2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth, NH (July 2nd, Brewery Stop #19)

2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Portsmouth Brewery, Portsmouth, NH (July 2nd, Brewery Stop #19) The 19th brewery we stopped at on our cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) was The Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. After a great day and evening visiting our friends in Philly, we woke up early and headed north towards our mid-way point (Maine). Leaving Philly, we went east into Jersey (Camden), then north to New York City for an early lunch (pizza) in lower Manhattan. After eating we did take a short side trip up to Times Square (drove through it), which was one of my bucket list items. Eventually we made our way out of the city with the intent on stopping in Boston en route to Maine. However, the bumper to bumper traffic on the freeways had us taking back-roads and alternate routes around Boston and then north into New Hampshire to find dinner before making the final trek into Maine.

With the alternate back-roads navigating (always take a road atlas with you as your phone may not get signal out in the back woods), we were able to see some really great historic towns and villages in the countryside. This really got us in the mood to try some local food and beers (besides sitting in traffic for 6hrs straight). With a little searching online (as we passed up where we intended to stop in Boston), we picked the Portsmouth Brewery in New Hampshire. I’d only heard of the town before, had no idea about the brewery or clue what to expect. We found Portsmouth to be an historic fishing village with a great waterfront.

The restaurant and brewery is located in the historic district of town. There is little on-street parking available, so you will need to find one of the public parking garages or surface lots a few blocks away. Our timing was great as it was just before the dinner rush, and as you can see in the photos, it wasn’t terribly busy when we got there, but did pick up by the time we left. The location has a couple of dining areas, a gift shop, main room bar with seating, and brewing area with kettles at the back. We ordered some apps and dinner which came out pretty quickly and tasted great.

We quickly discovered that this brewery is owned the same people that own Smuttynose Brewing Company in Hampton, NH. I’ve seen Smuttynose bottled beers while on other trips to the east coast in the past, so I was excited to try what they were brewing in house. They were offering 14 samples/tasters, 10 of which were their own (2 on cask), a couple from Smuttynose, one from Dogfish Head, and a local cider. They ranged from Saisons to east coast style IPAs.

I am a bit saddened that we didn’t try to visit any of the other breweries in Portsmouth with the quality and range of beers that we had. The top beers for me were the SOSA IPA and Smuttynose Old Brown Dog. I did end up ordering a full pint of the Red Rye IPA w/ Clovers on cask as I really enjoy trying beers served in this style. The reviews of the beer are below, starting front to back, left to right. The singles are the two cask pours.

The Portsmouth Brewery
56 Market Street
Portsmouth, NH, 03801-3705
Ph: 603-431-1115
E: info@portsmouthbrewery.com
Web: http://portsmouthbrewery.com/
Face: https://www.facebook.com/Portsmouthbrewery

