Portsmouth Brewing Company
224 2nd St
Visited on September 27, 2007
Portsmouth Brewing Company is proof positive that just about anywhere in the country is capable of having a brewpub. Portsmouth is this tiny little town on the Ohio River right smack dab in the middle of the eastern and western borders of the state. There are no major highways that run to it; the only way of getting there are little state highways.
I was in town for a job interview, which looking back I’m pretty glad I didn’t end up getting. The brewpub was a rustic, local spot with interesting antiques adorning most of the establishment. It had dark wood and a definite hometown feel, not to mention an incredibly beautiful, ancient brick exterior.
I don’t recall much about the beer or food at this point, except to say it was neither surprisingly good nor disappointingly bad. One thing it does have going for it – established in 1843, Ohio’s oldest brewery, celebrating 170 years.
Considering the fact that this brewpub is located in Hickstown, Ohio, it is a great brewpub. I came in expecting next to nothing for the small town brewery, but it was actually quite nice. The location is awesome. It’s decorated with tons of interesting antique trinkets and random items. And I’m not talking about wall decorations like Applebee’s. I’m talking about old pianos, churning tins, and mannequins sitting in old rocking chairs. Weird.
While the menu could use some more items, the shaved steak sandwich I had was extremely good for pub fare, and the onion rings were very, very good as well. Maybe some of the best onion rings I’ve ever had.
The beer was nothing to write home about, but their dark selections were very pleasing. The Double Bock (high alcohol) was my favorite, followed by their Maple Porter, which I thought could have used a bit more maple flavor.
The service was brimming with southern hospitality despite the fact it’s north of the Ohio River, but I felt I may have gotten more attention in the dining room than at the bar, which is opposite from what I’d expect.