Blue Lobster Brewing Company was actually recommended to us by a coworker in Rockland, who insisted we make the stop. I would like to say that it was my very first strip-mall brewery, but that would be a lie; we visited one during our comprehensive microbrewery tour of the greater Las Vegas area last year (and it thus occurs to me that we apparently go on brewery hops for all my birthdays). Strip malls always put me off a little, though, something about the suburbany-ness to them. But with relatively inexpensive cost of living for a business, I suppose a strip mall makes for a prime location for a brand-new brewery. Recent controversy aside (I don’t know the details and will not even try to go into them), this place produces some good, solid beers.
Blue Lobster was a place we had hoped to hit the night before, but the Great Blizzard Snowchi (I have no idea what name the Weather Channel ACTUALLY gave it) made us call it a day once we hit Portsmouth. They are open only on the weekends and only in the afternoons, so had to rearrange our schedule a bit. They have a tasting room only, where you can buy small pours of all their brews, as well as bottles and growlers. They went all out on the glassware, which sports their simple and very Seacoast-y logo and Grolsch-style, swing-top lids. These are my absolute favorite! Spring for one if you don’t have one already (growler prices are very reasonable, and growler fills vary by brew).
Of note: New Hampshire, like Maine, is one of those states that requires breweries to fill growlers from their own brewery. So no bringing your local Lander Brewing Company growler in hopes of scoring a cheap fill. Coming from Wyoming/Montana, where they really just don’t care (heck, the grocery stores sell unmarked ones for your filling pleasure), it seems weird and incredibly inconvenient, especially for those of us with quite the collection of growlers from Out West. But, alas…
The inside of Blue Lobster is a lot neater than the outside strip mall. Subdued blues, red accents, simple decor. We arrived just as they opened along with a good handful of regulars who can turn sample pours into an all-day event, and we also met a dude who was heading down the Seacoast from Maine, hitting up breweries as he went (we would see him again at the next stop). I opted for a sampler of all their beers; JM stuck with the lighter ones. He likes a good pale ale, and spent most of his time nursing a couple of Gold Claws. I thought their Ragged Neck Rye peat-smoked rye porter was delicious, but then I love things that taste like campfires. I also very much enjoyed their Flight of the Bumblebee biere de miel, made with honey but not super sweet; you just get a hint of honey right at the end. A good sipping beer, or even a dessert beer, if you were so inclined. We lingered a while (and scored a free sticker for our corn hole set!), enjoying the tastes, hearing some recommendations for other places to go (we didn’t get to hit up the Sea Hagg Distillery, but we will next time!) and waiting for our next brewery to open for business. They don’t serve any food, but there is a decent looking bar next door, if you’re looking for sustenance.
Blue Lobster Brewing Company
What: Rotating four or so beers on tap, no proclivity for any particular style. Small pours for $1, plus bottles and growlers. The most up-to-date tap list is on their Facebook page.
Where: 845 Lafayette Road, Hampton, look for it tucked away into a strip mall. Open Thursday and Saturday, 2-6, Friday 2-7, and Sunday 12-4.
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