By DCBeer contributor Sean Dalton
Name: Smuttynose Brewing Co.
Location: Portsmouth, NH
Type: Production brewery
Available in DC Market: Yes (DC, MD, and VA)
What You Need to Know: If you don’t necessarily associate the Granite State with world-class beer, you could be forgiven; in the shadow of cult-like breweries from neighboring Massachusetts and Vermont, the state may seem a bit quaint. But after a few samplings from Smuttynose’s outstanding portfolio, it’s likely you won’t forget New Hampshire beer again. Since 1994, Smuttynose has been quietly putting out a broad range of stellar stylistic interpretations – like its Finestkind IPA and Old Brown Dog Ale – as well as the more experimental offerings of its Big Beer Series. Those of us in the DC area may have grown a bit complacent by the luxury of being able to pick up Smuttynose beers in corner grocery stores (they’re distributed up and down the East Coast, after all), but you’d be well-advised to seek out the brewery in the Building Museum at SAVOR and toast their twentieth anniversary this year.
Beer #1: Bouncy House (India pale ale / 4.3%)
In Their Own Words: "It's an IPA with a simple yet perfectly-honed malt bill and a beguiling combination of Magnum, Calypso and Saphir hops. Sure, this new beer is dry-hopped to the point that you'll have a beer foam nose (instead of a milk moustache) from sniffing its beguiling aromas, but the best part is that it's just 4.3%. That's right; you can enjoy all the delicious hopping of an IPA, without a high alcohol content clouding up your world view.”
Food Pairing: Confit of guinea hen served on wonton crisps with pickled watermelon rind and cilantro.
Our Thoughts: The food pairing bite will have it all: herbal, acidic, rich, umami. Since SAVOR will mark the premier of this newest Smuttynose year-round offering, we won’t know how well the abundant hopping of Bouncy House will pair with the confit until we try it. . . but we’re intrigued.
Beer #2: Satchmo (Brown porter made with black trumpet mushrooms and aged in red wine barrels / 4.7%)
In Their Own Words: "Best described as a brown porter, Satchmo's base beer doesn't exhibit the roasty notes and black color of our Robust Porter, nor does it have the rich caramelly sweetness of Old Brown Dog; it falls somewhere between the two, but lacks the common taste signifiers of the two styles. The mushrooms heroically fill that flavor gap with a subtle earthiness and mouthfeel that can only be described as ‘umami-licious.’"
Food Pairing: Cocoa-braised beef on crisp potato.
Our Thoughts: Richness upon richness. As if a porter brewed with mushrooms needed amplification, the chocolately earthiness of the braised beef will give us just that. Yes, please.
This profile is a part of the DCBeer.com SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2014 SAVOR participants.