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Portsmouth Brewery

Not Rated.
Portsmouth BreweryPortsmouth Brewery

267 Ratings
Ratings: 267
Reviews: 188
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 8.43%
Active Beers: 128
Beer Ratings: 3,189
Beer Avg: 3.81
Taps: 10
Bottles: 8
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

56 Market St
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 03801-3705
United States
phone: (603) 431-1115

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

The Portsmouth Brewery will typically have 6-7 of their own biers on tap, plus usually 3 from their sister brewery, Smuttynose. They may also have a guest tap on, which has seen Moat Mountain and Sierra Nevada as recent "guests". Growlers cost $4.00 for the glassware, then $10 to $18 for the actual brew, depending on the style. Be advised, they don't usually growler any of their stouts. Also available in the pub are 22oz bottles of Smuttynose Big Beers, plus their "Brewers Cellar" offerings, with items such as Chimay and Ommegang. The adjacent store sells a wide array of high-quality clothing, as well as 22oz "bombers" of Portsmouth bier, ranging in cost from $5 to $10.

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Ratings: 267 | Reviews: 188 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tboom29
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%

My wife Sara and I stopped here for dinner on our recent trip to Portsmouth. Very nice, slightly upscale but low key atmosphere. Not my favorite kind of place to drink, but very nice for a restaurant/pub. The skylight in the middle of the restuarant really brightens the place up. Ecclectic artwork hung on the wall throughout the place. It was around 6 or so on a Friday when we arrived, but the place was already busy.

The building is brick with nice wood partions througout. The bar is immediately to the right. That area was really busy when we got there. Booths that open up on the bar side are in the middle when you first walk in, and there is seating throughout the restaurant. Also to the left is a doorway that leads you into the gift shop, which has the usual shirts, glassware, and beer. There was no room at the bar, our preferred place to sit, but we were immediately taken to the upper dining section. This section overlooks the restaurant and bar. Directly behind us were the tanks, with a window you could see them through.

Food was outstanding, and decently priced for what you got. I had the softshell crab with a corn/tomato salsa, Sara the pork tenderloin with horseradish sauce. Both were around $20/entree. No desert, as there was more drinking to do. The beer selection was good, nice variety and about 10 on tap between there brews and Smuttynose, which made up 2-3 of the 10. I had the Imperial stout and Weizenbock, Sara the Old Brown Dog and the porter. They were Portsmouth and Smuttynose, so the quality was top notch. Service was prompt and attentive, if not terribly knowledgeable.

If you like to peruse the pints and sit at the bar for awhile, like I do, then go early. I will next time so I can get a seat. Overall though, well worth the money spent for a great dinner and terrific beers. Side note to fellow beer geeks, I unfortunately did not see Tod Mott. Maybe next time.

tboom29, Apr 19, 2007
Photo of mckate
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%

We tried this place on a very busy Saturday night (3-3-07). There were five of us, so we did have to wait for a table. The bar area was very crowded and S.R.O., but the bar manager was attentive and made sure we were quickly served drinks while we waited. Portsmouth is a dining destination, and the most popular places generally involve a wait on the weekend. For appetizers, we ordered the Alehouse Mussels, which were terrific, and calamari, which were average. There was a broad range of meal options, from sandwiches on up to the “Brewers Table” menu, which features creative dishes with beer suggestions from the Brewmaster. I had the burger, which was basic but very tasty. The table also ordered the New York steak, pastas with shrimp and salmon, and the special of the night - a mixed grill combo plate of venison, steak and lamb. The meat dishes were all cooked to temp and very good. The pastas were ok, but both pasta orderers would choose a different entrée next time. For dessert, we tried the Bananas Foster, which was made with gingerbread and ginger ice cream – a winner. As for the really important info: they had eight house-brewed beers on tap as well as a couple of choices from Smuttynose. We tried the IPA, English Bitter, Black Cat Stout, Cream Ale and the Imperial Stout. The IPA was hop-loaded and crisp (we took a growler of that home), the Cream Ale was a good example of its style, the English Bitter had the fruity aspect of its style but wasn’t as hopped as I expected. The Black Cat Stout was good but not a standout. The Imperial Stout, however, was excellent (we took a growler of that home, too.) For more info on the food choices, check the website, but unfortunately the current beer selection is not listed online.
If you belong to the American Homebrewers Association, show your card for a 15% discount.

