Budweiser is America's—and maybe even the world's—most recognizable beer brand, but many New England visitors don't realize that Anheuser-Busch has a manufacturing and bottling facility in Merrimack, New Hampshire, where beer fans can drink, eat, go behind the scenes for a brewery experience and even meet the famous Budweiser Clydesdales a few times each year when the East Coast Traveling Hitch is home resting up for its next parade or other appearance.
If you're a beer fan, the Anheuser-Busch factory in Merrimack is the largest of the best breweries to visit in New Hampshire and a place to marvel at modern mechanization and the scale of production. The Budweiser Brewery has been operating in New Hampshire for nearly 50 years, and while changes in 2019 eliminated some of the facility's cherished offerings (including free brewery tours for all ages and daily visit with the Clydesdales), there are still reasons to include a Merrimack stop on your New Hampshire itinerary.
Reserve Your Brewery Tour
Free Budweiser brewery tours are no longer offered in Merrimack, but that doesn't mean you can't get a look at the beermaking process. Visitors now have two options, available Wednesday through Sunday:
The Beermaster Tour: Buy tickets online ($35 for ages 21 and up, $10 for guests ages 13 to 20, no younger children allowed) for this in-depth and educational experience that incorporates a full tour of the brewing plant including the chance to see the brew house, the lager cellar, the ale cellar, and the packaging facility, plus bonus treats including the chance to taste fresh beer directly from a finishing tank (if you're 21+). Beermaster Tour participants also leave with a a variety of commemorative gifts.
The Bud Light Tour: Purchase tickets online ($10 for adults 21 and up, $5 for guests ages 3 to 20, and free for children under 3) for this factory tour focused on company history and the brewing process for Bud Light: the top-selling beer in the world. You'll step inside the brew house, the lager cellar, the ale cellar, and the finishing cellar; watch the mesmerizing bottling process through observation windows; sample Bud Light straight from the finished beer tank (if you're 21+); and enjoy an additional sample of a beer crafted on-site when the tour concludes in the hospitality room.
Private group tours are an option in New Hampshire, as well.
Meet the Clydesdales... Maybe
The Budweiser Clydesdales are the beverage industry's most recognizable mascots, and you can sometimes meet these famous horses by visiting the Clydesdale Hamlet at Anheuser-Busch's brewery in Merrimack, New Hampshire.
In 1933, August A. Busch, Jr. gave a hitch of Clydesdales to his father in celebration of the resumption of brewing in St. Louis following the repeal of Prohibition. Clydesdales, a powerful breed of draft horses, originated in the Clyde valley of Scotland, and they are known for the distinctive, feathery hair on their fetlocks—the lower parts of their legs above and behind the hooves.
If you've never heard of the Budweiser Clydesdales, then you've probably been living in a cave for several decades. These high-stepping horses make hundreds of public appearances each year in addition to appearing in television commercials and other Budweiser beer advertising.
The hitch of Clydesdales that calls New Hampshire home is one of several owned by Budweiser, which offers tours of three of its U.S. breweries. Unfortunately, as of January 1, 2019, New Hampshire is no longer where young Clydesdales are trained, and that means opportunities to see the horses in the picturesque stables here are limited. The Clydesdale training facility was relocated to Warm Springs Ranch in Booneville, Missouri, and now Merrimack is only home to the East Coast Traveling Hitch. The team is home in New Hampshire just a couple of times each year, and while they are out performing up and down the East Coast, there are no Clydesdales on the property.
Drink and Eat at the Biergarten
If you're sad there are no Clydesdales to see, you can drown your sorrows at the Biergarten, where you'll discover that Budweiser is the brewer behind many more craft beer labels than you realized. There's a fun menu of food to pair with your choice of brews, and when the fire pits are lit, you can even toast marshmallows for S'mores.
The Budweiser brewery is located at 221 Daniel Webster Highway in Merrimack, New Hampshire, which is between Nashua and Manchester. Follow the Everett Turnpike/Route 3 to exit 10, then travel east on Industrial Drive to a left on Daniel Webster Highway.