Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You Thought Your Homebrewing Hobby was Out of Control...

This Thursday, after you're full of turkey and stuffed with stuffing, gather the family around the old boob tube and tune into the Discovery Channel at 8pm.  Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, from Mythbusters, will be hosting a one-hour special that tells the narrative of the 25th World Championship Punkin' Chunkin'.  American Chunker, our chunkin' team will be on the show, but you'll have to tune in to see the results if you've haven't read them somewhere else already.

The remnants of one of the biggest storms of the year, Nicole, were bearing down on the Mid-Atlantic region over Hallowe'en.  Rainfall records were set and inches of mud were created.  Even though the rain had largely stopped pouring, the winds were still blowing.  The weather was no match for   Bridgewater, Delaware was hosting the 25th Annual Punkin' Chunkin'.  Dan Henry, our Eastern New England Field Manager was in Bridgewater, Delaware to document the event as our chunking friends, American Chunker, shot for glory.  Here are some of his photos.  

Long Distance Portrait with Mud
by Dan Henry
Digital Photograph

 If you're curious why Victory is in the Smuttynose blog, it's because they also 
sponsor a chunkin' team.  That other team's beer isn't as good.  

Maggie Snayd representing the 'Nose

The wind was so strong it was more powerful than our beer
bottle weights.  Thank goodness Dan Henry was there to save the day!

This meeting of the minds is so intense they needed hard hats!

Nothing like hanging out with
Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale between shots!

That cab is where the action takes place.  Note
the strategically placed logo.

With all that mud, does your hair matter that much?

Dude!  Where are your feet?

Brian LaBrie, American Chunker captain,
lays it down for Jamie and Adam.

Dan and Maggie aren't even fazed by the mud.  

Aw shucks...American Chunker sure is cool....

The point...the whole damn point.

The Firing Line
Adam prepares for his close-up.
 He's a cowboy, on a steel horse.

Lord of the Pies?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Beer Dinner at Nosh

December 12 at 5:30pm, Nosh Kitchen Bar in Portland, Maine will be hosting a Smuttynose Beer Dinner.  The four course menu is loaded with delicious, meaty treats and each course is being paired with one of our Big Beers.  

Peter Egelston, Smuttynose's owner and founder, will be in the house that night, along with a number of our staff.  We'd love to meet you, so please join us.

One of the best ways I can describe Nosh, is to call it a food exaggerator.  There is a trend in the culinary world to take existing food types and dishes and blow them beyond their traditional form.  Kind of like Nigel Tufnel's "amp that goes to eleven" in Spinal Tap.  Nosh has chosen meat as its form of expression and, my God, do they do it well.  Through several visits there, I've had a pork belly Reuben, house-cured tempura bacon, and the Apocalypse Now burger, which is comprised of house ground beef patties, pork belly, fois gras, American cheese, house mayo, and macerated cherries and oranges.  They've recently added a Bolognese Sloppy Joe.  I think you get the idea.

Here is the dinner menu:

Course 1) Mini Charcuterie Plate comprised of Fois Gras Torchone w/Cranberry Jam, Rabbit Rillettes with Smuttynose braised Mustard Seed, Head Cheese with Old Brown Dog Gastrique

Paired with Maibock

Course 2) Maine Shrimp Rangoons served with house Kim Chi and Shrimp Fume, Mint

Paired with Big A IPA

Course 3) Beef Roulade-Beef rolled with Speck, Fontina cheese, Pine Nuts, Raisins and Tomato Sauce served with Seared, Butter-Poached Fingerling Potatoes

Paired with Baltic Porter

Course 4) Cheese Course-Winnimere wrapped in Lardo  and served Chestnut Honey, Toasted Hazelnuts and Candied Bacon.
Paired with Wheat Wine

Tickets are $65 per person.  To book your spot, you can call Nosh directly at 207-553-2227.  Our friends at Novare Res Bier Cafe can also take your information while you're having a pint.  They might even have a few rare barrel-aged Smuttynose beers on tap after the dinner.  Those beers might be the J. Lohr Chardonnay Barrel Tripel and the Utopias-barrel Baltic Porter.

Nosh is on Congress Street, a few blocks away from both the Portland Museum of Art as well as the International Cryptozoology Museum.  Why not make a day trip out of it?

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Mermaid Speaks!

I recently sent a questionnaire to Miss Dixie Von Trixie, the model found on our Star Island Single label.  If you're like me, you've often wondered where that flame-haired mermaid came from.  Here's a peak beyond the flipper!

Amanda Suter (aka Dixie von Trixie),  Dixie is my stage name as a burlesque performer.

Vintage clothing dealer, graphic designer, burlesque performer, singer, artist, jewelry designer, all around nutty gal.

Relation to Smuttynose:
Joanne came into my work, which at that time, was a vintage clothing boutique in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. She was here for Craft Brewers Conference (in 2008). She asked me if I would ever be interested in posing as a mermaid. I exclaimed, "Are you kidding me?! That's like my childhood dream come true!" So, she snapped a pic of me to show Peter on her cell phone and the rest is history.

