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Portsmouth Brewery

Not Rated.
Portsmouth BreweryPortsmouth Brewery
Based on:
106 Beers
3,059 Ratings
Place Score: 95
Ratings: 296
Reviews: 191
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: n/a
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 

Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 296 | Reviews: 191 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hagbard
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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.

Photo of MuddyFeet
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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).

Photo of Goldorak
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

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.

Photo of brewandbbq
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

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.

Photo of eveninghawk
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

This is a great location in downtown Portsmouth, but it can get mighty crowded on a weekend evening. Staff was working hard to accomodate folks, but it's really tough on a tourist-laden summer evening. We got there a little before the dinner rush, so we were lucky.

There are 8+ selections on tap, 3 of which were Smuttynose guest beers. It's a bit noisy, but it's a high volume space, so the beer was fresh and very good.

The prices for the food was a little high, so I stuck with the chili (fantastic) and salad off of the lighter side of the menu, and it was a lot of food, so it was well worth passing up an entree.

Photo of Hibernator
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Portsmouth, NH makes an ideal road trip from Boston and the Portsmouth brewery left a great impression.

The brewery is easy to find on Market Street. We were seated quickly upon arrival. Nice atmosphere that will cater to any dress. Casual vibe in air. This place has that clean brewery/pub feel as well.

The food was extensive by your typical pub menu standards. There were some creative pizza and vegetarian options. They also had two specials to offer on this Saturday night. The beer selection is visibly marked in any area of seating. All of the beers are listed on a colorful board in plain view. Smuttynose and Portsmouth Brewery options on tap. They offer 1 cask condition option, which is always great to see. No bottles. During my visit there were 8 beers on tap. A major highlight was the Wheat Wine. When I arrived they were all out. This was clearly a let down, but no major set back. Here is the draft line up:
Smuttynose: Shoals Pale Ale, Robust Porter and Portsmouth Lager.
Portsmouth Brewery: IPA, Cream Ale, Summerweizen, Black Cat Stout and Wheat Wine. The cask option was a stout.

A nice and diverse selection. Pints were $3.75, which is very reasonable for such quality beers.

Service was really good. Our waitress was responsive, attentive and informative. Better than average service with ease.

Food was delicious and really enjoyable. Portions were a tad on the skimpy side. Beers were fresh. Service was above average. Vibe was cool and beers were well crafted. It's a great place to check out if in the area.

Photo of bennybrew
4.43/5  rDev +4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

EDIT 9.18.05 get off you ass and go to portsmouth brewery.

benny goes to portsmouth
by benny july 22, 2005

i's was visting purplemanor in kittery when the thunder and the lightening came. and the power went out. so in a thunder, well, let us me be more dramatic and call it a lightening storm, we, me n purplehops, walk across a metal bridge to portmouth and the portsmouth brewing co.

i've been there before a couple times only once for beer (as a certain brewer type there was NOT there to trade growlers when he said he would be). this time i was there for a spell and really, well, drank the place in.

we were at the downstairs bar (this time). it looked more like a lounge and there were a lot of young people (young enough to get carded [i am old]). and a lot of people asking for bud lite and settling for mixed drinks [full bar]. it lacks that "brew pub" feel. that ends the complaining about portsmouth brewing co.

beers were plentiful and some fucking tasty. i believe there were 8 beers on. ooh! the only redeeming quality of the downstairs room was that was where the cask engine was. i had the last dry hopped brown and mr.purple had an ipa. we also had us some junebock and might i just say "holyfuckingshit."

i had me a salmon sandwich, which was nice. looked to be a decent pub menu with some higher end plates too. beers were $3.75, i think, more for the junebock and the food looked fairly priced.

bartenders at the bar were attentive and entertaining. we didn't ask too many questions about beer as we, of course, are brilliant and have not need of other people's opnions, but they were good at manking recomendations to others.

i'd go again.

at least, every time the power goes out when i'm in kittery....

big ups to the purples for putting me up for a night and to tod mott (and jayt) for some fine brews.


