The Portsmouth Brewery — Portsmouth, NH

Later this week, I'll be attending the Beer Bloggers Conference (yes, we have our own conference) in Boston. As a warmup, I'm also partaking in a pre-conference beer excursion in Portland, Maine. More on both of these later.

I flew in an extra day early so I could visit Smuttynose Brewing Co., in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I started the day at The Portsmouth Brewery for lunch and a taster tray.

The Portsmouth Brewery
56 Market St., Portsmouth, NH 03801

The Beer:
  • Taps:  12 drafts (8 house beers and 4 guest taps). Current taplist is updated at the brewery's blog.
  • Standard Pour:  16 oz. served in a shaker glass. Smaller 10 oz. pours are available.
  • Taster Tray:  Yes. 3 oz. pours.
  • Bottles:  Yes.
  • Growlers: Yes. House beers only.

Vibe:  Bright and airy restaurant with a large bar and patio for outdoor seating. The Jimmy Lapanza Lounge (located downstairs) features 4 additional taps and 2 casks

Food:   Full menu with a wide variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrees. Some unique lunch specials were offered the day I attended. Locally produced ingredients are featured throughout the menu.

Tyler Jones at the brewhouse command center
Portsmouth Brewery was founded in 1991 and is New Hampshire's original brewpub. 

Tyler Jones, Head Brewer, gave me a tour of the brewery which features a 7 barrel brewhouse. The brewery space is extremely tightit feels like it's in a submarine! Every last nook and cranny is filled with equipment, leaving absolutely no room for expansion (and little room for movement)!

This makes Tyler's job of managing brewery output, experimenting with new beers, and keeping the brewpub taps flowing a constant juggling act. He and his team are up to the challenge. Last year, they produced 1400 barrels. Almost all of which is served in the restaurant. So that brings us to the beer! I sampled 8 of the house beers. While all are excellent, here are my favorites:

  • Bluebeery:  Blueberry was added in the whirlpool and secondary fermentation. It has bright blueberry aroma and flavor, but without the cloying sweetness found in many blueberry ales.
  • Barley Wine:  I'm not a huge fan of the style in general, but this one was smooth! It's fermented with American and English ales yeasts and blended. It may be 11% ABV, but very stealthy! 
  • Black Cat Stout:  Rich and creamy, with roasted malt and coffee.
  • Ginga Ninga:  I've never had a ginger IPA, until now! The ginger is present from start to finish and, to my surprise, nicely complements the spicy and earthy hop flavors.     

If you're visiting Portsmouth and you love good beer, be sure to make a trip to The Portsmouth Brewery! Check the Brewery's blog for the current taplist and updates from Tyler about special beer releases.

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  1. My wife is from New England, and part of her family lives in Boston, part in Maine. It is now a tradition for us to fly into Boston and drive to Maine--mainly so I can stop in at Portsmouth, which is one of my very favorite brewpubs in the world.

    I hope you have a chance to go to the oft-overlooked Geary's while in Portland. Allagash gets all the press (not unrightly), but Geary's is one of the best breweries in New England. The pale and porter are world standards.

    Have fun, Sanjay; I wish I was there--

  2. Thanks Jeff. Having a great time in the other Portland! Funny you should mention Geary's. I attended a beer and cheese pairing event earlier today, which featured Geary's beers exclusively. Also had the pleasure of meeting David Geary.

    I also visited the Allagash Coolship. It was a religious experience...

  3. My first real date with my wife was to go here. It will always hold a special place in my heart.


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