Thirsty Moose Taphouse

Thirsty Moose TaphouseThirsty Moose Taphouse
Thirsty Moose TaphouseThirsty Moose Taphouse
Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

21 Congress St
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 03801-4004
United States

(603) 427-8645 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 16 | Ratings: 44 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee from New Hampshire

3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

I stopped in here with the wife after a comedy show around the corner. It was 10 ish on a Friday night so the place was kind of packed and we were starving. They seated us pretty quickly near the bar. Lots of taps but the beer geek in me struggled to find something new or exotic. Founders Breakfast Stout and Great North IPA did satisfy my thirst. The service was pretty good, and my burger was tasty. Pricing about what I expect from a craft beer bar. I didn't really dig the loud frat party vibe I got from this place. I'd go back if they had something I wanted on tap, but maybe in the afternoon. Maybe I'm just getting old.

Dec 17, 2015
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smcolw from Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

To start with, this place is impressive. They have 116 taps with many regional brews, such Most Mountain, Stoneface, Beara, etc,, etc. Many breweries I've only recently become aware of. The beer list is separated by style, so it's easy to find something you'll like or at least want to try.

The service is friendly, ainformal and very aware. When my sandwich came with mushrooms I hadn't ordered, the server whisked it away to make it right.

The place looks like a cross between a dive bar and a faux dive bar. Quiet for a Saturday afternoon.

This will be place that I'm certain to return to.

Jun 20, 2015
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Faxmesomehalibut from New Hampshire

3.66/5  rDev -11.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Very college type bar, tons of taps, nothing crazy or out of the ordinary on most occasions. Servers usually know nothing about beers being served. Nice place to watch a game and grab some bar food.

Jun 04, 2015
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NHbeerguy from New Hampshire

4.5/5  rDev +9%

Great beer selection for NH. They just opened another location in Dover, NH also and that one has the same great tap list. It is nice to have a large selection of great beers. It is a Bar so on Friday and Saturday it can get packed for sure but they have never made me wait long to get a beer. Both locations have several places to order from. If you are in Portsmouth or Dover hit one of these up you will be happy for sure.

Oct 24, 2014
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dpgoblejr from New Hampshire

4.95/5  rDev +19.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.75

Visited the Thirsty Moose Taphouse in Portsmouth NH on Friday May 16 2014. The atmosphere was what I expected at a bar on a Friday night. Crowded wall to wall with people but we did get a couple of seats at the bar in the back. This place has three bars to place an order! Really nice with high quality beers to choose from on tap. The service was amazing! The young bartender, Lauren, was extremely busy but very attentive to us and fun to chat with. The beer selection was out of this world; 116 i think, and I was able to get two six glass sampler trays to try. Enjoyed 12 different beers I've never had before and spent almost 4 hours there enjoying the evening. The bavarian pretzels were awesome too. The prices seemed decent to me and I can't wait to get back down to Portsmouth to hang out at the Thirsty Moose Taphouse!

May 18, 2014
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SunDevilBeer from Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Stopped in to break up a solo road trip.

Sports-bar type atmosphere, comfortable & casual. Several big screens showing in my book.

Service quick & friendly. Server very knowledgeable of list & current beer scene. Beers poured full & fairly. Prices reasonable.

Had the tots with a side of queso - nice dish, satisfied my need for a quick nosh.

Would definitely stop by here again...would compete with Psmouth Brewery IMO.

Aug 26, 2013
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rjp217 from Massachusetts

4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.5

This is your different type of craft beer spot. They have a massive selection of taps, with some difficult to find beers and your basics, most of which is listed on a chalkboard when you walk in. Whats different about it is that it definitely falls in line with a sports bar theme. There are TVs everywhere so you will catch any sort of pro or college game that is on at the moment. I like going here when I'm in that type of mood to catch a game and drink a great beer. Their food is pretty good in my opinion. Nothing will blow you away as you'll find your typical bar foods, burgers, sandwiches, etc.... I recommend their grilled wings, they're high quality. On a busy night, service can be slow like anywhere else but on a casual afternoon, it's a fine place to relax. I find myself coming back here a lot based on the selection and sports. I could see it not appealing to the non sports people but based on their craft beer selection, you should give it a shot. Cool place in my opinion and one of the best drinking spots in Portsmouth.

Aug 01, 2013
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bird18 from Maine

3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

We live in the area so have been here a few times now since they opened this past summer. It took awhile for them to get some of the kinks out as far as service is concerned but have to say the last couple times we have been there we have had no complaints on that score.

as others have said it is a sports pub vibe, lots of TVs. and again as another reviewer noted it is filled with" 20 somethings" on the weekend evenings. Beer list is long, very much like how many different local craft beers they have. They do have a hard time keeping up with what has kicked, especially some of the more unusual beers. We noticed that the prices have gone up and the size of the pour has gone down on many of their beers. I found it strange that a Green Flash IPA and Imperial Green Flash IPA were served in the same size (10 oz) glass at the same price!! some of the sizing and pricing makes no sense.