Photo of Denali
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I had gone here a few months ago for a BA get together and went again this past weekend.

Split into two levels. The first level has a large restaurant area and a bar that seats about 15 people. Downstairs is a more laid back bar/lounge with a pool table, TV, and couches. The downstairs area was open the first time I went on a Saturday but this past Sunday afternoon/evening it wasn't. Too bad because I really liked it down there.

But upstairs is OK too. Very friendly bartenders that were immediately ready to serve me again as soon as I was done with my beer, and the place was by no means empty. It was almost too fast.

As for the beer, well, the Cream Ale is to die for, the IPA rocks, the Bitter was very tasty, and the Wheat Wine is excellent. Quality was consistent between my two visits. Outstanding.

The food is very good as well - I had a burger the first time I went and a steak sub the second. Both were very tasty. The menu had a lot of other interesting choices that I wasn't in the mood for at the time but I will check out the next time.

The crowd was extremely friendly. I went alone the second time and struck up conversations with everyone who sat next to me at the bar.

Hgihly recommended. I will be back...and back... and back.

Photo of Gavage
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Made my return to trip to Portsmouth after a three year hiatus. Boy I missed this place. Walking in off the crowded steet of window shoppers on a Sunday afternoon you are welcomed by a nice interior of booths and tables, and bar up a step or two to the right. The bar isn't large (about 10 - 12 stools) but the two bartenders were extremely friendly and quite knowledgable of the beer. I asked about the guest beer from Moat Mountain and the young lady behind the bar explained the offering and several others they recently had from MM. Crowd was a mix of college aged and older adults along with some kids. Nice view of the street from the bar and interior is well lit.

There were 10 beers on tap, with 6 Portsmouth brews (IPA, Stout, Hefe, Wheat wine, Junebock, and Cream Ale), 3 Smuttnose offerings (Lager, Pale, Brown) and the guest beer Moat Mountain Pilsner. I had the IPA, Stout, Cream Ale, and MM Pilsner and all were of great quality and tasty. My wife is a huge cream ale fan and when she stumbles on a good one, she won't even try anything else.

The pub style food was very good. The pull pork sandwich was big and juicy and my wife had a great tasting burger. Huge portion of great tasting fries. Food being served to other patrons looked good too.

The have an outdoor area with some tables, and a gift shop next door with t-shirts and bomber bottles. I picked up a case to bring home, most notibly the Junebock (which I didn't try on tap), IPA, and some Cream Ale to keep the wife happy. You have to make every effort to hit this place if you are anywhere in the area. Superb beers in a great place.

Photo of rousee
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I had not been to the Portsmouth brewery for 2 years until I went this past Saturday Mar19th05. You walk in to the place and the bar area is a couple steps up from the main floor. It is fairly small with seating for about 12-15 at the bar and a few hightops and sidebar spots allowing seating for another 20 or so. Nice high ceilings with a large couple of dining areas snaking towards the back of the place.

I started off with a sampler because I couldn't decide up what I wanted. They gave me this huge paddle of samplers that included 10 that were on tap--7 of the porstsmouth brewery label and 3 Smuttys. All the beers were great and a huge improvement from when I had been there 2 years before. I started with the Smutty robust porter. I then had a winterweizen and a couple others from the cask.

Service has improved here quite a bit too. I remember it being kinda lousy when I last visited but this time it was quick and quite friendly too. It seems like the place is always pretty busy so this is saying something.

Carrying 10 homemade beers on-tap is one thing but when all 10 are very good, that is another. I was extremely impressed with the selection because I literally could have enjoyed any of the 10 quite a bit. I did not eat there on my most recent visit but I always remembered the food as being pretty good. I also met up with some BAs I had not met before and we had a great time hanging out and chattin' over a few pints.