mckate, Mar 08, 2007
Photo of muffguy4beer
3.88/5  rDev -9.1%

Went to Portsmouth for the day last weekend with the plan to go to Portsmouth Brewery for lunch and to pick up a growler. The place was packed and we ended up having to wait like 45 minutes for a table. SO to the bar I went. I tried the mild ale, the cream ale at the bar and had the russian imperial stout and the IPA at the table. The mild was great, the cream ale was eh a cream ale, the IPA was good and the RIS was awesome.

I had the saffron gnocchi for lunch, a bit heavy but i couldn't resist, c'mon its saffron. It was very good and paired extremely well with the IPA.

The atmosphere of the bar was nothing too great but the brewer was out and about which is always cool. The crowd was mixed in age and I saw a few mixed drinks and wines around so not your typical beer crowd. It really struck me as a tourist attraction which is not my cup of lager but the beer was good so I did not mind it. Would not call this my local spot though if I lived in Portsmouth.

Selection was good, I loved to see milds on tap and jumped on that as soon as I sat down. Smuttynose was represented there too as expected.

Service was decent, it was busy so maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt. The pricing was great about 4-5 bucks for a pints. Food was 8-16 bucks depending on what you got.

I will most likely come back in the summer when the weather permits more walking around and exploring. Very nice town and wonderful little brewpub even if it is a little touristy.

muffguy4beer, Feb 23, 2007
Photo of mountdew1
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%

Nice place. The main portion of the restuarant has a nice mill type feel. We were seated in the side room, along with what seemed to be every child. They were fairly well behaved, but not quite was I was looking for in atmospshere. The food was solid, and reasonably priced. A massive beer listing, however they only have 10 on tap at once. The food selection was well balanced, with a solid showing expected from a sea side restaurant. Price was reasonable, my pint of Black Cat Stout was $4, with my burger about $9. Good place to stop, would recommend to all.

mountdew1, Feb 11, 2007
Photo of lehows
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%

Was on my way back from Maine and decided to continue on Route 1 into Portsmouth and poke around. I was happy I did because I stumbled upon this great brewpub. I first walked into the gift shop door where you can pick up some 22's and assorted glassware/gear, the girl behind the counter was very friendly and helpful. The large bar area had many people waiting to be seated, and the bar was full. We opted for some seats with small tables alongside the bar. Started with the Portsmouth Lager which was awesome, just a great all around lager. Worked my way through the brews down to the Oatmeal Stout and all were impressive. They also had several Smutty's on tap, and apparently they are sister companies. Didn't get to try the food but it looked pretty good. Lots of locals hanging out in here and Portsmouth is a cool town to boot. This is an all around good brewpub and it's worth a stop off 95 or Route 1 any day. Looking forward to my next trip.

lehows, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of blitz134
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Initially stopped in just to pick up some bombers since I was only passing through Portsmouth, but when some friends needed to run to a nearby camera shop I took the opportunity to belly up to the bar for a pint.

Overall a pretty nice looking place. Kinda that typical brewpub atmosphere and decor but this one was a little less text book. The lunch crowd was there when I was and there seemed to be some locals at the bar enjoying a pint. Good atmosphere overall, could use a bit more character.

Quality and selection seemed to be good, 8 to 10 beers on tap, most under the Portsmouth name, but some Smutty brews as well. I enjoyed the Oatmeal stout I had and would have liked to have tried some of the others but didn't have time.

