The forest is still as the majestic earth eagle tears through the terrain, its mighty gobbler rustling in the breeze… Yes, the earth eagle is the turkey, but they also brew a damn good beer. Earth Eagle Brewings in Portsmouth, NH has certainly inched its way up as my favorite place to grab a beer (or six tasting-sized pours). Problem is, I’m not from Portsmouth so we have to make do with refilling our growlers every couple of weeks or so, and just ignore those yearnings for a gruit that spring up between visits, and placate myself with something else.
There’s something about having your beer be poured by one of the people who brewed it, who says, “Want to take our brewery tour? Look through that doorway there,” and gestures towards a room right behind the bar, with malts in the pot, and the second brewer hard at work. It’s a direct connection with your beer and brewer, and it’s really something to be able to talk with the creator of your food, much like forging a relationship with a farmer, the brewer helps you understand what you are drinking, and why it’s made the way it’s made.
My favorite beer from the brewery is Mary of the Marsh (5.7% abv), made without hops. This beer poured with no head for me, it had a head at the brewery, so that was probably my pouring skills coming into play. It’s nearly opaque, very cloudy, and a caramel/cherry color. There’s plenty of carbonation, however the aroma is the most noticeable thing about this beer.
The aroma of rosemary dominates this beer, with it’s savory scents becoming muddled with the malts, making my mouth water. I enjoyed this beer with a lemon-rosemary roasted chicken so it went with my meal perfectly. Under the rosemary are floral hints of other herbs, along with malts and slight esters.
The beer has a light/medium mouthfeel, with the malts providing a solid, earthy grounding for all of the other spicy and herbal flavors that the beer delivers. The rosemary is once again the most noticeable, with hints of less dominant herbs in the background. Something in this beer reminded me of lavender flowers as well. The yeast is very noticeable, coming in at the end of the sip with a tangy note, reminding me of plum or apricot. Unlike some gruits and herbal beers, there’s no bitterness. This beer is one of my favorites, there are so many complexities in the flavor that I couldn’t peg them all down in just one glass, and I can’t wait to fill up my growler this weekend and give Mary of the Marsh a go again.