With its three basic ingredients?honey, water, and yeast?the making of mead sounds misleadingly simple. But Michael Fairbrother tinkered with the recipe for this ancient drink in his garage for 17 years before he felt ready to open Moonlight Meadery and share the results. Michael has fine-tuned the fermentation process to craft batches of mead from ethically sourced, unpasteurized honey, which imparts each sip with rich color, vivid aromas, and the pleasant buzz that bees make while wading into a hot tub. Michael?s traditional mead rests side by side with fruit-tinged and spiced varietals that meld flavors such as tart rhubarb and Madagascar-bourbon vanilla beans with New Hampshire wildflower honey.
The inspiration for Zorvino Vineyards came to Jim and Cheryl Zanello in the same way it does for many American vintners—from a trip to Italy. Taken by the contrast in the quality of the wines and the pace of life between the two countries, the Zanellos brought over their own taste of the old country to an 80-acre New England estate. With grapes sourced both from their own vineyard and such regions as Tuscany, Chile, and California, the pair crafts a suite of red, white, and fruit wines that they sell on site and proffer to local restaurants and merchants. However, the winery itself is worth a trip, with its wrought-iron gate, lantern posts that seem to grow out of empty casks, and swarms of fireflies that send Morse code recommendations for the best wine to pair with salmon. Inside the tasting room, guests lean on hardwood banisters as they sip samples of the winery’s creations.
Owner Svetlana Yanushkevich has spent the majority of her life surrounded by wine. She grew up on the southern peninsula of Ukraine, in a territory renowned for its 2,000-year-old winemaking tradition. After moving to the US in 2002, she built upon that foundation by managing wine programs at prestigious restaurants and earning a diploma from the renowned Wine and Spirit Education Trust in London.
In 2010, Svetlana added "wine-shop owner" to an already impressive r?sum? when she opened the doors to WineNot Boutique, winner of The Hippo magazines Best Wine Shop in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Today, WineNot Boutique's visitors gather to enjoy tastes from around the globe and, perhaps most importantly, benefit from Svetlana's wealth of knowledge. This year, Svetlana has partnered with local merchants to host a 7-night guided tour of one of the world's most renowned winemaking regions, as well. Collectible wines, artisan cheeses, and gourmet foods parade across the shop's shelves, and wine education events, such as weekly complimentary tastings, let novices ingest loads of wine-related facts without having to eat the pages of their Wine for Dummies book.
Amy LaBelle has come a long way since she made her first batch of blueberry wine in her Boston apartment. She's taken classes in the Wine and Viticulture program at UC Davis in California and added cranberry, apple, peach, and 23 other varieties of other fruit and grape wine to her repertoire. Her first bottles were so popular that they sold out at local shops and farmers' markets. This was also when Amy began collecting her numerous awards. But her biggest achievement was opening her eponymous winery in a new state-of-the-art facility in late 2012.
Today, Amy and her husband Cesar Arboleda continue to run the winemaking process. Besides production equipment, their facility houses a sleek tasting room where guests can sample wines such as the bold Red Alchemy, the maple-finished Granite State Apple, and the signature Dry Apple. The bottles pair perfectly with dishes at Bistro at LaBelle Winery, which serves French-style cuisine in a warm, family-friendly setting. And visitors who find themselves inspired by Amy's can-do spirit can purchase items from The Winemaker's Kitchen, a line of culinary products that includes wine-infused jellies and wine-infused cooking wines such as the Jalapeno Cooking Wine and Sweet Onion Cooking Wine.
After the Stark Mill brewery closed, many feared Manchester would fall victim to the unchecked infiltration of commercial and contract beers. Determined to save New Hampshire's Queen City from such a foamy fate, master brewer Peter Telge gathered his wits, a group of supporters, and 20 years of brewing experience to reopen the historic Millyard District brewery under the name Milly's Tavern. Now operating as a brewpub, Milly's is home to a passionate staff that serves up juicy burgers, baby-back ribs, and beer-battered fish 'n' chips alongside microbrews crafted in the onsite brewery.
Milly's microbrews are pure works of art, even earning the 2009 Readers' Poll award for Best Local Microbrew from New Hampshire Magazine (not to be outdone, their chili won as well). The all-natural brewing process begins with imported malted barley, sometimes up to 1,300 pounds of it, depending on the beer. After stirring the barley by hand and singing it to sleep with a lullaby, brewers blend it with hops from Washington’s Yakima Valley and Europe’s agricultural hotspots. An Old World–style fire heats the brewing system, caramelizing the sugar to imbue batches with unique and subtle flavors. Milly's always keeps at least 12 beers on tap, ranging from cream ales and IPAs to stouts, porters, and seasonal brews.
Milly's is not just a place to relax and enjoy a leisurely pint. At night, the eatery transforms into a nightclub and lounge, treating guests to DJ tunes, live entertainment, and local musical acts. When not setting the scene for evening revelry, the space can be used to host affairs for up to 100 people, with special catering options available.:
Along the rows of Candia Vineyards, unique grapes grow fat on the vine before eventually transforming in to some of New England's best award-winning wines. Available on the premises most days, they offer a wide selection of wines, ranging from traditional dry wines to the most fruit-forward and exotic, to nearly extinct heritage vines from the 1800?s, and aromatic new varietals. At Candia Vineyards, the owner prides himself on a more intimate experience for guests, as he personally greets guests and offers a tasting for two, amidst the tanks of the winery.