Strange Brew Tavern, New Hampshire’s First Craft Beer Bar
Step into Strange Brew Tavern on Market Street in Manchester, NH and you’ll find a well-balanced selection of craft beers, burgers heaped with gourmet toppings, and a lively music-loving crowd. The atmosphere is warm and bustling. The tap list is exceptional, with a strong showing of local breweries.
An ideal spot for an after-work drink with friends or night of local blues music, Strange Brew Tavern is a Manchester institution. A full roster of wallet-friendly weeknight promos, like their $5 Brew Burger on Wednesdays, makes Strange Brew the kind of neighborhood pub you’ll return to again and again. You can sit down to dinner while sampling a flight of craft beers, or crush an opponent at foosball in their games room.
How The Craft Brewpub Scene Has Changed
When Strange Brew Tavern opened in 1999 with 18 beers on draft, they had the largest selection around. “It was the original craft beer bar in the state,” says General Manager Dee Conway. Strange Brew currently boasts 88 taps upstairs and 16 in the basement bar. “We don’t have the most anymore, but we do have the best,” she adds.
New Hampshire’s craft beer boom only seems to grow, with new breweries popping up every month. “I decided 20 years ago that it was a trend that was bound to happen…I was told when I first opened that if I didn’t put Budweiser on draft I wouldn’t make it,” says Owner Mitch Sawaya. Until a few years ago, he explains, it was hard work keeping the draft list full. “With all the options that are out there now, if I could figure out a way to put in 200 draft lines I’d do it,” he says.
What’s On Tap
Dee and a few key bartenders craft the tap list, with an eye for what’s popular and a soft spot for off-beat beers. We bond over a shared love of Spicy Bohemian, a Pilsner “dry-hopped” with roasted jalapenos, from Hampton-based Throwback Brewery. Dee and Mitch prefer malty-er beers, but their two biggest beer aficionados on staff love IPAs. Their diverse tastes make for an exciting, ever-changing tap list with something for everyone.
Just don’t expect to see Budweiser on tap at this New Hampshire craft beer hotspot. You can still get it by the bottle though (if you must).
Strange Brew Tavern is located at 88 Market St. in Manchester, NH. Strange Brew is open everyday from 4PM-1:30AM, kitchen open until 11PM. Visit Strange Brew online here.