Portsmouth Brewery

Portsmouth BreweryPortsmouth Brewery
Liked Their Beers
3.79 w/ 3,391 ratings
Portsmouth BreweryPortsmouth Brewery

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

56 Market St
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 03801-3705
United States

(603) 431-1115 | map

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: 354 |  Reviews: 199
Photo of Steve_Trick
1.04/5  rDev -75.4%

Photo of plaid75
2.55/5  rDev -39.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 1.5

Located in the heart of historic Portsmouth, where, by the way, it is impossible to park on a Friday night in the summer.

Large space, with a undersized bar area at the front and a dining room and patio dining in the rear. The decor was no more intimate than a TGI Friday's, but did have good views of the fermentation vessels.

The menu was also Friday's like inform and substance. The food was overpriced (for what you got) and of very low quality. In fact, it was one of the worst meals I have every had. I ordered the stuffed flounder, which one would assume is of somewhat high quality considering the geography. Well, I made an ass out of "u" and me. The mussels were just decent and the meat and cheese platter was a joke.

The beer list was limited to five house beers and a few Smuttynose guest taps - whoopie!!! For a brewery that produces Kate the Great, the rest of their line, as well as their flagship location left very much to be desired.


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Photo of irishpilot777
2.78/5  rDev -34.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3 | food: 1.5

I will start this review by saying we were kicked out the night before because the bartender called us liars and said we had fake ID's because my workmate had a worn Kentucky DL. That being said, we really wanted to try their beer, so we tried again the next day for dinner. There was not even a question due to a much nicer server. I really was looking forward to a good experience. Everything seemed in order, if not a bit contrived and high brow. I don't mind that though, and we ordered off their beer menu which only included their house brews, the best of which were not being brewed at the time(disappointing). The menu seemed to lilt toward the less demanding palate, and was a bit of a disapointment. I ordered a Thai style dinner entree that qualified as the most bland, least inspired thing I have eaten in years. I was completely unimpressed and found myself longing for a pull from the tap at Rich-O's back home in Indiana. I would give this place another try next time I am in NH which will be... never.

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Photo of charlesw
2.88/5  rDev -31.9%
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.

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Photo of mschofield
3/5  rDev -29.1%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.26/5  rDev -22.9%
vibe: 2.25 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

This place was definitely not at all what I expected. Atmosphere was pretty much like a full-blown chain restaurant, Rock Bottom, Applebee's, what have you. A lot of brosephs. I guess I expected something a bit more low-key and intimate for some reason. Oh well. The bar seemed disproportionately small, but there were plenty of dining tables, as well as some of those intermediate bar/table hybrids, which is where I parked myself.

There was a good selection of beers on tap, including a few Smuttynoses. However, overall I was quite disappointed by the quality of the beer. Again, I guess I just expected more. With all the hype over the now-gone Kate the Great, I thought there would be some other good brews, but there was really nothing better than your common amateur homebrew, with a few exceptions. And having never actually had KtG, I can almost come to the conclusion that it is/was probably nothing more than an overhyped/homerized beer as well. Not that the beer was terrible, I just didn't have anything that I thought was very good or distinctive, and I sampled everything they had to offer.

The service was fine, and our waitress was on the ball the whole time. The menu consisted mainly of comfort foods, but everything was pretty tasty. the waitress saved me from almost ordering a vegan meal. Well sorry if I know what "reuben" means but not "tempeh." I'm just not in that loop. Prices overall were reasonable. Nice merch shop as well.

I'm glad I took the trip up to visit, but honestly I'd never go back here for any reason. It's just not my kind of place, and the beer was mediocre at best. In the unlikely event that I ever find myself in Portsmouth again, I will be right around the corner at Earth Eagle, which is definitely worth revisiting.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
3.28/5  rDev -22.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

I've gone here for seven years now and have seen the "cheers" syndrome. That is, a good bar destroyed by tourists. The beer, as always, is fantastic. The place itself is overwhelming. You can not even hear yourself think it is so loud. College students and tourists make up the majority of the clientelle. The food is just average, in fact, sub-par for a city like portsmouth. My advice: drink a beer or two here, than walk up the street to the Press Room, The Muddy River Smoke House, or The Rusty Hammer.

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Photo of tommy78
3.4/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

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Photo of AlexFields
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

Photo of HurryItsJacob
3.51/5  rDev -17%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5

Photo of dexterk1
3.56/5  rDev -15.8%

Photo of JIMfallon
3.56/5  rDev -15.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

Photo of CTFalcon
3.6/5  rDev -14.9%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

Photo of dickroop
3.65/5  rDev -13.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

We stopped for lunch on a Saturday while headed north, my first venture into the downtown of Portsmouth. The brewery is on a busy street, and this is a busy tourist spot, even after Labor Day, so getting to a seat for lunch required parking in the city parking structure, quite an adventure. The Brewery had a good selection of about 9 brews available, including 2 "Hop Harvest" varieties, one with East Coast hopping, the other with West Coast Hopping. I got the 2nd one, and it was good - Citra hops, according to last year's reviews.