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Now, this is what i'm talking about. Located in the quaint and expensive downtown expanse of Portsmouth this brewpub delivers all of the goods. Atmosphere is nice, quaint and dark upstairs with a nice bar. The quality of the brews were phenomenal especially the KILLER ipa, wheat wine, and wild rice thing. Selection is also awesome here as they have about 4 or 5 of their own brews, 4 or 5 smuttys and some other guest brews as well, I think. Service was awesome as their was free cheese and meat plates at the bar (happy hour) and 2 awesome brews were only about $7. The servers were also great becuase when I asked what the rice thang was like they just pulled me a near half pint for free. Nice. The food looked good, and the free stuff they put out was definately tasty. A great spot in Coastal, NH.

Photo of unit555
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This is as close as I come to giving something perfect scores. All brew pubs should strive for this level of excellence. we go out of our way to viist every time we get to New England.

We started with the 7 beer sampler. While we definitely had favorites (Black Cat stout for me and Weizenheimer wheat for her) there was not a bad beer on the table. All were really well crafted and the servers are fairly well versed on what goes into the beers and their strengths and weaknesses.

The menu is first rate but can get a little pricy. The crab stuffed mushroom is an excellent appetizer but you could make a whole lunch out of it if you are not a big eater.

You should go.

Photo of warriorsoul
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I have only been to the Portsmouth Brewery once, but I will never go back to Portsmouth and not stop by this place.
I earned big points for taking my in-laws there for lunch and a couple of pints. My father in law is a big IPA fan (thanks to me) and they have one of the best...he was blown away w/ the quality.
Our visit was over the summer and we had a very short wait to sit outside on the deck and our server was awesome. Very friendly and was kind enough to point us to a ice cream joint down the street instead of trying to sell dessert...priceless.
I had the fish sandwich and it was real good...everyone liked their lunch.
They had at least 6 brews on tap w/ some Smutty brews as well...I couldn't stray from the IPA...I will try the others soon.
If you find yourself in the area, be sure to swing in...it is much more of a brewery than the one nearby (I won't name names).

Photo of Holden
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Probably my overall favorite restaurant/bar in Portsmouth. I have been going to the P.B. as a resident of Portsmouth for years. I actually met my wife there! I enjoy their beet selection and look forward to the seasonal rotations. The current Brewmaster Todd Mott has improved the quality since he came, and usually has interesting additions he is trying. I liked last summers Hefeweizen (not to confused with the regular Weizenheimer).

Additionally, they went to all non-smoking a while ago which is a big plus for us. They are also a part of the Pub Discount Program, which gives you 15% off everything as a member of the American Homebrewers Association. This is the only pub in NH which does.

Photo of carln26
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I made the trip to Portsmouth today, specifically to try out the Portsmouth Brewery. This is a great location, right in downtown Portsmouth. It has a large restaurant, decent sized bar, and attached souvenir store for their own goods as well as Smuttynose items. The beer selection includes several of their own selections brewed by Todd Mott, as well as 3 to 4 selections from the Smuttynose Brewey/ I’ll let the beer reviews speak for themselves. Let’s just say all styles are well represented. I had the Belgian Abbey, the IPA, and the Wheat Wine. For lunch I had soup and salad. The mixed green salad with Brown Nose vinaigrette was good, not great, but the small chili serving I had was exceptional. The wait staff was very friendly and attentive. I didn’t get a chance to test their beer knowledge, but from what I could tell, they did a nice job with that too. If you’re in New England, make the trip to Portsmouth for the whole town experience, and for this exceptional pub.

Photo of PatandDavid
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Well, this review is based on my latest visit over the past weekend. Went up on Saturday and met up with JohnnyP and family for lunch, and then later with UncleJimbo. First, Portsmouth was hopping on Saturday, so we had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated (no biggie). We were able to start off w/cask Hop Harvest, so pretty much we were all set. I had the usual suspects, clam chowder and caeser salad, both of which were fine, not extraordinary. Beers were very, very good. No off flavors, not too cold, etc. (I have separate reviews for the beers I drank). They had about 7-8 of their owns beers on, from a Cream Ale (very good), the Hop Harvest, the Portsmouth Shoals Pale Ale, the Lager, their Oktoberfest, etc. The guest beer was Leffe Blonde. Atmosphere was busy, ranging from single folk to families with children. Service was still good, considering how crowded and busy it was. Would come again, the beers are well worth it. Mr Mott was in house, so I got many questions answered when he walked by our table and I was able to flag him down.