Okay service, pretty cut and dry. Guy seemed to know his beer though from what I overheard while he was talking to others. I was able to get in and out of there fairly quickly.

My pint was 4 bucks, so tolerable and the going rate I'm used to.

I'd gladly take a place like this down here. Worth a stop if you happen to be passing through. It a two minute excursion from the interstate.

blitz134, Jan 05, 2007
Photo of MTNboy
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%

The Portsmouth Brewery I had some mixed feelings about this place. It had a wide varieties from it own brews and its sister company Smutty Nose. It is a large brewpub. It was easy to find and I was impressed by décor. The food was good and in large quantities. Our waiter was very cocky and did not check on us that often and we were there for a while but he was very knowledgeable about their products. I ordered the sampler of beer and I enjoyed pretty much them all. At the end I ordered souvenir glass as always do. When the waiter brought it to me he gave me an Anti-war pen. He said it was from the owner. When I go out to enjoy some beer and a meal I would rather not be bothered with someone’s political views. If I wanted that I would go to a rally or a convention.

MTNboy, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of goodbyeohio
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%

thanks t,m & k for the ride up.

the pub is located on a quaint new england main street full of boutiques, cafes, and happy shoppers (especially during the holiday season). reminds me of northeastern destinations like brattleboro, northampton, and lenox. PB actually has two storefronts, one for the bar/restaurant, and another for the adjoining retail shop. like dogfish head's brewpub, pb (along with sister brewery smuttynose) offers a wide array of trinkets, shirts and bottled beers to go.

inside, on the weekend, for lunch, the place took on a real family vibe. lots of shoppers, their kids, couples, etc. this is what happens when you visit a brewpub at 11am at this time of year, i suppose. the interior was accented by exposed brick patches and quality artwork. a framed series of b/w photos of brewerania was an excellent touch, and some handpainted portsmouth brewery pictures showed enthusiasm and contributed to a laid-back vibe. the bar itself is in a large, main room, down some steps is a side dining room (which is where we sat). a chalkboard clearly laid out the ten draught offerings, although no info other than their names.

server was a smiley young girl.. knew all about the beer and was able to pontificate (at great lengths) about the stupid sales tax. was going to lose points by not telling me what the catch of the day was (i was jonesing fish), but then she came back to tell us as she forgot. it was like good server esp! sweet.

the selection was a happy blend of smuttynose and in-house PB beers. ten available yesterday, they were (lets see if i can remember): cream ale, portsmouth lager (S), old brown dog (S), shoals pale (S), smoky dunkelweizen, ipa, black cat stout, abbey dubbel, abbey tripel, braggot. all ten! nice! good memory. all the beers were average or above, no stinkers in the lot. i didn't care for the stout, but i understand its a popular one and chalk it up to just being 'not my style' of brew. also notable is the fact that all beers are available in growlers, for which there is some ludicrous sales tax (15%?).. still, the most expensive, high-octane beer only cost $16 for the fill. in addition, the retail store sells seasonals in hand-bottled bombers for anywhere from $4-$10. picked me up an APA ($4), dubbel ($4), and tripel ($10).

the food. wow. what a menu. wish i had more of an appetite, or didn't have a particular craving for fried fish.. because the entree menu is spectacular. lots of game (elk, venison).. my favorite pasta dish (gnocchi) and inventive sandwiches... beer pairings listed for the dinners, also.. i settled on a thyme wedding soup ("did you say italian wedding? nope, thyme wedding." nice!) and a crab cake app. the cc's were meaty with big chunks of crab meat, with just enough seasoned breading to keep it all together.. served with a sweet ale mustard instead of tartar which was a nice twist. the soup was also good, homemade chicken meatballs and just the right amount of aformentioned pungent herb (that could have been a spice disaster!). i was very happy with the food i was served, although the entrees ran as high as 30+$.

overall, a great place to eat a meal and bust through a 10-chambered tasting paddle. will return anytime i pass through or near the area. highly recommended.

goodbyeohio, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of Bierman9
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%

11SEP04 - Stop the presses!! The Pulled Pork Sammich is back!! Also, with Tod Mott on board, quality is now at least a 4.50. Prosit!

