Portsmouth Brewery

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Portsmouth BreweryPortsmouth Brewery
Very Good
3,407 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: 356 |  Reviews: 199
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.93/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

On our way to Maine from NYC, the wife and I made one stop in Portsmouth, NH. We walked around this historic, touristy, slightly-cheesy town and stopped at the Brewery for a quick beer before heading to our hotel in York Beach, Maine. The joint was PACKED on a Friday evening, at a time where most other dining/drinking establishments around were rather empty. You can tell this is a popular spot!

The dining room area had a waiting list and we weren’t hungry anyway, so we went downstairs to the “lounge”. Good choice! Felt like a frat party down there- what with the pool table, shuffleboard, ratty couches and lily-white New England college boys fresh out of college. A surprisingly good number of beautiful young blonde chicks too, something you won’t see once you’re in Maine…

So we parked our asses around the lounge and enjoyed some Portsmouth brews in a nice, comfy, not-too-loud atmosphere. Selection is not the greatest here- they had five Portsmouth brews, 4 Smutty and 1 Dogfish when we visited. We tried the Bottle Rocket IPA (alright) and Chat Noir (lovely), but they were out of their only cask (Oatmeal Stout with Eldorado hops).

Most of the beers were under 6%, which I find disappointing. No big brews, no one-offs, no barreling…. Maybe I’m asking for too much, but hey…

Food is the same as in the dining room above, but we didn’t have any. They emphasize local purveyors and ingredients, but don’t expect amazing stuff here. It is more like “ chips and dip made of local corn”, if you know what I mean.

Service was quite good. Even though we were standing around, we got waitress service and so didn’t need to order from the bar. I would have hanged out there longer, and sure would come back when I’m in town, despite the lack of exciting beers on tap.

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Photo of slander
4.13/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I wasn't expecting much from Portsmouth but it turned out to be better than I thought. The decor is very basic "brewpub" with some interesting touches. It's comfortable but can get pretty crowded at night. I recommend stopping in for lunch! The menu is basic brewpub foods which appeal to alot of people, and the food is pretty good and reasonably priced. The service has always been a little bit better than the average and the servers were interested in, and knew about the beers! Ask them what they have, and then ask them what they recommend! They'll steer you right. The beers are good, some better than others, but certainly nothing bad. I've enjoyed everything I've had, and really liked a few of them! In addition, it's located on a hip little street with some interesting shops, so if you're just passing through it might make a nice little stop. I give this place a good recommendation and I'll try to stop back in whenever I can.

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

This was another place that simply did not exist when I was stationed up this way about a quarter-century ago. It was right downtown and my cabbie dropped me off at the corner to avoid fighting traffic. He simply advised me to "Look for the mug." Sound advice, as it turned out.

The place was really wide and was probably two separate buildings at one point in its life. The doorway and vestibule were between two flanking glass windows, in the middle of the space.

Inside, the m.d.s. was just inside the doorway and the bar was to the immediate left, up a short flight of steps. The bar area had a couple of "island" tables surrounded by stools, as well as four booths that overlooked the restaurant. The front of the bar area had a booth that wrapped around the space by the window.

The place was on several levels, with a series of booths up a set of steps aft of the bar area. There was also an extensive restaurant area leading aft to the brewhouse on the right side. On teh left side was an entryway to their outside patio area as well as a separate entry way to their smaller dining room and the gist shop (!). A couple of warm fleeces and a discussion with Brennan (the manager) and Julie (the shop steward) later, I was back at the bar shaking hands with Todd Mott, the brewer.

A central, windowed ceiling reminded me of a lighthouse. There was also a downstairs facility, but I did not press my luck by asking to go down there.

Beers: This is the multiple-award winning Todd Mott who plies his trade here. They were all fantastic and I got to try a couple that were still either conditioning or simply unavailable to the general public. My regret was that due to a public transit time constraint, I did not have an opportunity to write down the names of the ones which were available on the day of my visit.

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Photo of Sammy
4.43/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Surprising big and active family restaurant with moderately long bar, and a party going on. I was not there 20 minutes when three people started interesting conversations with me. My wife arrived and people were friendly to her. Bartender was like an M.c. and on top of everything. Oh, and outstanding beer being served, with knowledge of it by staff. Brightly lit, and a nice part of town. An East Coast version of the Pizza Port, and that is a complement. Mostly 30-55 crowd. Only quibble: No superstar seasonal on.

