Saturday, August 7, 2010

Brew England Visits: The Tap at the Haverhill Brewery

Sarah and I have spent the last four or five Memorial Day Weekends up at my parent's place in Allenstown, NH. On occasion, we have been known to take a small detour, in order to get a bite to eat or a cold drink. This past Mem Day Weekend was no exception.

A few years back, Sarah bought me a new beer. It was brewed at the Haverhill Brewery out of Haverhill, MA and was (and is still) called Whittier White. From the first sip, I knew I had found a very enjoyable late Spring / early Summer beer that I could drink without thinking twice. A quick Google search yielded the fact that they are not only a working brewery, but a brewpub. Naturally, we had to make a trip up North.

Since our first trip, we have been back a two or three times. When we first arrived in downtown Haverhill, where the Tap is located, I noticed that it was directly across the street from my friends Jay and Marcella's former loft apartment. I had passed it several times, and even suggested we visit, but the when I visited Jay and Marcella it was strictly for karaoke at the local Chinese Food joint down the street - Smoooooooth!

But, the first time we pulled into the parking lot, we were overjoyed that they had an outdoor deck. The parking lot, and more importantly the deck, overlook the Merrimack River, which gives this urban setting a rather rural atmosphere that makes me feel at home (I'm a New Hampshire boy). This time was not much different than the first time - a beautiful Friday afternoon, mild temperatures, good food, and cold beer!

Returning to one of our favotire places in Massachusetts, we started this visit with their sampler.

This included the Leatherlips IPA, HaverAle, Whittier White, Three Graces Ale, and another one which escapes me - we have the name in a notebook that is currently missing, but when we find it we'll post the name! The Leatherlips is probably my favorite offering by the Tap, which is a hoppy, bitter beer, not for the novice IPA fan. That's followed by the Whittier White, which is a Belgian style Wit...slightly spicy, tart, and enjoyable. Expect a full review on both beers in the upcoming weeks.

Sarah enjoys the Whittier White as part of the sampler

As we made our way through the sampler, our food arrived. Now, I had posted about the Tap a while back and mentioned they had an awesome menu (I seem to remember anyway), because they do. Their burgers are $7-$10, with all sandwiches $9.99 or under, entrees in the mid teens, and their most expensive food item at $20.99. Beer prices are equally as economical, with an opportunity to "Imperialize" your beer for an extra $0.50.

Enjoying a Leather Lips IPA

It should not go without mention that the deck features one of the best jukeboxes around. Next to Charlie's Kitchen in Harvard Square, and the Drinkers' Pub in Philadelphia, I have not found a better jukebox. Van Halen, Huey Lewis and the News, and Foreigner all find their way to the speakers on any given day/night (yes, they have newer music too).

On this particular visit, they were also brewing a batch of Leatherlips IPA, which for a hop head was like heaven. I got a chance to speak with the brewer, who said he had just added a massive quantity of hops, which helps give the beer its 50 IBUs. This seems rather low for a beer as bitter as the Leatherlips. At any rate, I thoroughly enjoyed walking by the brewhouse to get a whiff of the wonderful hops.

Before we made our exit, I managed to pick up a bottle of the Gesalt Germa-Style Brown Ale as well as their Triskelion Barleywine Style Ale. I also reviewed their Three Graces prior to making this visit, which you can read about here.

We're due at least one more visit before the end of the summer and if you're looking for a great place to enjoy the excellent New England weather, make sure to stop off at the Tap in Haverhill, MA. Whether you're on your way to New Hampshire, Maine, or just happen to be north of Boston, stop in for a bite to eat and a cold pint!

Tap Brew Pub & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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