Blog : On Tap: Good Food, Good Beer, Good Green Fun

By Craig | Apr 22, 2015 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

Set on a historic 14-acre farm, Smuttynose Brewery’s new farmhouse restaurant, Hayseed, energetically enhances the farm style dining experience. And the restaurant, like the new brewing facility, keeps sustainability at the cornerstone of their operation.

“From recycling to buying bio-degradable products, we have a very conservational mind behind all designs and projects,” says Hayseed Executive Chef Kevin Hahn.

In 2013, Smuttynose moved to Towle Farm in Hampton from its original location in Portsmouth. In purchasing the land, Smuttynose inherited the property's aged barn and Victorian-era farmhouse. From the beginning, the Smuttynose team knew they wanted an on-site restaurant and the house met their aesthetic criteria.

“It was perfect for a restaurant and, by creating Hayseed, we were able to save and repurpose a really unique building,” says JT Thompson, Smuttynose’s official Minister of Propaganda.

The farmhouse was completely renovated—with the exception of the character-worn staircase—and showcases local products, like the lumber used liberally around Hayseed’s interior that was milled from red oak trees cut down during construction of the brewery.

“Being an old farmhouse, Hayseed is welcoming with an inviting exterior and a relaxed interior,” says Thompson. “It has a comfortable simplicity—it’s timeless, with no temporal references to 2015, while also being not at all bland.”

Hayseed’s food isn’t bland, either. Its menu of snacks, starters, sandwiches, entrées and desserts changes often, always focusing on what’s in season.

“We’re currently highlighting bright, fresh, fleeting spring flavors,” says Chef Hahn. “We feature the best ingredients we can get: local, organic, free range, chemical-free. As the weather warms up, we’ll be growing as much as we can on the property, including honey from our own bee hives.”

Chef Hahn also makes it priority to buy from local fisheries and farms, like Emergent Farm, Stout Oak Farm and Kelly Brooke Farm, using their on-sale items to create his daily specials. But as a brewery restaurant, beer is as important to the menu as the food.

“Being beer centric, we offer a lot of options for beer drinkers,” says Thompson. “For exploratory types, we offer a four beer sampler served on custom-made paddles. We also offer beers in half-pints and full-servings in full pints or goblets, depending on strength. Guests can even take home two pints in our reusable, refillable growlers. We also serve guest beers, hand-selected by our brewers, and a selection of wine, including four on tap, as well as spirits and soft drinks.”

One guest selection currently on tap is North Country hard cider, brewed locally in Rollinsford, using apples from orchards in Maine and New Hampshire.

According to Chef Hahn, when selecting a something from Hayseed's menu, it doesn't hurt to love a good beer.

“I create menus that highlight what our talented brewers are up to and support the hard work and creativity of our cooks,” says Chef Hahn. “And pairing our beer with one of our dishes is a highlight: one of my favorites is Vunderbar [pilsner] beer with Schnitzel and the Old Brown Dog [ale] with the Belgian beef stew.”

On par with the food and beer are Hayseed’s eco-efforts. The guest experience incorporates earth-friendly elements, from LED lighting throughout the farmhouse to compostable to-go containers, bags, and cups. Behind the scenes is also green, with components like energy recovery ventilators and a condensing, gas-fired water heater. And Hayseed’s staff does it part, too—the waitstaff conserve resources by only bringing a glass of water at a guest’s request and the kitchen staff composts all food scraps.

As part of their commitment to sustainability, Smuttynose and Hayseed are partners with the Green Alliance, a locally driven union passionate about bringing together environmentally-friendly businesses while also providing its members with discounts on green products and services. Green Alliance members enjoy a 10 percent discount on all food at Hayseed.

The restaurant seats up to 95 patrons throughout its bar and upstairs and downstairs dining rooms. This summer, Hayseed will open its seasonal outdoor beer garden with seating for an additional 35 guests. Under a canopy of trees, guests will feel as if they’re dining in a natural wooden grove, with a fire pit and water feature to underscore the connection to nature.

“We want to highlight the fact that we’re in a farm in the countryside, and that nature—thriving, healthy nature—is very important to us,” says Thompson. “Whether you’re eco or not, and whether you’re a die-hard brewery tourist or a neighbor in Hampton, our doors are open to you! We’re about all-are-welcome fun and enjoyment. We might be serious about our craft, but we do our best not to take ourselves too seriously. Just look at the name Hayseed—it pokes fun at itself, it’s self-deprecating. Ultimately, it’s approachable, just like our beer and our food.”

Green Alliance members save 10% off all food! (Discount applies to Green Alliance card member and one guest) Not a member? Join here at our reduced Spring Discount rate!