Smuttynose Brewing Company - Robust Porter
- ABV: 6.6%
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 30
- Serving Temperature: 45-50º F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Mug
- Malts: American 2-Row Pale, Special B, C-120, Chocolate, Carastan, Carafa II
- Hops: Magnum, Cascade
This hearty, mahogany-colored GABF Gold medal winner is brewed to evoke the dark, full-bodied ales that were a favorite of dockworkers and warehousemen (porters) in 19th century London—though we suspect this version's got a slightly more aggressive character with a bit more of a hop profile. 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 takes its name from Smuttynose Island, one of the Isles of Shoals, a small 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 in Portsmouth, NH in 1994 by Peter Egelston, who, years earlier opened one of the two original New England brewpubs (Northampton Brewery in western Massachusetts), as well as the Granite State's first brewpub (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 – Northampton, which opened the next year. 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."
By 2008 the company had begun reaching the limits of their existing brewery, and a plot of land was acquired that would become the home of a brand new facility. With all preparations complete, in June of last year Smuttynose moved in to their new brewery at Towle Farm in Hampton. An attached pub is in progress and slated to open early this year. 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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