I happened upon 7th Settlement Brewery while scouting out an overnight stay in nearby Dover, NH. Conveniently located across the street from the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, I stopped off in here while my wife took our little man away for a nap after a busy morning exploring the museum.
The brewery has been open for about three years now and my initial impression based on their online presence and from walking in the door is that they pride themselves as much upon serving up tasty locally sourced food as they do on brewing excellent beer. Seeing as I was going in alone I took a seat at their long bar, though behind me was a large open area with plenty of tables for sitting down to a meal. Before I get into the beer, I will say that their Spicy Blues Burger with blue cheese, chorizo spices, and small batch hot sauce was fantastic and made for a delightfully cheesy, spicy, and slightly messy drinking companion.
But now for the important stuff. The beers on the whole ranged from about average to very good. There were ten or eleven brews pouring the day I visited, and they skewed more towards the maltier end of the spectrum. Having sampled eight of these offerings I feel like I got a pretty good sense of what they had to offer. Of those, two really stood out to me as clear favorites: the Scottish Ale and a Doppelbock brewed in collaboration with Garrison City Beerworks, Dover’s other brewery. The Scottish Ale had a nice smooth, creamy body and tasted of sweet toffee malts mixed with a bit of caramel. What I especially liked was that it did not have any of the roast or smoke that a lot of other beers in this style put on prominent display. When I mentioned this to the bartender, he opined that was the way it should be and I whole-heartedly agree. As for the Doppelbock, well, this was something special. Malty, sweet, and packing a nice bit of heat on the finish, this 8.1% offering seemed like it would make for an ideal way to keep warm on a cold New England day. Although I am on a bit of an (D)IPA spree with my at home drinking, I think it’s refreshing to check out a brewery and come home raving about a scotch ale and a doppelbock.
Rounding out the flight shown above were the Oatmeal Stout, an Irish Dry Stout, the fantastically named Super Centennial Chalmers IPA (bonus points if you get the reference), and their Irish Red which I would rate in the order listed. The Oatmeal Stout was pretty much right on point for the style and the Irish Dry Stout would stand in perfectly for a Guinness, though it had a slight bit more roasted malt to it. The IPA was decent and also happened to be the lone hop-forward beer I had that day (there was one other on tap I didn’t get to). It had some nice floral and grapefruit bitterness going on, but my attention was on other things. As for the Irish Red I liked it just fine, but I don’t have a lot to say about it since it’s not really style I get that excited about.
Before closing out I got in two more samples for good measure. The first of these was from a fresh batch of their flagship 1623 Almighty Brown Ale. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this considering I am not usually that into brown ales. It had a nice light sweetness and mellow roastiness that made it quite easy to drink. This was probably my third favorite beer of the day. As an aside, a bit of history reveals the naming origins of both beer and brewery as 1623 was the year Dover became an official permanent settlement, making it the seventh in what would become the United States. With that established, I ended my visit with the Dover’s Dark Day Porter. It featured a subtle blend of sweet malts, mild roast, and bittersweet chocolate that provided a solid finish to a very tasty lunch break.
As you might have guessed, I had an excellent time here enjoying plenty of good beer and good food served up by a friendly and knowledgeable bartender. I really enjoyed that the offerings were more on the traditional and malt-centric side of things. While my refrigerator can certainly attest to me liking those trendy hazy DIPAs as much as the next enthusiast, I appreciated going to a place proudly doing something different from the rest of the pack. While 7th Settlement may not provide the fix thrill-seekers or hop-juice heads are after, they are serving up some quality beers that are both tasty and approachable. Definitely check them out if you’re in the area. I certainly hope to be back.