Once a year, New Hampshire’s Portsmouth Brewery releases its illustrious Kate the Great Russian Imperial Stout to hordes of thirsty beer geeks on the morning of Kate Day—this year, on March 5. Score Kate on tap until the kegs run dry, or if you hold a winning scratch ticket, buy a bottle; when you’re stouted out, explore this little city by the sea and the big flavors waiting at every turn.
DRINK: Sidle up to the snooker table and grab a pint at the Coat of Arms (174 Fleet St., coatofarmspub.com), a British pub where the cask ales and specialty imports pair up great with the bangers and mash and tartan décor. Beers like Belhaven Stout and Twisted Thistle IPA are on draft, and the always-changing casks include treats like the English-born, Shipyard-brewed Old Thumper ESB.
EAT: Dinner at Black Trumpet Bistro (29 Ceres St., blacktrumpetbistro.com) is a culinary adventure where even simple ingredients get the superstar treatment. Chef Evan Mallett, a 2011 James Beard semi-finalist for Best Chef, Northeast, might elevate the humble cabbage by stuffing it with rye berry and pine nut risotto or pair potato chips with truffle-whipped foie gras. The restaurant uses local—and sometimes even foraged—ingredients for innovative dishes that change every few weeks to reflect seasonality.
STAY: The sleekly retro Ale House Inn (121 Bow St., alehouseinn.com) has a sophisticated vibe and décor that’s nautical without hitting you over the head with a buoy. Located in a former brewery warehouse, the inn has iPads loaded with local menus in every room; energy-efficient flatscreen TVs; bikes to borrow; and free tickets to the adjacent theater when there’s a show going on. Plus, two complementary Smuttynose beers await thirsty travelers at check-in. –Alexandra Pecci