This place has hired two brewers assigned with overlooking two different brewing methods. One primarily does ales: typically, IPAs/DIPAs, porters, stouts, browns, and English-based bitters. The other is a forager, who is often responsible for disgusting herbal throw-up beer prevalent in the 12th century. I really did enjoy the sour beer they made with sweet gale, it’s just when they have a wormwood, anise and pine bark ale on along with four other beers that taste nothing else but Everlcear and toothpaste, I start to worry. I’m really glad to see that they finally fixed their flight glass problem. If you had ordered a flight a few years ago chances are high they came in these big chunks of wood with the wrong sizes for the holes. The glasses often would get stuck and took quite a bit of prying to get them loose. It was frustrating to say the least but also managed to be mildly amusing among wildly drunk patrons including myself. Sandwiches were just plainly alright when the kitchen first opened, and they were pricey too. A few years whoosh by and their sandwich game has been stepped up thoroughly, totally worth the price they’re asking for. Their IPA bases are astonishingly good and juicy. Yeah, it’s a young white hipster’s paradise. And I don’t even mean this as an insult. The people who come in for drinks are generally always ridiculously friendly and engaging. Only a small portion are pompous windbags. Bartenders know their shit, though it’s usually not totally free from at least somewhat impatient sass directed at order-lingering customers who say "um..." upon looking at their menus after sitting down. Cool decor, fun, jiving music (live music is a nightly thing now). I’ll be back most certainly. I felt like I was swimming against a heavy current just to walk up to the bar. This place has always been crawling with people, and sometimes their pets, even. I mean, this is Portsmouth after all. A tiny operation serving gruits and IPAs will now be trendy because of its uniqueness. Not necessarily "bad", but it also doesn’t really mean anything. My brain has this habit of unintentionally questioning whether or not they started brewing gruits just to be different, or because they genuinely believed that they could make a great addition to the style. And for as much I know, they have. However, I don’t think that I’m ever going to not worry about if new gruits on their tap line will actually be worth it or a revolting mess. I’ve had a lot of strange, uninteresting, and nasty Medieval-resurrected beer at this place, some of which I’d prefer not to remember. But you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, I guess.
Right downtown and just a few blocks from Portsmouth, this is a quaint little place. 10 house taps plus 4 guest taps on when we visited. Flights of 6 available for $12. Beer styles were whacky, with a couple of gruits on. Wasn’t enamoured with the beers, but a few were done alright. Not a top spot, but maybe worth a look.
Visited on quiet Monday but small place was quite packed up. Door is on the alley and gives cold chills but no reason to back up. 14 taps (11 own beers and 3 from visiting breweries). Half pours and 4oz pours available. Growler fills and some merchandise too. Strange combination of gruits, traditional ales and IPAs. Even sahti on tap but actually I think it was not real sahti but one of those heavily "junipered" American sahtis. Interesting charmful hippie music from 60-70. Very interesting place and actually Iiked this one very much. Reminds me from one of my favorite bars in Finland. Must place for hardcore beer travelers.
Stopped for dinner and drinks on a Sunday in late June 2016. Cool intimate space. Bar seats about 8, tables for another 20+. Decent crowd, but not crowded. Seven of their own beers, and seven guest taps when I went.
Food menu seemed a touch high on a few items, but our bowls (lotus, and jambalaya) were pretty awesome. As my wife reminded me, we all too often think “like Americans” and expect price to reflect quantity, not quality. The food price here reflects the latter, and the quantity is enough to feel sated, especially while drinking. For having “only” seven of their own beers on, they cover a nice array of styles, with a saison, a kolsch, two sour gruits, a weizenbock, porter, and an IPA. The guest taps offered a few more styles, and a cider. Worth a stop, and this may fit in our travel plans for dinner stops in the future.
Visited later in the afternoon on a Monday. They have a small parking lot, but there is street Parking and a garage close by if that is full. Small taproom with ten or so tables, plus a bar and some patio tables. Great variety of styles brewed, plus some guest drafts and a cellar bottle list. The beer I had was all very good. Pricing was fine. I had a flight of 7 beers. Highly recommend visiting when in Portsmouth.
Jow (325) Winter Garden, Florida | October 3, 2016
The family and I stopped in town to reminisce for a few hours since I haven’t been back to town since living here 12 years ago and we were passing by. Small place on side street that I diverted our walking tour to. Friendly staff minimal crowd on a Monday afternoon. Grabbed quick growler to go to share with friends I would have tried a gruit if just for me but went with saison. Anyways cool addition to town
A funky little place. It’s located sort of in a back alley not far from the waterfront. They have a little tasting room with a handful of seats at the bar, some tables, and then a little "patio" area out front.
Seems to be a lot of experimentation here and in particular with hopless beers/gruits. Normally that would make me cringe, but they actually do a pretty good job with those. On the whole, I enjoyed their beers, in fact. And if those aren’t your thing, they have a few guest taps as well.
The people here were extremely friendly and helpful in suggesting local places to get drinks and food. Their suggestions panned out quite well, I would say. It’s a neat little place and I would certainly recommend stopping here if you’re in Portsmouth.
Off of a side street,as the picture indicates this place has a real hole-in-the-wall feel. It’s cozy and eclecticly decorated as many places are these days. They had 6-8 of their own beers an another half dozen guest taps. They seem to do a lot of gruits which gets a bit old after a while. The food was good though a tad pricey. The bartender was cordial though she got slammed as soon as I came in so they could probably use more help to get things out quicker. It was a pleasant enough experience though not particularly memorable.
Stopped by mid-day Saturday which was a mistake as parking was next to impossible. I was able to get into a garage a block away right before they put up the "full" sign. WARNING: Do NOT come here if you are in a hurry. More on that later. It’s a small eclectic place. 6 house beers on and about just as many guest options, including a cider. The house beers were solid, and their gruits were inventive and tasty. I’d like to comment on the food, but more on that later too. Prices were reasonable. Why not come here if you’re in a hurry? There is not enough staff, to cover the business. Food moves SLOWLY! I ordered sliders the same time I ordered my beers, but I canceled my order when they still hadn’t come 40 minutes later. When I tried to pay, they shorted my change. I think their hearts are in the right place and they were working hard, but they need to find some ways to be more efficient.
Eclleteic spot, interesting decor, but that’s about it. 6 beers on tap 3 of which were average gruits. 2 really solid ipa’s. The ipa’s were worth a tick, but drink those and head on unless you’re a gruit note. Service was slow. They have snacks and some panini’s but overall a pretty limited menu.