Brewery Visit: Smuttynose Brewing Co.
I’m a beach loving gal. Yeah. My pasty white skin burns easily, but there’s nothing like sitting on the beach and watching the waves crash in. The smell of the ocean air. The breeze that cools you off on a hot summer day. And, of course the seafood restaurants that have the freshest of the fresh catch’s of the day. So it’s no wonder we ended up making a stop at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire while visiting family in northern Massachusetts.
The goal was to hit the beach, get a lobster roll and enjoy the beautiful summer weather. All of that happened. It was a gorgeous day. The only thing missing? CRAFT BEER!!!
Luckily for us, Smuttynose Brewing Company was just a short 15 minute drive from the beach. This day was just about to get over-the-top awesome. We’ve had one or two brews from Smuttynose in the past and thought they were decent but we never expected what we were about to experience and drink.
Stunning Brewery Grounds at Smuttynose Brewing Co.
As we drove up to the building we were in awe of the fabulously designed campus that has a 40,000 square foot brewery, an upscale farm style restaurant, a functioning 14 acre farm with bee hives, fruit trees and hop vines as well as outdoor space for a beer garden and 9-hole disc golf course. Who doesn’t love disc golf?!
Pro-Tip: Bring your own discs or rent them for $3 in the gift store. Oh. And, remember to keep your disc golf score card. It will get you a $3 pint at their Hayseed restaurant.
Smuttynose Brewing Co. cost approximately $24 million dollars to develop and build. It sits on one of the oldest farms in the surrounding areas of New Hampshire: Towle Farm.
We had no idea Smuttynose Brewing Co. was in it to win it since 1994. It just isn’t a craft brew brand that is readily available where we live. To have 21 years under your belt is a huge accomplishment in this and any competitive industry.
You could definitely see, taste and experience the skill of this seasoned brewery. Although we didn’t opt for a FREE brewery tour, we were able to see a good bit of the setup through glass walls after you walk into the building. Smuttynose encourages tour-takers to make a voluntary $2 minimum donation to 1 of their 2 non-profit organizations. Look for the donation boxes in the sampling area.
The tasting room was situated in the fermentation tank area. You literally were drinking in a roped off area IN the brewery which we thought was pretty intriguing. It felt like you were a part of the team brewing beers among the two story, 270 barrel tanks. We pretended we were part of the quality assurance team and made an honest effort at trying EVERYTHING on tap. You know. To make sure it was all suitable for public consumption. (wink. wink.)
Brewery Tour Samples
We really didn’t expect to encounter so many varieties on tap. You can purchase 4 samples for $4. Samples were a generous pour – I’m guessing 4 ounces. Derek and I split up the tap list between the 8 choices we could collectively get here in the Smuttynose Brewing Co. taproom. I drank half the cup then he drank the other half so we could both taste as many varieties as possible. There were up to 12 choices on the tap list. Classics like Old Brown Dog, Finestkind IPA as well as Robust Porter were present. We especially enjoyed some of the funkier selections like Daily Brett, Smuttlabs Baja Hoodie, and Smuttlabs Gose.
Smuttynose Is An Eco-Friendly Brewery
The goal when building the brewery was more than increasing production capability. Smuttynose Brewing Co. strives to be energy-efficient and kind to their natural surroundings.
- Spent grains are sent to local farmers for their animals to eat to reduce waste.
- Two of the current buildings were re-purposed from other locations – “upcycled”, if you will. The buildings being the house the restaurant occupies and the barn that will be used in the future.
- Energy efficient brewing processes and equipment were installed like a Heat Recovery Chiller, Carbon Dioxide Vaporizer, Variable Frequency Drives, Krones Brewing Process and Anaerobic Digester.
- LED lights are installed throughout to save on electricity.
To learn more about these and other ways Smuttynose Brewing Co. is reducing their global footprint, visit the Sustainability page on their website.
The Restaurant: Hayseed
To get our last free sample, we had to head over to the 1870’s Victorian House that was re-purposed into a farm style restaurant called Hayseed. It sits just a small walk across the parking lot from the brewery. The interior was cozy and comfortable with a mash up of vintage and modern decor. It struck a very balanced sleek and inviting vibe. Lots of natural light streams through the windows and illuminates the dining room and bar.
The food flying by us looked amazing and the bar… well… let’s just say my eyes about popped out of my head when I saw the tap list. There are 20-22 classic and rare Smuttynose beers on tap at a time – including some from their Smuttlabs small batch experimentations. In their words, “From barrel-aging and beer souring to culinary collaborations and special projects that just don’t fit anywhere else, if a project is out of the ordinary, unique or time consuming, you can bet it’ll bear the Smuttlabs name.” We’re #BeerCurious so we like the unusual and creative!
There are also 7 rotating “guest taps” from the likes of Stone, Ommegang, Firestone Walker, Lagunitas and Sierra Nevada.
Once we bellied up to the bar, we were greeted quickly and were on our way to enjoying more brews. So many Smuttynose Brewing Co. options to choose from! It took me quite a while to decide. Our bartender was incredibly helpful, friendly and knowledgeable about everything on tap. Various sizes of glasses were available so you could make your own flight if you wanted to continue with “sampling” or you could commit to a full pint with a selection you wanted to spend some time savoring. Pricing for each size was very reasonable.
I chose “Hayseed” for my last of 5 free samples – your 5th is a 7 ounce pour. Nice! Hayseed is a saison made exclusively as the house brew for the restaurant. Derek and I continued on with small pours so we could make the most of exploring new beers. And, let me say that we were impressed with the quality of the beers and the diversity of styles. This coming from a very picky “taster”. We thoroughly enjoyed them all and had a new respect for Smuttynose Brewing Co!TAP LIST
Although we had other dinner plans later in the evening, I couldn’t resist ordering the decadent Deviled Duck Eggs. They were slightly larger and richer in flavor than chicken eggs. The kicker? Crumbled bacon was folded into the creamy, whipped yolks. I could have seriously eaten a dozen myself.
Next time we visit (because there WILL BE a next time!) we are eating here all day. Well maybe not all day. But I’m going to be trying a lot more from this delicious restaurant!
The Smuttynose Brewing Co. Gift Shop
We couldn’t leave without some merch and beers from the gift shop. We picked up a few bottles of things we didn’t get to try during our visit and added in a couple of gifts for folks back home. There were a ton of things available for purchase – tap handles, frisbees, shirts, hats, cases of beer, individual bottles of beer, glassware and much more!
All in all it was a wonderful time. When we come back to visit, I’m definitely going to take the brewery tour, have a full course dinner at Hayseed and hopefully sit in the outdoor beer garden once it’s completed. If you guys get there and experience these things before I do, please be sure to share in the comments below. Cheers and happy travels!
Originally posted on StoutsandStilettos.com.