Bummer note: As of 07JUN03 the pulled pork is no more....oh well. On the bright side, the Brewery is smoke-free as of 09JUN03!

(Original review of 30JUL02) I've always liked this place; have been visiting since '94 or so.... Great service, especially from Tom, Donna, Gail or Tracy behind the bar. Entire staff very friendly and accomodating. Usually a good selection of Portsmouth/Smuttynose brews, which are all usually a minimum of good up to very good. Tasty food options, too, like the pulled-pork sammich! Prosit!! (Kudos, too, to Larry at the Bar - he's the berries!! 2006)

overall: 4.55
atmosphere: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$


Bierman9, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of Donthoseme
4.22/5  rDev -1.2%

The place had some cool styles of beer. Everything from a wheat wine (which had a toffe aroma and good body) and a russian imperial stout (with very complex malty flavors very roasted and a very a lot of alcohol) to a light cream ale and good heffe (don't get the lemon or orange just appreciate the thick head that gives off the aroma of bannana and cloves). The food is decent. Nothing knock you down crazy but it's worth the money. Last time i had the grilled Salmon sandwhich and it was ok. Thier margarita pizzia is awesome. The downstairs is really fun but it gets overly crowded and the rest room set up is less than optimal. I'd go back. I'd go back a lot. But it's not the apex.

Donthoseme, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of bjohnson
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%

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 paraphenalia 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 special's 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 waitor, 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 waitor was attentive, kind, and suggestive. Exactly what a waitor 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.

bjohnson, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of ybnorml
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Stopped in here for lunch on the way up to Maine for vacation. A great decision if I do say so myself (I was traveling with my wife and one other couple). The question was if I knew of a place to stop for lunch between RI and Camden Me. A no brainer for me a least. I absolutely love the ambiance of the interiors of old restored buildings. The warmth of the wood and brick colors just relaxes me so much. The selection is fabulous for a brewpub. Be careful when asking for a sampler. They had 10 beers on tap the day I was there so my sampler was 10 beers. My wife's eye's just about popped out of her head when it was placed on the table in front of me. Not a bad one in the bunch. Some good, most great yum! The food was delish. Every body throughly enjoyed their meals. The service was quick, cheerful and well informed. Even in the store the staff was more than eager to help and explain.
Portsmouth Brewery and Pub. Always a good choice!

ybnorml, Nov 02, 2006
Photo of NEhophead
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%

Located right in the heart of Portsmouth's downtown shopping district. A great way to cap off a long summer day spent in the shops of this quaint little tourist-filled town.

Setup is a bit complicated: long bar in front of you as you walk in, decorated with televisions broadcasting the Sox game. Wrapped around to the left are booths and tables that continue on to the back of the establishment by the brewing tanks and bathrooms. The brewing equipment is set inside a room with glass windows past the bar. There is additional seating in a large room to the left of the main restaurant seats that cuts down on the some of the pub noise if that's your intention. I was also told there's a continuation of the pub downstairs where the firkin is hand pulled from.

About 12-14 house brews on tap this evening (Portsmouth and sister company Smuttynose), including: Kate the Great Russian Imperial Stout, Thaizenheimer (a Thai spiced take on their weizenheimer), Shoal's Pale, Old Brown Dog, Black Cat Stout, an IPA, etc. Quite honestly, Tod Mott does a wonderful job crafting these brews, making even the typical boring brew into a pleasant and refreshing work of art. The Russian Imperial I had was simply decadent, and really made my night. Usually the brewery will also have one or two guest taps (as good as Anchor's Old Foghorn in years past), and a cask of their own, but I couldn't take my eyes and tastebuds off of the Russian.

