The Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Have you ever wondered how something is made? Like how a car is assembled and the process from beginning to end. Well, you can visit an auto assembly plant and watch it happen. The same can be said of brewing beer. Visiting a brewery and learning how different ingredients are used to produce different styles of beer can be fascinating.
This article is about one of our premiere breweries in New Hampshire, Smuttynose Brewing Company and why you should consider making the time to go and take their very informative tour.

Pete Egleston, owner of Smuttynose Brewing.
Pete Egleston, owner of Smuttynose Brewing.
A selection of Smuttynose classics.
A selection of Smuttynose classics.

Let’s start with a bit of history about Smutty. Owner, Peter Egelston wasn’t always a beer guy. After graduating from NYU in 1981 with a degree in Spanish Literature, he quit his job as a hotel doorman and took a more “dignified” position – at one third the pay – teaching high school in Brooklyn. In 1986, his sister Janet convinced him to join her in Massachusetts where they would open what is now the oldest brewpub in the northeast: The Northampton Brewery. Peter was Head Brewer until 1991, the year they opened the Portsmouth Brewery, the Granite State’s first brewpub. Located in downtown Portsmouth, this great stop today offers their own version of Egelston-inspired brews and terrific food for hungry customers.
Back in 1993, Peter attended the auction of the bankrupt Frank Jones Brewing Company which was one of New Hampshire’s largest and most renown pre-prohibition breweries. Not intending to bid on anything that day, he walked away having purchased the brewery that was to become Smuttynose. Peter settled his brewery in North Hampton which is very close to the ocean. The name comes from Smuttynose Island, one of nine that form the Isles of Shoals. Their logo is a lovable harbor seal which is an inhabitant of the island. This successful venture grew and grew.

The Smuttynose Brewing Company on Towle Farm Road in Hampton.
The Smuttynose Brewing Company on Towle Farm Road in Hampton.

Around 2010, Smuttynose was realizing growing pains with distribution nationwide as well as internationally. They eyed a property for sale called Towle Farm not too far from where their existing company was located. Towle Farm had a rich family history which Peter thought would make a good theme for a future home. The property had an 1800’s era farmhouse and barn. In 2012, Smuttynose began a $24 million expansion, employing much needed help within an intelligently designed and eco-friendly brewery. It is designated as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Opening its doors to the public in June 2014, Smuttynose Brewery offers the most informative tours you’ll find in NH. This free tour leads you through the entire brewing process on a massive scale and winds up offering samples of many of their great beers.
Some of their mad scientists have kept brewing in their old facility to come up with interesting small-batch offerings marketed under the SmutLabs branding. These beers may not be for everyone, but they are inventive and often mighty good.
Consider traveling to 105 Towle Farm Road, Hampton, NH (good GPS setting) and take the tour, walk over to Hayseed Restaurant, the convert farmhouse and have a bite to eat. The barn was revamped into a place where you can have a small gathering or event such as company party, wedding reception or other party. You can find out all about them at smuttynose.com and have a great NH beer experience!

Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com