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Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing CompanyMilly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company
BA SCORE
87
very good

47 Ratings
Ratings: 47
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 12.57%
Active Beers: 27
Beer Ratings: 173
Beer Avg: 3.63
Taps: 15
Bottles: 0
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

500 North Commercial St
Manchester, New Hampshire, 03101-1151
United States
phone: (603) 625-4444

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
On *Firkin Fridays*, we will be tapping a new cask ale which will be available throughout the weekend until it's all gone. Depending on production and consumption, a new cask will be tapped every Friday or other Friday. Look for Firkin Friday details on our website and in our email newsletter.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 47 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%

On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, with maybe six patrons, this place looks pretty shabby. I bet there's more atmosphere on a busy night. My wife and I sat at the bar and watched the brewer working. In this huge place, the brewing equipment is in the center, with the bar and tables around it. We enjoyed watching and conversing with the brewer.

The beers, I think, are what people go to Milly's for. It's certainly not the food, which is pub food at its most ordinary. There are eight beers that are always on tap and, when we were there, seven specialty beers. The specialty beers included Li'l Ivan Extra Stout, Illicit Affair (a lambic), Bold Horizons (a Berliner weiss), Hoplicious (an APA), Ploughman's Cherry Porter, Heidelberg Hefe, and an ESB. The Hoplicious was quite good, and my wife enjoyed the hefe. I had a small taste of Bold Horizons, and liked that as well.

We had excellent service, and I think that's because the bartender really enjoys her work, not that there were so few people in the place.

A good place to visit. Ignore the ambience and focus on the beer.

lordofthewiens, May 30, 2009
Photo of DrinknFish
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%

I stopped by Milly's on my way up north. I have wanted to go there since trying their beers at the extreme beer fest back in 2007, but was never able to find it, then again I didn't look to hard. This time I took my usual back roads but the ramp onto the highway was closed and there it was on the way to the next onramp. This place is great; it has that old dive bar feel, but with some of the best beer I have tasted. I ordered the TNT barley wine and was more than impressed. This beer is one of the best barley wines I have ever had, it was very full flavored and you could tell it was aged in a whisky barrel. They served it in the right glass and at the right temperature, which topped it off. The bartender while at times disappeared was a very interesting fellow and knew the beers pretty well, once we got talking beer he gave me small samples of just about every beer on tap. They were all good, but Tasha's Red Tail Ale, from the cask was my favorite. The food was ok, your typical bar food. We missed the happy hour by a few minutes, but this place is still a great bargain. I think the bartender was telling me that they always have a $1 draft of one of their beers, which for the quality of beer you are getting is unheard of. Now that I know how to get there, I think I will be stopping by every time head up north. Next time though I think I will be taking a growler of the barley wine home.

DrinknFish, May 13, 2008
Photo of MugOfGoodness
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Happy hour with some co-workers so that means $2 drafts and 1/2 price appetizers (chicken tenders were great) - had the Hopnoxious IPA and a Oatmeal Stout. The IPA was great, very tasty and the Oatmeal was okay, a little too smooth for me - I wanted an Imperial which isn't the fault of the stout. They were out of the Burton which I bet was good and I did have a taste of the Manch-Vegas IPA which was also very good. The crowd was primarily male which was fine, but the women with us felt a little outnumbered. The waitress service was pretty overwhelmed but the nice bartender took great care of us and delivered the goods.

MugOfGoodness, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of altgeeky1
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%

Milly's is a brewpub, but can be disappointing if you are expecting a Marthas or Portsmouth Brewery. Ignore everything except the beer... yes the beer is excellent. If your expectations were not mis-set, you will enjoy Milly's for what it is. I am convinced the no smoking law is going to force some needed improvements in the place.

Atmosphere:
The place is dark, but the bar areas have a cozy feel to it, with heavy dark wood and original mill hardwood flooring. What's notable however is someone thought they could get away with 'parkay' wood squares in the highest traffic area in front of the door, stage, and dining area.

Since the smoking ban, there is less of the death-metal-emo-kid and I have not seen any more of the occasional fat bikers with swastikas (not kidding - this was an element before).

Service:
The has always been high staff turnover, and service could be a downer. If your waitress is talking to another table for more than the length of one song (flirting, and not periodically glancing at your table...), it's one of those nights where you have to fetch your own beer. A manager making quick rounds could catch this problem before people complain. Most recently on a Saturday night, our waitress was good.

Food:
They could definitely use a menu review. Most selections involve fat or grease, although I've had an excellent cold Mediterranean platter, Greek stuffed grape leaves, and perfect salads. Fish and chips is something I'll try everywhere, but at Milly's it was far too greasy.

The beer selection is great. The barley wine, sweet stout, and the 'TNT' are not to be missed. The TNT in is a barleywine fermented in old Jack Daniels casks... served correctly at proper temperature, and low carbonation, the beer has a sharp taste you won't forget.

The 'sampler tray' is 6 two-ounce beers and is a great way to try all the beers. At $6 the sampler is very reasonable.

