Microbrew heaven in the east
Concord native returns, with beer
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum firstname.lastname@example.org
Concord has a new brew shop. This one gets its inspiration from the Great Northwest. Big Al’s Brew owner Alyson Trombly, a Concord native who lived in Oregon for 10 years before her return, wanted to highlight this region’s microbrews along with a lot of fun, offbeat items common in those western beer shops to inspire everyone’s inner child.
“Oregon is microbrew heaven,” Trombly said. “You just don’t drink anything but microbrews. It’s just not done. I didn’t see anything like that here. I wanted a store on Main Street because it’s busy with a lot of people walking around, and I wanted a hip, funky store like the ones I went to in Oregon.”
The shop’s name is a play on Trombly’s first name. What can customers expect to find? The shop specializes in microbrews. New Hampshire labels are top priority, such as Manchester Brewing and new White Birch Brewing. “Anyone I can get,” Trombly said.
Next on the priority list are regional microbrews, followed by labels from other regions, which include ones Trombly enjoyed in Oregon. What you won’t find are the mainstream brands — “Those you can get anywhere —grocery stores and convenience stores. I wanted a place where people can come and get only microbrews,” Trombly said.
This is Trombly’s first shop. The Concord High grad went to college in Ohio and worked in Massachusetts and Connecticut before she settled in Oregon. For 10 years she worked in the insurance industry. She wanted to open a microbrew store when she first returned to Concord five years ago, but her family was concerned about the risk. So she continued in the insurance field, “but my heart wasn’t in it,” she said.
Along with the microbrews, Trombly plans to feature a number of fun toys that appeal to adults. Currently she has a line of Awika wind-up toys by Brazilian designer Chico Bicalho. The stainless steel, multi-footed creature climbs and emits sparks.
Customers will also find beer accessories (glasses, coasters, etc) and home brewing kits. Trombly plans to expand her home brew supplies in the near future. There is also a selection of convenience foods since the state requires a certain amount be sold in beer shops,
When Trombly is asked what her favorite brew style is, she says without hesitation, “Stouts. I also like IPAs. Honestly, unless it’s brussels sprout flavor, I’ll probably like it.”