With more than 70 craft breweries spread across the state (and new ones opening seemingly every week), it’s no secret that New Hampshire is home to some great beer. To help you get to know some of the Granite State’s favorite sudsy spots, we’re continuing a series of “Meet the Brewer” profiles to introduce you to our top-notch New Hampshire breweries and the men and women behind them.
For our latest profile, meet Ralph Shackett. Ralph is the founder and head brewer of Shackett’s Brewing Company in Bristol. The Shackett’s Brewing Co. that we know and love today is a far cry from its humble beginnings as a one-barrel weekend hobby business. Read on to learn all about Ralph’s love of brewing and Bristol, and how Shackett’s Brewing Company is a hidden gem of the Lakes Region.
About the Brewer:
Ralph Shackett: Head Custodian, Brewer, Chef, Bartender, owner.
NHM: How did you get into the brewing business?
RS: I began home brewing in 1991 because I couldn’t find the beer styles I wanted to drink. In 2014 I opened a one-barrel system as a hobby business. This was open summers and Saturday evenings as I was teaching high school biology full time. I retired from teaching after 25 years in 2017 and began renovations on the new location. I became a full-time brewer in April of 2018.
RS: I grew up in Bristol. I’m a third-generation resident of the town. The water here is amazing for brewing. I wouldn’t want to do this anywhere else.
NHM: What styles of beer are you personally most fond of?
RS: Stouts, porters, browns and malty lagers are my favorites.
NHM: What’s your personal favorite of the beers you make?
RS: My favorite is the Newfound Nutbrown.
About the Brewery:
RS: Give or take, around 75 a year.
NHM:When did you open to the public?
RS: My first location, a one-barrel brewery, opened in 2014. We moved to our new location and expanded to a three-barrel system in early 2018.
NHM: What sets you apart from other New Hampshire breweries? What’s unique about your style or mission?
RS: We feature malt forward styles. While we do have IPA’s available, they are not our focus.
NHM: How many beers and what styles do you offer at any given time?
RS: We have four flagships available year-round: Bristol Blonde, Pasquaney Bay IPA, Newfound Nutbrown, and West Shore Stout. We have 9 seasonal beers which rotate. We usually have 7-8 different beers on tap at any given time.
NHM: What’s your most popular beer?
RS: Our most popular is our Bristol Blonde.
NHM: What’s next for your brewery? Any expansions/changes or upcoming milestones or events to note?
RS: We have plans for an 8′ X 40′ balcony suspended over the Newfound River. We’re slowly cutting through the red tape required to get permission for this project.
NHM: Where can your beer be purchased?
RS: Currently, our beer is only available at the taproom. We have a summer brand called Lake Daze, which is a collaboration with my brother and sister-in-law who own Shackett’s Supermarket on Newfound Lake. This is available at both locations from late May until September.
26B Central SQ. Bristol, NH 03222
June through Labor day: Wednesday-Saturday 12 p.m. -9 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. -6 p.m.
Labor Day through May: Thursday and Friday 3 p.m. -8 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. -8 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. -5 p.m.