Our Journey from Ottawa to Portsmouth (part 2)
This is a guest blog post by April Thibert. We were happy to meet April and her crew during Portsmouth Beer Week this past February. To celebrate American Craft Beer Week, here is a story of her journey to Portsmouth Beer Week 2013. Enjoy!
…. continued from yesterday..
Wednesday the guys humoured me with a trip out to Seacoast so that I could stand on the rocks in the pouring rain and ice. What better way to reward them? Lunch at the Black Birch in Maine. Another recommendation from Bill that came with a warning to get there early or they are packed. We did as we were told and got in before the dinner menu kicked in. Hot soup, warm grilled cheese, house pickles and a great selection of beer took the chill away. Oxbow’s Farmhouse Pale Ale was the lunchtime favourite.
To celebrate the great food we headed to the North Coast tap takeover at the Press Room. We found three seats at the end of the bar and ordered our beer. Again we employed the divide and conquer strategy. We tried the Scrimshaw Pilsner, Brother Thelonius and the barrel aged Old Rasputin XV. Shortly after we sat down and our beer arrived we were pleased to meet Matthew Webster from North Coast Brewing. He had some regular Old Rasputin out of the bottle to compare next to the barrel aged. It should be noted that all craft beer fans should carry a bottle opener, you never know when you will be in a bar and unable to open a bottle to hand out samples. (Thanks to Ottawa brewery Broadhead, for the keychain bottle opener.)
Our last stop for this Wednesday evening was Portsmouth Brewery. Not only were we in the mood for some dessert but they were hosting a collaborative brew night. Head Brewer Tyler Jones was joined by Rik Marley from Flying Goose Brew Pub and Annette Lee from Throwback Brewery. We were treated to two beers. The first was an oatmeal pale ale that was paired with corn and cheddar fritters. The second was Holy Mole porter paired with chicken taquitos. Both were very tasty and the food, of course, spot on.
Our final day in New Hampshire found us seeking out Milly’s Tavern for lunch and White Birch Brewing for a tasting. The trip back towards Portsmouth was not complete without a stop at the newest microbrewery, Blue Lobster. We ran down the list of their beers, including a bit of a beer they were aging but ran out of room for. (I believe it is to be the Lobster Genome Project)
From there we took the short drive to Throwback Brewery. Again, employing the three man strategy we were able to try the Dippity Doo, the Hog Happy Hefeweizen, Donkey-hote, Campfire Smoked, Oma’s Tribute and the Chocolate Mint Stout.
Our next stop was a quick jaunt over to Gary’s Beverages to sample some Sam Adams. We had some bottles of the red IPA and the Grumpy Monk at the hotel but we were pleased to try Cinder Bock, Imperial White, Double Bock and Verloren Gose. While the place was cramped, many people being in there to buy their evenings beverages, the woman was quite nice and the samples tasty.
Our final two stops were close together. First was Portsmouth Brewery for collaboration brew tasting number two. Here Tyler presented the group with Cirque de Citron, the collaborative brew with Oxbow Brewing. This was paired with a spring roll. The second was a beer done with Great Rhythm brewery. It was a wheat stout called Total Eclipse of the Stout. This they paired with hazelnut brittle. Again the chef had some winning combos.
Second and final stop of our beer week was Coat of Arms British pub. It was firkin night and there were three beers to try. Lemon drop from Smuttynose, Double Dippity from Throwback and Imperial stout from Moat Mountain. Each of us took one and toasted what was a wonderful week.
The week could not have been any better. We ate some amazing food, prepared by some fantastic chefs. We tried over 130 new beers across our entire nine days. (We did spend two days in Boston at the end.) We also met some really great people who helped make our trip that much better. It is nice to see that no matter where you go the craft beer scene is the same. Friendly people who want to talk beer with anyone willing to listen to them talk about beer.
This wasn’t our first trip to Portsmouth but it was our longest. It was also our best which guarantees it will not be our last.
Thanks to Bill, Mike, Tyler, Matthew, 2Beerguys and everyone else who showed us the best the week had to offer.
— April Thibert