NH Seacoast Local Beer Spots
Our tiny coast is packed with breweries both large and small
Many breweries sell growlers, reusable glass jugs, that you can bring back for refills.
Updated September 2015: This story originally appeared in our inaugural Beer Guide in 2013. Since then many new breweries have opened their doors and, sadly, some have stopped brewing. We were sorry to see Blue Lobster close. Happily, though, the Seacoast continues to explode with new breweries including a new location for Throwback Brewery, Neighborhood Beer Co. in Exeter, Beara Irish Brewing Co. in Portsmouth, Deciduous Brewing Company in Newmarket, Garrison City Beerworks in Dover, 7th Settlement also in Dover, a new location for Smuttynose in Hampton and Stoneface Brewing Co. in Newington.
There's quite a bit going on in the beer world on our short coast, so we asked Brian Aldrich to recommend the best and hottest spots in the Portsmouth area. You can also find out more about what's happening in the Seacoast beer scene here.
While the Seacoast’s craft beer scene is growing by leaps and bounds, the focus has been and always will be on creating new and exciting beer for the locals and those passing through. Portsmouth Brewery recently renovated their tap system, allowing for more beers to be pumped upstairs and downstairs. With more lines they are able to introduce more beers from other breweries on their guest taps.
What’s the buzz?
Local, Local and more local. A lot of the beer you drink from breweries on the Seacoast has more to it than you think. Take the Earth Eagle Brewings' "Sage Goose," a gruit featuring lots of oats, sage, and gooseberry from Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth. Throwback Brewery’s ‘Hippo-HOP-amus’ is a 4 percent 27 IBU black session ale brewed with chocolate rye from Valley Malt of Hadley, MA.
Who’s in the spotlight and why?
Alex Gilbert Aviles is currently the talk of the town of Portsmouth. Alex has opened a new craft beer focused bar called WHYM. WHYM stands for the four major ingredients in beer (Water, Hops, Yeast and Malt). What’s great about this bar is the focus on maintaining a solid tap list. This is not a mega tap house; this is a bar with 12 carefully selected beers on draft, half local and half across the world and a great selection of bottles/cans. There is no better feeling than going to a bar owned and operated by a craft beer enthusiast.
What’s an insider tip or two?
Having trouble finding parking in the city? Growlers are the best way to get in and out of Portsmouth fast and take your beer home. Redhook, Portsmouth Brewery, Earth Eagle Brewings, Throwback Brewery and Blue Lobster Brewing Company all fill growlers in various sizes that are perfect for game nights, cookouts or just enjoying great beer from the comfort of you own home.
Laws are always the next step in the world of New Hampshire craft beer. Allowing out of state breweries to distribute in the state is a constant head scratcher for beer lovers of NH. I am consistently finding myself going to Kittery, ME or Newburyport, MA to purchase beer not allowed in New Hampshire. Another law trying to make its way through is allowing nanobreweries to pour pints at their brewery.
Brian Aldrich has been writing about beer on his blog, Seacoast Beverage Lab, for three years. While the blog has a local craft beer focus, Brian enjoys traveling the world in search of great beer. In August of 2012 he started the Seacoast Beverage Lab Podcast, a weekly audio/video podcast focusing on craft beer news and talking to brewers across the country. You can watch the podcast at SBLPodcast.com.