Portsmouth, North Hampton, and the Seacoast Brewery Tour

So yesterday, for my sisters 21st birthday, my girlfriend, her brother, and I, took my sister on a tour of the seacoast breweries.  We started with Throwback Brewing (See Review Here) and then moved onto Blue Lobster to sample their new Berliner Weisse (See Review Here) and the Red Door (Paint it Black) Black IPA, which was succulent in smell and terrifically bitter in taste, making it a great India Black Ale by my measure.  I had had Blue Lobsters other offerings before, but had them again, since they were so good, and was pleasantly surprised to find everything even better than I remembered it.  Gold Claw is still (and forever will be) a beautifully fresh APA that is hugely sessionable and delicious, and all the rest of the beers were equally as delicious. 

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From Blue Lobster we made the trek to Portsmouth to visit my longtime favorite, Earth Eagle and their amazing gruits.  We started with a non-gruit, the APA Shepard’s Crook, which (most likely due to where my palate was at) tasted a little oniony to me, and then moved to the gruit, Wildcraft, which was brewed with rock tripe, polypore, dock leaf, and sweet fern, but tasted a little odd to me as well.  After that I tried the Ancestral IPA, however, and that was terrifically crisp and refreshing with a nice bitter bite that broke through my palates fatigue and reminded me just how good this brewery was.  After that was the Phoenix Brown, and brown ale that was terrifically roasty and chocolaty with superb nuance.  This beer could easily give Old Brown Dog a run for its money, and has led me to suspect that seacoast New Hampshire might be a growing mecca for brown ales (Old Brown Dog, Phoenix Brown, Dippity Do from Throwback).  After Phoenix Brown, I sampled my last and favorite beer of the night, the gruit Smoke on the Water, which was brewed with smoked malts, juniper, and sweet flag, which was superbly smoky with excellent herbal and minty notes to give the beer an Earth Eagle twist and really excite the palate.  This beer was excellent and proves again that Earth Eagle is really making some phenomenal wonder gruits.  All three breweries were excellent in all, and are really helping to jumpstart the New Hampshire craft beer scene, a scene that is very far behind its New England brethren.  If you are in the area you should go check them all out.

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