Food is typical pubfare, you can build your own "sammie" and the burgers are quite good, chicken tenders were terrible, just the frozen breaded crap with the sauce of your choice on the side. Pizza was decent. Stick with standard fare and you will be fine. All in All very happy to have a beer bar in downtown Portsmouth with such a good variety.

Jan 27, 2013
Photo of vonnegut21
vonnegut21 from New York

4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Stopped here while in town on business on the recommendation of some co-workers. This place definitely builds its reputation on having a huge taplist. I wasn't necessarily expecting a lot since many places with huge taplists have generic selections and stale beer, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Thirsty Moose.

There's a sports bar/BBQ place vibe going on which is fine with me, but it pales to the more vibrant atmosphere that Portsmouth Brewery offers. What impressed me most was that even though the tap list was huge, there were a lot of great local and craft options. East Coast IPAs, West Coast IPAs, local stuff from Throwback, Smuttynose and Redhook. There were at least a dozen beers that I would have willingly ordered, which is very rare for me. The biggest issue is that the beer menu doesn't list prices or pour sizes, so you're shooting in the dark. However, the three or four beers I received were in average to generous pour sizes and were all fairly priced. I'd definitely stop in again next time I'm in town.

Jan 23, 2013
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lordofthewiens from New Mexico

3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

My wife and I stopped in here on a Sunday evening before we went to The Movie Hall to see a movie. As mentioned previously, this used to be Muddy River, then something (briefly) else, now Thirsty Moose. They haven't done any interior improvements other than adding a back bar. The ambiance/vibe when it was a BBQ place wasn't that inviting, and not much has changed. It's still dark, noisy, and cave-like.
We sat at the front bar, which was fairly quiet (except for the loudmouth next to me), and watched some football. Extensive beer list. I would like to know the prices and the size of the pours, but that's a guessing game. If you go to the back bar, you can find out what's kicked. Out front you're on your own. Anyway, it's a nice enough beer selection. There's a lot of beers on the tap list that wouldn't appeal to the beer geek, but I think there's a good number of choices.
The bartender was attentive enough. I had to ask for the check, however.
This could be a great addition to the Portsmouth beer scene.

Jan 12, 2013
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ElGallo from New Hampshire

3.61/5  rDev -12.6%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Finally got around to visiting this place last weekend for a quick after-dinner drink with the wife. If you're a beer lover who would prefer a quiet setting to sample some drafts and chat with the bartender, then go here for lunch or in the early afternoon. After 8:00 pm this place is THE hangout for the twentysomethings of Portsmouth, so be prepared for a noisy crowd and a bit of immaturity (oh how I miss those days...). There is a somewhat helpful chalkboard just inside the entrance that lists their taps by style. I liked this, but as others have said, just because it's on the board doesn't mean it's on tap.

We squeezed in near the back bar, and with an NFL playoff game on, it was packed and took close to ten minutes to get a bartender's attention. One positive I will point out: this seems like a great bar for watching a game - tons of HDTVs around and two huge overhead screens in the back. Very impressive. I got an Oskar Blues Ten Fidy ($8 for a 10 oz pour) and the wife got a $12 chocolate martini, which she liked. Service was friendly and quick once we were able to track down the bartender. Only stayed for one drink, didn't get food, and didn't go downstairs (which has another bar and live music).

I'm a bit snobby about my beer purchases these days, but there were at least 10 drafts that I saw that appealed to me. Still, lots of macros, and keg turnover has got to be an issue. Overall this place impressed me more than I thought it would (even with the large, young crowd). Still, for a bar that touts its 116 taps (should have stopped at 100, but I digress), their ability to track/share what's on tap is weak if not pathetic. Their website and Facebook page list nothing other than "we're working on it," and near the back bar is another chalkboard that has headings of "What's New" and "On the way Out," but there are no beers listed. Cheezy. This is the 21st century, and technology and social media are easy marketing and information solutions for bars. Management should have done a little more research of other successful beer bars before delving into an unnessary number of taps.

Jan 09, 2013
Photo of brewandbbq
brewandbbq from New Hampshire

3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Thirsty Moose is in the old Muddy River Smokehouse space and is quite large inside. A longish bar greets you as you make you way to the tables area out back. 100+ taps gets your mouth watering, but don't get too excited as my first couple of choices were not available on my visit.

The service was a bit spotty, as the bartender seemed more happy to be chatting it up with the other employees rather than attending to customers.

