|Smartmouth Brewing Company
1309 Raleigh Avenue, Suite 300 | Norfolk, VA 23507
Smartmouth Brewing Company, located in Norfolk, Virginia, opened in November 2012 by former corporate lawyer, Porter Hardy IV. His homebrew experimentation has led to one of the Southeast’s most promising startup breweries.
Head Brewer Greg Papp, a Philly transplant, brings experience from several breweries including Foothills Brewing, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Mother Earth Brewing. All of the beers are made from his own recipes. Currently, Smartmouth brews twice a day on the 20 barrel system. They have 20 barrel, 40 barrel, and 60 barrel fermenters.
The 1100 square foot tasting room area, decorated with chalkboard art, is filled with biergarten-style seating, which offers a view of the brewing area via a wall of windows. There is also a dog-friendly deck outside, offering additional seating, and a food truck serving up tasty grub. Fresh pretzels and mustard are available inside the tasting room for $3.
During my visit I enjoyed a sampler of 7 beers for $12.95. The bartender included a small flip chart, which explained the order of the beers and included a brief description of each.
- Sommer Fling – 5.6%, 11 IBU Hefeweizen (seasonal)
- Murphy’s Law – 5.7%, 35 IBU Amber (year round)
- Chelsea Proper – 3.9%, 40 IBU ESB (seasonal)
- Cow Catcher – 5.5%, 33 IBU Milk Stout (seasonal)
- Alter Ego – 6.3% ABV, 33 IBU Saison (year round)
- Missing Digit – 4.2% ABV, 42 IBU Hemp IPA (seasonal)
- Rule G – 6.8% ABV, 88 IBU India Pale Ale (year round)
Missing Digit was my definite favorite. Head Brewer Greg created this beer as a “liquid ode” to his favorite musician, Jerry Garcia to celebrate the singer’s birthday and National IPA Day, which both occur in early April. I enjoyed the aromas of pine and citrus from the Amarillo, Jarrylo, and Nugget hops. The toasted hemp seeds added during the mash add depth. This IPA is super easy drinking, yet satisfyingly bitter.
I was disappointed that Notch 9, the Double IPA, had recently kicked.
Smartmouth began selling the year round offerings (Alter Ego, Murphy’s Law, and Rule G) in cans this past spring. Stainless steel and glass growlers are also available for purchase. T-shirts, hats, magnets, glassware, tap handles, can koozies, and growler koozies are available for purchase.
Other things you should know: Growler fills are discounted from 12:00 to 2:00, free tours are given hourly beginning at 2:15 PM, and designated drivers receive a free bottle of water or soda during their visit!
Oh… and The Birch Bar is just around the corner. Don’t miss it.