Astrological sign and your last night meal on Death Row:
I'm an Aries in every sense. Even down to the fire red hair. My last meal would probably be Paneer Tikka Masala with lots of saffron rice, garlic naan bread and mint chutney. To drink, I think I would have an ice cream float made with Raspberry Lambic beer.

Have you modeled before?  What for?
Yes I have. I started modeling at age 17. A photography teacher took notice of me in high school (nothing creepy! haha) and wanted to do some vintage-styled shots. From this, various pro photographers contacted me for various things, usually always vintage-styled. There was a time back in the early 2000's where the whole vintage pinup model thing really took off in Southern California. There were a small handful of girls who became well known for this and I was one of them. I've been in ads for the Las Vegas Tourism Bureau, been in ads as Miss Beauty Bar for Las Vegas, been in calendars for Speedvision, been on numerous record and cd covers around the world, and have been portrayed in famous subculture art pieces. I was also asked to pose for pictures by the famous couture clothing designer Jeremy Scott at his home in Los Angeles. It's been a wild and crazy ride.

What did you think when we first contacted you?
This is AWESOME!!! I can't wait to try my fin on!!!

What all do you remember about the shoot and your trip to NH?
It was so much fun. Portsmouth was so lovely, old, and gorgeous. I loved looking around the town. My boyfriend loved all of the beer, haha. And the beaches are so different than our beaches here in Southern California. I loved them and how these amazing huge old houses were by themselves right by the beach. It looked like something out of a movie. Oh and the old graveyards in peoples' yards, I LOVED that. So cool. Anyhow, the day we shot it was cold and rainy outside. I was so freaked out that my hair was going to completely fall down. Here I was in just a bikini top and my fin in freezing cold water, having to pose all these different ways and look super happy go lucky. But the minute I got in the water my body adjusted and I was fine- it was so weird. And my hair withstood the rain! It was a miracle. But everyone was so great and generous to my boyfriend and I. The whole experience was such a fun, happy time for me. I love telling people about it. 

 How did you discover your calling for burlesque dancing?  What keeps you shimmying and shawing?
Well, I love to sing. Back when I was 22, I was singing karaoke at this hipster bar in San Diego. These girls approached me about joining their burlesque troupe that night; they liked my presence on stage. I didn't know a hoot about burlesque back then. That was 7 years ago. That was the only troupe in SD at the time. I was in that troupe until we dismantled back in 2006. From there, I started my own troupe and we are still together to this day. We have girls all over the West Coast in my troupe and I've been featured in various publications because of my work in burlesque. I perform a lot more on my own now but we will still get all together for the occasional fabulous show here and there. Burlesque is a way to let loose; it's fun. You get to make outrageous costumes and people really dig it. Women especially love to watch it. 

People ask all the time about your hair in the photo (which is the same in all your other photos).  Is it a wig?
Nope, it's my hair. I started dying it this color, "Crimson," about 5 years ago. People have always thought that my hair is a wig in it's various different colors and lengths. I just have tons of hair on my head. Thanks Dad! I'm known for my hair. It always weirds me out because, come on people, it's just hair! ;)

San Diego is a beer town.  Are you a beer drinker?  If so what would I find in your fridge?
Hahaha you're gonna hate this, but I'm not much of a beer girl. When I do drink beer it's usually in the form of a Michelada (mexican beer, lime juice, various sauces and seasonings), or a Red Beer (beer with Bloody Mary mix in it). However, I do drink my Star Island Single beer with a mexican seasoning called Tajin (a Mexican spice blend of chilis, salt, and dehydrated lime juice)  in it. I also tend to like sour ales. Oh yes, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE any of the Lambic fruity beers. My dad is a HUGE beer drinker / snob though. He loves really strong, skunky IPA's. Those are really popular here in SD. 

Tell me about Dixie?  What should we all know that doesn’t come across on the page?  How much of your offstage persona shows up on stage?
 Dixie is Amanda. If anything, Amanda is even naughtier than Dixie, haha. Dixie is known as the Southern Belle from Hell- a little south of the border (being so close to Mexico) and a little Deep South (my family's roots).  Dixie is campy and fun and glamorous, but also creepy and weird. I grew up idolizing Bettie Page and Jessica Rabbit, (I owe both of them a lot for who I am on stage) as well as the old Russ Meyer girls, from his movies. I think Dixie is a combo of all of them, but then, so am I. My whole life revolves around vintage things. I'm a vintage-styled girl with a kick-in-the-pants modern edge.

What else should we know about you?
That I want to come back and visit Portsmouth!!! :D

If you're looking for some great jewelry, check out Dixie's Etsy shop, Magenta Tarantula:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Smuttynose Baltic Porter; 2010 Big Beer Series #8

Baltic Porter is out in stores and bars now, so it seems there's no better time than the present to share some information with the blogosphere.

