“Drink Beer or Die”- New Hampshire’s Finest Breweries

Part 1- The Portsmouth Brewery

Over the next few posts, we’ll be talking with people from some of New Hampshire’s most treasured breweries.

First, let’s check out the Portsmouth Brewery located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I had the pleasure of speaking to one of the brewers, Tyler Jones. He gave me a brief history of the Granite State’s oldest brew-pub, which was founded by Peter Egelston in 1991.

The Portsmouth Brewery turned 20 on June 1, 2011 - Happy Birthday!

Egelston initially worked as head brewer at the Northampton Brewery in Northampton, Massachusetts, which he co-owned with his sister Janet. Then in 1991 he left to start the Portsmouth Brewery. (Egelston also owns Smuttynose, another brewery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire that he founded in 1993.)

When I asked Jones about technique he was quick to talk about head brewer Tod Mott, whose artistic and creative abilities have been great assets when it comes to brewing. The system is simple- everything is handcrafted and of course, fresh. Jones himself got involved in brewing with a background in chemical engineering, and has been a professional brewer for five years. There are many different perspectives and interests needed to have a successful brewery. Mott’s artistic ability assists the brewery in trying new innovative ideas, while Jones’ experience with chemical engineering helps with experimentation and gives an additional approach.

It was Mott who created the Portsmouth Brewery’s world-renowned Russian Imperial Stout, Kate the Great. The brewery produces ten barrels of it a year- five are put on tap, and then five are bottled. This beer is so incredible that they sell all of it in one day. Jones said last year it was sold out by 6 pm! If you want to see the masses turn out for Kate the Great Day, search “Kate the Great” on YouTube. Or here’s a video from this year’s event, which took place on March 7, 2011.

The Portsmouth Brewery always pairs their daily specials with complimentary beers. Jones feels that in general, beer pairs better with food than wine. He believes that spicy foods go well with IPAs, and Stouts go well with roasted meats. There should be a good balance of flavors between the beer and the food it is paired with. As Jones enthusiastically stated, “Beer and food are the perfect pair!”

The Portsmouth Brewery has established itself as a notable company in the brewing industry. Their small size and focus on quality over quantity has enabled them to brew some of New Hampshire’s most fresh and flavorful beers.

Up next, we’ll talk to the Tuckerman Brewing Company located in Conway, New Hampshire. So stay tuned!

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