Categorized under: beer

We’ve got you in our sight — 10th Annual Portsmouth Beer Week starts on Saturday

As I’m writing this post, we are less than 24 hours away from the “Unofficial” Kick-off to Portsmouth Beer Week and less than 48 hours until the kick off of the 2019 Portsmouth Beer Week.

[YAHOOOOO — 10 YEARS of Portsmouth Beer Week. Can’t really believe what it’s transformed into].

The early years of Portsmouth Beer Week (aka Portsmouth Craft Beer Long Weekend) were a little “rough” around the edges. The weekend started as a 3 day celebration leading up to Kate the Great – Russian Imperial Stout Release, by Portsmouth Brewery.

During the days leading up to the release, there were a limited number of events hosted around Portsmouth, including a “Beer Movie” feature, limited releases and beer/food pairings.

Fast forwarding a little, Portsmouth Beer Week started to take shape around year 3, when the weekend transformed into a 10 day celebration.

Since then, the 10 day celebration averages 60+ event in the Portsmouth/Seacoast area.

Looking back, where did Kate the Great Day come from?

(This timeline includes information from multiple sources, including Beer Advocate and Portsmouth Brewery’s website)

  • April, 2005 – First reviews of Kate The Great on Beer Advocate.
  • December, 2007 – Kate the Great Russian Imperial Stout was named #1 Beer in the USA & #2 on Planet Earth by the Beer Advocates in Beer Advocate Magazine’s 2007 Beer Roundup. [Tod Mott becomes famous]
  • June, 2008 – First official Kate Day – 900 bottles are sold out in less than three hours. Draft Kate is consumed in three days. [Sean was invited to join a friend and catches the Kate the Great bug.] Craft Beer fanatics came from all around the country to get a bottle and try the beer on draft.
  • February, 2009 – Second Kate Day. 900 bottles are sold in less than two hours. Draft Kate sells out on the same day. [Sean drags friend along and writes about it. read about it here. ] This was the year that a Page a Day Calendar was used to keep track of your order in line and to avoid lines wrapping around the block.
  • February, 2010 – The beer lines started early and wrapped around the block. The was also the First Annual Portsmouth Craft Beer Long Weekend, which included four events and featured the “Beer Wars” movie release — “Pizza, Beer and a Movie” at the Portsmouth Gas Light.
  • February 2011 – Portsmouth Craft Beer Long Weekend transformed into 10 day celebration.
  • March 2011 – Craft Beer Lovers lined up outside Portsmouth brewery around 2:45 am. By the time the brewery opened, 8 hours later, there were over 500 people waiting in line. “The demand for Kate the Great is so intense that all 420 gallons of it are drained in one day. “
  • March 2012. To tame the crowds and to raise $$ for two local charities, raffle tickets to “purchase” a bottle, were available for $2.00. The raffle tickets helped to facilitate the bottle sales and separate it from the long line for the draft sales. Kate the Great was also introduced as a 500 ml bottle, rather than a 22oz bottle. There were about 2,000 bottles produced.

Unfortunately, this is where the Kate the Great Story ends. In 2012, Tod Mott announced that he was departing the Portsmouth Brewery to work on a new project (which turned into Tributary).

After his departure, the excitement has been kept alive at the Portsmouth Brewery with the release of Royal Impy Stout, starting in March 2013.

And in the spring of 2015, Tod Mott and his tributary tribe first released “Mott the Lesser” Russian Imperial Stout — and he created a similar amount of chaos and excitement in Kittery, Maine.


The passion of Kate the Great still resides in Portsmouth Beer Week. The energy around the hunt for “black gold” (i.e. Kate the Great RIS) still exists — right now it might be a “yellow hazy gold”, but the passion is still alive.

The focus around a single beer release has transformed into a week of celebration and support for our local restaurants / bars. Over the years, many restaurateurs have appreciated Portsmouth Beer Week for helping to bring customers into their establishments during the slower period.

We hope to see you around town the next 10 days, to share stories from the hunt.

The 2Beerguys Team

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