Smuttynose Baltic Porter

23° Plato
40 IBU
9.02% ABV

Malt:  Cargill 2-Row, Munich 20L, Weyermann Carahell, Crisp C-120, Baird’s Carastan, Crisp Chocolate, Crisp Black

Hops: Sterling

Yeast:  White Labs Old Bavarian Lager

The most unique aspect of our Baltic Porter is that we ferment and bottle-condition it with lager yeast, in the Eastern European tradition.  Smuttynose Baltic Porter, like all of our lagers undergoes a full cold-conditioning program, which goes longer than most because we don’t filter any of our beers.  Our lager yeast strain flocculates pretty well for a lager strain but it still takes time, so this beer has plenty of age on it (at least a month and a half). 

Like any new additions to our Big Beer Series, Baltic Porter started out when we looked at what sort of big styles were being brewed by others but that we weren’t brewing.  We already had the usual suspects, Imperial Stout, Barleywine, Wheat Wine, S’Muttonator Doublebock and so on.  Baltic Porter seemed like a great way to do something else dark but we wanted to find a way to put a twist on it.  In researching/tasting Strong Baltic-style porters, we saw that a number of the European ones were fermented with lager yeast, because that’s the yeast they already have in their brewery.  Most brewers know that it’s easier to keep your number of yeast strains streamlined.  So lager yeast it was.  The strain is the same one we used in the much-missed but less-purchased Portsmouth Lager.

Smutttynose Baltic Porter is extremely smooth out of the gates but it also ages quite nicely.  And we should know; we just transferred some from two Sam Adams Utopias barrels that had been aging for about two years. 

Thanks for your interest.  Wheat Wine, the final beer of the 2010 Series, will be leaving the building on Monday, December 13.  Despite its recent gold medal win at Mondial de la Biere in Strasbourg, France; it will go on hiatus for 2011.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New York City Craft Beer Week Part 3

Here's the final installment of Pat Fondiller's NYC Beer Week account.  You can almost feel the tired seeping form the screen.

Part #3

Tuesday evening I was back at it with NYC’s Puck Fair hosting Smuttynose as their NYCCBW brewery. I spent the evening with the Union Beer crew headed by Joshua Tussin and Bar Manager Collin and a lot of great Puck Fair patrons. We shared the floor that night with Southern Wine and Spirits and my old friend Dave Rose which made for a particularly spirited evening. Afterwards we all headed around the corner to big Smuttynose supporter’s the Spring Lounge to finish out the evening with Dermott and Jen and company. Needless to say it was another great night.

On Thursday, I was at Mug’s Ale House in Williamsburg where every night and day is Smuttynose night. Eddy and family have been one of Smuttynose’s best allies for years and I wanted to spend a night there paying homage to them. I spent the evening with Jimmy Tillman the white-bearded patron saint of Smuttynose IPA and had a great time with several of the patrons. Afterwards we all wound up at the great Brooklyn beer bar Barcade and then back to my favorite haunt The Gate another couple of places that have given us great support over the years.

The grand finale was a 20 line blow out put up by Rattle n Hum where we shared the 40 tap lines with another great brewery Ballast Point. There were representatives and brewers from all parts of the Craft Beer Industry including Stone, Ballast Point, Two Brothers and more. The lineup included a vintage Wheat Wine and Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, all of the core brand styles and several of the Short Batch Series. The turnout for Smuttynose at this event was enormous and very flattering and the patrons were really excited peppering me with questions about hop varieties and original gravities and the like. Around midnight Stone brewer Jeremy Moynier and Ballast Point brewer Colby Chandler and I snuck out to The Ginger Man to say hello. We shared a beer there and then headed back to Rattle where we closed the joint down and then grabbed a cab home to Brooklyn.

All in all New York City Craft Beer Week was a blast and it was great to experience it from the supply side of things as opposed to the retail side as I had in years past. I am looking very much forward to next year’s week and hope you’ll all be in NYC and come along for the ride!

If you see Pat arou

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New York City Craft Beer Week Part 2

     When Pat last left off, Freaktoberfest, had kicked off the events of the week and Pat was just getting started on along week of beer-vangelism and Dave was getting down to the city to join the revelry.  This section is full of fantastic foods, so if you're hungry, go grab a slice of terrine or some baba ganoosh.

Part 2

     On Saturday, I was joined by Smuttynose Director of Brewing Operations (DoBrO) Dave Yarrington and we made our way over to The Get Real NY cask ale festival put on by Patrick Donagher of Rattle n Hum and Cask Master Alex Hall at NYC’s Altman Building. The scene here was simply amazing as the organizers built a huge rectangular stillage that housed over 80 cask -conditioned ales from all over the world. Food purveyors lining the outside of the room and the festival provided attendees with a chic mini pint glass to sample the beer. 