Photo of mschofield
3/5  rDev -29.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 2

A multi-room (side, main bar, patio) brick/industrial brewpub, with a "dive-bar" downstairs.
6 beers on tap, with 4 Smuttynose as well. Blueberry, cream ale, American Pale, Stout, Hefe, IPA, Old Brown Dog and a few others on when I went.
Took awhile to get service - even just our drink order and it stayed that bad. Food was bad too - steak bomb was more like a vegetable bomb with an unseasoned steak garnish.
The beer is good, and they have a good variety, so stop in for a pint or 2 at the bar, don't waste your time eating here.

Photo of slander
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

So, we're all done in Haverhill and they're all like, "So, how long will it take us to get back to Boston?", but I'm all, "Well, I'm thinkin' Portsmouth", and then there's this silence. "You mean Portsmouth, New Hampshire?" "Um, yeah? I'm pretty sure that we're close to the end of 495, and it hits 95 just shy of the New Hampshire line and hell, New Hampshire is only 15 minutes across at this end so, screw it, let's go..." (not to mention the fact that when I'm driving, passengers are hostages... they go where I go).
The place is packed on this Friday pre AOBF night. Pope and Cheese moved down the bar for a pinch of open acreage while I braved it over here with Phil. Neat modern place, lots of space, with an elevated bar seating a dozen plus with adjacent table seating, and then seating in tables below, in a perch behind the bar above sunken brewing equipment, towards the rear surrounding a large glass room with fermenters, a gigantic oval table in the far back corner that seats about a dozen and a half, in a lower separate side room, and another 8 tables outside on a wooden deck. Lots of seating, all of it filled. Mostly brick walls with a couple of really cool modern murals slash sculptures slash 3D-ish art pieces for lack of a better description. An oddly configured octogon shaped sky light lies dead center the middle of the room. Above the bar lies blackboards listing the tap lines and the bar itself has a mirrored backdrop with shelves of booze and glassware and large paddles hanging along the perimeter for the samplers. And lemme tell you, those sampler paddles are huge, you know why? 'cause they need to be what with the dozen beers they have on tap. That's right, you heard me. 9 Portsmouth Brewery beers, 2 sister Smuttys, and a guest tap, some beer called the Anchor Old Foghorn Barleywine or something. A most impressive selection and collection for a brewpub. the Black Cat Stout had a great coffee cream aroma and a pleasant mocha flavor and the Scotch Ale was nicely sweet and malty. It wasn't 'til the next day when a B9 explained the Portsmouth/Smutty relationship, which all makes perfect sense. This was good digs, I won't make it over that bridge into Maine again without stopping here, true.

Photo of PopeJonPaul
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

"So, since we're in Haverhill, we might was well go up to Portsmouth and check out the brewery."

Thus we end up at stop no. 3 on Slander's whirlwind brewery tour, and it was worth the trip. Portsmouth looks like a nice New England weekend town for the summer tourist season, and the brewery is located right in the middle of the quaint old downtown area. This place was busier than Kobe Bryant's legal team, and we had to squeeze into the back corner until a gracious couple at the bar gave up their stools. Small outdoor atrium (which was closed,) octagonal skylight (which was odd,) 3-D wall art (which was probably made by an ex-Tower Records employee.) This place had an impressive selection: nine or ten of their brews on tap, two Smutty's and a guest beer (Old Foghorn.) I had the Scotch Ale, which was outstanding, and the Black Cat Stout, which smelled like a Starbuck's mocha (didn't taste like it but was pretty good.) Service was ok, the waitress that first helped us and the bartender were both good, but the hostess had people skills on par with Mr. T. Looks like they need a larger staff, there were empty tables in back but they couldn't seat people fast enough. The appetizers were good (can't really rate a place on appetizers alone though) but we didn't have time for dinner anyway as, well, 2 pints and it was time to run off to...

