I’m just back from a successful, if not wet and chilly, Kate The Great Day at the Portsmouth Brewery in beautiful Portsmouth, New Hampshire. And what a wild & crazy morning it was. Josh Christie (of BrewsAndBooks.com fame), a few mutual cohorts and I piled into the car this morning around 3:50am and departed from Portland en route to Portsmouth for The Portsmouth Brewery’s Kate the Great Russian Imperial Stout – the beer which is considered by many to be the best beer in America (and is towards the top of just about every list for sure).

The bottle "lines" at about 8:40am

If you’re unfamiliar with the way “Kate Day” (as it’s called) works, there are a total of 900 bottles of the infamous Russian Imperial Stout for sale one morning each year. The first 450 people in line get a single page from a page-a-day calendar (well, calendar and a half). When the pages are all handed out, the beer is essentially gone. Folks then mill around downtown Portsmouth in search of warmth and breakfast until they start letting people in to pick up their bottles (limit 2 per person; $10 a bottle) in order of month beginning at 9:00am.

Our carload arrived right around 4:45am and got December 28-30 of the first year. By 5:25 all of the 450 pages were gone. Reports said that folks began lining up at 1:00am last night when the bar closed and stood in line overnight until they began handing out pages at 4:30 this morning (so all the bottles were spoken for in less than an hour).

If you miss out on a calendar page and aren’t able to pick up a bottle, not all hope is lost. The Portsmouth Brewery opened for lunch at 11:30am and promised to have a couple of kegs of Kate on tap. However, when we left with our bottles at 9:30, the lunch line was already down the street and around the corner, two hours before they opened. Our rough estimate was that if we had gotten in line at that exact moment, we might have been eating by 3 o’clock. And the brewery was sure to kick all of their Kate kegs before the day is out. Pure insanity.

Look at all those bags of Kate The Great!

However, if you’re within striking distance of Portsmouth, Kate Day is a definite don’t-miss, at least once in your drinking career. I do wish they would host the event on a slightly warmer day than March 1st, but I guess standing outside in the cold and the rain adds a bit to the mystique.

Did you make it down this morning? What’d you think? And if not, I’ll see you there next year (BlogAboutBeer.com Kate Day Party Bus anyone?). Oh, and I won’t be trading either bottle so don’t waste your time. Sorry! 😀



  1. I’d be up for a bus party next year! I’ll bet we could get a few people involved. Since I started getting into craft beer, all I’ve heard is I have to try KtG when I get a chance.

    • Whats cooler than getting your hands on a KTG, being in the second picture on this. Next to the guy in the garbage bag looking toward the camera.

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