For nine years running, New England Brewfest has assembled a coterie of craft breweries to get more than 100 taps flowing with their unique creations. This year, the event includes 30 breweries, and each of them will treat every guest through the gates with complimentary samples of small-batch beverages and reasonably priced high-fives. Exhibitors range from Magic Hat and Peak Organic Brewing Company to Angry Orchard Hard Cider and Twisted Tea. You can also take in brewing demonstrations and learn about the creation of items such as beer-infused jelly.
Organizers require that guests present ID at the entrance, and recommend bringing a folding chair and comfortable dancing shoes. These items come in handy when absorbing the sweet rhythms of live music acts such as the Rustic Overtones and Air Traffic Controller.
Wolfe City Brick Oven Pizza’s artisan chefs flip, top, and bake thin-crust masterpieces cloaked in a choice of six different cheeses. The multitudinous menu imparts the memoir of pizzas made from whole-wheat dough ($9.99), which features the recurring characters of fruits, meats, and veggies ($1.50 each traditional, $2.50 each gourmet) and conveys a delicious dénouement. Those who prefer pre-designed pies can sample expertly concocted combos such as the Two Men from Tuftonboro's italian sausage and pepperoni ($14.99) or the Wolfe City Nacho Pizza's bacon, veggies, and alfredo sauce ($14.99). Dessert pizzas assume the identities of classic post-dinner bites, including bananas foster ($12.99) and s'mores ($8.99), and beers, wines, and sodas slake artichoke-induced thirsts. Wolfe City's chefs can convert dough into gluten-free compositions quicker than Clark Kent's switch into Superman or Spiderman's transformation into Sir Edmund Hillary ($12.99).
The original owner of the picturesque two-story house—a daffodil-hued farmhouse with hunter-green shutters and a matching front door—invited guests into his makeshift tavern for a bowl of porridge and a nap at 12 cents a pop. More than 220 years later, the house in Bristol still entertains a revolving door of guests as The Homestead Restaurant. Inside, a brick fireplace radiates warmth across tables scattered with teriyaki-glazed steaks and alaskan king-crab legs dipped in drawn butter. The chefs also swaddle meatloaf wellington in a puff-pastry shell, and peppercorns burst sharply across sirloin with brandy and cream sauce. A dedicated gluten-free menu caters to diners with health issues or a tendency to remember the terrifying dinner-roll scene in Jaws.
A second location of The Homestead Restaurant in Merrimack is just as inviting inside with exposed wooden beams, an antlered chandelier, and a second-floor bar affording a perfect eagle’s-eye view of the tables below.
When the Ray Family re-opened the newly renovated Weirs Beach Lobster Pound in 2008, they continued a legacy that dates back to 1973. That was the year that then-owner Skip Maclean steamed his first lobster, turning a small eatery into a local favorite for fresh seafood. Today, the restaurant's Maine lobsters continue to attract diners, whether they're served whole or transformed into bisque, classic rolls, or decadent mac 'n' cheese. Weirs Beach Lobster Pound also serves hand-cut New York strip steaks—the seafood of the land—and Italian dishes such as house-made pasta and thin crust pizza. Should the aquatic fare make diners dream of the water, they can stop by the restaurant's roof deck patio to take in views of Lake Winnipesaukee.
At Fratello’s, a wood-fired brick oven bakes bubbles into pizza dough as chefs sauté shrimp with fresh garlic, butter, and white wine. Aside from serving nine varietals of pizza, the 16,000-square-foot restaurant stays busy cooking up the hearty sandwiches, pasta dishes, and antipasto that fill their menu of casual Italian eats. Connected to the restaurant is an event facility, where Fratello’s caters events such as weddings, holiday parties, and baby’s-first-burp celebrations.