Monthly Archives: January 2013

385. Port Brewing High Tide Fresh Hop IPA

Port Brewing High Tide IPAThis is another beer I received from my Beertography Beer it Forward and is certainly the best of the bunch so far. I still have several others to get to but this one was an excellent find.

Appearance is a very crisp orange with a single finger off white head. Tons of hop aroma with a lot of pine and a bit of citrus and floral. Taste is all hops, not sure what combination of hops they use but the end result is a bit of everything coming through. This beer is smooth and very easy to drink at 6.5% ABV.

Really enjoyed this one from Port Brewing and look forward to trying more of their beer in the future. 
Pros:
Lots and lots of hops
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Port Brewing
Brewers Description: Each and every fall, we experience a coastal experience in San Diego known as the “Super High Tide.” This happens later in the Fall Season when the tidal swings reach a range of about 8 feet in difference between low and high tides. When this happens, there are days when the tide just gets too high and flattens out the surf. The lineups shut down and surfers are left to wait until the High Tide recedes.

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382. Smuttynose Brewing Lindz

Smuttynose LindzThis is a very interesting beer for two reasons. First the reason it was brewed and named Lindz is in memory of Lindsey Altshul who was a big supporter of craft beer and co-owner of Pepperland Cafe in South Berwick. He passed away in the Summer of 2012 and Smuttynose decided to make a beer in his memory. Second it is a Kolsch style beer which is fairly uncommon in today’s marketplace.

A Kolsch beer is an ale but is it cold conditioned like a lager. Appearance is light and very clean with a thin white head. The aroma and taste are very similar and both quite mild. Slightly sweet smell with some earthy hops, tastes adds another layer with a fair amount of bitterness. Lindz has a bit more carbonation than I am used to but apparently that is normal for the style.

Overall this beer was pleasant, easy to drink and tasty even though the flavors were all quite subtle. A nice beer with a great story behind it. See the link below to Smuttynose’s blog post about Lindz. 
Pros: 

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.27% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 10
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Smuttynose Brewing
Brewers Description:

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381. Smuttynose Herbaceous

Smuttynose HerbaceousSmuttynose is one of my favorite breweries and their Big Beer series is excellent if you like high ABV (BIG) Beers. They also have a Short Batch series where they have a limited run on bottles (usually less than 1,000) that they sell only at the brewery. These beers sell out in a day or two and unless you make the trip or know someone that is it can be very hard to get these beers.

Fortunately for me I have some great beer friends in the Portsmouth area and one of them was kind of enough to share a bottle of Herbaceous and Lindz (see next post) with me. This beer is a wet hopped red ale with a fairly low ABV of 4.35%. I love this photo but it does make a bit difficult to see the color of the beer; it is a hazy deep red color with a thick off white head. Aroma has a nice herbal hop presence and not much else. Overall a very appealing beer.

The taste on this beer starts out much like other amber/red ales with some sweet caramel malts but quickly transitions to some nice earthy, grassy hops. No citrus, grapefruit, etc just a nice mild hop kick. With the low ABV the beer seems a little watered down but overall I enjoyed it.
Pros: Appearance, well balanced
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.35% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 50
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Smuttynose Brewing
Brewers Description: We decided to go with a very simple malt bill using nothing but Vienna and CaraMunich II, from Weyermann Malt, to brew an amber ale as the base beer.  Bittering was done with Magnum and we used Willamette and Sterling for the flavoring additions.  The 150 lbs of freshly-picked Citra were used exclusively for the wet hop-as- dry hop component that we felt was the best way to showcase the pungent essence of hops right off the vine.  The best way for you to showcase these ethereal hop flavors it to drink the beer as soon as possible, just not on your way from Smuttynose.

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380. Samuel Adams White Christmas

Samuel Adams White ChristmasIf you go all the way back to when I started my blog you will see an excess of Samuel Adams reviews as it really was the gateway brewery for me as it is for many people. Sam Adams makes such a variety of styles it is a good place to start as you can learn the styles and flavors. Nowadays I don’t drink a lot of Sam Adams unless I am at a chain restaurant and all they have is Boston Lager or their seasonal on tap.

Overall I still consider Boston Lager to be one of the best lagers available and I usually enjoy Samuel Adams beer. This beer is part of their Winter Variety pack and I stole one from my brother in law so I could review it here. The beer pours a hazy gold color with thin white head. Pretty blah appearance especially in my not so clean Sam Adams perfect pint glass (look at all those bubbles sticking to the side).

