Malts: Carastan, Crystal, Special B, Chocolate, Carafa
This hearty, mahogany-colored ale is brewed to evoke the dark, full-bodied ales that were a favorite of dockworkers and warehousemen (aka porters) in 19th century London—though we suspect this version's got a slightly more aggressive character and deeper complexity than those lost to time. Expect a dark brown brew with nearly purple highlights in light, capped with a dark tan head. On the nose, look for whiffs of star anise, black licorice, woody aromatics like cedar & pine (from the cascade hops), and major notes of chocolate and coffee. The flavor begins with a subtle chocolate expression, quickly flooded by a woody, very dry, almost chalky bitterness, which persists for quite a while. Interestingly, much of the flavor profile of this beer actually develops in the finish: expect notes of chocolate to emerge from the bitterness, giving way to cappuccino, chicory, black licorice, dried plums and singed molasses. Robust indeed. Try with chocolate pudding & pound cake, or cubes of mild cheddar.
Smuttynose Brewing Company opened their doors 1994 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. No, the unusual name doesn't refer to something 'dirty', despite what some may think. The brewery takes its name from Smuttynose Island, one of the isles of Shoals, a small nine-island archipelago just off the coast of New Hampshire and Southern Maine. Legend has it that mariners in the 1600s named the island for the nose-shaped 'smutch' of seaweed on the southeast corner of the island.
The brewery was founded by Peter Egelston, who, years earlier opened one of the two original New England brewpubs (The Northampton Brewery in western Massachusetts), as well as the Granite State's first brewpub (The Portsmouth Brewery). His 'beer career' started in 1986 when his sister Janet and her boyfriend convinced Peter to quit his teaching job in Brooklyn, New York and move to Massachusetts to open a brewpub. Peter stayed in Massachusetts until 1991, at which point he opened the Portsmouth Brewery. You might think that with two successful brewpubs under his belt, Peter would have begun looking to expand by setting up a production microbrewery, but in fact, he sort of stumbled into starting Smuttynose B.C. As Peter puts it himself, "There was a small brewery that had opened here in Portsmouth and went out of business, and the bank auctioned off their assets. I attended the auction without having any intention of purchasing anything. Of course, I ended up purchasing this building full of brewing equipment."
We're glad Peter was in a buying mood that day because the Smuttynose beers are truly world class. Trust us, you'll quickly get through the ones we've sent you, and you'll want more. If you don't have the good fortune to live within their distribution area, don't sweat it, we got you covered: you can reorder brews featured in the club by contacting us at 800-625-8238 (while supplies last).
For more information about the brewery or scheduled tours, call (603) 436-4026, or visit their website at www.smuttynose.com .
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