Schilling Beer Co. is one of those places that have been on my radar for a while now. Eric (my boss at 20 Railroad Public House) usually had Schilling Beer on tap—typically their Alexandr 10 Czech-Style Pilsner. It was light, crisp, refreshing and with just enough of a hop bite to make it decidedly interesting. So when me & Chris happened to stop through Littleton, NH, we knew we had to check out the Shilling Brewpub (we were going to stay in the White Mountains, but there's no service... so no blog posts..), and we're so happy we stopped by.
Littleton, NH is...adorable. It's the most picturesque & quaint New England town, right on the Vermont border, and nestled between the Connecticut & Ammonoosuc Rivers. Right in the heart of it all, Schilling Beer Co. stands proud, overlooking the scenic Ammonoosuc River. A family-run brewery, founded by four brothers & their father with a few close family friends, Schilling Beer Co. is brewing traditional Old World recipes, with New World flair. Their operation spans across two adjacent buildings, black & red. In the black building you'll find their brewery, a custom-built brewhouse where all the magic begins. In the same building you'll find their merchandise store & tasting room, with tall ceilings and even taller glass windows. The tasting room has seating inside as well as spectacular views of the river, and a small courtyard with picnic tables down below. Me & Chris started our Schilling excursion here, sharing an eight-piece sampling of all the beers they currently had. And believe me, the beer was just as exciting as the view.
The line-up for Schilling that day were as follows: The Alexandr 10 Czech-style pilsner, Schlaumeier Bavarian Hefeweizen, Modernism Czech-style dark lager, Poppy's Moonship on Apricot & Tangerine Leipziger-style Gose, Bouffant tropical DIPA (double IPA), Erastus Abbey-Style Tripel, Hop Weave #3 IPA, and Grafton Metro American Lager. Each beer had descriptions to go along with it, not that it was needed. Each beer was better than the last, and distinctly it's own! The Bavarian Hefeweizen I sucked right down, light yet flavorful with notes of banana & clove that kept me wanting more. Or their Czech style dark lager, brewed with dark toasted malts & sweet molasses. Roasty & delicious with a faint but lingering earthy hop taste. Plus their Grafton Metro, the American Lager, is the perfect beer for a summer day, or as Chris would say the perfect lawnmower beer. Now, as a general rule of thumb, I tend to gravitate to the lighter, European styled beers. Once upon a time in Salem State, I found out I was allergic to hops, making beer off-limits to me for years (7 to be exact). As luck would have it, my allergies changed and I was able to finally break into the beer world (although now the thought of spring makes me congested). It's been about three years now that I've been drinking beer, but IPAs are still something that I steer away from. But I think that might be changing. I could not get enough of Schilling's Tropical DIPA! It was bitter, but smooth with just the right amount of sweetness to back it up. Even their Hop Weave #3 IPA will satisfy your tastebuds—even if you're not an IPA drinker, like me!
Once you find your perfect pour, you can leave the tasting room, and head on over to the red building next door, and get some food to pair with your beer at the main restaurant. Immediately you are greeted by their outdoor area; six picnic tables with umbrellas right in front, and a covered porch on the left side of the building, with four, extra wide picnic tables. Great for sharing plates. There have been so many times I wanted to share a bunch of food with friends, only to find that the tables are barely big enough to fit 2 plates—but not here! They even had heated lamps on the porch, to squeeze the most out of Fall. Inside, You'll find a warm dimly lit restaurant with a bar, hightops, huge benches, and plenty of 4-tops all snug & cozy underneath big wooden beams in this converted 19th century mill. They served all the same beer from the tasting room, so we grabbed our favorites in pints, and now, let's try out some food!
Wood-fired pizzas seem to be their specialty, so it only makes sense to try it! We went with the pulled chicken, New Hampshire maple syrup and bacon pizza. A sweet & salty perfection. Their traditional Neapolitan pizza was light, crispy and with just the right amount of crunch. Schilling even offers gluten-free pizza crusts, made with three-cheese gluten-free dough from Against The Grain Gourmet, a local Vermont company. Next up, we got the German Bratwurst—I'm a sucker for a good bratwurst. What makes Schilling's even better, is that the 'bun' of the bratwurst was a homemade pretzel twist! The outside of the bun was crunchy, but the inside was so soft & warm—I inhaled the bratwurst, but not before I added some house-made condiments. Provided with the bratwurst, were their house-made beer mustard, a wonderfully spicy & tangy addition. Also served on the side came sauerkraut and a salad with a house maple balsamic vinaigrette. The only thing that could make this meal better, was another bratwurst....oh wait, it's served with two! And with all of those fixings included, it was only $12.75. Best brewery ever! With all these European-inspired beers & sausages. I had a hankering for some pretzels, that the bratwurst couldn't satisfy. Thankfully Schilling had our back. Their house-made pretzel twist is the perfect appetizer. Egg washed, sprinkled with kosher salt, and accompanied by your choice of beer mustard, beer cheese, or ranch dip (all made in-house). I think all of you know what I went with—yes, the hot & savory housemade beer cheese! The pretzel was soft, warm, pillowy, like light & salty clouds of heaven. Then dipped in the warm beer cheese? I could eat 14 more of these, they were so delicious. I was heartbroken when I had my last bite. I tried to savor it as long as possible, but alas, I'll press on.
The beers here at Schilling Beer Co. are truly unique, a class all of their own. The IPA's were different and satisfying, so much so that....I may be an IPA drinker now? Who knows, but I am truly grateful we stopped here. The beer alone will wow you, unlike any other brewery—I literally loved them all. I couldn't even pick a favorite, I was so torn. Every single beer was so different than the next. And coupled with their amazing wood-fired pizzas & dazzling views of the Ammonoosuc River? The next time you drive by the White Mountains, stop in Littleton, NH. Come to Schilling Beer Co. You may need several hours, to try all of their offerings on hand, but it is time worth spending. I'm sure happy we did!
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