If you can't decide which brew to try, they offer a sampler of all their brews in 4 oz servings on a wooden plank of sorts. Growlers to go, and located right next door is a small retail store selling pint glasses, clothing, and 22 oz bombers of brew.

Service was touch-and-go due to how busy it gets here on a Saturday night. We were blown away that a table for two was open immediately as we walked in, considering there were about six parties of 4+ that had spilled out onto the street patiently waiting to be seated. The waitress seemed noticeably overwhelmed since she walked away halfway through my dinner order only to come back thirty seconds later as I continued with no explanation.

The food is a step above your typical brewpub. Playing on it's closeness to the shore, you'll find lots of seafood dishes. The menu even details some of their own recommended beer/food pairings. The pulled pork with red chiles was unique and filling, while my wife's pasta dish loaded with garlic, basil, and tomatoes suited her appettite.

A very comfortable brewpub with a solid selection of house brews. This is a must stop if you're visiting, and if you're from the area it's probably best to wait for the tourist season to die down before returning.

NEhophead, Aug 08, 2006
Photo of WanderingFool
3.73/5  rDev -12.6%

I've driven through Portsmouth plenty of times on my way to Maine or northern NH and rarely drive into the city for a visit. I finally made it into town to visit the Portsmouth Brewery. The location of the pub is easy to find with a very inexpensive parking garage right behind the building. Good thing, since parking on the street is a rare commodity.

The restaurant is quite large with an elevated bar area that gives a commading view of all around you. It's very open and airy and the no-smoking policy is a blessing for a NH bar. There is one TV tuned to sports above the bar for those that are interested, but the main focus of the restaurant is to create a relaxing atmosphere where one can converse with their friends or bar neighbors. A pleasant change from the TV dominated bars I frequent.

On the day I visited they had 10 beers on tap which included a guest tap of Hoegaarden. For $6 you can get a sample yard with 10 4oz. glasses of each beer. Between my wife and I we tried the wheat wine, brown dog, hefeweizen and alt. All were excellent, but we both really enjoyed the hefe. They also have a full bar and a nice selection of wine and cider. For lunch we each had a soup and sandwich. She had a cup of chowder and steak bomb, while I had the carrot soup on special and grilled chicken sandwich. Most of the items on the menu are pub fare at a reasonable price and wide selection. The quality of the food was good, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Adjacent to the bar is a small giftshop where you can buy Smuttynose items including bombers of beer. For $4 each how could I walk out of there without a couple of bombers!

My only disappointment with the Portsmouth Brewery is they did not provide information about their beers. Other than a chalk board at the back of the restaurant and some signs hanging above the bar to let you know what is on tap I did not see any other information about the beers. A beer menu or table placard would be a nice addition to an otherwise awesome pub.

WanderingFool, Jun 26, 2006
Photo of OldSock
4.4/5  rDev +3%

One of my favorite brewpubs, always a good place to grab a beer or dinner.

Atmosphere - Pretty standard brewpub feel, probably brighter and cleaner than many, but nothing that really sets it apart from the pack.

Quality - Never had a stale beer and everything has been tasty and served in appropriate glassware.

Service - Servers have always seemed to be well informed and happy to chat about what's on tap. Generally pretty quick services as well, solid.

Selection - They always have lots of beers on tap, they always have Shoals Pale and Portsmouth Lager, but other than that its all rotating offerings and seasonal specials. Kate the Great may just be my favorite Imp Stout, so easy to drink that you'll wish you lived in state... Their sampler is a particularly good deal, 8 beers in rather large samples and all for just $5 outstanding.

Food - Everything that I have had has been solid, but nothing on its own worth driving up from MA to eat.

