Visitors to one of the Woodstock Inn Brewery's Brewer's Weekends can help making some of the inn's beers and learn more about craft-brewing.
A lot of craft beer drinkers would love to brew the beers they drink but they either don't have the time or the technical know-how to homebrew.
The Woodstock Inn Brewery in North Woodstock, N.H., has a solution -- Brewer's Weekends at the inn.
"It's all instructional learning throughout the weekend," said brewery spokesman Garrett Smith. "It's really a melee of food and pitchers of beer."
The Woodstock Inn Brewery started as an inn in 1983, and added the brewery in 1995.
"We were one of the largest Samuel Adams accounts in New Hampshire, and we had all of these crazy craft beers on draft and noticed better beer was selling really good, so we added the brewery," Smith said.
During the Brewer's Weekend, which is run on certain weekends during the fall and spring, the inn hosts 20 people at a time and typically sells out, Smith said.
The weekend begins on Friday with a reception featuring Woodstock beers and food.
It continues on Saturday morning with a 7 a.m. wake-up call and breakfast, then the wannabe brewers head into the brewery and work with head brewer Butch Chase to make some of the Woodstock beers.
Lunch is next and then back to the brewery for a few more hours of work before another night of beer and food.
"On Saturday night we have a five-course beer dinner," said Smith. "We pair all the food with beers, not necessarily with our own beers. It's a great time. We have live entertainment every weekend."
If you can't make it up for a Brewer's Weekend, the inn is still open year-round and has an on-site brewpub and brewery tours every day at noon.
But if you just don't want to go to New Hampshire, several of Woodstock Inn Brewery's beers are available.
The most popular beer (and probably the best) is the Pig's Ear Brown Ale, a traditional English-style brown ale.
"It's probably 80 percent of our sales," said Smith. "It's won many of our awards."
The Pig's Ear is a spot-on example of what an English-style brown ale should be. It has a nuttiness to it, and it's sweet from the malts. Hops are nearly non-existent; only there to give it a little balance. And it's low in alcohol, coming in at 4.4 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), making it easy to have a few in one sitting.
"It goes great with barbecue and comfort food," Smith said.
The brewery's oldest beer is the Red Rack Ale, a red ale.
Again, like the brown ale, this is spot on. This is a malty beer. There's some caramel flavors from the malt as well as some roasted notes and a little bit of bitterness in the background, again just enough to provide balance to the sweetness.
Also available is the Pemi Pale Ale, named for the Pemi River that runs across the street from the inn, Smith said.
"This is an English-style pale ale brewed with American hops," he said. "It's a pretty hoppy pale ale. I think it pairs well with spicy food, like Mexican or pizza."
Next to the Pig's Ear Brown Ale, the Kanc County Maple Porter is Woodstock's most popular beer. This 5.6 percent ABV porter is made with local maple syrup that is produced two buildings over from the brewery, Smith said.
There are also several seasonal beers available, including the White Mountain Raspberry Weasel Wheat, Wassail Ale and the Autumn Ale Brew.
The Autumn Ale, made with apple and cinnamon, is a destination beer, Smith said.
"It's wacky and wild," he said. "It cranks. People drive from all over New England to come here and get growlers (64-ounce jugs) of it." There are several brewery-only beers available at the Woodstock Inn's brewpub, including the popular Old Man Oatmeal Stout, Smith said.
The Woodstock Inn Brewery is off Exit 32 off Interstate 93. The inn has 33 guest rooms in five different buildings. For more information about the inn, brewery and Brewer's Weekend, visit www.woodstockinnbrewery.com.
Norman Miller is a Daily News staff writer. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-626-3823. Check out The Beer Nut blog at http://blogs.wickedlocal.com/beernut/ or follow the Beer Nut at his Twitter page at www.twitter.com/realbeernut.