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Cask and Vine
Picture being approved.
Taps: 12 / Bottles: 30
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
1½ E Broadway
phone: (603) 965-3454
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
UPDATE 5/14/13: Cask & Vine owner Andy Day read this review and we talked tonight. He shared my concern about the draft prices and we had a thorough discussion about beer distribution and how certain breweries price their wares in this market. I totally understand where he's coming from and I totally respect what he's trying to do here, which is to have a draft list with only what he considers to be the best he can get. He's not going to put anything subpar on tap for volume or to please a distributor and I admire that. I've got to give high marks to the fact that Andy read this and gave my concerns serious thought. That's a business owner that truly cares about his customers. Oh, and I stand corrected - the pilsner glasses and snifters they use are 12oz, not 10oz (although I still feel a session beer like Founders All Day IPA should be served in at least a 16oz pint).
ORIGINAL REVIEW: Cask & Vine is a revelation in Derry, NH. In a town where most of the locals (of which I am one) do their drinking at Applebee's and other family restaurants with bars attached, you have to look out the window twice to believe you're still here. Outside of the Seacoast area, it's the best beer bar in New Hampshire - and I'd even say it rivals anywhere on the Seacoast.
The atmosphere is perfect. From the nondescript building on East Broadway in Derry that houses it, you'd have no idea what was inside. Glass-topped tables made from wine barrels, cushy chairs and couches, and a beautiful wood bar. Music is tasteful and played low enough to provide some nice background noise. The art on the wall rotates regularly, featuring local artists.
The service is where they really shine. Andy and Alana are the owners (they also own The Drinkery bottle shop in Londonderry), and one of them is almost always there. My wife and I found out she is pregnant recently and mentioned it to Andy one evening to explain why she wasn't having a beer. The next time we were in, Alana immediately congratulated my wife and I - Andy had passed the news on! All of the bartenders are very friendly, remember you by name, and even remember what you like to drink.
Selection is among the best you're going to find in New Hampshire. They don't have 100 taps like Strange Brew, but they have 12 extremely well curated taps including two nitro taps. Limited as they are by the offerings available to them in New Hampshire, they get the absolute best of what's out there. Some recent pours have been Maine Mean Old Tom, Founders Backwoods Bastard and Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, as well as a White Birch tap takeover.
The food is amazing as well. I'm shocked by how excellent the food George Craft, the head chef, puts out considering he's working with an extremely small and limited kitchen. Everything I've had has been amazing.
The one issue I have with Cask & Vine is value. The entrees they offer run $18-$25, which is not bad, but as good as the food is the portions are small for the price. The draft prices are on the high side as well. They're charging what I'd expect to see in Boston or New York, but a little steep for working-class Derry, NH. I had a 10oz pour of DFH/Sierra Rhizing Bines recently and was surprised to find it was $9. Some of the pour sizes are a little questionable as well. I recently ordered a 6.5% Founders Porter and it came in a 10oz snifter. No reason not to be pouring a full pint of that one. If they can adjust the prices to be a little more in line with the area, they'll have a perfect thing going here. I've been stopping in at least once or twice a week since I found out about them, but I don't know if I can keep that up if the prices stay where they are.
04-13-2013 20:05:33 |
More by MThiele360
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5 | $$
I've been looking forward to stopping by Cask & Vine since before they opened, and when I finally did this past Friday night, it did not disappoint. I was meeting my dad there while I was in town, but I arrived a bit early, and the place was packed. There wasn't a seat at the bar, so I enjoyed a glass of Martha's Exchange PC IPA, the first time I have seen Martha's on-tap outside the Nashua brewpub.
The space was kind of quiet considering how many people were there--chalk it up to music at low volume (or no music, I can't recall) and good acoustics allowing people to have a conversation without having to yell or worrying about everyone in the bar hearing them. The lighting level was good--fairly but not overly dark. Walking in, there are some tall tables along the street-facing windows, with some couches and chairs before you get to the bar, which runs along the right side of the back of the room. Opposite it are tall tables in brick archways. The whole space is done nicely, but the bar is especially beautiful, with warm cherry wood, and a beautifully designed backbar with tap handles in the middle, flanked by open cupboards for glasses and wine bottles.
By the time my dad arrived, I was just finishing up my Martha's IPA and two seats were about to open, so we grabbed them and order a sampler. The sampler wasn't cheap, at $3 (as I recall) per pour, but the pint prices were reasonable, and it was fun to be able to try an array of beers on tap. There was a good selection of locals on-tap (4 from New Hampshire, and 2 or 3 each from Maine and Massachusetts, as I recall) as well as some beers from farther away. All were unusual and well selected. Out of those we sampled, I especially liked the Throwback coffee milk stout, but it wasn't the right beer to go with my meal.
I ordered the steak tips and my dad got the lamb. They were both excellent, though the portions were on the smaller side. I was prepared for that and comfortable when done eating, but if you come hungry you might want to get an appetizer or bar snack (they have fresh bread and butter for $1). Given the execution and quality, I'd say the meal was worth the price, and the Big A IPA went with it excellently.
Service was friendly, attentive and knowledgeable. Seeing how much we were enjoying out Big A's, our bartender mentioned that they were tapping Rising Tide Zephyr IPA and offered us a sample.
This place is a real gem in the Manchester area. It's great to see it in downtown Derry, which was surprisingly bustling that night, and I'd love to see more places like it open in downtown Manchester. It's among the few (maybe only) places that can rival the Barley Pub as the best beer bar in New Hampshire, in my book. It's a very different, though still very laid-back vibe, but the focus on good beer (though with a smaller tap list) is equally strong. I'm really looking forward to visiting again. If I lived in the area, I'd be a regular fast.
02-28-2013 22:55:32 |
More by FrankLloydMike
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4 | $$$
Finally a true craft beer bar in Derry, NH.
Cask and Vine features a longish bar of hand-made Vermont Cherrywood, and is accented nicely by more cherry on the bar-back with 14 taps presented front and center. A large chaulkboard above lists the beers on tap. Tables made from oak barrels and arched brickwork opposite the bar give the place a "wine cellar" vibe. This place is spotless and upscale for a beer bar, but keep in mind C+V is a hybrid wine/beer bar.
Selection of draught beers is top-notch for NH, with rarities (Founders Bolt Cutter) and locals (two different White Birch) in the mix. Serving sizes and prices of the beers are not specified which I think is a drawback though. Any consumer should be allowed to be well informed of what he is ordering beforehand, and I hope they fix this. The staff is super-friendly and very accomodating though and this will bring patrons back time and time again. I'm not aware of a bottle list being available, perhaps there was but I did not see one.
I did not try the food on my visit, but the menu looks delicous and a bit high-end. The "Value" portion of this review is solely based on the price of my Bolt Cutter that I had, which in all fairness is a very expensive beer in the bottle. Hopefully further visits will find larger pours and lower prices and I'll adjust my review.
Congratulations to C+V and I hope they have much success, it's a beautifull taproom run by some very nice people with a well thought-out selection of fine brews.
01-16-2013 14:01:34 |
More by brewandbbq
Cask and Vine in Derry, NH