     The Smuttynose offerings were varied and amazing. There was the Big A IPA, quadruple dry-hopped with Simcoe, Centennial, Santium and Cascade and the elusive Chai Porter. There was a second Porter firkin that had been aged on apple brandy-soaked oak chips in addition to three other single dry-hopped brews; Star Island Single with Sterling, Pumpkin with Liberty and Old Brown Dog with Glacier. Dave was pulled from the crowd to speak to the geeks and we also did a few interviews.

      Next, we were off to Brooklyn to attend a Zagat/Smuttynose Beer dinner at Benchmark Restaurant on 5th Avenue and 2nd Street in Park Slope. Chef Ryan Jaronik prepared a three course meal in a format that I was not used to but found to be very pleasant. Each of the three courses was portioned larger than the norm and we received a full 12 ounce bottle of beer with each course served in large wine glasses.
Course number one was a Ginger-Fried Squid Salad with Papaya, Spicy Cashews, Frisée, Squid Ink Vinaigrette paired with the Star Island Single. The delicate Belgian spiciness of the beer paired well with the appetizer and the beer’s clean finish went quite well with the fried calamari.  The second course was a Duo of Beef: Broiled NY Strip Steak and Big A IPA Braised Short Rib with Horseradish Potato Purée, Boeuf Onions, Mustard Demi-Glace. I found this course to be great with the bold double IPA standing up well to the hearty dish. Finally for desert, a Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Honey Roasted Bananas and Hazelnut Caramel paired with the Smuttynose Robust Porter. This pairing was simply sublime with the best of both the beer and the food coming out and complimenting each other in a way that literally made both better.

     After dinner we sauntered down to Mission Dolores on 4th Avenue, one of the main Smuttynose Craft Beer Week venues, and sampled some Rouge D’Shire, Vunderbar Pilsner and other offerings. We finished the night with a brief pub crawl paying a visit to Pacific Standard, 4th Avenue Pub and High Dive, all craft beer week venues that housed at least one Smuttynose line and then stumbled home to bed.

     Sunday morning Dave and I went back to Get Real, sampled some more brews and food and did another interview or two and then headed over to Meet and greet Union Beer’s Mike Lavullo at the legendary Blind Tiger Ale House. Mike and company were in the midst of a Craft Beer Week pub crawl that he had organized through Manhattan’s East and West Village beer bars. We caught the first half of the Giants game (Dave and I both from Jersey are mutual fans) and then drove up to Tim Reinke and John Sharp’s Birdsall House in Peekskill, NY. This beautiful Westchester County beer bar and restaurant was featuring a dozen or so Smuttynose brews and though the beer dinner that Tim and I had discussed never materialized, it mattered not because the food was fantastic. Holed up for the night we started with a few charcuterie platters featuring fine artisanal cheeses, sausages and pate’s. The first consisted of Pork and fennel sausage with porter and caraway mustard, Brovetto Farms green peppercorn Tilset, chicken terrine wrapped in bacon over mesclun and the second Pork terrine with mustard seed caviar, spicy lamb sausage with red onion jam, and seared bacon lardon with apple butter over mesclun.  After a few hours shooting the breeze with Tim and John and some of their patrons we settled in for dinner. Dave had the Fried Organic Chicken with buttermilk biscuits, southern-style giblet gravy, black-eyed peas, collard greens, glazed carrots and I had the 9-Spice Roasted Pork Loin with sweet potato and cheddar mac-n-cheese, braised brussel sprouts and smoky tomato marmal. All of the food at Birdsall is locally sourced, house made, organic and outstanding. This place is well worth a trip and easy to get to and from via the Metro North railroad out of Grand Central Station in NYC. In the morning Dave headed back to the Shire and I back to Brooklyn for a well earned day off…well from drinking at least.

Monday, October 18, 2010

New York City Craft Beer Week Part 1

Pat Fondiller, our man in the Big Apple has written a three-part account of his experience at New York City Craft Beer Week.  Craft Beer Weeks take place all over the country from hotspots like Philadelphia, San Francisco to areas where craft beer's profile isn't as wide, like Charlotte and St. Louis.  Area grocers, bars, restaurants, breweries and other food and drink centric entities band together to promote craft beer through various events from the commonly seen beer dinners and tastings to more creative events like s Beer Geek of the year contest.

These weeks are pretty intense for our sales reps (you'll be exhausted just reading this).  Pat did an amazing job scheduling, organizing and attending our events.  I'm sure his liver took a few days off afterwards as well.

Here's part 1:

Right off, a very special thank you to all the fans of Smuttynose Brewing Company who came out in support of the brewery at our many events for this year’s New York City Craft Beer Week. NYCCBW ran from September 24th through October 3rd and was the most successful week by far for the organizer’s Josh Schafner and Chris Cuzme. The duo worked out a new format this year, pairing breweries with specific bars and restaurants throughout New York City. They also picked up a few formidable partners in Great, The Brooklyn Brewery and NYC’s Zagat Guide who provided support and made it a great week for all.

