By Sean Tuohy
The folks that reside in New England know two things: Freezing winters and how to brew quality craft beer. No one knows the latter better than New Hampshire-based Smuttynose Brewing Company.
Smuttynose is known for its "Old Brown Dog Ale" and "Robust Porter" and the time and effort the company's brewers put in to each beer.
I chatted with David Yarrington, Smuttynose's director of brewing operations, to learn more about the company and its future.
Sean Tuohy: Give us a little background on your history and how you started brewing.
David Yarrington: I studied chemistry at Colby College in the late 1980s/early 1990s. While I enjoyed my studies, it was fairly clear that I wan't going to be a chemist so I started looking for other opportunities. I spent the summer of my junior year traveling out west and was able to visit several of the small breweries that were just starting to open. I became intrigued with the idea of leaning this craft and have pursued it since.
ST: For a newbie what beer would you recommend them to start with from Smuttynose?
DY: If you're new to Smuttynose (but not craft beer in general) start with the FinestKind IPA. It's what we're most known for and there's a good reason for that. Beautiful beer.
ST: What was your biggest mistake brewing?
DY: Someone convinced us to add rhubarb to our Strawberry Short Weiss. Totally ruined a great beer. Not that I mind rhubarb, it just didn't work in this case.
ST: What is the process of making a new beer? Take us through the steps from the time the idea light bulb goes off till its bottled.
DY: Most new beers come from wanting to explore certain styles, or enjoying flavors in various foods that I'd like to see manifested in a beer. Once I know which ingredients I'm looking to use, I start to consider how best to balance them within the malt and hop profile. I like balanced beers, but don't mind pushing the envelope in certain directions.
ST: Could you describe your beer in one sentence?
DY: Wabi Sabi
ST: If you were in Prohibition times, do you think you’d be bootleggers?
DY: I don't know if I would have been a bootlegger, but I certainly would have found a way to enjoy a few drinks. The idea of legislating morality is so obviously counterproductive. I don't mind sensible regulation to keep people safe, but advocating abstinence just seems very naive.
ST: What does the future hold for Smuttynose? Will we be able to find Smuttynose around the world?
DY: With our new brewery online, the future is very bright indeed. We're opening some new markets here in the United States and will start shipping to Europe and Asia later this year. Could be time for a road trip.
ST: If you were stuck on a deserted island with just one case of one of your beers, which one would it be and why?
DY: I'd have to go with our Vunderbar Pilsner. So tasty, yet light enough to drink all day long.