3,000 square feet.
Their brewery utilizes an electric brewhouse, but they'll likely need to switch to a gas fired system if they want to get larger than 7 barrels. And it's not out of the question that it'll happen in a brewing facility that they own sometime down the road. Given their growth and their loyal customer base, maybe it could happen sometime soon!


The expanded brewhouse build out
Looking into the current brewhouse

Improvised beer garden

And while in New Hampshire...
BR de tracteur at the Hopkinton State Fair
The biggest pumpkin in NH, along with BR and the original BobW

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Peckham's Cidery Peckham's Cider podcast Non-Flash version of the podcast

Caroline and Alex Peckham really love cider -- traditional, dry, authentic cider. But when they moved from England to New Zealand, they were disheartened to find that there were no such ciders being made there! So, what does one do when confronted with such a situation? Well, go into the cider business, naturally! And that's what they did in 2006.

One major hurdle that they had to overcome, though, was the fact that current NZ law doesn't allow the planting of non-native fruit trees. So, the pair networked with farmers and owners of land that had old, abandoned orchards in search of English and French apple trees that were planted ages ago, when Old World fruit trees were first brought to New Zealand. 

They found varieties such as Kingston Black, Broxwood Foxwhelp, Chisel Jersey, Knotted Kernel, Sweet Alford, as well as some French and Spanish varieties. They were able to graft some of the heritage varieties on to young trees and they currently press juice from about 30 different varieties to make their exceptional cider. Their orchard is located at the north tip of the southern island of New Zealand, near Nelson, in some of the best agricultural land on earth. The region, called Moutere, is home to some of the most reputed vineyards in Oceana and a vast number of hop farms.

Caroline and Bob.

Peckham's was named the Best New Zealand Cider at the New Zealand Cider Festival in both 2015 and 2016, and they've been invited to participate in Cider Con in Baltimore in February 2018.

Caroline featured her ciders at The Festival organized by Shelton Brothers importers in August 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia, and afterwards she traveled up the East Coast for a number of cider events. She eventually ended up in New York City, where we got to talk to her. Peckham's Cider is just beginning to become available in the US, and we expect that we'll be seeing some more Peckham's events when they return in 2018! (Full disclosure: B.R. and Bob both work for Shelton Brothers.)

Caroline, Hank Frecon (Frecon Cider),
and Lauren of Shelton Brothers view the eclipse.

Caroline Peckham with the best cider in NZ!

What are ewe lookin at?