Freaktoberfest, Brooklyn’s notorious craft beer, music and burlesque freak show, now in its third year provided the kick-off. Hosted by Jeremy Cowan and Matt Polachek from Shmaltz Brewing Company, Mikey Palms from Southpaw, Ben Granger from Bierkraft and Smuttynose’s own Pat Fondiller, the Festival provided just the punch that NYCCBW needed to get off to a roaring start. This year’s venue, The Rock Shop, the Bowery Ballroom’s latest music spot, provided the perfect setting. The festival featured about 45 breweries and musical performances by bands most of which had one member or more working in the craft beer industry. Downstairs in the club, the opening act WORKOUT! had two members whose “day jobs” are in sales for local distributor S.K.I. and they were followed up by solo act Al Duvall, one of the original members of the Craft Brewers Guild. The third act, Lambic Jones, featured drummer Steve Moses (Alice Donut), jazzer Percy Jones on bass and Ale Street News’ Paul Sullivan on guitar. The trio laid down a blistering set that really blew the roof off the joint. Headliners, Captain Ahab and the Sea Cracken, the only act sans beer folk, were the perfect finishers with their nautical themed surf punk extravaganza.

Upstairs the venue featured an outdoor rooftop deck and held the majority of the beer as well as the performances that Freaktoberfest has become known for. The performance, hosted by Donny Vomit - MC of the World Famous Coney Island Side Show was highlighted by Mr. Vomit penetrating his nose with 30 penny nails and a power drill, then introducing the fabulous burlesque performers Ravi the Scorpion Mystic, Remy Vicious, Legs Malone and Nasty Canasta.

The festival, which has become the official launch party for Shmatlz’ Freaktoberfest, a blood red lager and the party’s namesake, also featured many other specialty brews. The debut of Smuttynose Vunderbar Pils, Lagunitas Fusion III and Victory Village topped the charts of what was a rather fantastic list of fine craft beers.

Part 2:  Things aget really busy when the DoBrO comes to town....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NH Brew Fest

This weekend, we'll be pouring Smuttynose beers at the New Hampshire Brew Fest on the grounds of RedHook Brewery here in Portsmouth.  In addition to being a beer festival in our hometown, the event is a fundraiser for the Prescott Park Arts Festival as well as the New England District of the Master Brewer's Association of the Americas.

The Prescott Park Arts Festival is a summer-long program of events.  It encompasses everything from studio art shows and film to theatre and music.  The summer-long art-stravaganza is very friendly for both families and wallets as all it's events are free.  The first edition took place in 1974, making it one of the oldest Portsmouth arts happenings.

The Master Brewer's Association of the America's is one of three technical and educational brewing organizations (the others are in Europe and Japan).  The funds raised will go the New England District's Scholarship Fund.  One scholarship is given out each year and then winner is able to attend either the Brewing and Malting Science course or the Packaging Technology course.  Buying a ticket will ensure a future New England brewer's ability to make more delicious beer for you.  It's kind of like the Stock Market but with a much more predictable outcome.

We'll be pouring 2010 S'Muttonator, 2009 Barleywine, Big A IPA, and Pumpkin Ale.  The VIP session will feature 2009 Wheat Wine.

Paul Barber from the Finestkind IPA label will be on hand as well.

Please come out and join us!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Smuttynose Short Batch #10- Belgian Stout

         If you had eight freshly-emptied whiskey barrels, what would you do?  This is the situation we found ourselves in after we packaged the Ry(e)an Ale.   Sawing them in half and turning them into planters was definitely not an option, so we had to think of a new Short Batch beer.  We didn’t want to do another barrel-aged version of an imperial stout but it was difficult to stop thinking of how tasty the combination of roasted malt, caramel malts, bourbon and oak is.  The obvious choice was to make a Belgian-style stout.  
         Belgian-style stouts aren’t very different than regular imperial stouts.  The most obvious difference is the choice to use a Belgian yeast strain.  Our house American ale yeast leaves a pretty neutral flavor profile but Belgian strains are known for adding very particular flavor profiles from clovey, to fruity to spicy. 
         To accommodate the spicy flavor our Belgian strain contributes, we needed to adjust the flavor profile of the beer by dropping out some of the roasted malt character.  This enables the caramel character to come forward and blend nicely with the bourbon and oak character.
         The challenge was to figure out the volume of beer.  Short batches are always a small portion of the full volume of our brew system.  If we were just going to fill the barrels, then we’d need exactly 424 gallons of beer, which is only about 13.5 brewer’s barrels of volume and there’s no way we could make that small of a batch on our 50-barrel system.  This means we get to release two versions of this beer, a barrel-aged version and a non barrel-aged version.
         The non-barrel-aged version was kegged on 11 June 2010.  The barrel-aged version is still aging at press time.

Stat Box

Malts: 2-Row, Carawheat, Munich, C-120, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Brown Malt

Hops: Magnum, Glacier

Other Ingredients:  D2 Belgian Candi Syrup

Starting Extract 19° Plato
Finishing Extract 4.2° Plato
50 IBU

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Champion Firkin Friday!

