Articles Comments

The Beer Circle » Breweries, Portsmouth Brewery » Portsmouth Brewery — Portsmouth, NH

Portsmouth Brewery — Portsmouth, NH

In the last of my New England themed posts, I wanted to write about my experience at Portsmouth Brewery. The first time Tom suggested visiting his friends in NH, I googled the city to see how close it was to Portsmouth.  Though I’ve never been lucky enough to have Kate the Great, I was still really excited about the possibility of visiting this hallowed beer hall.  When I’m typically writing a post, I have to go through all of my photos and edit down to what I think is a good balance; with this post, I didn’t have that problem.  We had so much fun at Portsmouth that “beer and appetizers” turned into beers, appetizers, entrees, and really the rest of the evening, which I think is really telling.

Petite Saison

Walking in, everything is wood, with just the right amount of lighting.  The seating areas are kind of segmented which sometimes makes walking a tad difficult, but nothing too bad.  There was clearly a lot of thought put into everything– the doors into the bathrooms (and the stalls) were modeled after barrels.

Chalkboards for the draft list

While we were there, 12 brews were on tap; 11 were from Portsmouth and Smuttynose (their sister-brewery), with one from Stone.  I started with the Petit Saison, and Tom did with the oatmeal stout. Both were really tasty, and the oatmeal stout had really nice coffee characteristics.  Though their menus are not online, they have a delightful menu of bar snacks, though not your typical ones.  The four of us shared two orders of arroncini, an order of white bean dip, and calamari. All of it was quite delicious, and the total of the appetizers was $15 or less.

Little did I know how much I’d love Otter Pop Hop Art.

The other beers from Portsmouth on tap included Whippersnapper, a low ABV high IBU IPA, Bluebeery, Fall Gruit, and a cream ale, among others.  Once we decided to stay, I tried the gruit– I mean, what the heck is a gruit?  Portsmouth Brewing’s website explains…

Back in the Medieval days, Meads and Beers were fermented out with locally harvest herbs and flowers to add some interest to the flavor profile and change up the flavoring from batch to batch. So staying with that mindset I went over to Strawbery Banke Museum and Gardens and met up with John Forti who is the head gardener for them. We walked over the grounds and went from garden to garden harvesting herbs and flowers that were in bloom. We were able to harvest some Horehound, Hyssop, Mugwort, Burgamont Flowers, Lavender, Purple Sage, shade grown Rosemary and of course some Hops off a vine that has been growing for 100 year at Strawbery Banke.

We didn’t have the “big three” gruit herbs of Yarrow, Sweet Gale and Marsh Rosemary that you see in most traditional gruits out there. But the herbs we did find made this beer taste amazing. The burgamont flower gives a nice honey sweetness right up front that plays nicely with the malt of the red ale beer back bone. Then the flavors of the Purple sage and Rosemary play so nicely with the herbal/floral flavors from the rest of the herbs.  Get in and try this one.

I was really happy that I decided to try this out of the box beer. It was really delicious  and there was a lot of nuance in the flavor. In terms of entrees, there was a pretty high level of variance in terms of pricing; you could get sandwiches or salads for $8-15, but there were also higher end things in the $20-30 range.  I decided to get a “pick two” of salmon chowder and a seasonal salad which, at around $9,was delicious.  All around, Portsmouth Brewing has excellent beer, great food, and a wonderful ambiance.  Even sans Kate the Great, you should check it out.

Last updated by at .

Written by Paige Deckert

Paige is a fifth year graduate student at Penn State; she received her craft beer education while bartending during undergrad at the University of Illinois. Over several months, Rogue’s Dead Guy served as her gateway beer, because it was $2/pint on Thursdays, and thus offered the highest ABV/$. This eventually turned into enjoyment, and everything is history from there. Her first legal beer was Robert the Bruce on cask at the Blind Pig in Champaign, followed by the Duchess de Bourgogne. Paige has visited over 15 breweries, including Great Divide, Bells, Jolly Pumpkin, Three Floyds and Dogfish Head, with plans to add more in 2012 via trips to San Diego, Phoenix, and Austin. Paige became friends with Russ (and subsequently Garrett) when they became friends on untappd. She clearly remembers seeing a check-in of his and thinking, “Who is this clown checking into Miller Light at the Shandygaff?” Soon thereafter he introduced himself at a Zeno’s beerfest, and they bonded over their beer geekery (sans adjuct lagers). Find Paige Deckert on Google Plus

Filed under: Breweries, Portsmouth Brewery · Tags: , , , , , ,