My second day as a Beer Blogger Conference attendee started out with several dozen other sleepy conference attendees boarding a bus on a drizzly Portland morning. We were heading down to Portsmouth, NH to have lunch at the beloved Portsmouth Brewery (and brewpub).
Upon our arrival, I ordered an ESB from the list of Portsmouth and Smuttynose beer.
We heard from Brennan Rumble, General Manager of Portsmouth Brewery and Tyler Jones, the brewmaster. They were incredibly warm and welcoming and provided a history of the brewery as well as the relationship with its sister commercial brewery, Smuttynose. We were invited to eat pizza and pulled pork sandwiches and to try as many of their beers on tap as we wished. I tried both the cask and draft versions of the Ginga Ninja (brewed for Brewmaster Tyler's wedding to a lady with red hair) and enjoyed both.
|Cask on the left, draft on the right|
|Sarah pulling my cask Ginga Ninja.|
I was able to try a couple of Smuttynose's "Short Batch series - the imperial brown hoppy ale Durty and the yet-to-be-released Straw-Barb strawberry rhubarb berliner weisse.
Brewer Tyler saved the best for last, though. Since the previous brewer at Portsmouth, Tod Mott, had the rights to the Kate the Great recipe/name which he took with him when he left a year or so ago, Tyler's been fooling around with creating a beer that might fill that space. It's not a clone, but it is a Russian Imperial Stout called "Royal Impy Stout" and it is delicious. He released it last year without fanfare, hoping to avoid the madness surrounding Kate the Great releases, and has gotten great feedback and decided to share some with us.
That was the finale of our lovely lunch, and we boarded the bus to get to the conference's Boston hotel in time for the conference trade show and check into the hotel. Well, we got caught in some traffic on 93, of course, but did manage to get to the hotel, check in, and check out the trade show before heading back onto another bus that was taking us to the Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) brewery.
At the brewery, we eventually filed into the brewhouse area where on every chair was placed a can of Sam Adams and a bottle opener.
Both Julia Herz of the Brewers Association and Jim Koch, founder and CEO of the Boston Beer Company, gave great speeches and then we were able to wander around trying various beer and eating food as we waited for our brewery tour & tasting. As a beer geek, one goes on a LOT of brewery tours and tastings. And frankly, when you've seen one brewhouse, you've pretty much seen them all. So I wasn't too jazzed for this "tour and tasting" when it came time for my group to go.
The tour and tasting consisted of hanging out in the barrel room with Jim Koch sipping on Utopia 10th anniversary while Koch talked about the process of making the beer. It was a total bucket list moment and I will be reliving those 20 minutes in my mind for a long time to come.
That was a definite highlight of a day that did not lack for awesomeness.
After the Sam Adams excursion, Heavy Seas held a nice event at Stoddard's downtown, but it was crowded and, after a long day, getting late. I had a couple nice beers - Red Sky at Night on cask and Siren Noire Imperial Chocolate Stout - and then made my way back to the hotel with a few other fellow beer bloggers.
A long day, but a great one.
My next post: educational sessions, social media, beer pairings, cheese, speed blogging, more cheese, and Harpoon!