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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Brewery is just around the corner

October 16. 2016 9:32PM
In the Great North Aleworks tasting room, host Mike Horn, right, talks with Jenna Metros and Brad Foster of Vermont. The brewery and tasting room are at 1050 Holt Ave. in Manchester. (BRUCE TAYLOR/UNION LEADER)

You have probably heard about how some of these new millennial-run startups actually have beer available to their employees while they are working. Seriously — tapped kegs — right there in the office.

Someone in my office recently suggested “Beer Fridays” as a possible morale-boosting, camaraderie-building benefit for New Hampshire Union Leader employees. But then we thought about what the next paper could end up looking like and decided being accurate was more important than being hip. But I recently discovered the next best thing to a tap in the office — a brewery around the corner.

Great North Aleworks is quite literally a hidden gem. It has operated its brewery and a tasting room at 1050 Holt Ave., just .2 miles away from my office, for just over a year. And I’ve never seen it before.

I guess I am not looking hard enough. Brian Parda — in charge of Great North Aleworks’ sales and marketing — said many people from surrounding businesses and neighborhoods have already stumbled upon the tasting room, and stop in after work during regular tasting hours. Then there are the craft beer enthusiasts and home brewers who seek it out.

Parda said the craft beer scene and beer tourism is hot right now, and brewers need to be open and accessible to be successful.

“People want to see where the beer is made, and experience the culture of the brewery,” he said. “They want to peek behind the curtain and see what is going on.”

My co-worker and I paid a visit to our favorite new neighbors on a recent Friday afternoon. Parda gave us a tour, where we got to see Great North Aleworks Tie Dyed pale get canned before shipment to many grocery and specialty beer stores around the state. We may have tasted a little too.

The tasting room is open Thursdays and Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. Regular brewery tours are held Saturdays at 1 and 3 p.m. or by appointment for groups of 10 or more. Tasting room visitors can sit at the bar or a table to enjoy pints or sample flights of the brewer’s regular and seasonal flavors. There is a limited food menu, and locally made Squamscot Sodas for the kids.

The space is clean and inviting, with no televisions to distract craft beer lovers from talking about their favorite beverage and other interests. Parda said they have regular groups who stop in to play some of the traditional board games available. Others stop in for a growler or six pack to take home.

To learn more about Great North Aleworks history and owners, Rob and Lisa North, and to see their list of award-winning flavors, visit

An excuse to visit

QC Bike Collective is inviting the public to a “QC Bike – How it works” event at Great North Aleworks on Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The collective, at 373 Union St., provides space, tools, and equipment for community members to repair their bicycles at minimal cost, with the help of bike mechanics. They also accept donated bicycles, salvage useful parts and recycle them, or return bikes to working order and sell them at an affordable price to fund the collective.

Attendees to the Great North Aleworks event can learn more about QC Bike Collective while they sample beer and take a tour of the brewery. Those who travel to the event by bike will get a free drink ticket from QC Bike Collective. To register, visit

Night at the museum

Our city’s history is joining forces with its future as the Manchester Historic Association and the Manchester Young Professionals Network come together for a fun event next week.

The “Night at the Museum” themed costume party on Friday, Oct. 28, will serve as both a major fundraiser for the historic association and the 12th birthday celebration for MYPN. Held at the Millyard Museum, attendees can bid on silent auction prizes, meet costumed reenactors of Manchester’s history, and enjoy food, live music, dancing, and a costume contest.

Tickets for the 7 to 11 p.m. event are only $25 and can be purchased at

One of the best

I can now say I have tasted some of the best chocolate on the continent as Dancing Lion Chocolate has been named one of the Top 10 Chocolatiers in North America for 2016. Congratulations to Master Chocolatier Richard Tango-Lowy, who was recognized for his work at his Elm Street shop and café at a recent ceremony at the Institute for Culinary Education in Manhattan.

The Top 10 list was prepared by Dessert Professional, a renowned magazine for everything pastry, confectionery and chocolate.

Seasonal sips

I love the theme of this year’s Tasting and Benefit Auction to benefit our local YMCAs. Attendees of the Thursday, Oct. 27, “Seasonal Sips” will stroll through each of New England’s unique seasons and sample delicious food and beverages. This is the 10th anniversary of the event that benefits the Granite YMCA’s Reach Out for Youth and Families campaign.

It will be held at the new Falls Event Center adjacent to La Quinta Inn. Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased by visiting and clicking on “Giving.”

NH365.ORG Event of the Week

Are you an amazing performer, who can’t quite sing? Catholic Charities New Hampshire wants you to compete in its Lip Sync Battle at the Radisson Hotel this Friday, Oct. 21.

Even those who don’t compete can attend the event and enjoy drinks, appetizers and dancing, as they text to vote for their favorite performer.

Host Paul Landwehr, a stand-up comedian who has opened for Gilbert Gottfried and Lenny Clarke, will start the night off with a comedy performance.

Contestants will compete for a year-long family membership to Envy SportClub and Cafe in Manchester, which is valued at almost $900.

The event starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 each, or $25 per couple. Proceeds support Catholic Charities New Hampshire’s programs.

For information on how to compete, visit

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