Out doing some sightseeing, stopped for a taste. Parking is a pain in the ass but after a few circles around the block, a space opened up. We got the obligatory sampler of ten beers but there was no "scorecard" to state which was what & we were left to our own devices to figure it out. The Bottle Rocket IPA and the Smuttynose Shoals pale ale hit it for me. I was a little disappointed in the Black Cat stout. It wasn't as rich as I'd hoped for. I wouldn't mind stopping again if they would demolish some buildings across the street and put in a parking deck.
Parking is somewhat inconvenient as the brewery is located right in the downtown area of Portsmouth. You'll probably end up having to deal with a parking garage a few blocks away.
There's also a gift shop next door that sells Portsmouth Brewery and Smuttynose brewing merchandise. I liked that it was a separate entity and didn't necessarily take away from the brewery itself.
The brewery was very crowded, and service was slow. I would expect that it's like that a lot, and don't really see why they can't just get more servers working on those busy shifts. I tried a couple of beers, and wasn't too impressed by any of them... but maybe I was just frustrated by the large crowds and congestion.
Cool brewery in a nice little downtown. Parking isnt great on the street but there is a garage within 3 blocks. Staff was very nice, inside was very clean and modern. Most of the beers are from their owner Smuttynose and a few are acctually brewed on premises. Had dessert which was above par. Brews are average to above average and a nice selection. The sampler comes with 12 4oz glasses so start with that.
Good beer selection. I'm not a big brown ale fan but they have a good one. Nothing outstanding about most of their beers, but they sure rank a lot higher in my book than a lot of these new microbreweries who's beer all seem to taste the same. Nothing special about the restaurant either but I only are there twice, so don't go by what I say on the food. The servers seemed a bit snobby.
I have been to the Portsmouth Brewery many times, but mostly with friends and family for lunch. Every time, I have ordered the Old Brown Dog. Really good, medium body dark colored ale. It tastes good.
About a year ago, my wife and I visited and ordered a sampler. It was a busy Friday night, and we were at a table in the bar area. The bartender brought us our paddle w/ 10 beers, but there was no beer guide. We didn't know which beer was which. Poor form, we thought. As we sampled, we were not in the right mind to truly "taste".
So, recently, we tried the sampler again. This time, it was on a lazy Saturday afternoon, sitting outside in a lovely small area in the back of the restaurant. Well, we were pleasantly surprised with the beer and service. Here's what we came up with:
Out of 5
Hop Harvest Ale 4.5.
This is a seasonal ale, and really really good. It's just what you want on a Fall day. Not too strong in hop, malt, or aroma; but full of well-balanced flavor.
This hef was not as bannana-clovey as I remember it being last time. That's a good thing to me. But, it was nothing special. Good, but nothing special.
For an Octoberfest, I expected more robust, complex taste. But it was good.
Oatmeal Stout 3.5
A typical oatmeal stout.
Good light-bodied beer.
Bottle Rocket IPA 4.25
This one's a winner when it comes to IPAs. It is hoppy, but not over the top.
Old Brown Dog 4.0
A really good, rich beer.
Smutty Portsmouth Lager 1.0
This is really poor. Too plain, not complex, but not "light" or "crisp" either.
On a whim I made the trip up to the brewery for the braggot and some dinner on a Sunday evening. About an hours drive north of Boston. Walked in through the store which is located right next door and connected to the back dinning room. Much paraphernalia for sale. The restaurant wasn't as packed as it's been in the past, although the bar was full. Sat down at a table in the front room with a good view of the conditioning tanks. Very comfortable atmosphere the brewpub is. High ceiling with earth tone colored walls, except for the brick wall that separates the restaurant/bar area to the back dining room.
An extensive menu has everything from bar food to a venison entree. The menu is well put together and it's representation is five stars. There's a section of chef specials which gives you a sample of a larger entree with beer suggestions--never seen a restaurant cater to it's clientel like that before. On a tip from warriorsoul, I ordered the steak bomb sandwich, which was damn tasty and actually quite big. I was stuffed leaving the place. Emma had chili and a salad, which she also gave two thumbs up to.
On to the beer. I first walked into the store and realized that you could take home 22oz. bombers so I was a bit indecisive on what to order when I sat down. Our waiter, David, said his favorite at the time was the dubbel. I figured it wouldn't hurt to try and if I wasn't satisfied I could always take one home, or have a second brew. David's palate did not disappoint. A very tasty offering the dubbel was. Glad he suggested it. Emma had the braggot (50% of the reason we made the drive) and loved it so much, she ordered a growler to take home. I'm not sure she's going to be able to finish all by herself so I'll get the chance to sample a full glass of that too!. The selection of beers on tap was a wide spectrum. Cream Ale, dubbel, dunkel, braggot, stout, and a few others.
The waiter was attentive, kind, and suggestive. Exactly what a waiter should be. Prices were right on par with other brewpubs, both food and drink wise. All in all a great experience, and I will be back to pick up more growlers/22oz's as the drive isn't that bad.
From a previous experience there the bar downstairs has a bunch of tv's and a shuffleboard table. This is the only bar I've ever heard of that has a real shuffleboard table. Excellent atmosphere in the basement.