Throwback Brewery: A Farm to Beer Vision
The moment you turn onto Hobbs Road in North Hampton, New Hampshire, it’s impossible to ignore the Throwback Brewery sign welcoming guests to the prodigious farm. It’s incredible to see the brewery’s progress from their original location, a modest-size warehouse with just enough room for a counter, a few tables, and a limited amount of brewing space. The initial brewing machine was referred to as the “Franken- Brewery” alluding to the different tanks the owners, Nicole Carrier and Annette Lee, put together to build the system. It all started 15 years ago when Nicole and Annette’s friends were home brewing and the owners decided to try it out for themselves. “We both fell in love with brewing but for totally different reasons. I love to cook and come up with recipe development while Annette is an engineer who is interested in problem solving, science, and figuring things out.”
Simply walking up the path to the restored 1860s farmhouse sets the perfect ambiance for their farm to beer concept with chickens roaming the grounds alongside a Hops Farm taking up almost an entire acre. The Hops Farm is still a work in progress, as it takes a total of three years for the unique plant to mature. As it evolves, the plant grows straight upward along the wires it’s attached to, taking the form of a very tall tree. “We reused everything we could from the farm. The contractors were very excited but also extremely challenged by this project,” Carrier says of their vision to keep as much of the original farm as they could. The bar is made from wood on the property, the slate from the roof is used for the charcuterie plate, and the bathroom doors are sheep doors from the old sheep farm.
The large family-style tables where guests seat themselves and bar-counter service gives the restaurant a laid back feel. Rather than names or numbers of tables to keep track of the guests, the brewery uses famous character bobble heads for their tabs. A giant garage door window lets in plenty of light and allows the guests full view of the breathtaking farm landscape. They have 12 rotating beers on tap with a range of original flavors and styles to quench every visitor’s thirst. To the right of the bar are signs that list where each local cheese from the charcuterie plate originates.
Not only does Throwback use only local ingredients in their food and beer, they also compost all of their food waste. The grains used for the brews are then baked into the homemade bread, desserts, and rolls. The jalapenos they use in their delicious “Spicy Bohemian Pilsener” are later used in food items on the menu. Any of the waste that can’t be used for compost is shipped off to provide feed for local pigs. While Throwback grows many crops on their farm including rhubarb, apples, plums, and many more items that they use in the beer and restaurant, they will always continue to work with and support local farms. According to Carrier, no matter how large the farm gets, there are still many local farmers whose expertise is needed to grow specialty crops. Something the farm would like to own one day, though, are pigs. “We will raise the pigs and feed them the grains we use in the beer, then the pigs will be used as food. It all comes around full circle.”