The Hippo


Jun 27, 2019








Northwoods Brewing Co. Photo courtesy of Matt Ingersoll.

 Northwoods Brewing Co.

An opening date is expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Visit the website or Facebook page, or call Johnson’s Seafood & Steak in Northwood for updates.
Where: 1334 First New Hampshire Turnpike (Route 4), Northwood (part of Johnson’s Seafood & Steak); space will also house the Rise & Shine Bakery Cafe, a function room, and outdoor seating
Hours: TBA
Visit:, find them on Facebook or call 942-7300

Changes are brewing
Northwood eatery expands with brewery, bakery cafe


  By Matt Ingersoll
Changes are underway at Johnson’s Seafood & Steak on Route 4 in Northwood. The restaurant is in the process of more than doubling its space by adding a 15-barrel craft brewery and tasting room, an in-house bakery cafe, a beer garden, a private function room and an expanded parking lot.
The new Northwoods Brewing Co. — a project that has been more than a year in the making, according to Director of Operations Nick Evans — is nearing completion. Johnson’s purchased the 26-acre field on the east side of the restaurant late last summer and crews from Tom Hammer Construction in Portsmouth have built the 10,000-square-foot building from the ground up.
Evans said the original idea to expand came about two years ago when Johnson’s finished building its bar in the rear of the restaurant.
“We saw [having a brewery] as kind of a natural evolution for the restaurant to evolve with the times,” he said, “and it took about that long to move things forward and really make decisions on size and on what kind of business model we’d be following within the craft beer market.”
The brewery will contain a 15-barrel main system and a three-barrel pilot system, a model unique compared to others in the immediate area, according to Evans.
“We kind of toe the line a little bit between having a production brewery mindset with some core brands of beers, and then having the pilot system follow more of a brew pub model to do some more experimental things,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of other breweries, I think, that are … having that balance between the distribution and the brew pub aspect. … Part of the fun too is being able to take what’s in the 15-barrel batch and split it into some of the three barrel tanks for different fruiting, so we can have essentially four different beers out of one batch.”
Evans said an exact number of lines on tap to start with hasn’t been determined yet, but it’s going to include a combination of IPAs, saisons and some other darker beers. Saisons, he said, are Belgian-style beers that are usually fermented dry and range a lot in the alcoholic content and the use of different hops.
Some of the beers may also potentially use ingredients sourced from the incoming Rise & Shine Bakery Cafe. Bakery manager Sharon Gooch, who has been baking at Johnson’s for nearly two decades, previewed her products at the Cole Gardens Winter Farmers Market in Concord earlier this year that included painted cookies, custard and fruit pies, whoopie pies, donuts and sticky buns.
“Usually the adjunct ingredients in a dessert beer that aren’t barley or water or hops or yeast would be things like cocoa, coconut, vanilla bean, that kind of thing. Those are a little bit on the sweeter side and have bigger gravity, ” Evans said. “So we’re going to have some fun kind of recreating those flavors inspired directly by maybe her German chocolate cake and other things being done in the bakery.”
When you walk in through the front of the new building, the bakery cafe will be immediately to your left, along with the tasting room bar and shared seating, plus tables, sofas and chairs in some of the corners and in the middle of the room. Only food from the bakery will be permitted inside the tasting room, Evans said, but breakfast items such as sandwiches, burritos, coffees, baked goods and more will be served. A pick-up window for take-out orders of menu items at Johnson’s is also being installed within the function room, which connects back to the bar and dining area in the existing area of the restaurant.
Canned beer to go will be available from the brewery as well, in addition to glassware, T-shirts, hats, stickers and other merchandise available for purchase.
While the current focus is on the in-house demand, Evans said there may be plans to distribute to local restaurants and retail stores in the future.
“Nobody’s quite doing it our way, so we couldn’t be more excited,” he said. 

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu