Manchester Brewing opens in Concord
State’s smallest micro-brewery poised to grow
By Jeff Mucciarone firstname.lastname@example.org
New Hampshire’s smallest micro-brewery, Manchester Brewing, is up and running, and with it comes a growing variety of craft beers that owner Kevin Bloom says are more unique than usual options.
“We can make things that taste different than everybody else’s,” Bloom said.
The brewery, which is located at 119 Old Turnpike Road in Concord, is offering its Imperial Blonde Ale and its Kombat Ale. The Imperial Blonde has a little more bite than beer drinkers might expect. “It doesn’t taste like what it looks like,” Bloom said. Bloom adds more hops than are in a typical blonde ale, which accounts for the extra zip. As the beer warms, overtones of banana and fruit can be detected, he said.
The Kombat Ale, which is a British-style special bitter, is well-balanced and full-bodied — it also has some bite, but is otherwise smooth and drinkable. The beer’s mahogany color suggests a heavier beer, but it slides down smooth. Bloom said he uses two different British hops to create the beer’s unique flavor. Local artist Dan Roberge created labels for both beers, Bloom said.
Originally from Michigan, Bloom had plans to develop a brewery there, before he decided to opt out of his share and make his way to the Granite State. It’s easier to self-distribute in New Hampshire than in other states, he said.
Ease of distribution and a growing market for craft beer make a combination Bloom hopes to dive into. He said craft beer sales have grown nationwide by 10 to 11 percent during the last four or five years.
“America’s leading the way,” he said, adding that German students actually travel to the United States to study beer.
In the course of his brewing career, Bloom has picked up techniques and recipes. As he’s tried various beers in different parts of the country, he’s looked to bring together the tastes and colors and aromas that make for good beer.
In 2000, Bloom’s wife bought him a home-brewing kit and soon after his friends were telling him he might want to consider trying to make some money off his offerings. Still, even now he said he’s not trying to get rich, but he would like to be able to make a living. Investors appreciated a healthy dose of realism during proposals, he said.
Having bought much of his brewing equipment online, Bloom said the results have been either very good or very bad. Fermenters have been great, but he’s had issues with conditioning tanks. And given that the 900-square-foot space was formerly offices, he’s had to sort of makeshift his way along a bit, he said. Brewing in the standard British style, Bloom said it takes one week to make a batch.
Bloom, who has two silent partners and an assistant brewer, Derek Cochrane, originally hoped to open up shop in Manchester, but rent in the Millyard was too steep and less convenient, he said. Bloom, a former real estate broker and fencing instructor, began work in May on his space in Concord, which is essentially located behind South End Auto Repair, and he officially opened up two weeks ago.
Coming soon is the Devil’s Rooster, which is a German-style marzen similar to an Oktoberfest. Bloom said he’s hoping to have a batch of the Devil’s Rooster ready for Christmas, though he admits that might be pushing it. The Studly Monk is a high-gravity Belgian variety with a substantial 10.25-percent alcohol content. He’s expecting that to be ready some time in January.
He’d like to continue to expand the brewing operation, and he already has space next door that could potentially become storage space Manchester Brewing would need. Moving forward, Bloom would like to expand the brewery into a restaurant or at least in tandem with a restaurant.
Several area locations offer Bloom’s beers, including the North End Superette in Manchester, Concord Mart, Barb’s Beer Emporium in Concord, the Freetown Yankee Market in Raymond and soon the Concord Cooperative Market. The list of places signing on to sell his beer is growing, he said. He’s still only in preliminary talks with local restaurants about possibly offering his product.
Bloom will be featuring his beer at two free tastings on Friday, Dec. 19, one from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Freetown Yankee Market in Raymond and one from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Kimball’s Market in Pembroke.
Bloom offers retail hours at the brewery Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. Cases of 12 22-ounce bottles of Imperial Blonde and Kombat Ale cost $40. Call 617-2409 or e-mail email@example.com. Visit www.manchesterbrewing.com or visit Bloom’s blog at www.planetbeer.blogspot.com, where he discusses home-brewing.