Brewery Name: Long Blue Cat Brewing Company
Type of Brewery: Brewpub
Location: 298 Rockingham Rd Londonderry, NH. The brewery is located near Manchester–Boston Regional Airport (MHT), as well as near Backyard Brewery & Kitchen, another recent entrant into the New Hampshire brewing scene.
Facebook: Long Blue Cat Brewing Co.
Background: Owned by Jason Knight and Shane Sorenson, two childhood friends from New Hampshire, Long Blue Cat Brewing Company opened its doors for the first time this December. The beer they brew is the result of years of homebrewing experience, and the brewery itself the culmination of the two friends’ ambition to enter the burgeoning New Hampshire beer scene. Of course, you’re probably wondering one thing right about now: what’s the deal with the name? Since Long Blue Cat doesn’t even spoil that secret on their own website, I won’t do it here. But suffice it to say that it’s an endearing story, and you can find it framed on the wall of the brewery’s taproom. You can also stop in and ask them yourself!
Growlers: Yep, growlers are currently the only way to take beer away from Long Blue Cat, as they do not appear to have can or bottling capabilities at the moment. I’m not sure if they are planning to change that, but given New Hampshire’s draconian beer laws and the fact that Long Blue Cat only recently opened, growlers are a perfectly satisfying solution to the takeaway problem.
The Beers: Long Blue Cat had a good number of beers on tap when I visited, and I took the opportunity to sample almost all of them. My flight included:
Vibe: The brewery only recently opened, and during my visit they were still enjoying a healthy “new brewery” boom. The taproom was crowded, but there were plenty of tables and lots of space at the various high-tops for people to sit or stand comfortably. The staff seems like they do a great job of managing the space, and the layout was clearly put together with free-flowing movement and accessibility in mind. Tables are spaced out enough that you’ll be able to hear each other talk without being drowned out by neighboring conversations.
The walls are decorated in classic brewpub form, with cans from various breweries both in the immediate area and beyond lining the ceiling. I saw cans from heavyweight breweries like Tree House and Trillium on display, as well as some well-deserved representation for smaller, local breweries like Henniker and Garrison City. It’s clear that Long Blue Cat has a lot of love for their New Hampshire compatriots.
Service was awesome. It’s surprising how much of a difference little modern updates can make, such as having the waitstaff carry smartphones that they can use to take and keep track of orders, as well as allow patrons to pay for their drinks right then and there. This makes a HUGE difference, especially at a time when the brewery is packed with people. Not having to wonder whether your drink order will be correct or wait for your bill to come is a little thing that makes the entire experience so much more enjoyable. I wish more breweries (and bars, for that matter) would follow Long Blue Cat’s example.
Overall, I look forward to coming back. Between the helpful staff, great layout, cool vibe, and awesome slate of different beer styles, Long Blue Cat is doing some really great things, especially for a brewery that only recently opened its doors. Really well done!
Dogs: I don’t think so. The brewery is a true brewpub, and with food prep stations clearly visible and a full food menu, it’s unlikely that dogs are welcome. That’s too bad, but it’s also completely understandable. [UPDATE 3/11/18: Recent visitors have indicated that dogs are often present in the brewery, which is great news. You may wish to proceed with caution as breweries that serve food can be wary of allowing dogs, but for now it appears that your furry friends are more than welcome!
Price ($ to $$$$$): $$. Pretty standard prices for a brewpub. Stopping in for a flight or pint is not going to break the bank.
Food: Long Blue Cat has a pretty robust food menu, and although I haven’t had the chance to sample any of the offerings myself, I’ve heard good things. The menu looked to contain items like flatbreads, grilled cheese sliders, and other fun takes on traditional bar food. I wish I’d had the opportunity to linger a bit longer, because all of the food I saw looked fantastic.
Final Thoughts: I came away impressed, and I look forward to stopping by again. Given the number of different beer styles on offer already, I’m excited to see what the brewers come up with next. As the New Hampshire beer scene continues to grow, I hope more breweries are able to open as successfully as Long Blue Cat.
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