Beara Irish Brewing, Portsmouth, NH

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We recently visited Beara Irish Brewing in Portsmouth, NH. They are a fairly new place, opening late summer 2004, but started out bottling right away, so they are in many local stores in the seacoast area.

 

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The owners of Beara are a husband and wife team, Michael & Louise. Louise is originally from Bere Island in Cork County Ireland. They spent time in Europe together, where Michael feel in love with European beer that wasn’t mass produced or watered down. Once they moved stateside, in 2010 they began to move towards having a brewery.
They use imported Irish barley to create their beers, and as many other locally sourced ingredients as possible, like honey and berries.

 

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They have at least four beers available at their tasting room for you to try.
Our tasting:

O’Sullivan Stout
Dry, a touch roasty. Really good flavor, light in body but plenty of flavor.

 

NH Maple Wheat
Wheat base, light flavor. You taste the maple and the sweetness. A light, sweet beer, probably good for the summer time.

 

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Rye Craic IPA
Light in color. Rye smoothness upfront, a strong, hoppy second taste. Light in body.

 

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Castletown Honey Brown Ale
Good taste, smooth. Better than most browns we have had, sweet honey flavor helps.

 

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They have a medium sized tasting room in a strip mall in Portsmouth. There are several tables as well as a small bar, and some standing room.

 

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Louise greeted us when we came in, and was friendly. They told us we could sit down and brought our flights over. They also gave us some pretzels to eat. Shortly after, Michael came out from the backroom, where he was kegging beer, to say hello.

 

 

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They are still a fairly new operation, but started out bottling right away. We have seen the bottles in many local stores, but wanted to wait to try them until we visited. This is a good move for a new place, especially in a tourist area. We visit a lot of places, and unfortunately we don’t bring beer back from a lot because they only do growlers.

 

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We enjoyed our visit to Beara, and hope to see them go well. So far, they are in 120 stores/bars/restaurants in New Hampshire, and the demand is just increasing! They are about at their brewing capacity, and are looking for assistance to get to the next level. Read about that here and help them increase their brewing capacity!

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Want to Visit?

Thursday and Friday 4-8
Saturday 1-8
Sunday 1-6

 

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Earth Eagle Brewings

picstitch (18)Mark and I visited Earth Eagle Brewings, located in Portsmouth NH as part of the Granite State Growler Tour (see here for our post on the tour as a whole!).

When we walked into Earth Eagle Brewings, we were greeted by Butch, one of two brewers. picstitch (14) He walked us through A&G Homebrew Supply, which provides supplies for local home brewers. In A&G, the four main ingredients to make beer were gone over- water, grain, hops and yeast. We were each able to feel, smell and taste some malted barley.picstitch (13)Hops help to change the flavor of the beer, making it taste fruity or nutty. Yeast is added, and produces alcohol.

Process: In the one barrel brewery, the beer moves from the hot liquor tank to the mash tank. The sugars are pulled out, and the liquid goes to the boil kettle. The left over spent grain then goes to a farm in Berwick, Maine. The liquid is then cooled from 212 degrees Fahrenheit to 65-70 degrees via a plate chiller. The beer then enters a fermentation room, moves to the refrigerator and then to the tap to be enjoyed.

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Butch explained that Earth Eagle is a one barrel brewery, and the beers are always changing. Earth Eagle Brewings produces empyreal ales made with hops (beer) and un-hopped ales called gruit. Gruits are ales made with herbs, a more traditional style before the use of hops.  Occasionally, they will add herbs to their beer, and hops to their gruits. They try to use fresh, local products when available.

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Following our tour, we enjoyed a tasting. During open hours, anyone can go in and have/buy a 4oz sample, a 32 oz growler or a 64 oz growler.

Our tastings:

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Sage Goose: immediate smell of sage. Smooth herbal sage and gooseberries. No hops. 4.7% ABV. We bought a growler!

Sol Sister: had a familiar flavor, almost of clove. Sweet, woodruff fern, eleuthero root. 5.6% ABV.

Purl the Elder: different flavor. Elder flower and ground ivy. Nice balance and flavor. 6.3% ABV

Diurnal Hoppy Blonde: Hoppy with a smooth finish. Most similiar to other beers, still different but not as different as others. 4.2% ABV

Fur Trapper: My immediate thought- I like this. Oh, it’s a dubbel, no wonder!  Belgian dubbel big bear. Each barrel contained 10 pounds of Belgian candied sugar! 7.1% ABV

Jack Wagon: Spicy nose. Double IPA. Typical, but good. Big Beer, 8.1% ABV

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We didn’t try a beer or gruit here that we didn’t like! One of the great things about us taking home a growler is that we have to go back soon to get a refill and try something new!

Want to visit Earth Eagle Brewings? They are open 7 days a week- Monday-Friday: 4pm-9pm. Saturday: 3pm-9pm and Sunday: 1pm-4pm. Great hours that allow those that work to visit while not on vacation. They are great with posting what is on tap on their facebook page, so check it out if you are curious before you go.