Smuttynose Brewing Company is well-known for its inventive and accessible ales, brewed cheerfully in the Portsmouth outskirts of Hampton, N.H. The brewery is also fairly well known for being the sister or parent brewery of The Portsmouth Brewery, which opened in 1991 and spawned Smuttynose three years later.
Perhaps lesser known is the recently established Smuttynose offshoot, Smuttlabs, which focuses on experimental, sustainable and eco-friendly ales. Based out of a wholly wind-powered farmhouse in an "unknown" location in New Hampshire, the mysterious pilot program has been toying with a Berliner Weisse recently, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on two of them—Short Weisse and its offshoot, Blueberry Short Weisse.
In the first of two Short Weisse varieties, we observed a pale, light yellow color reminiscent of a sparkling pear cider. Such subtle beginnings hardly prepared our tasters for the explosive nose that followed—an absurdly apparent, pungent scent of a mixed variety unmistakably nestled itself into our nostrils over and over again, bringing about such descriptors like fresh apple sauce with a mildly fruity flavor.
In its blueberry variation, the Short Weisse was again pretty clear, although this time, there was a striking similarity to rosé or lambrusco, pouring like a sparkling Italian red dessert wine with a fluffy pink head. The foam faded quickly, leaving tasters with a sweet, floral scent backed by a dry minerality not always common in fruit-infused beers.
As for the palate, the wine impression dominated for some, while a cocktail feel influenced others' tastebuds. One taster said, “this would be nice to mix into sangria,” while another asserted the proper preparation would be “on the rocks with some fruit and a little bit of bitters.” Not entirely different, leaving us with the conclusion that the blueberry did its job by inspiring thoughts of fruit-based boozy beverages.