Our server (David O) was charming and knew all about the beers, describing them quite accurately. He was also efficient and reasonably quick. The food left a lot to be desired. My "tempeh wrap" sounded like a good idea, but tempeh is a hard food to do well, and it turned out rather bland and boring. My spouse enjoyed her clam chowder, but the tuna wrap was undercooked and tasted foul - got sent back and definitely left a bad taste in her mouth, literally. So I won't be going back for the food, just to sample more beers if I ever get the chance.

Ambiance is typical pub, noisy and a little rough around the edges. There is a store selling t-shirts and bombers, etc, and it is *there* that you can get your parking ticket stamped for one hour's free parking (if you have your receipt from the bar). Overall, I will look at other venues in Portsmouth before rushing back here, but I imagine they have the freshest beer in town and the widest selection.

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Photo of albern
3.68/5  rDev -13%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Particularly noteworthy is the storefront package store where one can find the freshest bottled beers coming from this brewery. It can't be beat. The lack of pretention in the labeling and how the beer is marketed is a refreshing approach. The pub itself is fairly sizeable, typical extended pub fare, the beer choices are all about what's on tap at PBC. This is a great hangout if you want good, fresh beer. If you're looking for a good meal, than perhaps one of a dozen other Portsmouth establishments would surpass this one.

Update December 2008: Still a great store front package store. There are plenty of apparel items, glassware, kitchen magnets, bottle openers, and of course the cooler full of the 750 ml bottles of what's on tap.

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Photo of kelticblood
3.7/5  rDev -12.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

Although the selection of beers was low I still managed to find two I never had before so I could review them.This was second time visting and eating at the Portsmouth Brewery.Being the same as the Northampton Brewery in Massachusetts there is still many differences such as,the food,and beer served.The atmosphere was kind of quiet with nothing really going on.The service was prompt and friendly.The beer list had a ton of beers of which werent available and dissapointed me.They served on coasters and logo pint glasses which was a plus.Set in downtwon Portsmouth it is a nice stop for lunch after a long day of checking out the area.We sat on the top level looking over the whole downstairs eating area.There is a big window in which you can view the brewing room.A small store which is right next to the brewry offers T-shirts,hats,glasses,and bombers to go home with.I will surely visit this brewery again.

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Photo of smcolw
3.71/5  rDev -12.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

On a Saturday late afternoon, this is a hopping place. There are more than a dozen beers made on the premises. Most of them unrated by BA. As busy as this place is, there are a number of tables available for the dinner crowd. It feels a bit like a factory.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.73/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

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.

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Photo of eveninghawk
3.73/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.73/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

While I was here for KtG day, my review is from the Saturday evening prior to the release.

I really liked the atmosphere. It had a clean, modern, yet cozy vibe with nice woodwork and cool decor on the walls. I also liked the look of the kettles behind the glass in the back of the restaurant. Speaking of beer, the quality of beers offered was very good. They had a Flander's Sour and Belgian Dubbel, which were both solid. That being said, I would have liked to see more of an selection than the 5 or 6 Portsmouth brews and the other 3 Smuttynose offerings.

The negatives went hand in hand. The waitress was not welcoming at all. She was pretty brash and short with words, took forever to check on our table, and knew nothing about the beer. Just wished she was a little more polite, like she actually cared that we were sitting at her table. As far as the food goes, it wasn't that impressive. The calamari appetizer was okay, but luke warm and didn't seem too fresh. My fish sandwich was actually pretty good, but the other's in my party could not say the same about their food

Overall, I would come here for the beer, that's about it. The atmosphere is great for drinking and having a good time, but the food is a bit of a let down.

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Photo of Mohawkhitchhiker
3.73/5  rDev -11.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.74/5  rDev -11.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

our first stop on a maine coast brewery trip, lots of fun. right in the heart of old Portsmouth, the location is unbeatable. sprawling dining room, loud and chatty. we were lucky enough to be seated in the quaint courtyard reminiscent of European cafes. cozy back there, there were maybe 7 beers on, and a handful of sister smuttynose brews as well. all were decent, save maybe the wild thang, but the experimental pale ale was lovely, and the food was all impressive for the price. fresh chowder and pretzel bun topped the list for me. cool atmosphere back there to just hang out and session beers. service was okay, I think he had a dip in his mouth, but was friendly and seemed to care a bit about the beer. I would call this a must stop in a very cool little city. get yourself in the courtyard though, very relaxing on a nice summer day. bathroom doors are also really cool, for whatever that's worth.

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Photo of hudsonheat
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

good food, decent beer

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Photo of qcbrewer
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of RonJeezy
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

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Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, NH
Brewery rating: 71.4% out of 100 with 3,391 ratings
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