Brewery Name: Garrison City Beerworks
Type of Brewery: Retail Brewery
Location: 455 Central Ave, Dover, NH 03820. When you reach the main drag in Dover, you’ll find Garrison City right on the corner at the top of the hill.
Facebook: Garrison City Beerworks
Background: I don’t know any other way to say this: I am embarrassed that it has taken me this long to write about Garrison City Beerworks. Garrison City has been my favorite New Hampshire brewery for quite some time now, and I have gone out of my way to include several of their beers in our review posts. Even more incredible is the fact that, as high as I have been on Garrison City, York seems to be even higher! Dover is just a 20 minute drive from my house, and the fact that it has taken me this long to do a much-deserved write-up on this rising star in the New England beer game is flat-out unconscionable.
Growlers: Not anymore. Although Garrison City has never (to my knowledge) offered growlers, they used to be regional pioneers in the crowler game. Not so anymore. Garrison City has phased out their crowlers in favor of a renewed focus on cans. Speak of which, the brewery is on the verge of releasing some brand new can art. For some time now, Garrison City has had one standard can design, with a small sticker added to signify the beer name and style. That system has been phased out in favor of a new standard design, and a couple of Garrison City’s flagship beers will be getting special designs. I was able to sneak a peek at the new labels for Daybreak and Tessellate, and they are, in a word, awesome. It feels weird to admit it, but can design and marketing play a big role in the craft beer world, and I’m excited to see Garrison City step up to the plate with a new approach and absolutely knock it out of the park.
The Beers: You can usually count on Garrison City to have six beers on tap, and my visit was no exception. They offer single tasters as well as flights, which are served on beautiful wooden trays carved to look like hop flowers (which Garrison City used as its primary logo until recently). I was sad to just miss Divine Encounter, Garrison City’s most recent double IPA release, but the six beers I sampled more than made up for it:
Vibe: The vibe at Garrison City is outstanding. Whether it’s empty or crowded, the space always feels welcoming. There is a beautiful wooden bar, with several high-top tables throughout the room for sitting or standing. When you walk in the door, you’re greeted on the left by giant windows giving you a clear view into the glistening metal tanks in the brewing area.
Behind the bar you’ll find a pair of fridges, stocked full of Garrison City’s many canned offerings. You’ll also find a flatscreen television above the bar, providing you with names and descriptions of the beers on offer that day. This is a nice touch--it allows Garrison City to keep their tap and can lists up-to-date in real time (plus, it looks pretty slick).
The brewery’s patrons run the gamut from locals just popping in for a quick beer to craft beer fanatics looking to savor every sip of their flight. As Garrison City grows, their reputation in the region will continue to attract more beer fanatics, and their taproom will surely get even busier. I was lucky enough to arrive during a relatively slow time, which gave me the chance to have a great conversation with the bartender. I’ve been to Garrison City before, but it was nice to have the opportunity to connect with not just the patrons in the taproom, but the staff of the brewery itself.
Dogs: Garrison City doesn’t serve food, so it’s hard to say for sure. I’ve never seen dogs inside, and they keep the interior pretty pristine, so my guess would be no.
Price ($ to $$$$$): $$$. Four-packs are a little pricey, but that’s what you get with premium craft beer. They’ll probably cost you in the $16 range, though some will cost more and some will cost less. If you’re buying a four-pack of double IPAs, you probably know what to expect, price-wise. They are also more than happy to sell you single cans, so you can create your own variety pack of different Garrison City offerings, which helps you feel like you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Tasters at the brewery are pretty affordable--you won’t break the bank here.
Food: Nope. In Garrison City’s words, they are "a true tasting room." That said, you can often find food trucks nearby, especially on Fridays! Garrison City is located in the heart of Dover, so there are plenty of other food options nearby if you find yourself starving after downing a flight of beers.
Final Thoughts: Garrison City Beerworks is my favorite brewery in the state of New Hampshire. The quality of the beers that they produce is unmatched. The variety of different styles that they create is astonishing. And the homey feel of their taproom along with their friendly staff and welcoming customers make Garrison City an outstanding place to spend an evening. Whether you’re looking to sample a flight of beers, grab some cans for the road, or even just grab a taster and strike up a conversation, you won’t find a better place in New Hampshire to do it than Garrison City Beerworks.
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