Happy hour prices are unbelievable, and Tuesday night is happy hour all evening... brewpub beers that start at $1 and go up 50 cents every 30 minutes. Tuesday gets busy very early!

Overall:
I wouldn't want to see the place change TOO much... it's not pretentious and not overpriced. The smoke was one of the biggest complaint... now fixed. It would be smart to fix the floor as it is a bad first impression.

altgeeky1, Oct 08, 2007
Photo of slander
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%

Too many miles to cover and too little time to take have taken in everything yesterday, but if you'd seen the crazy Trouble map; pinned locations, hours of operation, directions to everywhere from everywhere, etc., you'd know that it was all planned out quite efficiently. That's how we roll, it's true. Soon we'd start heading back west through Vermont and out to Albany but it's early yet. We'd seen what we wanted to see thus far except for Milly's, which as an early opener, would serve as an acceptable backtracker for lunch...

Milly's is not an old street corner tavern but rather a large cavernous basement brewpub in one of the many old brick buildings in an industrial cluster on the Merrimack River. There's an elevated area for bands just off to one side of the entrance, and a small attached coffee shop to the other side. Down the stairs to the main seating area; 8 tables, a couple of raised bar tables and a gaming corner (Phil's Golf Game 2007 Live and a Simpson's pinball machine). Just beyond that, a large "L" shaped faux marble formica topped bar seating 2 dozen. The barback is a cupboard counter with a piece above holding glassware & tiered booze. A similar unit around the bend with a few towers of one or two taps each, and then a tower of 8 taps at opposite ends of the bar. Behind the bar, 2 rows of fermenters and a copper mash tun. The standard tap selections are listed on a slat chain board and the seasonals on a dry erase board. 3 rows of drop chain link poles hold mug club mugs above and growlers dangle all down the line. A single mounted TV on the corner post. An adjacent bar counter off the front seats 10 on each side of it, and more on the near wall and down around the bend running the far wall towards the rear, where sits a pair of small pool tables and seating in a raised space. A non smoking party room sits separate back there, with a 12 seat marble topped bar, lots of brick and strange seemingly misplaced pillars, 8 tables, nice space.

Ordered lunch; she burgered, and I had a cup of chicken noodle soup and the chicken stir fry, both were good.

We took in all 12 beers on 2 samplers of 6, served in small boxes with rope handles. The Fisher Cat Ale was pale, light, crisp; the Mt Uncanoonuc Golden Cream Ale, a slight hop bitterness and a little sweet; the Amoskeag Harvest Ale, a sweet aroma, golden, slight malt flavor; Tashas Red Tail Ale, copper colored, sweet maltiness, toffee & fruitness; the General John Stark Dark Porter, full bodied, roasty, chocolatey, quite nice; Milly's Oatmeal Stout, sturdy, sweet, dry & rich; the Manch Vegas IPA, Cascade, nice hoppiness; Bo's Scotch Ale, a malt bomb, al-co-hol, and the 4 seasonals, the Canterbury Ale, strange aroma, ick bitterness, may be past it's time; the Hefeweizen, unfiltered, banana, clove and some vanilla; the Innocent Blonde, a nice Belgian golden, fruity, sweet candy, a nice beer; and the Marathon Mild, dark, a slight roastiness, and some maltiness.
And the wildcard... a bottle of the limited release Napoleon's Waterloo, a wild ale with Brettanomyces, golden, tart, slight carbonation. I liked the General John Stark Dark Porter & Innocent Blonde the best.

Then brewer Mike Roy came out and talked with us for a while, that was cool. Some nice beers, here, and a good stop in the opposite direction from where we need to be, where we need to be getting on to.

slander, Sep 04, 2007
Photo of beerjournl
4.44/5  rDev +16.2%

Came back on the way to the airport to go home, it is Friday afternoon and the place is getting busy. Even better than before! Had more of the special brews they had on tap including the Dubbel Secret Probation and the Death March Stout. Both were excellent. This place has some of the best beer on this week-long trip! Had the Brewery Burger and it was good, my buddy had the sampler of some sort and it was average. Great beer, good food, excellent atmosphere except for the damn smokers! We will return!

Stopped here straight from landing at the Manchester airport on a Sunday afternoon. Walking down into the basement that is the bar it was like others have said, a mix of dive-bar and brewpub. It really has character in a good way. Obviously not a corporate chain and my kind of place to hang out. The only people there were at the bar, and it was kind of full. The bartenders were attentive but didn't have a great knowledge of the beer, just adequate. They did hunt me down some bottles of their special offerings that I'll be bringing home to Florida.

So far this place has had some of the best beer of my trip, on par with The Tap in Havehill which I also reviewed recently. If you are looking for a great dining experience this is probably not your place, but they do have a good selection of pub food. We didn't order any food but looked over the menu for a while.

