New Hampshire’s Oldest Brewpub
According to the Brewers Association, there were 312 breweries in the United States in 1991. Among them, the Portsmouth Brewery, New Hampshire’s oldest brewpub, is still located on Market Street in downtown Portsmouth. Today there are over four thousand breweries, but what sets the Portsmouth Brewery apart is their passion for quality beer brewed on location, innovative pub fare crafted from scratch, and the tavern’s upbeat, knowledgeable service.
Part of Portsmouth Brewery’s success starts with the vision of the owners, Peter Egelston and Joanne Francis. Throughout the years, Peter and Joanne have created a staple in the Portsmouth community and realized that being part of a community means giving back. One way the couple pays it forward is with Community Pint Night or “Token Tuesday.” For every beer sold on a Tuesday, guests receive a wooden token worth twenty-five cents which can be donated to any one of the four local charities showcased on the wooden yellow box at the door. There is also a tremendous focus on being as environmentally conscious as possible. All food is separated and composted, glass and paper are recycled, beer byproducts are packed up and sent to a farm for animal feed, and even their to-go containers, bags and utensils are compostable.
The Brewery made its way onto the world beer map with former Head Brewer Tod Mott’s world famous Russian Imperial Stout, “Kate the Great,” voted best beer in America and second in the world in 2007. In one day alone the Brewery made over $16,000 from “Kate” and raised over $30,000 for charity with scratch tickets produced by the State of New Hampshire for people to win a chance to buy a bottle.
In the 25 years since its inception, there has been a number of breweries and brewpubs that have opened up in the same historic downtown area of Portsmouth, but these brewers are not competitors, rather friends and colleagues, according to Head Brewer, Matt Gallagher. “We’re a tight knit community,” Matt says, “and we each push each other to help elevate, not just each other, but the brewing industry.” It also helps that Portsmouth Brewery utilizes locally sourced ingredients to create high-quality products, such as their Pumpkin Pale Ale. To make the ale as authentic and delicious as possible, Gallagher will source fresh pumpkins from local farms in New Hampshire and Maine and add pumpkin guts to the brewing process to get that true pumpkin-autumnal flavor that so many look forward to when the weather turns brisk and the leaves begin to change color.
The other half of the equation that helps put a line out the door is the brewery’s food, made from scratch, spearheaded by Executive Chef Jon Hebert. Like Gallagher, Hebert sources as many fresh and local ingredients as possible. Along with these ingredients and a top-notch kitchen staff, Hebert and his crew are able to provide exceptional food and satisfactory wait times. This combination of great food and fast service is the reason Portsmouth Brewery was voted 2016 Best Business Lunch and Best After-Work Bar by New Hampshire Business Review magazine readers.
The Portsmouth Brewery is more than just a brewpub. It has become a place where people can warm up and wind down, or catch a warm summer breeze on the back patio when the days are still light and long. And no matter where you’re from or where you’re going, don’t forget to grab a growler of beer so you can take a little bit of the Portsmouth Brewery with you.