During a trip to the White Mountains for a getaway last weekend, my husband and I were on the hunt for a dinner spot along the way. Searching my Yelp app returned a quaint brewery located in Littleton, NH, which looked to fit the bill by offering wood-fired pizzas and other simple dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, along with their specialty of artisanal beer.
Tucked away in the town of just under 6,000 people is Schilling Beer Co., which planted its beer-brewing roots in 2013 in a renovated three-story 1797 gristmill on the Ammonoosuc River. A gristmill is a mill for grinding grain, by the way. We entered the large barn-esque front doors of the building and were quickly comforted by the character – a dark wood interior and rustic décor, while the undulations of the floor and original post and beams confirmed the building’s conversion. A staff member greeted us and led us to a table near a window overlooking the river. It was the perfect spot to start our weekend of relaxation.
While our objective was food, we couldn’t pass us sampling the establishment’s main event – European-inspired artisan beer brewed in small, 5-barrel batches. You should know I’m a sucker for Hefeweizens, so the Bavarian-style Hefeweizen named Schlaumeier (“smart aleck”) was an easy choice. Other beer offerings included a dark Bohemian-style lager, a Kolsch, a couple of pale ales, a Tripel, a sour brown ale and a Saison. If we were planning to stay the night, I would have tried most if not all of them.
Food specials that day were a Kung Fu Chicken Pizza and a Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza, both included serious toppings, just like they sound. But instead we each turned to the menu, my husband choosing a Chicken Maple Bacon pie and I opting for the Vegetarian. All pizzas come 16” and suggested beer pairings are mentioned next to each.
Our drinks came, mine in true Weissbier fashion, donning a tall, graceful glass. It was delicious and extremely easy to drink. Normally I taste a bit of olive in Hefeweizens; here, that was replaced with a hint of banana. Still, that hint was the only fruitiness I tasted. All around, very smooth.
The wood stove in the middle of the canteen-style kitchen was popular as two chefs with pizza peels in hand maneuvered flat breads in and out of the monster chiminea. From the mouth emerged our pizzas, colorful and smelling delicious. As the two humongous 16-inchers were set in front of us, we laughed at our gluttony and the certainty that we’d be taking some to go. Although the thin crust, fresh, plump ingredients and lightly seasoned sauce were enough to make us almost tackle each completely.
I love this place because it’s a brewery first with, in my opinion, a most awesome niche of creating European-specific beers; but by also creating really good food to pair, it’s a great place to grab a bite. And that’s just the pizza; I can’t wait to try a German Bratwurst or a Maple Bacon Stromboli.
And…after reading the Schilling story – three brothers helping their father live his dream of doing business together as a family – I love it even more.
I should call my parents….
Schilling Beer Co. is now open Monday – Thursday 12pm – 10pm; Friday and Saturday 12pm – 11pm and Sunday 12pm – 10pm.