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?  We've all heard this philosophical quandry and yet the answer is still profound: the tree doesn't make a sound.  

Well, after Big A IPA was named the Best American Beer at the Great British Beer Festival, we thought it would be best to make a sound in our own town.  

This Friday, September 10, our friends at the Portsmouth Brewery will be hosting a special Firkin Friday.  David Yarrington, Director of Brewing Operations will be tapping a firkin of Big A at the Portsmouth Brewery at 4 PM.  This cask was dry-hopped with Santiam, Simcoe, Centennial, and Cascade hops, the exact same ones that were in the winning cask.

We hope to see you all at the pub on Friday so we can share this special beer with you.   Since Portsmouth Little League didn't have the same success as in years past, we hope that this provides a fun, if slightly more adult alternative to celebrating a hometown champion. 


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vunderbar! Short Batch #11

Guten tag!  Short Batch #11 is kegged and ready for delivery!  

Here are Dave's notes about the beer:

Ah, Vunderbar.  So simple.  So elegant.  The impetus of this beer was two-fold.   The first part stemmed from drinking a snot load of Sam Adams Noble Pils this spring.  Great beer.  The other was a visit by Cornelius Faust from Faust Brewery in Germany.  He brewed a pilsner with Tod Mott down at the Portsmouth Brewery that was also quite beautiful.  We, of course, couldn’t possibly let Mott show us up and so had to try our hand at the style.  We’ve made several lagers in the past but this was our first attempt at a beer this delicate.  Luckily, we stole Cornelius’ great idea of boiling the brewing water to soften it before use.  We bumped up the acidulated malt to balance the mash pH and were able to mimic a traditional pilsner quite well.  Hopefully you agree.  Prost.

The Stat Junkie Corner

Weyermann Pilsner Malt
Weyermann Acidulated Malt

Saaz Hops for all hopping

15 IBU, dryhopping at ½ pound per barrel.

5.11% Alcohol by Volume
Starting Extract 10.9° Plato
Terminal Extract 1.9° Plato.

Vunderbar Pils marks a departure from the last few short batches we have brewed.  It's not high in alcohol.  It doesn't use any kind of wild yeast, nor is it barrel-aged.  It's a beer in the classic, if not archetypal, sense of the word.  Best of all, it's blindingly delicious and drinkable.  The low bitterness and moderate body make the beer conducive to some serious elbow bending; we went through five gallons here in less than twenty-four hours. 

After all the kegging was done, we ended up with (27) 15.5-gallon kegs and (60) 5.16-gallon kegs.  Final allocations and destinations have yet to be determined.

We also have designed these swank Vunderbar t-shirts.  Wearing one tells the world "I'm formal, but I like to party," just in German.  Greg Blanchard, our Head Brewer, models one below just before going to the cellar to take some Zahm hits off of BB 8, while blaring side two of the Dio classic, "Holy Diver."

The run is limited and will be on sale soon through our website and retail store.  We'll let you know when they are available through the blog and Facebook/Twitter. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Isles of Shoals

The Isles of Shoals are a group of islands and tidal ledges about ten miles off the coast of the New Hampshire-Maine border region (Portsmouth, where we are located, is right on the Piscataqua River, which forms the border between the two states). There are nine islands in the chain, five belonging to Maine and four to New Hampshire. The islands have a long history, serving as seasonal fishing camps for Native American populations with the first Europeans arriving in the early 1600's.

The history of the Shoals encompasses a range of people and events so diverse, I'll just make a list: Captain John Smith, the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the legendary pirate Blackbeard, the poet Celia Thaxter, several hotels, an artist colony, a grisly ax murder, a Unitarian-Universalist retreat, and a 2000 film starring Elizabeth Hurley and Sean Penn.

The islands have also been a source of inspiration for our branding. If you've looked at the map above, you'll notice Star Island, Smuttynose Island and as well the name "Shoals." Our logo even boasts a harbor seal, which are commonly found around the backside of Star Island and occasionally in Gosport Harbor.

The Shoals are still a vibrant community now although there are no more incorporated towns.

The Unitarian-Universalist church has a retreat/conference center ( on Star Island, which is easily the most developed of the nine islands.

Smuttynose Island is still home to the Samuel Haley house, the structure on our Shoals Pale Ale label. There is also a replica period building next to it which serves as a caretaker's house.

Appledore Island plays host to the University of New Hampshire/Cornell University Marine Sciences lab.

Cedar Island and Lunging Island are privately owned.

Duck Island was once a naval bombing range but is now home to a wildlife sanctuary and a population of harbor seals.

White Island is home to the White Island Lighthouse and the light keeper's cottage. The structures are now currently owned by the State of New Hampshire and in need of some maintenance. A local charity, Lighthouse Kids ( has been raising funds to restore the light and the keeper's cottage with an ultimate goal of having a museum on site. Please visit their website to learn more about the work they're doing.