OldSock, May 15, 2006
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.3/5  rDev +0.7%

One of my favorite places to visit. An old building in eclectic Portsmouth. Always a wide range of beers on tap, with good rotation (sometimes too good with popular brews. I've had a beer one week and the next week it's gone). Most recently (early April) they offered Old Brown Dog, Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager, Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale, Cream Ale, Bock, Baltic Porter (a must try) Oatmeal Stout, Wheat Wine, Weizenheimer, and IPA. A good variety to chose from, and some attention paid to types of glassware the beer comes in. Service is quite good and attentive (eat at the bar during the day. Donna will take good care of you). Food is typical pub food, but a small cut above the norm. Reasonably priced, good atmosphere, decent food, and great beers. What more could you want?

lordofthewiens, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of WeymouthMike
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%

Visited on a recent trip to Kittery, Me which is less than a five minute ride away. Hit this place about 3pm on a nice Sunday afternoon and the place was pretty mobbed, originally we were told there was a 25 minute wait which was indeed a 25 minute wait. I had the family with me so we just waited it out I didn't grab a pint but they do indeed have a waiting section where people were partaking in a pint while waiting. Menu is definetly a notch above most brewpubs I've been too, yet I stuck with a pulled pork sandwich, wife got a salad of some sort, and the kids got some of the largest grill cheeses I've seen in my life. I started off sharing a sampler with a friend, sampler consisted of 10 4oz samplers of a mix of house beers along with smuttynose(which I believe is a sister co.) After running through the sampler I knew what I wanted, the IIPA (served in a tulip glass) which is one of the better I've ever had and kicking myself for not getting a growler. This was my first time in Portsmouth and its a nice little city with a country like feel with little boutique shops, similar to Newport, RI. Both beer and food prices were very reasonable and the sampler was a deal for around $4. We had a very attentive waitress who had a good knowledge of beer. Definetly wort the hour plus trip from home, can't wait to go again, when the temps break the 50's.

WeymouthMike, Mar 30, 2006
Photo of MikeRoy
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%

The BEST brewpub in the state of NH and probably would make my top 10 in the entire country(that I've been to). Atmosphere can't be overstated here, we start with location which couldn't have been any better, it might feel as if the downtown area was built around the brewery it ties in so nicely. Inside the pub it's NON-smoking, which in NH is a rarity, wide open upstairs, lots of wood and different seating arrangements. Downstairs it's like your neighborhood pub complete with couches, shuffleboard and even skittles. Quality is always great on everything,beer and food both. Food wise they do everything from burgers to sushi grade tuna or salmon and beyond. Beer is innovative and classic at the same time, I only wish specialties lasted a little longer so I could drink more of them. I can't say enough about this place, you just have to go there and see for yourself.

MikeRoy, Mar 29, 2006
Photo of Franchise
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%

Portsmouth Brewery was so easy to find, right in the heart of downtown Portsmouth. As we entered the brewery, we had a short wait about 20 min. Considering it was about 50 degrees on a busy sat afternoon on Jan 21st. It was very busy def the place to go in Portsmouth, lots of different people families, couples, singles, etc. The atmosphere was great very casual, the staff was friendly very attentive. People at the brewery were very nice in this smoke free environment. They had 10 beers on tap, great selection including 5 seasonals and three smuttynose brews. The food was pretty good, great variety on the menu for pairing and was very pleased that they infused their beers with the desserts.

Franchise, Jan 23, 2006
Photo of rbowser
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%

I live within walking distance of the Portsmouth Brewery so I have been there often. Open design with big windows that look out on to the street, the interior is very pleasant to kick back in and have a few.

The standards that are reliable are the Black Cat Stout (a little bitter and always tasty) and now they have a very nice IPA that is standard. There is always a special beer or two, try the Porter or Imperial Stout when it pops up. The current head Brewer use to work at Back Bay Brewing and is darn good bringing a level of competence to the brewpub in the last 1 or 2 years that was missing. They have also taken to having a single guest beer, recently Sierra Nevada Celebration, which is a nice option.

It should be noted that the downstairs pub, which has more of a lounge/bar feel with a pool table and jukebox, and a much younger clientele, always has a cask beer.