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Photo of Gavage
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

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 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 John_M
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This place really struck as a very impressive, classy brewpub. As you walk in the front door, there is very large, raised bar area in front of you on the right. The main dining area is also good size, with additional, smaller dining rooms in the back. It's a good thing this place is good size, as even at 1:45 on a Friday afternoon, it was packed. The vibe here is pretty light and airy, with light colors and light wood furnishings. There's a few TV's scattered around as well, but the over all vibe is one of informal high energy. Accoustics are not the best here, and this place can be pretty loud.

As is usual I assume, they had around 10 different beers on draft this day (saw quite a few growlers around, so I assume getting a fill is no problem). I tried four different beers, with the weizen the only beer I thought less then outstanding. The IPA was very, very solid, with the weizenboack and oatmeal stout both superb. Service was pretty good, though our waitress at one point was so over the top energized, she started to take our food away before we were entirely through. Normally that's annoying, but considering how crowded and bustling the crowd scene here, I think she was just trying to be efficient.

Food was pretty good I thought. My friend was very happy with her bar salad, and the calamari appetizer and flat bread pizza were both decent. Prices were reasonable, with the food and beer coming to around $30 with tax.

This is an exceptional place with very good beer and decent food. I would return in a heartbeat.

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Photo of qcbrewer
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of sholland119
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Visited on KtG release day, at the height of the controlled mayhem.

Great atmosphere, very warm and welcoming. There is a 15 seat or so bar up a couple of steps just inside the door, with a couple of long hi-tops and a few bar tables behind. We were about 20th in line and grabbed one of the very comfortable bar tables. There is also a dining room to the left of the bar and behind, and a large room with a table for 20 or so. Clean, bright but not too bright.

We had a sampler of the 10 beers on tap while waiting for the official tapping of Kate. Seven were Portsmouth beers, three from Smuttynose up the road. All were pretty good except the Flanders Red (maybe the most disappointing I have had in the style) and the Bottle Rocket IPA (quite good). Good mix of Belgian and American styles.

The sandwiches and soup we had were very tasty as well.

Our server that day was really outstanding. Despite the craziness of the large crowd, a few of whom tried to grab from her tray snifters of Kate that were destined for others, she never lost her cool. She really made the experience great for us.

We look forward to stopping in again.


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Photo of morebeergood
3.95/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Stop number four on our Portsmouth pub crawl was at the Brewery for dinner and drinks. We were told it would be a 30 minute wait, and dead on, our table was ready 30 minutes later. Pretty crowded for a Saturday night. Good crowd, not too noisy. Our waiter was a nice guy, told us about the beers, checked in on us, got us the food in a timely manner. Great selection of beers. All different styles. I had the dubbel and the tripel, and my wife had the stout and the biere de garde. Food sounded awesome on the menu, but was a bit of a letdown on some parts. We ordered the proscuitto for $8.99. We got two slices. Two slices for nine buck? C'mon! My wife's burger was a good deal at $10, but my meatloaf for $18? One huge slice and a scrawny end piece? Not quite the entree I was looking for. Dessert was kickass though: chocolate stout cake a la mode. That said, we had a fun night over great beers and a three course meal.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I stopped here on a normal weekday, not a beer release. Open and inviting atmosphere, split level with plenty of seating. Quiet folksy music playing in the background, lots of good American wholesome types and families eating, a very comfortable place.

There were 6 house beers on tap, another 3 Smuttynose beers and a Southern Tier. Nothing crazy special, they hit all the regular styles you expect at a brewpub. Two IPAs was a plus (one was Finest Kind), definitely no complaints with beer quality.

Overall an excellent brewpub, similar to many other fine establishments (it reminded me strongly of Bethlehem Brew Works). Nice stop.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.73/5  rDev +11.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of Dicers
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Bierman9
4.55/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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 always 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 | $$


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Photo of papat444
4.08/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Had lunch here yesterday to cap off our quick trip to Portsmouth.

THE PUB: Very large windows greet me and as i come in, i was impressed with the high ceilings and the decor was bright and inviting, kind of urban in style. I love brick walls and this place had them. Really dug it. Atmosphere was hard to gauge since it was early but it looked nice with more people on the terrace than inside.