My major gripe with this place is the beer menu. Not only do they not list the serving sizes but not even the prices! I guess it's buyer beware as they serve a standard strength IPA in a 10oz glass for $6.00. Yes, I know I could ask the price and serving size on any particular beer I might want, but really..Should I have to?

If one were to take the tap selection as listed as gospel, then you have the best tap selection in NH here. The problem is there is no way to tell which beers are out without ordering one. There were at least four beers that were out on my visit and who knows how many more.

The apps (wings and onion rings) we got were tasty and a good deal during happy hour and the brews were $1.00 off. You just have no idea if you are actually getting the $1.00 off of you beer because you have no idea how much it costs to begin with.

Hopefully the Thirsty Moose gets the kinks out and makes a go of it because with the limited selection at Portsmouth Brewery these days, we need some help in Portsmouth.

Jan 04, 2013
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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

3.94/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5

Stumbled upon the Thirsty Moose on my latest trip to NH/ME with the wife, wondering the busy streets of Portsmouth on a sunny Sunday afternoon...

My jaw hit the floor when I saw the 116 taps. And good shit to boot! Locals like Moat Mountain, Throwback Brewery, Woodstock Inn, Tuckerman's... and goodies such as Southern Tier Creme Brulee, Allagash Curieux, Old Rasputin... 14 IPA's, 11 stouts... outrageous!

Prices are not bad, I paid $7.50 for a generous snifter of Creme Brulee. Service is the weak link of this place, though... I sat at a high-top table by the bar and was told a server would come promptly but that was not the case, so I ordered at the bar. They have two of them in this cavernous joint, and the bartender needs to travel between bars to get your brew.

Atmosphere is good enough, although more geared towards the sports fan than the quiet beer drinker. But not too loud despite all the TV's and clientele, which is nice. A little too dark.

Would happily spend hours here trying many different beers! Certainly next time I'm in Portsmouth I will choose this spot over the famous brewery down the street.

Oct 28, 2012
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Cavanaghty from Maine

4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Holy Shit!! For starters! Over 100 mircos and good imports on tap. Staff was knowlegable about the beers available and allowed for you to sample an ounce free of charge before buying, but just enough to get a good fell for the beers. The bartender I had noticed that I was a beer enthusiasts and brought more 1 ounce samples over for me to try, great service. I did not try the food as this was a quick stop for me this time. But I can honestly say I was impressed and will go back for sure in the very near future. Oh and one last note, the bartender said they will do sampler paddles of beer of your choice. if you are going through the area this is a must stop for those that love beer.

Sep 17, 2012
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Sammy from Canada

3.84/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

100 something taps available, with anything they can get their hands on coming into the state. This is up and coming in that distribution will improve, and they will be a factor. I liked the bars, they were welcoming and the centerpieces of the location. I liked that they were emphasizing variety, a board listing IPAs, a board listing wheat beers, etc. To improve, they can start a beer cellar for themselves. Good service, and a desire to please all crowds, they have noticed the craft beer scene and are responding. Still, a number of stella-like taps. I am sure in a few years, next time I am here, it will be a worthy go-to place for the area.

Aug 16, 2012
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qcbrewer from North Carolina

3.86/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

Okay. For starters, I'm not from here so others may have a completely different take on this place. If you're from out of town - say North Carolina distance - then this is the review for you.

Today is National IPA Day (note that point). I went to Portsmouth Brewery first and to be honest, wasn't really impressed. That place had great service, but a very mediocre tap selection - without a single IPA. I then went to The Blue Mermaid and once again was confronted with a small selection and "had" to have a Dogfish Head 60 minute. My problem with this is that every place in Portsmouth should have a Smuttynose IPA - all summer long. I hated having a non-local beer when I was some where I'd never been to before. So, I was walking to my car to return to Boston (where I'm staying) and I came across the Thirsty Moose Taphouse.

They have 112 beers on draft and the selection is pretty varied. Yes, they have some macros but only a few; the rest are some pretty good craft brews. Most of which are fairly standard, but a few shine like Deviant Dales, a few Unibrou's, Allagash Black and also Curieux, Victory Storm King, North Coast's Old Rasputin and Le Merle, Maine Beer Co's, Peeper, and (even though I don't love endorsing them right now) Goose Island's Matilda.

The atmosphere is semi well lit but appropriately so. Brick walls on one side, mustard color paint on the other. Nice long wooden bars in the front and back of the shotgun style room. The service is give or take as the "bar" is actually split into two bars; therefore if you order one that isn't at "your" bar, it might take a minute or two to get. The noise level is at a medium, but then again it is 7:30 on a Thursday night so that might change on the weekends.

Overall - I'm glad I came across this place and would certainly come back here. Oh, and by the way, I did indeed get a Smuttynose IPA - Happy National IPA Day everyone!

Aug 03, 2012
Thirsty Moose Taphouse in Portsmouth, NH
Place rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 44 ratings