Hop on the Bus! – Sunday, May 31

As much as we love Rhode Island, we both also absolutely adore New Hampshire. Kristie used to call Portsmouth home and any time we have a free weekend in the summer, you’ll usually find us making the trek into the mountains with a car loaded full of camping gear and beer.

Not only do we love the surroundings, but the New Hampshire beer scene is second to none. Breweries like Smuttynose, Earth Eagle Brewing, Throwback, Moat Mountain, and Stoneface are cranking out some of the best brews in New England and each space is so unique that the idea “if you’ve seen one brewery, you’ve seen them all” is quickly dismissed.

That’s why we’re beyond excited to be partnering up with our friend Dave and his brewery tour bus Granite State Growler Tours. On Sunday, May 31, we’ll be on board as guest-hosts of a trip that includes stops at Earth Eagle Brewings, WHYM Craft Beer Cafe, Sea Hagg Distillery, and Throwback Brewery. During the tour, we’ll be talking about our journey into the world of beer writing, the book writing process and a bit about the beer scene in Rhode Island.

Tickets are $55 and available here. RSVP on the Facebook event page.

The night before the tour, we will also be hanging out at WHYM Craft Beer Cafe for their Second Anniversary Party – 2014 Parabola, Allagash Midnight Brett, Stoneface Brewing aaand Lunatique Homard (if you haven’t had this one, you haven’t truly lived) on draft. See you there!

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105. Earth Eagle Brewings Mary of the Marsh

 

Mary of the Marsh, Earth Eagle Brewings

Mary of the Marsh, Earth Eagle Brewings

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.

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86. Earth Eagle 13th B’ak’tun

Earth Eagle 13 baktun

I will not pretend that I know anything about Mayan calendars or end of the world prophecies. I could easily recite some Wikipedia and learn you something real hard about the 13th b’ak’tun. Maybe even feature it in a podcast where I practice writing my name in hieroglyphics with a raging Neil Young soundtrack for accompaniment. I choose to abstain.

If I was writing a post on local, seasonal beers, this would have to top the list. How more seasonal can you get than the end of a b’ak’tun? I’ll take a good ole’ strong ale over some cinnamon-spiced nonsense any day.

This English strong ale from Earth Eagle Brewings out of Portsmouth, NH, pours a thick amberish brown, with hints of ruby around the edges. Nose is full of caramel/toffee notes, alcohol esters and a mild dark fruitiness, probably from the New Zealand Green Bullet hops.

New Zealand is better than wherever you are

New Zealand is better than wherever you are

Taste is a light nuttiness and a rich malt presence, but not so much as to become overly sweet. Alcohol is very noticeable, as expected with a 7.2% ale, but the hop bitterness helps add balance and clings to your palate in the finish. Light-medium body with a good carbonation;this is an estery, malty beer with character.

79. Earth Eagle Brewings – Portsmouth, NH

Photo courtesy of Earth Eagle Brewings

New Hampshire is very different from Cape Cod. I discovered this last Saturday. First off, I went to a farmers market that morning, expecting a parking lot with a couple of flatbed trucks plastered in COEXIST and “Life hasn’t been the same since that house fell on my sister” bumper stickers, holding a few boxes of picked-over cabbages and Cape Cod Needlepoint Society pamphlets. What I happened on instead was a half-mile stretch of parked cars leading up to the entrance of the market. They even had to call in the police and crossing guards. Inside, my naive farmers market senses were bombarded with row upon row of overflowing produce carts, goats milk cheese, cured & smoked meats, organic soaps, coffee, seafood, freshly baked bread. New Hampshire, you divine bitch.

As if a bountiful market wasn’t enough, a new brewery happens to be opening on the same day. And not just any brewery, but one with a tasting room and a leaning towards the experimental. As someone who is fascinated by small batch brewing and herb/ancient ales, this is right up my alley. Founded by Alex McDonald and Butch Heilshorn, Earth Eagle Brewings in Portsmouth features six rotating taps in a small but cozy tasting room, where you can also buy one and two-liter growlers of their beer.

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