Wait, this time I had to make Slander wait outside while I grabbed a growler of the Scotch ale. Damn that was good.

Photo of Truh
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I had to visit this one by myself on 4/11/2004 – Kumar and Jim had a prior engagement, namely, Fenway Franks and whatever swill the Aramark vendors were whoring to the Nation.

I’ve actually visited the Portsmouth Brewery on countless occasions, and have fond memories of a snowy February afternoon which morphed into evening as I downed countless Black Cat Stouts and waited for a compatriot to slog his way up Congress St. to join me after work. The stouts had worked their magic and I hardly recognized him as he walked through the door.

The décor of the Portsmouth Brewery is largely non-existent. The simple run-down is exposed brick walls, pounded sheet metal ceiling with filigree, and the brewing equipment in the far back corner behind some glass. The bar area is on a raised platform to the right of the entryway. The bar itself, which seats about twelve, was of a warm wood but had a lip that could pose problematic during a serious session. Above the bar to the left is a flat screen and hanging right up above are two paintings of the king and queen of the “Imperial Pint Club” staring down on patrons, almost accusatory, which I didn’t like. The beers use to be listed to the right of the bar but that has been changed up so that it is hanging above and slightly in front of the bar. Poor decision. Anybody sitting at the bar has to lean back and strain his neck to see the selection. Or ask a bartender, but those are precious seconds wasted. There was light techno playing in the background, which was perfectly fine for a Sunday at noon.

Beers on tap this day: the usual suspects (Old Brown Dog, Black Cat Stout, etc.) with an Oatmeal Stout, Maibock, Scotch Ale, Smuttynose’s Shoals Pale Ale, and a guest tap of Anchor’s Old Foghorn, which was pleasant to see. Of course, the Blue Mermaid around the corner has had Bigfoot on tap, so they win the guest tap award, in my opinion. At any rate, I tried the Maibock and found it refreshing. I didn’t get any food this time around, but I’ve never been disappointed by their chili, or the duck breast salad, when it is on the menu. Service has tended to be hit or miss for me, more often than not without a smile, but then again I don’t go to the Brewery for pleasantries, I go for the libations.

Along with the Vermont Pub and Brewery, the now defunct Commonwealth, and maybe Federal Jack’s, this has to be one of the longest running brewpubs in New England, and is well worth the stop. Portsmouth is a great small city (or large town), with the Coat of Arms, the Muddy River Smokehouse, and the Blue Mermaid right around the corner, not to mention Redhook down the road a bit. I’d recommend a crawl that began with a pint and tour at Redhook, parking yourself in Portsmouth with reservations at the Marriott or a mattress at a fellow BA’s place, then hitting the Muddy River in the early afternoon, The Brewery next on your list, and finishing up at the Coat to take in some real local flavor. Sunday morning I’d suggest brunch at Molly Malone’s with a pint of Guinness or Old Thumper.

Photo of BeerResearcher
4/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

2004 - As anyone who lives in the area can attest, the revitalization of downtown Portsmouth began in earnest at the time Portsmouth Brewing came into being. Coincidence? I think not!
The pub has multi-level floor plan that gives the allusion of being larger than it is. Oh heck, maybe it is big. It is always crowded when we go there. Crowded and on the dark side.
There are always at least 10 fresh beers on tap, and always a good seasonal brew to try. I like Portsmouth beers and always pick up some to go. The food is good and plentiful, as pub-fair goes. We have always received prompt and courteous service. Lucky I guess, from what was written previously.

2011 - I returned this fall with my sons and couple of their friends. It was early afternoon and not as crowded as our previous evening visits. The beer-battered Fish & Chips was better than I remembered it. Simply the best around this old seaport town! We sampled quite a few lovely ales. The Pumpkin and Rye beer were really outstanding.

Portsmouth Brewery should be on every New Englander's "Must Visit" list.

