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Kingswood graduate starts Portsmouth craft brewery

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News

KRISTEN AND SCOTT THORNTON at New England Brewfest, held this past June in Lincoln and Woodstock, N.H., displaying their three brews: the flagship Resonation Plae Ale, Hopstock IPA and Amplified Amber Ale. Both will also be at the first Beveridge Beer Fest on Saturday, Aug. 16, from noon to 4 p.m. at Wolfetrap Grill and Raw Bar on Back Bay. (Courtesy photo) (click for larger version)
July 31, 2014
WOLFEBORO — When Scott Thornton was a student at Kingswood Regional High School he was more into teacher Bill Gibson's music class than his third block chemistry class. As it turned out, both classes helped shape his vision for the craft brewery he founded with his wife Kristen in 2012.

After graduating from Kingswood in 2003, Scott went on to UNH he majored in mechanical engineering and took businesses courses. He also gained a great deal of experience working in restaurants, starting with Garwoods in Wolfeboro and moving on to Poco's Bow Street Cantina in Portsmouth, where he met Kristen.

After graduating from UNH Scott went to work at Mercury Brewing Company in Ipswich, Mass., which, in addition to producing its own Ipswich Ale and other brews, did contract brewing for other brewing companies. Scott also did some home brewing after hours, getting hands-on experience with the brewing process while experimenting with different beers and ales.

Scott says he wanted to start his own brewery but needed to come up with the right brew formula that was distinctive and would set him apart in the craft brewing field.

The turning point for him came during a trip to Colorado where he and Kristen enjoyed a concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Listening to good music while enjoying great food and beer in the company of good friends seemed to bring everything together for him. What he needed to aim for was a brew that would enhance social moments where friends come together for meals or concerts – a brew with good hop flavor ands aroma but not bitter and with an alcohol content that was not too high.

After much experimentation the result was Resonation Pale Ale, which became the first product of Great Rhythm Brewing Company. Kristen, who was working full time as a nurse, joined Scott in founding Great Rhythm in February 2012. The company name was chosen not just because both partners loved music but also as an expression of how what they produced would enhance the lives of their customers.

"Always in the forefront of our minds was this guiding value of sorts: live life to the fullest with great friends, great music, and great craft beer," explains Kristen. "It is simple, but it speaks volumes to what we want to create and what we want to serve as the foundation for our company."

Scott adds, "We wanted to create the perfect beer to drink while out socializing with friends at your favorite music venue, bar, restaurant, or after a great adventure outdoors. Craft beer is as much about the experience as it is the flavor."

The new company was literally bootstrapped: their investment in the first batch of Resonation Pale Ale produced the funds to produce the second. The first keg, produced in October 2012, went to the Red Hook Beer Fest. The dry-hopped American pale ale with full hop aroma and flavor but little bitterness was a hit. People appreciated its crisp, clean flavor and subtle malt flavor. "It packs a resinous dose of American hops," Scott says, "and that inspired the name."

This past June Scott and Kristen released two new year-round beers, Hopstock IPA and Amplified Amber Ale. All three beers are available on draft and in 22 ounce bottles only in New Hampshire through five beer distributors. You can enjoy Great Rhythm brews locally at Garwoods and the Wolfeboro Inn and at the Beveridge Craft Beer and Soap Co. at 51 North Main Street in Wolfeboro.

Scott and Kristen will also be presenting their beers at the first Beveridge Craft Beer Fest, to be held at Wolfetrap Grill & Raw Bar on Bay Street on Saturday, Aug. 16 from noon to 4 p.m. For more information on the Beer Fest, go to www.beveridgecraftbeerandsoap.com.

For more information on other events where Great Rhythm beers will be served, as well as stores and restaurants statewide that carry the Great Rhythm line, visit the company web site at www.GreatRhythmBrewing.com.

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