As part of our quest to visit every brew pub in the Granite State, on a recent weekend we ventured to New London to give the Flying Goose Brewpub and Grille a try. The Flying Goose is a popular destination for those going to or leaving the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region, so it is no surprise that our friends who regularly don skis gave us a heads up about it.
When we arrived, it was quite crowded, so we were given the option of waiting for a table in the dining area or immediately sitting at a high-top table in the bar. We chose to sit in the bar. I almost immediately regretted it as I looked over to the dining area and glimpsed the spectacular view outside the back windows — we definitely weren’t in southern New Hampshire anymore.
We can imagine that during the winter, staring out at the snowy mountains, this must be quite a cozy place. The overall ambience is that of a hunting lodge, especially in the bar. There’s definitely an after-ski atmosphere.
If you can tear your gaze away from the mountains and look closer, you’ll also notice the pub’s solar panels, installed in 2011, that power the brewery that produces upward of 17 beers, available only on-site and in growlers to take home.
The Flying Goose not only offers a number of brews, but also has a decent variety of options on their food menu that we mulled for a while. Our server, who appeared quite rushed for most of the evening, took our beer order and we decided to share two appetizers: the Chef’s Jalapeno Chips ($7.99) and Ginger Steak Bites ($9.99).
The chips were coated in a soft pretzel breading, fried, and served with ranch dressing for dipping. Unlike a “popper,” this is not a hollowed out jalapeno pepper. Instead there are chunks of jalapeno mixed in with cream cheese, and these are not your run-of-the-mill pickled jalapeno. These are fresh chunks of the pepper capable of setting off your body’s fire alarm system with one good bite. If you like hot peppers and think poppers are too mild, these are worth a try. The Dining Companion especially liked the surprisingly bold Parmesan flavor of the crisps. We appreciated the unexpected twist on a pub favorite.
While we both enjoyed the jalapeno chips, the ginger steak bites were a disappointment. Billed as sautéed steak tips in a ginger soy sauce topped with melted cheddar ale cheese, they certainly looked tasty, covered in gooey cheese. But the steak was overcooked and hard to chew. The sauce was overly salty and lacked the ginger flavor we were hoping for.
My entree was more successful. I ordered the Pan Seared Scallops ($24.99) — sea scallops seared with sesame oil, scallions and garlic. The scallops were served with choice of potato (I chose mashed) and a vegetable medley of summer squash, red peppers and zucchini. I enjoyed the flavor the garlic and sesame oil added to the dish, although the chef was a bit heavy-handed with the oil, which pooled on the plate. And the garlic didn’t overwhelm the scallops, but instead was a suitable complement. The scallops could have used a bit more sear, but overall were well prepared and tasted fresh.
TDC ordered the Potter Place Pork ($16.99), a 14-hour slow smoked pork covered in a cider barbecue sauce. TDC said the pork was definitely tender covered in and surrounded by its own juices.w There were also a couple of bites that packed a real smoky flavor. He was surprised by the sweetness of the cider sauce. He was less impressed by the side dishes — baked beans, coleslaw, and corn bread — which came off as more of an afterthought without much flavor, and the corn was flat out bland.
The dessert menu didn’t yield any surprises, so we chose our favorites.
TDC had the Brownie Sundae ($5.99), which was served in a large bowl packed with warm brownie pieces mixed with ice cream and blanketed in hot fudge, whipped cream and a drizzling of caramel sauce. The warm, soft brownie stood in tasty contrast to the cold ice cream in this dessert, which dared you with its generous portion to enjoy it through the last bite. TDC did.
The Tiramisu ($5.49), described as ladyfingers soaked in coffee liqueur layered with a mascarpone cheese frosting and dusted with cocoa powder, caught my eye. I expected a traditional tiramisu but was served something more akin to a tiramisu cake where the mascarpone frosting was the star of the dish. This wasn’t a bad thing necessarily, but it didn’t have the bold espresso flavor that I look for. It was creamy and delicious, but a bit too sweet for my taste, no doubt due to all that frosting.
We’d be doing a disservice if we didn’t mention the beer. We sampled three different brews: the Heidelberg Hefeweizen, a light Bavarian wheat beer; the Blueberry Wheat, an American-style wheat ale with a hint of blueberry; and the rich and dark Crockett’s Corner Oatmeal Stout.
While our reviews on the food are mixed, we strongly recommend their beer offerings, all of which we thought had a great flavor and wished we could buy closer to home. We’ve tried a great number of beers the Granite State has to offer, and we think these are some of the best. If you live or are planning a trip to the Sunapee area, and you enjoy good beer, a stop by the Flying Goose is definitely in order.