Tasting Notes with Jim Beauregard: Looking for books, finding beverages

By JIM BEAUREGARD November 22. 2017 1:17AM

Last month I stopped in at the Toadstool Bookshop in Milford, only to discover a new beer and wine shop next door.

It’s called Barley and Hops and is the creation of proprietor Chris Perry, who has done a great job in filling a void in that region with a delightful shop that sells wine, craft beer, and beer-making supplies. This last one is worth thinking about for a holiday gift to the person in your life who always wanted to try their hand at making beer, but may have thought the process too daunting.

Barley & Hops is to be found at Lorden Plaza on Route 101A, just off Route 101 and a stone’s throw from the Toadstool Bookshop. Chris chose that particular location to provide a craft beer shop for the Souhegan Valley, Nashua and points west, or for that matter, for anyone who is travelling along 101 through Milford. The shop boasts some 450 different beers. (And yes, he sells wine in abundance, too.)

Chris told me he opened the shop “partly because I needed a place to make my alcohol infused ice cream, Chris’ Wicked Ice Cream. It was easier to convince my bank to give me a loan for a proven concept such as a bottle shop and include my small ice cream operation in it than just go for ice cream on its own.

“Alcohol infused ice cream is a relatively new category. I have been a home brewer off and on since I was 21 and have always had an interest in beer, and with the production of the ice cream it all seemed like a natural fit.

“I searched all the open spots in southern New Hampshire for a location and this one had it all. Road visibility, a traffic light in and out of the plaza for easy access, and parking. The location was also close to the communities I grew up in and live in, so I feel comfortable here.”

The shop has been open for a year and a half. “The experience has been great, above my expectations,” Chris said. “We have an amazing group of regular customers and new people are finding us every day.”

For more information, visit www.barleyhops.beer. The shop is open seven days a week.

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This week we’ll take a look at two wines I picked up at the shop. Next week, we’ll try some beer.

Guidobono Langhe DOC Nebbiolo, 2015, Italy. 14% alcohol by volume. $17.99 at Barley and Hops, Milford. Nebbiolo is the grape that is used to make Barolo, one of the world’s great wines. But not all Nebbiolo is created equal. Some is directed to everyday-drinking wine, and in some years, when the Nebbiolo crop leaves something to be desired, they will market their wine as Nebbiolo instead of Barolo. In this case, we are looking at a good everyday wine.

Red with predominantly ruby hues, it is dry, of medium acidity, medium alcohol, with medium-plus tannin that is a little too drying on opening — give it 15 or 20 minutes to calm down. The nose is cherry and plum, and the palate adds some strawberry notes as well. 84 points.

Guidobono Barbera D’Alba, Italy, 14% abv, $15.99. Barbera from the Alba region tends to be a lighter, easy-drinking red, and this one fits the bill. It has a deep purple core, going to almost clear at the rim, with good primary fruit on the nose. It’s a dry wine, with medium tannin and acidity, medium body with flavors of raspberry, strawberry, red cherry and red plum.

Contact wine and beer writer Jim Beauregard at tastingnotesnh@aol.com.


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