Sue Reynolds, a retired teacher and founder of Lighthouse Kids, also runs day-boat trips to the Isles as well as fishing charters on The Uncle Oscar, a converted lobster boat. She was kind enough to take me out to Star Island for a few hours. I had a great picnic lunch on Star Island and snapped some great photos which you'll see below. If you ever need to go to the Shoals, The Uncle Oscar ( provides an excellent experience. Our captain that day, Tom Davis possesses a wealth of information and knowledge about Shoals history and lore and he's not afraid to use it.

On to the photos:

This view from the side of Star Island provides a great vantage point to see the Unitarian-Universalist retreat center. The most interesting part of my visit was the sense of peace and calm you feel when you're on Star. It'd be a great place to get away for a week in the summer. I didn't see any mermaids or bright red beehives though...

The UU folk have great welcome station right on the dock. You can even make reservations to have lunch out there during the summer.

Gosport Chapel, on Star Island, is an austere and charming church. This simple, one-room chapel has such a presence that's apparent from your first step in the door.

The bridges of Portsmouth as seen from the Isles of Shoals. The largest bridge, though it looks like it might from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, is actually the Route 95 bridge that spans the great Bay and connects New Hampshire to Maine.

Looks like a great place for draft line!

Finally, the obligatory product shot! Two different sides of the Samuel Haley house, brought to you by Smuttynose Brewing Company.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Harvesting Pumpkin Ale

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale is shipping out to all of our wholesalers and is filtering its way out to retail accounts as we speak. Yep, it's shipping in early August and I can assure you, we're still amazed how early Pumpkin season begins each year.

On the production side of things, we're in the middle of autumn and starting to plan for Winter Ale. The beer buying public is very fickle about when they buy seasonal beers. The demand seems to begin earlier each year though most seasons have a certain natural end point that's determined when people decide to stop buying the beer. It's really important for us to get the beer out into the supply channels early, and in large amounts.

This year, filling the supply channels with Pumpkin Ale was much easier. We contracted this year's run to F.X. Matt in Utica, N.Y. Their larger capacity enables us to ship the nearly all of the beer to our wholesalers right out of the gate.

Even if you don't have any pumpkins to carve, or leaves to rake yet; there's no better way to refresh yourself after sharpening your pumpkin carving knife or while watching preseason NFL games.

On a final note, the packaging for this year's six packs looks a little different. The sides of the six pack basket are a bit shorter,the bottles have a slightly different shape and the neck labels wrap the entire way around the bottle. Don't worry, the beer is just as delicious.

Here are some pictures of the new packages:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bikes, Ballistics, and Beer

Craft brewing has never been a particularly competitive community. Breweries tend to help each other out, sharing tips, tricks, ingredients, and pints with each other. In my mind, this is the most unique and best thing about our community. Despite the harmonious nature of our “industry,” we’ve decided to put our support behind two competitive endeavors; one involving spandex and muscle power and one involving projectiles and pressurized air.

We are the title sponsor for the Portsmouth Criterium. “The Crit” is a bicycle road race that takes place in the heart of downtown Portsmouth, passing right through Market Square. Six different categories of cyclists, ranging from kids to level two professionals, will race around the 1-kilometer, hay bale-lined course. Our owners, Peter and Joanne are avid cyclists and can be seen infrequently, clad in spandex, around the Portsmouth Brewery after a long ride. After all, studies have shown that beer is better than water for replenishing nutrients after strenuous exercise. The Portsmouth Brewery will be hosting a pancake breakfast for the public as well as a private reception for volunteers. For more information, visit The Crit's website.

Our second competition is something so wacky that we couldn’t help but say "yes" when we were approached for sponsorship. American Chunker is a Brookline, NH-based team of engineers and fabricators as well as the name of the world’s first fully automatic, air-powered pumpkin cannon. The team has been working since the middle of November 2009 to design and build a cannon that will launch a pumpkin over a mile and challenge for top honors at the World Championship Punkin’ Chunkin’ in Bridgewater, Delaware November 5-7, 2010. Check out their blog for New England events scheduled during September and October or go cheer them on in Delaware. We'll have more details on our cross promotions soon, so keep an eye on our Facebook page and our monthly email newsletter.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Smuttynose Short Batch Gaps

One of the most intriguing things about the Watergate tapes from Nixon's Oval Office is the 18.5 minute gap. Very few people probably know/knew what was originally on that section of tape. Most everyone else thinks the 18.5 minutes had vital evidence that would have implicated Nixon in the scandal surrounding the break-in. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that incomplete records do people a disservice. I hope to use some of the next blog entries to fill in some of our gaps in the Smuttynose Short Batch Series records. These gaps may not have the national security importance of the Watergate tapes, but I'm sure there are plenty of you out there that want this information and there's really no reason for you to not have it.

We've been brewing Short Batches here since 2006. Here's the official list of releases, complete with keg dates as available. This includes what we have scheduled and in fermenters as of July 7, 2010.

