The Big Lake was made for beer drinking.
Lakes Region (NH) breweries are brewing mighty fine craft beer, from the Lone Wolfe Brewing Company in Wolfeboro to ultra-local nanobrewery Squam Brewing.
Grilling beer brats lake-adjacent whilst sipping on NH craft beer is pretty much the dream. A couple of Lone Wolfes, a few Tuckerman's, maybe some Kettlehead mixed in. Anyway, about the Lakes Region brewing scene ...
Lakes Region Breweries (NH)
NH's Lakes Region is an area that centers around Lake Winnipesaukee and extends outward, encapsulating several towns that border the very towns that border the lake. From swimming and boating on the big lake in the summertime, to leaf peeping in the fall, downhill and cross country skiing in the winter, and hiking miles upon miles of trails in the spring, the Lakes Region boasts a rich, four-season way of life. So it should come as no surprise that the region's craft brewers brew a variety of seasonal beers that complement the time of year.
Lake Winnipesaukee Drink Coasters
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It should also come as no surprise that some of the very best New Hampshire breweries come from The Lakes Region. It is currently home to ~13 microbreweries, brewpubs and taprooms.
- 1766 Brewing Company
- Big Water Brewery
- Burnt Timber Brewing & Tavern
- Canterbury Aleworks
- Hobbs Tavern & Brewing Company
- Kettlehead Brewing Company
- Lone Wolfe Brewing Company
- Shacketts Brewing Company
- Squam Brewing
- Twin Barns Brewing Company
- Vulgar Brewing Company
- White Mountain Brewing Company
- Woodman’s Brewery
From Rochester to Rumney, Tilton to Tamworth, the Lakes Region has much more to offer than just recreational water fun. There is Funspot in Laconia, dubbed the world’s largest arcarde a decade ago. Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough, a mountaintop estate that offers expansive, southern views of The Lakes Region (as well as Castle Springs Brewery). And Wolfeboro, long dubbed, "The Oldest Summer Resort in America". Each of these places represent the multi-faceted nature of the Lakes Region and the types of activities and fun that can be had.
Perhaps best of all is Gunstock, a serviceable downhill ski mountain that boasts not only 55 trails, but night skiing on almost half of them. If you were to drive a line through the vertical and horizontal middle of a Lakes Region map, Gunstock would very nearly occupy the center point. Wolfeboro's Lone Wolfe Brewery brews the Yardsale for the mountain resort.
NH Beer festivals in the Lakes Region
The Lakes Region is no stranger to a good soiree. This includes throwing large beer festivals.
Beveridge Craft Beer Fest
At Wolfeboro's Abenaki Ski Hill each year is the Beveridge Craft Beer Fest, put on by the Wolfeboro's Beveridge Craft Beer & Soap Company. It includes live music, games (beer pong!), and local food vendors, as well as area vendors selling goods. The event is 21+ and not dog friendly, so leave your puppers at home.
Past vendors have included Concord Craft Brewing, Lawson's Finest, Moat Mountain and Woodstock Inn Brewery, along with several breweries from the Lakes Region and many more.
Beveridge Craft Beer & Soap Company
Beveridge makes a variety of beer-related products, including lip balm, lotion, and beer soap. Beyond using Lakes Region brews to infuse their products, they include craft beer from Tuckerman Brewing Company, Julius from Tree House Brewing Company, the Heady Topper from The Alchemist Brewery.
Learn more about the benefits of beer soap.
Brew with a View
Steele Hill Resorts of Sanborton, NH puts on the "Brew with a View" beer festival every year. It features 25+ [New England Breweries] and is so named for it's gorgeous views of the Big Lake and the surrounding mountains. Like the Beveridge Craft Beer Fest, the event is 21+.
Brew with a View hands out awards. Past winners have included NH's Great North Aleworks, Massachusetts' Lord Hobo Brewing Company, and Rhode Island's Foolproof Brewing Company.
Lakes Region Brewery Tour recap
It has been a great adventure. Getting to experience local craft brewers build a thriving business without the aid and benefit of a major city is exciting to watch. Getting to drink their beer is even better.
If you find yourself strolling around the Granite State with some free state and a thirst to quench, you should check out The Lakes Region craft beer scene. Burnt Timber Brewing is an excellent stop on the east side of Lake Winnipesaukee, while Kettlehead, Shacketts, and White Mountain Brewing are worthwhile on the west.
If you do stop at White Mtn, tell Steve the Bartender we say hi.
Speaking of the beer, here is the Lakes Region Beer Flight, one beer from each of the Lakes Region breweries. As I visit more, this could change. But for now, here they are.
A Lakes Region Beer Flight
Well, more like a double paddle of tasting samples.
- Lone Wolfe Brewing Company - Dipp’ah - double IPA
- Squam Brewing - Mountain View Red - "Irish style" red ale
- Kettlehead Brewing Company - Pineapple Funk - sour
- Burnt Timber Brewing & Tavern - Barley & Bees - blackberry braggot
- White Mountain Brewing - Redneck Red - ale
- Shacketts Brewing Company - Hornet Cove Wheat - wheat ale
- Hobbs Tavern - Hi, Jack
- Twin Barns Brewing - Lake Cruiser - double IPA
Lakes Region Breweries left to visit
And to all the rest of you New Hampshire Breweries ... don't worry, you're on the list. Just let us know when your Happy Hour starts!
Having visited eight of the New Hampshire breweries, we can honestly say that the Lakes Region is in better beer shape than ever. Though I do miss the days of watching electric blue Vuarnet tank top wearing frat boys driving their Dad’s Formula cigarette boat with twin 500s to the Braun Bay sandbar to suck down a few cold Michelob’s.
The Dive Winnipesaukee
Speaking of the Braun Bay sandbar, a frequenter of this aquatic playground for 20-40 year olds with disposable income is The Dive, a flotilla of booze-fueled lake-on restaurant party fun. The mission of the Boat Dive Bar is to dispense tasty craft beers (and other drinks) to party-goers at Lake Winnipesaukee sandbars, amongst other venues, safely, because water safety is more important than water fun.
It is truly a restaurant on Lake Winnipesaukee. The Dive features a menu full of kabobs, dogs, tenders, salads, wings, and sandwiches. They even have a kids menu.
If you're counting dive bars in Laconia, this just may be the very best. It literally feels like you're at the Naswa Beach Bar, only you aren't staring at the Weirs Beach channel the whole time, you're on a cruise through the Big Lake.
If you're looking for a booze cruise or private charter, give The Dive a call. With a motto of "It's always five on the dive", you're bound to have a good time.