Dirty Blond Ale
The Portsmouth Brewery • American Blonde Ale • IBU: 13 • ABV: 4.5% • 5 SRM
MALTS: Silo 2-Row, Crystal 15, CaraHell, Acidulated, Pilsner, Flaked Barley, Flaked Rice
HOPS: Centennial, Cascade, US Saaz
Hazy summery yellow with a nice bright white foamy head that had good retention. The nose is slight lemon, earthy hops, and dry yeast. The front mouth is similar to the nose, subtle lemon zest and dry pith, malts are clean milled dry grains, with a slight yeasty presence. The mid to back has a nice solid mouth-feel with slight sharp bitters coming from the hop and lemon citrus profiles.
Citra Saison
The Portsmouth Brewery • Saison / Farmhouse Ale • IBU: 30 • ABV: 5.3% • 8 SRM
MALT: Pilsner, Crystal 15, Carahell, Malted Wheat, Amber Candi Syrup.
HOPS: Bravo, Citra
Slight orange/dark yellow hue, little to no head with slight lacing on the rim. Nose is sharp lemon-citrus and coriander spices, farmhouse funk and old socks. The front mouth is super fruity and tropical with lower yeast presence. Mid to back have a solid malt and slight sweet body to balance out the sharper hop characters. Funk and bitters linger well past the back.
Belgian Wit
The Portsmouth Brewery • Witbier • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5% • 4 SRM
Nice golden cloudy yellow and lingering white lacing. Nose is spicy (peppercorns), floral (hops), and slight orange peel/pith. The front mouth is a sourdough yeast like forward vibe with some wild funk and citrus zest hops. The mid and back have decent carbonation and a mid-bodied profile. Back has lingering spice (peppercorns) and tartness.
Le Chat Noir
The Portsmouth Brewery • Irish Dry Stout • IBU: 28 • ABV: 5.5% • 40+ SRM
MALTS: Silo 2-Row, English Pale Ale, Black Malt, Chocolate Malt, Crystal 45, Caramel 60, Roasted Barley, CaraFA, Flaked Barley
HOPS: Chinook, East Kent Goldings, Warrior
YEAST: In-house Belgium
Draft is dark brown/black with a slight off-white head that lingered and left some spidery lacing on the rim. The nose is complex with mixes of bitter cocoa, coffee (espresso), burned sugars, and dried fruits (raisins). This is a thinner bodied beer with a front profile of coffee, spices, dark sugars/bread and some slight yeast present. The bitters are expressed through the cocoa and some earthy hop notes.
Red Rye IPA
The Portsmouth Brewery • American IPA • IBU: ?? • ABV: 7.6% • 16 SRM
Collab with Stoneface Brewing
Amber hued, solid white frothy head that left lots of clingly lacing on the rim. The nose was a bit of herbal and sweet caramel malts. The front mouth is sharper grassy and mild dry citrus (orange) pith. There is a good tangieness to the solid bodied beer. Decent carbonation kept it lively and crisp to the back.
SOSA Session IPA
The Portsmouth Brewery • American IPA • IBU: 30 • ABV: 5% • 6 SRM
MALTS: Pilsner, Caramel 40, Carapils, Malted wheat
HOPS: Bravo, Centennial, Simcoe, Citra, Columbus, Amarillo, Crystal, Calypso
Bright yellow, clear, with a nice tight foamy white head that left some small bubbly lacing on the rim. Aromatics are sharp citrus and zest hops, slight grassy hints. The front mouth is all sharp, thin grassy and dry citrus rind notes. The mid to back is thin, sharp, crisp, lemons and dry rind. Low cracker malts help the back, but it’s got a sharp edge that lingers over it.
Vienna Lager
The Portsmouth Brewery • Vienna Lager • IBU: 20 • ABV: 4.7% • 18 SRM
MALTS: Vienna, Munich 20, caramunich, Melanoidin
HOPS: Magnum, Santium, Vanguard
Lite brown hue draft, clingy white small bubbly head that dropped quickly. The front mouth is solid caramel, toasted breads, soft floral hops. The front to mid mouth is a nice balance between the toasted bread malts and grassy to herbal hops with some hints of metallic acidity. The mid to back is solid caramel and slight sweet balmy grains.
Blueberry Ale
The Portsmouth Brewery • Fruit / Vegetable Beer • IBU: 11 • ABV: 5.5% • 20 SRM
MALTS: Silo 2-Row, British Pale, CaraHell, Caramel 30, Honey Malt
HOPS: Saphir, Cascade
SPECIAL: 200 lbs Maine blueberries
Clear copper hued draft, soft white foamy head that dropped quickly, leaving no lacing. Nose is soft with fruits (not syrup like), some sweet grainy malts expressed. The front to mid mouth is clean, slightly sharp and dry fruit (apple to blueberry) with some thinner malts expressed. The mid to back has plenty of carbonation, slight dried fruit skins and sweet sugars.
Bouncy House
Smuttynose • American IPA • IBU: 61 • ABV: 4.3% • 4 SRM
MALTS: North American 2-Row, Crisp Pale, Crystal 60, Aromatic, CaraHell
HOPS: (Bittering) Magnum, (Flavoring) Calypso, (Dry Hops) Calypso, Saphir
Straw yellow and a little hazy with a white fluffy head that dropped to a sheen and left little lacing. The nose is brighter grapefruits, lemon, and citrus hops with caramel undertones. Front to mid mouth is a nice solid citrus based hop centered IPA with some zing from the grassy and subtle spice bitters. Thin bodied back and some cracker malts are expressed more on the back. Really nice example of an east coast IPA.
Aprihop IPA
Dogfish Head Brewing • IPA • IBU: 50 • ABV: 7% • 16 SRM
MALTS: Pilsner and Crystal
HOPS: (dry) Amarillo
SPECIAL: Apricot juice
Dark amber hue, solid white foamy head with good retention, some minor lacing. The nose is a mix of grapefruits with a touch of pine hops. The front to mid mouth is really hop forward with some hints of spices and dry fruit and dark bread malts. The mid to back is mildly carbonated, medium bodied, with more fruit and drier hops expressed to the back.
Old Brown Dog
Smuttynose • American Brown Ale • IBU: 29 • ABV: 6.5% • 20 SRM
MALTS: North American 2-Row, Munich 10L, C-120, Chocolate
HOPS: (Bittering) Cascade and Galena, (Flavoring) Willamette
Dark amber with reddish hues in color, slight small bubbly foam dropped quickly and left a little lacing as sipped. The nose is solid toasted bread crust and fresh grains with some slight sweet hits. The front mouth is full of a dark toasted bread malt slathered in hoppy resin like jelly (sweet notes backed with biting bitters). The mid to back is complex, well balanced with sweet sugars and bitters dancing on the mid bodied carbonation. The back is nice with lingering dry bitters.
Hopshire Hard Cider
North Country Cider • Cider • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.7% • 2 SRM
Bright yellow, no head, aromatics of dried grapes and apples. The front mouth is sweet like Riesling and super fruit forward. Dry mid and back, nice and crisp.
CASK: Red Rye IPA with cloves
The Portsmouth Brewery • American IPA • IBU: ?? • ABV: 7.6% • 16 SRM
Collab with Stoneface Brewing
Mid-amber hue draft, solid white frothy head with lots of retention and lacing. The nose is sharper cloves and spice with some roasted grains. The front and mid mouth-feel is really sharp with the cloves and dry acidic hops. The malt build is really secondary to the hop and spices, which overpower it to the back.
CASK: Belgian Wit
The Portsmouth Brewery • Witbier • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5% • 4 SRM
Nice golden cloudy yellow and lingering white lacing that lingered throughout the sips. Nose is softer than full co2 draft is, with spicy peppercorns, some floral hops, and mild orange peel/pith. The front mouth is a sourdough yeast like forward vibe with some wild funk and citrus zest hops. The mid and back have decent carbonation and a mid-bodied profile. Back has lingering spice (peppercorns) and tartness.

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