We were seated right next to the door that connects the brewpub from the retail store. Saw the guy carrying bottles to the store so i knew there was some beer waiting in the shop when i was finished eating (you can put bottles on yuor tab). The selection was pretty good with mostly summer drinking styles like IPA, Dunkel, Weizen, Oatmeal Stout and a bock from SN. I had the Bottle Rocket and my wife the Dunkel. Both were quite good.

The food was really quite good as well. My chile stew was delicious as was my wife's sandwich. They cater to children also with a special menu just for them which is nice.

Just 2 things that irked me: First, my stew was advertised asn having pork but could only find one tiny piece. It's not much at all and doesn't detract from the quality of the food but it is what it is. Second, our waitress must have been having a bad day (my wife thinks he had her period). She was all smiles and courteous but seemed very distant and not very engaging. It wasn't bad service at all but it wasn't going the extra mile so to speak. She seemed to be doing just the minimum required.

THE STORE: I came in and out while eating lunch to check out the bottles. There was lots of souvenirs to be had as well as glasses (picked up a pint glass). When i came in, the had the Thaizen & IPA ready. I was looking for the Stout and the girl was kind enough to call down and found out that they were bottling it at that exact moment. Grabbed a Thaizen and said i'd be back later for the Stout. Still, it took over an hour and i was thinking i was going to miss my chance. Headed back to the car and took one final swing by and was very happy to see the Stout So, be warned, the bottling is not fast paced. Best to come around 4 PM or so for maximum selection.

OVERALL: A very pleasant experience and i'll definitely be coming back here again.

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Photo of costanzo_mike
4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of acurtis
3.78/5  rDev -10.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75

Photo of akorsak
3.86/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

An early lunch date with little Liz Lemon.

Atmosphere: Portsmouth is busy! Tons of people and tons of snow are a bad combination. Lizzie and I were dropped off and disappeared into the pub. The pub is wide open, multi-floored with the bar up a short flight of steps. We were seated beyond the bar, in plain sight of the brewing equipment. The bar is nicely done, plenty of taps and bottles. The walls are brightly adorned with Smutty labels (yes, I'm talking to you Robust Porter). A nice place that was empty when we arrived and packed when we left.

Quality: The heads are very need, lots of old hatches as doors. Using them was a pleasure on many levels. Our server was by regularly, even after it became apparent that we were snacking on finger food only.

Service: Decent, especially earlier in the visit. As the restaurant filled up, things slowed down fractionally. She also volunteered a kiddy cup for Liz Lemon.

Selection: 5 house beers, 3 Smutty guests and Sierra Nevada Celebration. I went with the Winter Rye and Scotch Ale. I'd call the Winter Rye my pick of the two. A decent selection but a brewpub should have a few more taps on, no? Oh yeah, growlers. They only fill Portsmouth growlers. I left empty-handed, choosing instead to buy a few bottles at the adjoining store.

Food: I'll call it N/A because we only picked at one appetizer.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

Right on one of the main streets in downtown Portsmouth, easy to find. Very lively atmosphere, energetic and fun! Wait staff was very helpful and friendly, they even were educated in the nuances in the beers on tap, which is rare. There were ten taps, 8 from Portsmouth Brewery and 2 from Smuttynose which rotate quite frequently, again not the most taps but all local. Food was the average pub food, burgers, sandwiches, etc, but with more flavor. Definitely recommended for another visit if you are into the local brewery scene.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of mynie
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Portsmouth downtown is adorable, and I was shocked to learn the city's population is under 25k. That's smaller than my hometown in Iowa, where the fanciest restaurant is an Applebee's and you thank your lucky stars if you manage to find a place that has Sam Adams on tap.

The brewery is right in the middle of downtown, about two blocks away from the Thirsty Moose. The facade is geometric and bright yellow, the inside is more like a regular pub--bricky, warm lighting. Low-key vibe in spite of the fact that they seem to *always* be busy. Very nice staff.

There's a secondary bar downstairs that has all the house beers along with a limited liquor selection. They also have shuffleboard.

The beer selection was large and uniformly excellent, although they didn't have much by way of innovative or Xtreme styles, so if you absolutely must have a triple jalapeno gose or whatever you may be disappointed.

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Portsmouth Brewery in Portsmouth, NH
Brewery rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 3,407 ratings