Brewery Name: Liars' Bench Beer Company
Type of Brewery: [UPDATE 11/11/16] Brewpub
Location: 459 Islington Street #4, Portsmouth, NH. There is a sign outside the location, but not on the building itself yet. Don’t worry, you’re in the right place.
Facebook: Liars Bench Beer Company
Background: Liars' Bench is a brand new brewery, having just opened its doors during the first week of June, 2016. Dane and Dagan, the two owners, are University of New Hampshire grads with a strong connection to the area. Dane has spent a lot of time traveling, and over the years has worked for breweries like Trumer, Smuttynose, and Magnolia. As coincidence would have it, Magnolia is located in San Francisco not far from York, and has become a favorite of his. Needless to say, when I heard that, I was excited to pop in and grab a few beers at Liars' Bench.
Growlers: Yep. Liars' Bench currently offers 32 oz growlers, with a limit of two growlers per beer, per person.
The Beers: While I was there, Liars' Bench had four beers on tap. I was told that the taps will turn over "very frequently," and it sounded to me like many of the beers I tried might not be on tap for much longer. For me, this is the ideal situation. I always want to try new beers, and this seems like a great place to do it. You can’t get full pours, but tasters and flights are very affordable.
Vibe: From the moment I approached the place, I was in love. The unmarked building gives it a speakeasy vibe, and the entrance...well, see for yourself. Just a heavy, windowless steel door marked "BEER CO."
And what a BEER CO it is. The interior is relatively small and intimate, and with the garage doors open you practically feel like you're sitting outside. The lack of outdoor seating is a minor disappointment, but they have residential neighbors closeby, so it's both understandable and considerate of them. Besides, there’s a ton to do inside. Foosball, mini basketball hoops, hell I even saw a cornhole board stored up in the rafters. There is plenty of seating and it's spaced out enough to not feel like you're crammed in next to your neighbor, which is also great.
The bar itself is very cool, and the entire place feels hand-constructed (which, for all I know, could be true). The signage and decoration behind the bar has the same speakeasy vibe that the exterior of the building gives off, and I'm a huge fan of the artwork on the walls. In fact, I'm a huge fan of just about all of the artwork associated with Liars' Bench. They worked with a local design company from downtown Portsmouth to put together some incredible artwork for their merchandise. The Liars' Bench logo itself is awesome, as well.
I came into the location expecting to grab a quick flight and take the measure of the place, and instead I ended up hanging out for maybe an hour and a half, having almost three full flights, and shooting the breeze with both the owners and the patrons. I can absolutely see myself becoming a regular here (it's a five minute walk from my front door!), especially if they start churning out new beers as often as advertised. I am a BIG fan of Liars' Bench, and I can't believe they're only a week or so old. Incredible.
Dogs: I didn't see any dogs while I was there, so I’m not sure. They don't serve food, so make of that what you will.
Price ($ to $$$$$): $$ / $$$. Tough call here. A four beer flight will run you just $7, which is a great deal (I had...several). Growlers are a little more on the pricey side, but you get what you pay for. This is great beer.
Food: [UPDATE 11/11/16] Liars' Bench is now officially serving food! The menu is limited, but if you crave a German sausage to go with your German beer, this is definitely the right place!
Final Thoughts: I am blown away by the quality of the beer here. Liars' Bench took two styles that I typically pretty averse to (kolsch and saison) and gave me maybe the two best beers I had while I was there. That deserves a huge tip of the cap, and I can’t WAIT to go back and see what else they have in store. The only (and I mean ONLY) things holding them back are almost entirely due to the fact that they're brand new. Obviously they don’t have the capability to can or bottle beers yet, and I wish they were able to offer 64 oz growlers. Outdoor seating would be nice during the summer, but what can you do? I’m not even going to say "for a place that’s barely been open a week..." To hell with that. Liars' Bench is cranking out beer that challenges ANYONE else in the area, regardless of how long they've been around. To have a place like this right around the corner is borderline priceless.
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