Photo of tommy78
3.4/5  rDev -20.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

The Portsmouth Brewery is one of my favorite spots in all of New Hampshire. The brewery carries an impressive line of brews and food. Brews such as the Oatmeal Stout, Murphy's Law Red Ale, and the India Pale Ale are excellent picks. The only draw back is that they tend to be hit-or-miss; the only constant has been the India Pale Ale. As for the food, the pizzas are very good. I highly recommend the Route 66 pizza, and the nomar garciapizza pizza. Having the India Pale Ale compliments these two pizzas.

However, if there's one thing I dislike about the Portsmouth Brewery, it is their service. The servers tend to be rude, unappreciative, or downright bad. I once asked the server for the India Pale Ale, and he brought me the I Do Ale. Another time, my girlfriend took a sip of her drink and it turned out to be the wrong one. She asked the server to return it for the correct drink, and she refused. Unfortunately, we had to ask the manager to step in, and he did. Aside from those two specific moments, our time at the Portsmouth Brewery has been good.

Photo of WesWes
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This place is located in downtown Portsmouth, NH. It must be a popular spot, because I could barely find a spot to stand let alone eat. It was split into two floors. The top floor was for the 30+ drinker. It was a typical rest/sports bar. The tables were placed around the perimeter while the bar stretched the entire eastern half of the bar. The bottom floor was for the 21-30 year old drinker. It was more of a lounge with a pool table and shuffle board.

The service was quite good considering the fact that it was slammin' busy the entire time. There was a second bar below that served the runoff business. The selection was good. If you are a fan of Smuttynose beers, you're in. This is the sister brewpub.

The atmosphere was great. My friends and I had a great time not only enjoying the beer and food, which was really good, but also hanging with the local crew. This was a really cool place to go. I'll be back.

Photo of charlesw
2.88/5  rDev -32.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2

The main part of the brewpub (where I ate) is tall and long. At 5pm on a Saturday night it was also extremely loud (the acoustics could use some work). The tables appeared full yet there was no wait and we were led to a booth as soon as the hostess bothered to notice us (this took a minute).

There is a largish selection of their own brews up on the big board (~ten beers) in plenty of different styles. All brews sampled were just fine, thank you!

The menu seems reasonably varied and mostly avoids standard pub fare. Sure, you do have fish and chips, but you've also got a pepper steak. The specials sounded really good and so we ordered them...

A cup of soup is pretty small, but tasted ok. The fries of the cheese fries were soggy and the cheese gooey. The romaine in the caesar was wilted and the salad was WAY overdressed. The tuna (one of the specials) wasn't what we'd expected from the description given by the waitress - it was very lightly seared (as stated) but was covered with a sour relish that (unfortunately) penetrated into the fish giving it an unpleasant flavor. In addition, the tuna steak was poorly cut and fully 1/3 of the portion was entirely inedible (we were unable to cut through the gristle/fat of that section and so couldn't even attempt to eat it).

Again, constructive tips might include keeping a closer eye on quality. Establish some standards, write them down, ensure that everyone knows what they are (signs off on them) and then enforce them.

Now, that said, would I go back? Well, my beer was pretty darned good, so maybe I would for that. But I would have to go at a slower time or to a different part of the establishment where the noise was more muted. I would not recommend it as a place to eat! But, heck, I might even eat there again. Next time I'll order my salad with the sauce on the side and something safe - like fish and chips.

Photo of yosh
4/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I visited this place this past weekend for a few beers. We went to the downstairs portion as upstairs was pretty crowded. The people I was with knew the bartender (even though he wasn't the normal one) so that may have influenced our service a bit.

The atmosphere was great for a brewpub. The bar had a nice clean appearence and was smoke free, which was a plus.

There were 11 beers on tap, nine from the brewery and two brewed across town (Smuttynose). I got a peek into the back where the brewing took place as the door was open part of the time.

The service was excellent at the bar and the bartender had a great personality and was very helpful as needed.

Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, NH
95 out of 100 based on 296 ratings.