We started off with the Chocorazzle Delight from Grape Time Winery. Grape Time is a local vint-on-premises operation that uses kit wine products for both customer orders and retails sales. We are pretty sure this wine was made from the same Chocolate Raspberry Port kit we made some at home with last year. It is a good wine, but not something would live up to the Port namesake. My favorite was the Red Decadence from Washington State. It is dry for a dessert wine, well balanced, and projects incredible chocolate aromas and flavors. The Sweet Sunset, from California, is actually too sweet but it did have a winning aroma.
The last selection was an ice cider from Vermont. We have had it many times and enjoy it every chance we get. It was a bit of an oddball in this lineup, but solid nonetheless. On our way out we picked up a mixed pack of beers to have with pizza from a local join that got best of accolades in the Hippo Press. Margot’s review of the pizza will posted on Sunday.
One of the things I love about brewpubs is the sampler. Portsmouth does it right and offers a 10 beer (2 oz each) sampler of all the beers they have on tap at any time. This night they were pouring 6 of their own beers and 4 from Smuttynose, another Portsmouth based brewery. I can’t recall if I have ever had any of the beers from Smuttynose so I am pretty sure all 10 beer s were new to me. Here is the lineup I ended up taking down:
Portsmouth Grand Cru
Smuttynose Star Island
Smuttynose Finsest Kind IPA
Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale
Portsmouth Imperial IPA
Smuttynose Old Brown Dog
Portsmouth Weizen Bock
Portsmouth Black Cat Stout
I found there to be a definite distinction between the Portsmouth and Smuttynose beers. The Portsmouth beers tasted smaller batch and like each ounce had gotten just a little bit more love and attention. I like beer with lots of character and the Portsmouth beers put on the charm!
The two I enjoyed the most were the Imperial IPA and the Grand Cru. The Grand Cru is traditional Belgian ale with distinct aromas and a nice clean finish. The Imperial IPA was exactly the amped up hop monster I was hoping for. I actually snagged a pint of this to enjoy up next to chicken tenders with mustard ale sauce and pastrami sandwich & fries. The food was also fantastic and even though it was restaurant week and a Saturday night, I could imagine this place would be busy all the time.
I grabbed a couple of 22oz'ers from the retail shop on the way out. They will also fill half gallon growlers to go at the bar. Love it!
The next time you are in Portsmouth and have time for a beer make sure and stop by the Portsmouth Brewery.