The beer selections really show that the brewmaster is dedicated to the craft, and the taste shows that dedication. I sampled the Manch-Vegas IPA, and the Evil Eye. Both were excellent. I wish I had more time to spend going through the offerings, but I will definitely try to stop here before my flight home just for the beers.

beerjournl, Mar 21, 2007
Photo of johnnnniee
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%

2/12/2011
Milly's is weird! I want to say that their is a decent brewpub in town, and sometimes there is. Other times I go here and can't understand why they would serve that to customers. The staff is normally friendly and attentive. The food is usually decent for standard pub fare. The best deal is weekdays between 4 and 7 when appetizers are half price and normal drafts are 1 or 2 dollars. Weekend nights you will normally incur a cover charge and their will be a loud band.

3/4/2007
Milly's is not far from on the way home from work for me. Like some of the previous posters have said this place is in a basement, its dimly lit and hearkens back to a time in my past. The beer makes up for those short comings and then some. They have a good selection of regular brews, and always have more that a couple of seasonals or limited edition brew. Every once in a while you'll get to try one of their cask conditioned brews. Get there between 4 and 7 and the drafts are a buck with half price appetizers. If you want to take some home they will sell you a growler.

johnnnniee, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of adowney523
4.24/5  rDev +11%

I tried this place on the night some metal bands were playing. Maybe it was the vibe from the music, but I would have to describe the atmosphere as very dark and grungy. The place has the air of a dark basement.

They had eleven beers on tap including three Belgian-style ales. All the beers I tasted seemed to be of good quality.

Service was excellent. I was always offered another beer before my previous beer was finished.

They appear to have some great deals on certain nights. $3.25 for a pint is about as good as it gets for good craft beer.

I recommend this place for good beer and good deals. Don't let the grungy environment deter you.

adowney523, Feb 25, 2007
Photo of BuckSpin
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%

I stopped here while on my way to the airport. Milly's is like a time machine. Walk inside and it might as well be 1970. Smoke is thick. There is a spot for a band to set up. Band bumper stickers cover the outside windows. Its below street level, a precussor to the retro "industrial" look in that its REALLY what it looks like - industrial. They just didn't spend $$$ on making it look that way.

In short I half expected to see my idol Tony Bourdain sitting there, cigarette in mouth, pint in hand, waiting to see a Ramones tribute band. Hey, a guy can dream!

The brewing units are clearly visible from the bar, which wraps around the lower section. Raised tables accent the empties waiting to go back to the distributor. Its noisy, loud even, an odd mix of blue collar and well to do white collar - which is immediately a sure bet that THIS is a good place to be.

The beer? They are &^%$#@! serious about their beer. Many flagships, seasonals, limiteds and some really limited they do bottle BUT you can't take it with you....they will open the bottle for you to enjoy there. Had the Evil Eye (Saison) that was awesome, excellent. Bo's Scotch Ale was great, and the General John Stark Dark Porter was good as well. The best part?

ALL PINTS ARE JUST $1.OO DURING HAPPY HOUR!! Are you kidding me? Where or when do you see any brewpub just give away beer like that? I was ready to have my mail forwarded!! And the appetizers are 1/2 price as well during the same time.

I had a Bruschetta that was very good, and of course got my ubiquitous Reuben & fries. I am glad to report they don't scrimp on the corned beef, and it was shaved, a "whunk" of corned beef, nof sliced deli meat.

Service was very good, friendly, loud. The barmaids flirt, the guys BS. The owners get their hands dirty right behind the bar.

There are very, very, very few places like Milly's. Not for everyone, but if you ever wandered how a barrel aged barleywine might have tasted back in the days of no such thing as non-smoking, etc. check it out. And bring my mail back with you!!

BuckSpin, Feb 20, 2007
Photo of gixxerman
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%

Hmm, where do I start. first of all this place is in the basement level of what I belive was once an old mill or something. I was there at 4:30 for the $1 a beer happy hour Mon-Fri 4-7). There was a very mixed crowd, from suits, to laborers, and a few college kids. Definitely a come as you are type of atmosphere. It is a bit smokey, so if you are bothered by smoke be forwarned. The place is big enough, though, that you should be able to find a not-so-smokey spot somewhere. The crowd was very friendly and conversation was easy to find.

Oh, the beer. Well ,I tried the oatmeal stout, pumpkin ale and evil eye. None disappopinted, and the price is right on. I dare you to try and find a better beer value. They have the eight staples, plus the 4 seasonal. The seasonal selection when I was there was the Evil Eye, punpkin ale, hopnoxious, and blueberry ale - this one will set you back $2.

Ok, the food - not so good. Not terrible, sort of typical pub grub, but I don't think I would revisit this place for the food, just the beer. I would stop before of after dinner for a few.

The service was top notch, the barmaid was very pleasant and attentive, but not overbearing. The kind of service you usually appreciate, but is sometimes hard to find. She was very knowledgeable about the beer and answered any question I threw at her.

Overall, a great cheap place to go, spend under $10 and drink some great beer, in a very relaxed atmosphere and good conversation. If I am ever back in Manchester, I will be sure to stop back.

gixxerman, Dec 06, 2006
Milly's Tavern / Stark Brewing Company in Manchester, NH
87 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.