One-of-a-kind Seacoast brew!

Eighteen local breweries collaborated Friday to create one beer, the  “first-ever, one-of-a-kind Seacoast Collaborative Brew,” that will be  released Feb. 23 to kickoff Portsmouth Beer Week.

The first group of brewers arrived at Great Rhythm Brewery at 4 a.m.,  so they justified uncapping and drinking bottles of Smuttynose East  Coast Common before noon, as comparable to an afternoon happy hour.

Dagan  Migirditch, co-founder of Liars Bench Beer Co., explained the  collaborative brewing was organized into two shifts and the early group  quickly decided on a Belgian IPA.

“Someone wanted to do a lasagna beer,” he said, explaining that idea didn’t get the popular vote. 

Scott  Thornton, who founded Great Rhythm Brewing Co. with his wife Kristen,  said he welcomed the groups of brewers into his own brewery. Like chefs,  he said, brewers know when to help in a kitchen and when to stay out of  the way. 

“Everyone has got to get their hands on it,” he said.

Thornton  said the goal was to brew a 20-barrel batch of the Belgian IPA and  later put half into 16-ounce cans. The other half will be shared with  area brewers.

The collaborative brew will be released in cans at  noon on Feb. 23 at Great Rhythm Brewery at 105 Bartlett St., where a  brewers’ talk will follow at 1 p.m. 

Migirditch said with so many local brewers on the Seacoast and in  southern Maine, the time seemed right for the collaborative brew, which  all hope will be the first of an annual tradition. Participating brewers  this year are Great Rhythm, Liars Bench, Tributary, Throwback, Garrison  City, 7th Settlement, Earth Eagle, Chapel & Main, Stoneface,  Deciduous, Smuttynose, Neighborhood, Berra, Bad Lab, SoMe, Loaded  Question, Redhook and Portsmouth Brewery.

The Great Rhythm tap room offers views of the beer-making process and the public was invited throughout the day Friday to watch.

Migirditch  said Redhook contributed a strain of yeast, Throwback threw in a  biscuit malt and Tod Mott of Tributary brought a blue ox malt. Thornton  said he contributed pink and Szechuan peppercorns and long pepper from  Stock and Spice in Portsmouth.

“We are supportive of one another  and thrilled that Portsmouth is becoming recognized on the national  scene as a must-visit for craft breweries,” Thornton said. “Portsmouth  has a deep history in craft brewing, being home to the region’s  legendary brewer, Frank Jones.”

Thornton said all proceeds from  the sale of the collaborative beer, which has yet to be named, will go  to the New Hampshire Brewers Association.

On hand Friday to help  with the collaborative brewing and imbibing was Nicole Carrier,  president of the NH Brewers Association and co-founder of North  Hampton’s Throwback Brewery. She said the association provides education  about craft beers to consumers and brewers, monitors beer-related  legislation in Concord, and provides marketing for its members. 

Portsmouth  Beer Week is a 10-day event celebrating local beers and runs from Feb.  24 through March 5. The goal, according to organizers, is “to foster a  collaborative environment, so we can push Portsmouth further along into  the national eye as the great beer city that we locally know it as.”

Restaurants,  bars and breweries are all participating in events across Portsmouth  that will pair beer with chocolate, cigars, cheese and books. Find a  complete list of events at portsmouthbeerweek.com.

Matt Leonard

Matt Leonard

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