The food is ok, standard brew pub fare. After many years of visiting I have settled on the chili/salad/bread combo as reliable and a great value. The service is always very good if you stay in the bar area but becomes variable (depending on the server) if you take a table.

rbowser, Jan 06, 2006
Photo of Sycodrummer
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%

I have been to the Portsmouth Brewery twice in the last two months and had an enjoyable visit each time. Aside from some annoying fellow diners (little braty kids and their parents who can't control them) I have very few complaints about this establishment.

Upon entering, the restaurant is divided into two basic sections with a bar and surrounding tables/booths and an off to the left a side room that leads to the patio and gift ship. Have been seating in both spots and prefer the tables near the bar much better.

The first time here I was seated without menus and it took a good 10 minutes to get them - so I was slightly annoyed with this. That aside, the service is prompt and attentive to your needs.

The food selections were well varied and had something for all tastes. The appetizer and main course were spaced nicely and served piping hot and were both delecious.

At the time of my first visit 11 beers were being served. 3 Smuttynose beers and the house's stout (irish and imperial), IPA, hefe, cream ale, o'fest, hop harvest, and one or two others. The beers were brought quickly and in the proper glasswear and presentation.

All in all I very much enjoy my stops here. Good beer, good variety, good food, and generally good service. Most definitely a must stop when in Portsmouth.

Sycodrummer, Nov 30, 2005
Photo of Hagbard
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%

Located on the main drag in Portsmouth, an easy walk from the public parking garage makes access and parking very easy.

It's a huge building and you really can't miss it. As you walk in, there is a smallish bar area to your right. Also to your right is a seating area where people sit to wait for a table. The bartender will make rounds here to get you a beer or you can self serve at the bar. The restaurant is to the left and straight past the bar. It's huge with an additional room off to the side and multiple levels. It was extremely crowded at 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon and I imagine it's busy a lot.

There were probably a dozen beers on tap, about 8 were Portsmouth and 4 were Smuttynose. Among the Portsmouth brews were the wheat wine, black cat stout, IPA, and dunkelweizen. All of which were very tasty and fresh...no problems with the beer, they were fantastic.

From what I saw the menu is a fairly typical brewpub type menu. Out of our party of five, three of us ordered the Steak Bomb, which was fantastic and went very well with my beers. The nachos we ordered as an appetizer were very tasty, but on the small side after our 1+ hour wait for a table (after being told 25 minutes....grumble, grumble, not their fault, grumble). The service was good.

This place is a definite must when in Portsmouth. I'd almost say it's a definite must when traveling through Portsmouth on your way to Maine (or home again after Maine). It's right off the highway and easy enough to access, that it won't take much time off your drive and it's SO worth it.

Hagbard, Nov 18, 2005
Photo of MuddyFeet
4.4/5  rDev +3%

Stopped by for an early lunch last week on my way to Portland and Allagash with Cleanfeet. Been meaning to visit for a while and finally had the perfect excuse (or lack thereof) to go.

In a pitcuresque New England coastal town. The street reminded me a lot of Haverhill and The Tap even the building where the pub is located. Big and old brick warehouse or factory of some sort. Big windows on the front. Little brewpub shop next door too. When we walked in it was a few steps up to the bar area with tables along the left side of the room with more and back. Some tables were elevated whcih is where we sat. Huge skylight that really brightened the place up and helped make it much more comfortable. We were the first folk in there but it quickly filled up with other lunch-goers. Brewing apparatus could be seen through big windows toward the back end of the room.

Beer was all very fresh. I sampled two of the offerings and was very happy with my choices. They hd 5 of their own brews on tap plus two from their sister brewery at Smuttynose and a Sierra Nevada big beer (either the Celebration or Bigfoot, I forget). Tey were listed on a chalkboard across the room but at the table there was a little menu describing all of their beers--not just the ones offered that day.

