Yesterday I — and 25 accomplices — hopped in the car (post-brunch at Portland’s The Good Egg) and made our way across the border to the town of Portsmouth, NH in search of some much-needed beer enlightenment. Our quest first brought us to the Smuttynose Brewery, which is located in a small warehouse hidden in an industrial park on the outskirts of town. The brewery is normally closed on Saturdays but Peter Egelston, the company’s president and founder (who also owns the famous Portsmouth Brewery and used to co-own the North Hampton Brewery with his sister, Janet), was kind enough to come in on his day off and show us around.
Peter poured samples for us all (including the company’s brand new stout, which is currently only available at the Barley Pub in nearby Dover, NH), then we all wound our way way through the very cramped brewhouse and bottling line. Smuttynose has long since outgrown the space it’s currently in, but Peter told us to expect an all-new Smuttynose Brewery — complete with restaurant, gift shop & expanded tour schedule — within the next 24 months. He wasn’t able to confirm that they would be staying in Portsmouth (due largely to zoning restrictions) but promised to stay somewhere nearby, and still on the Seacoast. The biggest piece of news, however, came when Peter promised that the new digs would be entirely “green” and would meet the highest standards of sustainability.
The Smuttynose tour was one of the best I’ve ever done; Peter took his time and really got into the details of brewing (as opposed to the more common scripted tours, done as a marketing ploy) with plenty of anecdotes and history lessons. The whole adventure wound down with plenty of pours of Shoals Pale Ale and Old Brown Dog Ale and a great time was certainly had by all.
We finished off the day with a late lunch in the restaurant at Redhook, with plenty of clam chowder and pitchers of IPA (and a few glasses of Treblehook Barleywine to boot) to go around.
While I do love all the beer Portland has to offer, it was great to get out of the city and see (and TASTE) some of the fantastic beers elsewhere in New England. Many thanks to both Peter and Byron for helping us all on our paths to beer enlightenment; the day was one I’m sure none of us who were in attendance will soon forget.