SSB #1) The Gnome -Belgian IPA kegged 3/29/07

SSB #2) Brett and I -Belgian Ale finished with Brettanomyces kegged 10/5/07

SSB #3) Smutt-a-roni -Wild Rice Ale kegged 11/20/07

SSB #4) G-Bock -Experimental Strong Lager kegged 1/22/08

SSB #5) Hopfenweiss -Hoppy German Hefeweizen kegged 1/5/09

SSB #6) Belgian Tripel kegged 5/28/09

Oak SSB #6) Tripel aged in J. Lohr Chardonnay Barrels with Brettanomyces kegged 4/20/10

SSB #7) Strawberry Short Weiss- lactic wheat ale, fermented with Lactobacillus and strawberries, part of an aborted attempt at a Berliner Weisse. kegged 8/5/09

SSB #8) Imperial Stout aged in Apple Brandy barrels kegged 8/19/09

SSB #9) Rouge d'Shire lactic ale aged on raspberries and oak kegged 3/30/10

SSB #10) Belgian Stout kegged 6/11/10

SSB #11) Pilsner kegged TBA

Oak SSB #10) Belgian stout aging in whiskey barrels from the Ry(e)an Ale project. kegged TBA

As time goes by, I'll write more about some of these beers over the next few months. Stay tuned!



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Smuttynose Short Batch Series #9--Rouge d’Shire

Charlie, our barrel master is funky. Not intergalactic, Atomic Dog funky. Funky like smelly-feet funky. And the man makes funky beer-beer with wild yeasts and bacteria. Sour beers, tart beers, crazy beers. Charlie is a special one to say the least.

The initial premise to Short Batch #9 was to make another soured beer that would take less time than the Strawberry Short Weiss, which was left to get lactic and ferment in a large plastic tote in our lunch/hospitality room for about a year. We would periodically add strong wort to the batch until it expressed a sour character that we were happy with; only then did we add 300 pounds of strawberries. The total yield was about 200 gallons and it was a year and a half late from it’s expected ready date. There had to be a better way.

After some field research, our friend Will Meyers of Cambridge Brewing Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts shared a technique that shortened the lactobacillus portion of the beer from a year to a long weekend and (as we think) made it taste better.

We began by mashing in and lautering like normal. The plan was to get twenty barrels of wort with an extract of twelve degrees Plato. Normally, the wort would get boiled and hopped immediately, then cooled and sent to a fermenter with brewer’s yeast. Instead we added a double pitch of lactobacillus to the kettle and left it at 100 °F for the next three days. This allowed the lactobacillus to happily eat sugar and make lactic acid while we were ringing in the New Year’s and sleeping it off the next day. By Sunday morning, the wort was perfectly soured. We still needed to ferment the rest of the sugar out (for alcohol) without sending bacteria through our hoses, heat exchanger, and fermenter gaskets. Lactobacillus can be very difficult to eradicate and nobody wants a lactic Brown Dog. Wouldn’t be prudent. So we boiled the hell out of it. Seventy five minutes of rolling, ripping pasteurization.

Being a Belgian influenced beer, we pitched our house Belgian yeast strain to finish up the fermentation. Like a lot of things life, balance is important in a beer like this. If it’s too acidic, it gives you raging heartburn. If it doesn’t express enough acidity, then you’ve kind of missed the point. If there’s no alcohol, you’ve kind of missed the point to. It’s not even beer.

All that was left to decide now was if the beer needed fruit. And then one day, Charlie just blurts out “raspberries” at the lunch table. “We need like, 400 or 500 pounds of raspberries.” So that’s what we did (well, we settled on 458 pounds). We got buckets and buckets of red raspberry puree. We also got 60 pounds of oak chips. Then we aged the beer with the twigs and berries for several months until it was ready. We weren’t sure when it was going to be ready, it kind of just was ready.

One morning at around 8:15, I see Charlie walking towards me with a huge smile, carrying a plastic cup with some kind of brownish beer with a slight red hue to it. “Dude, try this! A little CO2 and this is naughty.” The beer was tart, moderately fruity with a really thin body and a clean finish. There was barely a hint of sweetness. You could drink this beer for days.

And that’s the tale of Short Batch #9 d.b.a. “Rouge d’Shire.” I guess it goes to show that special beer comes from special people; and maybe, just maybe Charlie does have some kind of magical, beery, Mothership Connection after all. Try it and see for yourself.

Rouge d’Shire Statistical Breakdown

Starting Plato: 12°

IBU: 10

Malts: Pale, Aromatic, Carared, C-60, Special B

Hops: Crystal

Other Ingredients: 458 pounds of Red Raspberries, 60 pounds of medium toast oak chips

Suggested food pairings: The acidity in this beer will cut through any rich fatty foods. Our resident chef, Joe Drouillard recommends a pan sautéed duck breast or for dessert, cheesecake.