Our server, Walter was great. He let Cleanfeet switch one of her side dishes which I heard about all the rest of the day. Thanks, Walter! We also wanted to leave with a growler but could not decide what we wanted so he brought us samples all the way from the bar. Also, very knowledgable and was able to answer all of our questions.

I got a burger. Had not had one in a while and found a craving for it when I saw it on the menu. Very good choice. Definitely going back as soon as I can find another excuse (or lack thereof).

MuddyFeet, Nov 03, 2005
Photo of Goldorak
3.83/5  rDev -10.3%

We got to Portsmouth pretty late (well, considering the fact that bars close at 12h30, arriving in town at 11 is pretty late!) so we got to the Portsmouth brewery as fast as the Taxi guy could drive us.

Took a quick look upstairs, and it had too much of a restaurant feel, so we headed downstairs to the Jimmy Lapanza lounge. The scenery had lots of weird, vibrant colors that doesn't scream "brewpub" to me, I guess I'm more of a "dark and dingy dive bar" kind of guy. Nevertheless, extra atmosphere points go for the missisippi table in the back, too bad I didn't have time to play.

The place was nicely packed for a Friday night, mostly with mid-twentysomethings that surprisingly didn't stare too long at the four strange foreign-speaking outworlders. I met up with local Beerfly guide Purplehops and his wife seated at the bar, and took a look at the menu. About a dozen taps, and plenty of interesting stuff. Since time was of the essence, then I went straight to the jugular with the Wheatwine. After driving 5+ hours with the French-Canadian equivalent of the three stooges, it hit the spot big time. I also enjoyed the IPA, with plenty of hop character as only you Yanks can brew it, and the sip of smokey dunkelweizen was very interesting. My buddies seemed to have liked the brown ale and stout.

Service wasn't exactly optimal, but I got served slower in places less packed, so passing grade. And the Canadian money is faring well these days, so value was pretty decent.

So even though the decor wasn't exactly what I was expecting, the selection and quality of the brews lived up to the hype. The only downer really was the early closing time.

Goldorak, Nov 01, 2005
Photo of brewandbbq
3.83/5  rDev -10.3%

The Portsmouth Brewery is located in the heart of downtown Portsmouth, and gets real crowded at times, accordingly.
A raised bar area fills quickly and its standing room only at times.
The main dining area is spacious with lots of booths and tables, with an additional dining area adjacent to the gift shop.
Try to avoid the adjacent area, it carries a kind of "out in left field" vibe, and service was a bit slow recently.
Theres also a downstairs, the "Jimmy Laponza Lounge", which I have never spent any time in.
The food continues to get better and better as the years go by at the brewery, as do the beers.
Todd Mot has been brewing some of the tastiest, freshest beers in NH.
Service is typically good, although at times they do get "in the weeds", understandably.
The menu continues to evolve into a mix of standard pubfare, and upscale (pricey) entrees with suggested beer pairings.
Burgers, mussles, frites, haddock sandwiches, and the ceasar can be recommended personally.
They do offer growlers to go, and refills available with their own glass, exclusively. Here again, on the pricey side, a refill on the wheatwine was $16 and declined on my part. $20 if you need the glass.
There is some type of mug club, but apparently they are in a transitional period at the moment and I was informed that they would not be accepting more people for the time being.
The taps rotate pretty quickly, the beer mostly always fresh and a good variety keeps things interesting.
Portsmouth also offers a guest tap, that is currently Sierra Nevada Celebration.. At $5 for a 10oz glass. Huh? I look forward to my first fresh pint of Celebration every year and have never been served a 10oz glass... Kind of a rip a five bucks, no less.
On your way out, check the gift shop and see if you can get lucky, sometimes they have a few bombers, bottled on the premisis.
Usually hit or miss on the bombers, with the cooler frequently empty.
The brewery is a great place to visit, but the rising prices of thier beer and food are numbering it's days as a place to hang out for more than a couple of freshies.

brewandbbq, Oct 23, 2005
Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, NH
95 out of 100 based on 267 ratings.