Aroma is sweet with some spices coming through, between the appearance and the aroma I am not getting too excited about this beer. Taste has the spices I expected with some citrus zest but everything seems to be off. Flavors are working against each other instead of complimenting one another. I got half way through the glass and then poured it to move on to bigger and better beers. 
Pros: 

Cons: Competing flavors of spice and citrus
Alcohol Content: 5.8% ABV
Calories: 190
IBU (Bitterness): 8
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Samuel Adams
Brewers Description: As crisp as the first snowfall of the year, this unfiltered white ale is blended with holiday spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange peel.  The familiar citrus and wheat characters of the ale are complemented by the warmth of the spices for a festive brew that’s perfect for the season.

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379. Maui Brewing Company CoCoNut PorTeR

Maui Brewing CoCoNut PorTeRI received this beer from a friend who had it shipped to him from California as it is not available in the Northeast. There are a few online retailers that sell this beer but shipping charges really add up when buying beer online.

This beer looks great; deep brown almost black with a thick tan head. Not a lot happening with the aroma, some rich malts and sweet chocolate but that is about it, not getting any coconut. Taste does have a little coconut but it is far from the dominant flavor. The roasted malts really dominate with a fair amount of sweetness.

Overall this was a pleasant, easy drinking porter. Something I would enjoy on occasion but not on a regular basis. If you happen to be traveling out West keep an eye out for it but I wouldn’t bother trading for it. 
Pros:
Appearance
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 6.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 30
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Maui Brewing Co. 
Brewers Description: Our CoCoNut PorTeR is a fresh handcrafted robust porter brewed with six varieties of malted barley, hops and hand toasted coconut. It begins with a malty-toasted coconut aroma followed by a rich, silky feel with tastes of dark malt, chocolate and hints of coffee. It then finished with flavors of toasted coconut and hoppy spice to balance the finish.

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378. AleSmith Brewing Company X

AleSmith XI am always on the look out for new beer and on a recent trip to Vermont I stopped at the Hunger Mountain Coop which has a great beer selection. Unfortunately they had no Heady Topper or Lawson’s Finest Liquids but they did have some beer from AleSmith and others. AleSmith is a brewery based in California that does not distribute to Maine so when I saw this beer and their Speedway Stout I decided to grab both.

This is an American Pale Ale or as they describe it an Extra Pale Ale. The beer pours a clear pale orange with a solid white head. Some hops come through in the aroma but overall not much happening; a little citrus and maybe some grapefruit.

Taste is good but not great, mild citrus balanced well with some sweet malts. Nothing outstanding but certainly drinkable and quite refreshing. Overall this is a quality beer but when I think of Maine Beer Company Mo and Hill Farmstead Edward this one just doesn’t stack up. 
Pros:
Very drinkable
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 100
Rating: 
Brewers Website: AleSmith Brewing Company
Brewers Description: AleSmith X is our refreshing Extra Pale Ale. Pale Yellow color, bright white head. Aroma of fresh hops with notes of citrus and pine.

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377. La Cumbre Brewing Co Elevated IPA

La Cumbre Elevated IPAI acquired this beer through a beer trade and had no idea what to expect. We don’t see a lot of beer from New Mexico in Maine but it was an IPA in a 16 oz can with interesting artwork so I was intrigued.

Typical IPA appearance with a nice slightly hazy orange color and single finger white head. Nothing special in the appearance but the aroma makes up for that with lots of citrus hops. Flavor is all IPA with plenty of citrus, grapefruit hops with some pine and a slight bitterness. A bit of malt to balance things out but for the most part this beer is all hops. There is just a hint of alcohol but overall it is pretty well hidden for a 7.2% ABV beer.

The can was gone in no time and it left me wanting more. This beer is worth seeking out if you trade for beer. I have no idea where La Cumbre distributes but I am sure you can find out on BA or RateBeer forums. Not the best IPA as Heady Topper, Maine Beer Company Lunch, Marshall Wharf Can’t Dog all top this beer but certainly worth adding to your ISO list. 
Pros:
Great hop aroma and taste
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 100
Rating: 
Brewers Website: La Cumbre Brewing Company
Brewers Description: Did someone ask for hops? Tired of beers that promise a full lupulin experience, but never deliver more than richly malted bitterness? It’s no secret that this is what we excel at. We’ve been brewing world class IPAs for years. Our flagship is the culmination of a decades worth of studying and brewing. Take a step above and acclimate to what an IPA should be.

