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Derry brewers take home gold, bronze

Union Leader Correspondent

July 10. 2014 8:05PM
Paul Kelly, co-founder of Kelsen Brewing Co., stirs up some Paradigm Brown Ale on Thursday at the business at 1 Madden Road in Derry. (HUNTER McGEE/Union Leader Correspondent)

DERRY — One of the newest craft breweries in the Granite State, Kelsen Brewing Co., captured two medals in the recent 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship.

The company took home a Gold Medal for its Paradigm Brown Ale in the category of American Brown Ale; and its Double Battle Axe Imperial IPA took home the Bronze Medal in the category of Imperial IPA.

The beer championship announced the winners over the July Fourth weekend. Breweries from Australia to Iceland sent in more than 3,000 beers and ciders for the championship, according to a news release.

As home brewers, co-founders Paul Kelly and Erik Olsen knew they had found something special in the brown ale they crafted, Kelly said Wednesday. They tried to develop their own unique brand of beer and spent many hours doing research to perfect their product.

“We kept researching and researching and making better beers,” Kelly said. “And we really made some great beers with unique flavors.”

They upgraded their brewing system and started discussing the idea of bringing their beer to the marketplace. When the brewery opened in March, they were eager to sell the Paradigm Brown Ale.

“We thought it had a chance to be a standout beer on the professional level,” Kelly said. “This Gold Medal is great validation for us that this beer is something special.”

As for the Double Battle Axe brew, Olsen said they focused on developing an intense hop flavor and aroma, while keeping the bitterness smooth and balanced.

“We are thrilled that the international judging panel agreed with our approach,” Olsen said.

The company also sells Spacetown Pale Ale and Battle Axe IPA from the brewery at 1 Madden Road.

Kelsen is a small brewery that produces approximately 500 barrels of beer a year, Kelly said. Because of its size, the company is focused solely on the Granite State, he said.

“Currently, we are so small that we really can’t look outside of the state of New Hampshire,” said Kelly, adding that they do have plans to grow the business.

He and Olsen have reviewed some of the milestones the company achieved in just four months and have had conversations about where the business is headed. As they continue to grow, they plan to add bigger equipment, he said.

“Ultimately, one day we would like to be distributing in the other New England states and possibly beyond,” Kelly said.

Kelsen Brewing is distributed only by New Hampshire Craft Alliance, which includes Bellavance Beverage Co., Clarke Distributors, White Mountain Distributors and New Hampshire Distributors.

For more information on Kelsen, visit

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