The leadership structure of the new Stripe Nine Brewing Co. in Somersworth, N.H., sounds like the setup for a sitcom.
Three brothers, Tom, Patrick, and Sean Kelly, own and operate the place, which opened last month in an old pharmacy on Main Street.
"Patrick is the oldest," says Sean, who handles media interviews and is the one on the phone with me. "I'm the youngest. The middle brother is Thomas."
The next question is meant to stir things up, but Kelly is deferential when asked who's in charge.
"The nice thing is we bring a good complement of skills," says Kelly, who mentions Patrick's general contractor background, Tom's culinary experience from a stint at Johnson & Wales, and his own career in tech and his home brewing hobby.
"We figured it was now or never, because none of us are getting any younger."
The brothers bought the space last October and went to work, rehabbing it with the help of local contractors (before officially opening, they held a contractors appreciation night). Sean has a personal affinity for pale ales and IPAs, so that's what they're starting with. The first three beers are an IPA, a double, and a hazy New England style version.
"I wanted to get those in the arsenal," says Kelly. "I'm sure I'll hear a little groaning from my stout and porter lovers, but we'll get there as we get into the colder weather. Back into the warmer weather we'll do pilsners, lagers."
Food is also a focus. The brothers bought a wood-fired, dome pizza oven from California, and are putting it to work making pizza, soft pretzels, and chicken. A local baker brings in custom whoopie pies and cookies. The brewery, named for New Hampshire’s status as the ninth of 13 states to ratify the Constitution, sources local ingredients as often as possible.
Kelly has a dream to take the local thing even further.
“My nirvana goal is to brew an all-New Hampshire beer,” he says. “We’ve sourced a lot of organic farmers on the food side. We’re a little jealous of our brethren in Mass. and Maine and Vermont because there’s a lot of hop farmers and malt opportunities. . . . The New Hampshire craft beer scene is a little more immature.”
Stripe Nine has a brewpub license, meaning it can sell wine, cider, and liquor in addition to beer. The plan is to sell most of the beer on the premises, though expect to see Stripe Nine brews in 15-20 local restaurants in the coming year.
Open Wednesday through Sunday, Stripe Nine Brewery is located at 8 Somersworth Plaza, Somersworth, N.H.