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376. Maine Beer Company King Titus

Maine Beer King TitusThis is the newest release from Maine Beer Company a robust porter. This is a 16.9oz bottle, same as the others from Maine Beer Company. This beer is dark with a nice thick tan head.

Aroma has lots of chocolate and roasted malts and is very inviting. King Titus has a very smooth mouthfeel and light carbonation that makes it  easy to drink. Taste has lots of chocolate and some coffee but that seems to take a back seat to the chocolate.

Overall this is a great beer and even if you do not enjoy dark beers like stouts you should give this one a shot. 
Pros:
Appearance and rich taste
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Maine Beer Company
Brewers Description: Our take on an American robust porter.  Dark, thick, chewy, chocolaty, and of course, generously hopped.

Malt – American 2-Row, Caramel 40L, Caramel 80L, Munich 10L, Chocolate, Roasted Wheat, Flaked Oats

Hops – Centennial, Columbus

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Funky Bow Beer Company – Lyman, ME

Funky Bow BuildingHad the chance to stop by another brewery that is starting up in Maine on Friday. This one is Funky Bow Beer Company in Lyman. Lyman is located between Biddeford and Sanford and is less than 30 minutes from Portland. The brewery is located in a converted garage and they had just received their tanks the day before I arrived.

Funky Bow FermenterFunky Bow is owned and operated by a father and son team; Paul and Abraham. When I arrived Abraham was working on some interior construction but was happy to take the time to show me the space and chat beer. A short time after I arrived Paul came down and gave me the tour of the entire premise which includes Sunset Farm’s many greenhouses where they grow greens for local restaurants year round.

Funky Bow BrewBoth Abraham and Paul seemed very excited to enter the craft beer scene in Maine and hope to be brewing beer in the next 30 days. In addition to the brand new tanks they also had a deliver of malt from Valley Malt. The grains were grown at Harris Farm in Dayton and then shipped to Valley for the malt processing. Paul and Abraham took a trip down to pick it up and plan on using it in their beer soon. At this time they expect to have an IPA, a pale ale and more interestingly an oatmeal milk stout, a smoked bourbon porter and a European style saison.

They plan on doing kegs for local restaurants and bars as well as 22 oz bottles and to sell growlers both at the brewery and at 2 farmers markets in Saco and Brunswick. No question Funky Bow will be small to start, in fact they claim to be the smallest brewery in Maine. Best of luck to both Paul and Abraham and I look forward to trying the beer in the coming months.

Website: Funky Bow Beer
Address: 21 Ledgewood Dr – Lyman, ME
Owners: Paul and Abraham Lorrain

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375. Switchback Ale

Switchback AleI first had Switchback this Summer on a trip to Burlington and then found it again at The Great Lost Bear in Portland a few months later. When I heard it was going to be bottled I knew I had to get a bottle. On my last trip to Vermont they had bottles at Hunger Mountain Coop for a very reasonable price (I think it was less than $5).

The packaging is simple but effective and the bottle states it is an unfiltered and naturally conditioned ale. Pours a nice amber color with a slight white head. Not a lot happening with the aroma but I really don’t expect a pale ale to have a lot of aroma. The taste is well balanced with a very nice blend of pale malts, a touch of sweetness and just enough hops so you can taste them but it shouldn’t scare aware those that do not like hoppy beer.

The bottle has a bit of extra stuff in the bottom, probably my fault for not pouring properly but it certainly is unfiltered. Overall this is a quality pale ale that both craft beer and non-craft beer drinkers would enjoy. 
Pros:
Well balanced
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 28
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Switchback Facebook Page
Brewers Description: Using only traditional ingredients, Switchback Ale is a reddish-amber ale which is particularly well-balanced, allowing for complexity of flavor coupled with an unusually smooth and refreshing character. Five different malts, select hop varieties, and our own specially cultivated yeast create an ale which leads with hop flavors and a subtle impression of fruit (our yeast’s contribution), followed by a palate pleasing malty finish. Our own special process uses the yeast to naturally carbonate the beer, and we leave it unfiltered. The result is a satisfying brew full of flavor with a remarkably clean and smooth finish.

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