Friday, January 3, 2014

Portsmouth Brewery's Tyler Jones

Chat Noir Interview with Tyler Jones of the Portsmouth Brewery (Flash version) Non-Flash podcast  

In December of 2011 we interviewed Tod Mott towards the tail end of his illustrious stint as head brewer of the Portsmouth Brewery (we look forward to Tod's new brewery, Tributary, in Kittery, Maine), and this December, two years later we got to meet and speak with the man who filled those legendary brewing boots, Tyler Jones.
Assistant brewer.
Since we had already covered the Portsmouth Brewery and its sibling Smuttynose, we weren't planning on featuring them again so soon. But then it happened. While visiting Portsmouth over the holidays, which naturally means enjoying some beers at the PB, we encountered something that we never thought possible: a delicious Mint Cocoa stout! We've been sorely disappointed with previous attempts at this elusive style made by other breweries. But once we experienced Tyler's "Kringle's Krook Stout" (6.3%ABV), we knew that we had to meet this brewing genius!
Tyler, a N.H. native with a genealogy that traces back to Capt. Jones of the Mayflower, studied chemical engineering at the Univ. of N.H., which is also where he discovered homebrewing. Someone had left a homebrewing kit in a closet of his college apartment, and being of a scientific mind, he gave it a try. After some time working in his field of study following graduation, he heeded his true calling and enrolled in the brewing school at U.C. Davis, with the aim of building a career in brewing.
Bob, Tyler Jones, B.R.
Upon returning home to New Hampshire, he found that neither the Portsmouth Brewery nor Smuttynose was hiring, so he took up work at Mercury Brewing in nearby Ipswich, Mass., while keeping in touch with the Portsmouth breweries. One day head brewer Mott called Tyler and asked if he could help out in the brewhouse. It turned out to be a working job interview, and it must have gone well, because Tyler got hired. He took over for Mott as head brewer in 2012.
The cold room.
We've been enjoying both the classic (Old Brown Dog, Black Cat Stout, Dunkelweizen) and the unusual (Kvass, Thaizenheimer, Wild Thang) styles of the 20+ year old 7-barrel brewpub since its founding. And among the taps of the ol' familiar standbys we'd often see an exciting new beer. But with the recent addition of more tap lines, the brewery has been freer to explore more variety. We were not only blown away by the Kringle's Krook on cask (made with 6lbs of peppermint candies and fermented on cocoa nibs), but also were impressed by the sturdy Saison l'Hiver (7.2%ABV), a hearty Bière de Garde, a delectable 6.2% ABV Belgian Golden Sour, a malty Bock, and their Ronin, a light sessionable beer made with a grain bill of 30% rice, with added horseradish and ginger, and fermented with Sake yeast and finished with Chico yeast. And on deck -- a Gluten Reduced Saison and a Sour Brune!
The captain at the helm.
I always say, it's a good thing that I moved away from the N.H. seacoast area before the Portsmouth Brewery opened, because otherwise, I probably would have never left! And with the exciting, delicious, expertly crafted beers flowing there now, how can I stay away!
Tight squeeze in fermenter room.

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