Two years ago, Frank and Maryann Zagami were visiting one of their favorite beer bars in Hampton, NH, Blue Lobster Brewing Company, when they crossed paths and became friends (later partners) with brewer Dave Sakolsky. The trio is behind Deciduous Brewing Company, the new craft brewery and tasting room launching this July in Newmarket, New Hampshire.
The husband and wife team had already been chewing on the idea of getting in on the craft beer game. Obsessives for New England suds, the couple planned camping excursions with their kids around exploring small breweries, squeezing a visit or two in along the way. After an intelligence-gathering sojourn to the beer cities of Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA, they were now on the hunt for someone from inside the brewing world to possibly partner up with so they could get their own brewery off the ground.
It was at Blue Lobster that Sakolsky forged his brewing chops after a series of impressive residencies under the tutelage of seasoned pros. First came a six-month stint at White Birch Brewing in 2011, followed by an apprenticeship under Shaun Hill, owner and brewmaster of the much hyped (for good reason) Hill Farmstead Brewery in Vermont. All the while he continued with his homebrewing projects focusing on crisp, delicate flavor profiles.
“Maryann and I had a love of craft beer and wanted to get into the industry, and we’re all pretty uncompromising,” says Frank Zagami. “When it comes down to what we wanted, we talked to Dave one day, and things just went on from there. Last fall everything came together, and here we are.”
Deciduous will produce under 2,000 barrels per year, placing them in the nano-brewery category as defined by NH state law, while the tasting room with fireplace lounge and growler filling station will fuel the product lifespan in the beginning. Additionally they already have keg commitments with bars in Maine (Kittery, York, Portland), and New Hampshire (Portsmouth, Concord, Newmarket), and Zagami and Sakolsky say they plan to have test batches out on or around the Fourth of July weekend, with the retail shop opening around the same timeframe.
“We’ll have some stuff out on draft potentially; it depends on how this test batch goes of course,” says Sakolsky. “But if it goes well we’ll put out what we have of it on draft. That will be before the tasting room is open. As long as everything is golden with the test batch we’re going to [fill] everything we [have] in here and open the tasting room.”
Located 10 minutes to downtown Portsmouth, and right along the central Newmarket drag for nightlife, the tasting room will provide four-ounce tasters of the beers—with styles ranging from a Table American Pale Ale, to a simple dry hopped Blonde Ale, to a Wheat IPA and a peat smoked dry Porter—as well as 750ml corked and caged bottles. There will also be 750ml growler fills as well.
“We want it to be vineyard style, where you have a tasting room to come in and be comfortable, and try great beer,” says Zagami. “But it’s not a bar where you can come in and get drunk. We don’t serve you enough beer to do that. We’ll give you plenty to go home with.”
Sakolsky says they’ll be on a cycle spitting out a new beer or batch every other week once the barrels and production process are up and running, and have a nice full cellar looking at around 800 barrels a year. But the idea, as the brewery name suggests, is constant growth and cyclical change. That will involve a whole lineup of 100-percent brett beers and brett saisons, Russian imperial stouts, as well as a progressive in-barrel bacteria program.
When asked if the process of getting a brewery open from the ground up has illuminated the formerly shadowy inner workings of the American craft beer movement, both Zagami and Sakolsky are quick to laugh and shrug it off.
“The whole ‘craft beer movement’ is dictating a fad, not anything else,” says Sakolsky. “Everything is a ‘movement’ these days. If a bunch of people get together and do similar things it’s a ‘movement.’ Has nothing to do with [movements]. It’s nice for business, and we like the popularity, but it wouldn’t change a whole lot for us if people didn’t. We just like what we do, and we chose to do it.”
DECIDUOUS BREWING COMPANY. 12 WEAVER ST., SUITE B, NEWMARKET, NH. FOR MORE INFORMATION, FOLLOW THEM ON TWITTER, OR VISIT FACEBOOK.COM/DECIDUOUSBREW