A delightful surprise at Seadog Brewing in Exeter

BREWERY SCENE

by Jeff Rogers



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Seadog Brewing was not on my radar until a house guest told me of some friends helping him discover beers, treating him to several flights. I asked him what were his favorites. Near the top if his list, he said, was a blueberry ale from… from… (here he pulled out his phone and consulted his notes)… someplace called Seadog.

While I believe I’ve had that blueberry ale before and found it pretty decent, his enthusiasm pushed me over the edge, deciding that a visit to Seadog was in order. A quick search showed me they had a location in Exeter, just under an hour’s drive from Manchester.



For a side bonus, downtown Exeter is a quintessential New England small town — though perhaps edging a bit too far into tourist appeal. But these touristy things have appeal for a reason. Good to enjoy them when the opportunity arises. And I’m always happy for an excuse to visit Water Street Bookstore, one of my favorite independent bookstores for years.



The Space

Seadog Brewing is much bigger operation than most of the places I’ve visited for this column. They opened their first location in Camden, Maine, in 1993. They now have five locations in Maine, two in New Hampshire, and one in Florida. Ownership changed in 2002. Today’s owner of Seadog Brewing, Fred Forsley, is also the founder and president of Shipyard Brewing Company, and owner of many other companies, across several industries: food & beverage, real estate, and finance. Forsley is a graduate of the Whittemore School of Business at the University of New Hampshire.

Seadog Brewing in Exeter is located in a building on the banks of the Squamscott River. In 2011 this building was home to a restaurant called Loaf and Ladle. Maps show buildings at this location as far back as 1802, but the occupation probably extends much further back, given that Exeter was founded in 1638.



Seadog has great space inside (it was a very hot day when I visited), but they have outstanding outdoor seating overlooking the Squamscott river. A nearby dam was removed from this river in 2016 (details here) and their tiered deck offers great views over the river.





Looking across the river toward Seadog’s seating decks

A very similar view from 2011 before the dam was removed

The Food

Full menu here.

I ordered the Seared Tuna Sashimi with orange-soy glaze, pickled ginger and wasabi. Absolutely delicious. I can whole-heartedly recommend it. It certainly makes me curious about the rest of the menu. If it’s all equally good that would be truly outstanding. It was so good I forgot to get a photo! Another journalistic failure!

The Beers

They had 8 beers available, all shown in the image.



I should note that in 2007 and 2008 their Bluepaw Blueberry Ale won a best fruit beer award for two years in a row.

They sell flights and full pours. When I visited the only cans they had to go were the Bluepaw Wild Blueberry Ale.

I ordered a flight of four 5-oz pours of:

  • Owls Head Light
  • Windjammer Blonde Ale
  • Bluepaw Wild Blueberry Ale
  • Hazelnut Porter


Then I followed with a single 5-oz pour of

Sunfish Wheat Ale

All the beers were very clear with a clean mouth feel. In more detail…

Windjammer Blonde Ale … 4.8% ABV

– a competent blonde ale

Owls Head Light … 3.25% ABV

– essentially a lighter version of the Windjammer above

Bluepaw Wild Blueberry Ale … 4.6% ABV

– a very good wheat ale, to which I am partial. The blueberry adds some great flavor. Most importantly it’s noticeable but not overwhelming.

Sunfish Wheat Ale … 4.6% ABV

– a similar trick to the Blueberry ale, but done with peach and grapefruit instead. Just a bit more subtle than the Blueberry.

Hazelnut Porter … 5.6% ABV

– this was a real surprise, totally unexpected. Amazingly delicious. Definitely worth the trip by itself. At one point I recommended this to my bar neighbor, a guy who grew up in the region but now lives in South Carolina and was back visiting family. He had a taste of this porter and was in complete agreement with me. He almost had to pick my heart up off the floor when I learned the bar had none to go. Oh well, guess I may have to visit Exeter again!


Seadog’s Hazelnut Porter

Just the Facts

Seadog Brewing Company is located at:

5 Water Street
Exeter, NH 03833

Phone number: 603-793-5116

Hours:

Sun-Thu — 11:30 am – 8 pm
Fri-Sat — 11:30 am – 9 pm

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Route from Manchester to Seadog Brewing in Exeter:



Walking map of Exeter: