Monthly Archives: September 2013

Tributary Brewing Co

Tributary LogoI have a great job that allows me to visit breweries on a regular basis and every now and then I have the opportunity to sit down with an icon like Tod Mott and chat about beer. Over the past month I met with Tod and his wife Galen a couple of times at When Pigs Fly in Kittery to discuss the plans for his much anticipated brewery in Kittery.

The tough part of my dual role as insurance agent and beer blogger is not sharing information on my blog until the brewer is ready. Today Tod asked me to help get the word out on the status of his brewery and I couldn’t be more excited to be the one to update you all. Those that follow the craft beer scene know the delays Tod dealt with getting the zoning changed in Kittery to accommodate his brewery. After several town meeting that hurdle was behind them which was followed by lease negotiations that went on for many weeks. The good news is the lease has been signed, the meetings with the contractors are happening and the paperwork for the brewers notice is in the works.

The Location

Trib Building

Tributary Brewing Co will be located at 10 Shapleigh Rd – Kittery, ME (Google Map here). The site is a former grocery store located next to the Kittery Post Office. Over the next few months the property will be going through a substantial build out to accommodate the brewery and tasting room. I toured the space with Tod and Galen and it will be a great space for them with tons of parking and the Kittery Community Market is also held in the parking lot. A great chance to buy local food and beer in the same place.

The Equipment

The brewery equipment has been ordered from local providers; a 15 barrel brew house from New England Brewing Systems in Gloucester, Mass and the cellar equipment will include fermentation tanks, conditioning tanks and a large capacity brite tank from Tigpro in Portland, Maine. The combination of an extensive renovation to the building and the long lead time for the production of the brewery equipment means we will have to wait a few more months to enjoy Tod’s beer. If everything goes well they should be open in the spring of 2014 but I am sure there will be plenty of updates along the way. Like them on Facebook for more updates – Tributary Brewing Company Facebook Page

The Beer

The location, equipment and back story of the struggles to get zoning changes and lease agreements signed are interesting but the most important part of any brewery is the beer. Tod plans on having 3 flagship beers, a sessionable pale ale clocking in at approximately 4% ABV, a porter, and a saison that will change with the seasons. One of the items Tod would not share was the new name of his famous imperial stout. “Kate the Great” name was retained by Portsmouth Brewery but Tod has a very appropriate name for the next version of his famous beer. The beer will be self distributed in Maine only with growlers and possibly some bottles sold at the brewery. I am sure you will be able to find Tributary Brewing Co on tap at craft beer bars/restaurants from Portland to Kittery next summer but I anticipate making regular visits to the brewery for growlers.

The People

Tod Mott has been brewing professionally since 1991 with stints at a few breweries including Harpoon and of course many years at Portsmouth Brewery. During his time at Portsmouth Brewery he brewed Kate the Great an imperial stout that consistently ranked as one of the top beers in the world.

Galen Mott will be the business manager and will wear many other hats at Tributary Brewing.

Website – www.tributarybrewingcompany.com – nothing there yet but keep an eye on it for more info.

Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/tributarybrewingcompany

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503. Stone R&R Coconut IPA

Stone CoconutI didn’t realize it when I bought it but this is also a homebrew competition winner that Stone brewed (see brewer’s description below). The thought of a coconut IPA was really intriguing to me and I was really hoping for something different than the many other Stone IPAs.

The bottle is really nice and the beer pours a nice orange with a white head. Aroma is nice with plenty of citrus but I got no coconut. Taste was where I really hoped this one would excel but it ended up being just another Stone IPA. Still a good beer and I had heard you get more coconut in the aroma/flavor as it warms but my bomber was gone before it had a chance.

Overall this is a good beer but not what I had hoped for. 
Pros:
A nice IPA
Cons:
Lack of coconut
Alcohol Content: 7.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 90
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Stone
Brewers Description: Originally dreamt up by homebrewers Robert Masterson and Ryan Reschan, who earned themselves the top prize in our 2013 American Homebrewers Association homebrewing contest, this innovative beer marks a refreshing sea change for IPA lovers everywhere. It was brewed with 280 pounds of coconut and an unusual blend of hop varieties, including a few from faraway lands or just brand spankin’ new, and is guaranteed to taste like no IPA that’s gone before. Prepare yourself for a tropical breeze of a brew that will lull you to a place of tranquil contentment for a little R & R.

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502. 603 Brewery Summatime Ale

603 Brewery SummatimeI believe this is my fourth beer from 603 Brewery, really enjoyed the Winni Ale; 9th State was OK and White Peaks was my least favorite so far. Summatime is a pale ale that has a fairly high 6.3% ABV for a summer beer.

Appearance is great with a nice pale orange and two finger off white head. Aroma was fairly light with some citrus and spice, nothing too exciting but certainly pleasant. Overall flavor is about the same, enjoyable but no one thing stands out above the rest

603 is doing a nice job putting out quality beer. Looking forward to their stout.
Pros:
Appearance
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 6.3% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: 603 Brewery
Brewers Description: This smooth American ale is a great compromise for your summatime adventures.

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501. Samuel Adams LongShot Magnificent Seven

Sam Adams Longshot 1I met Zack Adams the winner of the 2012 LongShot competition at Hill Farmstead’s Festival of Farmhouse Ales in August. I was aware of the competition and the fact the winners had their beer brewed by Samuel Adams and put into 6-packs but I had never sought one out to try. After meeting Zack I figured I would track it down and found one at Roopers in Auburn.  Unfortunately the 6-pack was 3+ months old when I bought it so it was far from fresh.

Being a double IPA this one really should have been enjoyed fresh and I am sure the combination of Samuel Adams scale and the lack of freshness caused this beer to lose something. The color is a bit darker than a lot of other double IPAs and the aroma was probably past its prime as it had some remnants of a solid hop bill but more malt than anything.

Taste was OK and I am sure the fresh homebrew by Zack was considerably better than this 3+ month old bottle. Overall not a bad beer, next year I will try to find my LongShot 6-pack in May when it is released. 
Pros: 

Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 7.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Samuel Adams
Brewers Description: Zack and his friend Pat decided to create a brew loaded with their seven favorite hops.  A showcase of US hop varieties and true to an Imperial American IPA,  this beer has a big grapefruit, pine & resinous notes.

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500. Moat Mountain Hoffman Weiss

Moat HoffmanFinally getting back to some beer reviews and starting with my 500th beer. This one comes from Moat Mountain in North Conway New Hampshire and is their hefeweizen. I tried quite a few hefeweizens this summer with the highlight being Rising Tide’s Spinnaker. This one from Moat comes in a close second.

This beer is a cloudy orange color with a very thin white head that dissipates quickly. Aroma has lots of wheat and some spices. Both are what you would expect from a hefeweizen. Taste is very nice, slightly sweet and plenty of wheat with only a hint of banana and spice. Finish is clean and leaves you wanting more. Hoffman Weiss is an excellent choice with a meal or all on its own.

I’ve had lots of fun building my blog over the past two years and hope you will continue to follow and share my posts for the next 500 beers.
Pros: Tasty
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 5.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Moat Mountain
Brewers Description: A traditional Bavarian-style wheat beer, it is a unique unfiltered golden beer with both a fruity and spicy flavor profile derived from the traditional Bavarian yeast strain that is used.  It has a low hop bitterness yet is big on flavor.  Some serve with a lemon slice.  Available year-round.

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October, epic beer month

If you are in any of the beer groups on Facebook you probably have seen the pictures of what is almost always referred to as “the best bottle share ever”. Basically a bunch of people get together, bring a few beers and everyone gets to sample them. These photos gave me the idea of have an epic beer month and a virtual bottle share. No you won’t be able to taste the beer that others post but you will get to see what everyone is drinking and drool at some rare/limited release beers. During the month of October I am going through the approximately 200 bottles of beer in my house and picking out the best of the bunch.

Epic BeerThe list of beers will be long, at least 30 since I average a beer a day, and will include bottles that I have been hanging on to for no good reason. What’s the point of buying great beer if you aren’t going to drink it?

I invite you all to join me in drinking truly exceptional beer for the month of October, post your pics on my Facebook page, share them on Twitter. Use #epcibeermonth hashtag and invite your friends, relatives and other beer drinkers to do the same. If you have a blog and want to put together a similar post go for it, the more the merrier.

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Hill Farmstead Bottle Release 9/26

On September 26th Hill Farmstead had a bottle release including 4 beers; Damon, Double Barrel Damon, Flora and Flora Satsuma Mandarin. I decided to take the day off work and make the trip to Vermont. I took two friends with me and we planned to make a day of it. The bottle release was to start at 11:00 and bottles were limited to 300 of each for everything but Double Barrel Damon which had approximately 190 bottles total. Hoping to get bottles of each we met in Fryeburg Maine at 7:30 and planned to arrive at Hill Farmstead a full hour before the release started at 11:00.

hf line

The line from our spot an hour before the release time

Our timing was perfect and we pulled up to Hill Farmstead at 10:00 AM. The only problem being the line was extremely long even 1:00 before the release was to start. After standing in line for about 45 minutes we determined we were not even within the first 300 people and no way were we included in the first 190 that would get Double Barrel Damon so we made the tough decision to get out of the bottle line and start the growler line. This ended up being a wise decision as best I can tell from the BeerAdvocate thread you would have had to arrive around 9:30 to get any bottles and by 8:45 to even have a chance at the Double Barrel Damon. The lines were much longer than most people anticipated including the employees and volunteers at Hill Farmstead.

We got our growlers and were on our way around noon. The bottle line had barely moved at that point and we headed out to the rest of our stops. Lost Nation in Morristown was our next stop and we had a great Gose there. I grabbed a growler and a glass that you will see reviewed shortly. Then off to Waterbury to stop at The Alchemist, the one case limit was still in affect so not a lot of extra Heady made it back. No where close to the 13 cases I brought home in March. We then had lunch at Blackback which included drafts from Hill Farmstead, Lawson’s and Zero Gravity. Excellent beer and plenty of other people that had gone to Hill Farmstead for the bottle release.

Next stop was the Warren Store for some Lawson’s Finest Liquids and then back to Hunger Mountain Coop to see what other goodies we could find. Ended up with a couple bottles from Prairie that we cannot get in Maine as well as some Crooked Stave. Then the long journey back to Maine. We arrived in Fryeburg around 7:30 and each of us had about another hour from there.

We were initially disappointed to miss out on the bottles at Hill Farmstead but at the end of the day it is just beer and we brought home plenty of great beer to drink. Much fun was had and we will certainly be making this trip again although it probably will not be on a Hill Farmstead bottle release day as we may never see another announced release like that.

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Fall in Maine

Banded HornI know things have been a bit quiet around here but trust me things are about to get interesting. Fall is my favorite time of year in Maine and due to tons of activity in Maine beers scene the fall of 2013 should be a great one. In the next few months there are several new breweries that should be selling beer.

Gneiss Brewing in Limerick Maine should be the first one as their Facebook page mentioned a possible opening the second week of October. Beer has been brewed and the growlers are there so it is just a matter of waiting for that yeast to do its thing.

Banded Horn Brewery in Biddeford may be the next one to open as their brewers notice was approved and most of the equipment is on site or on its way to the brewery. Having recently tried Ian’s IPA (pictured above) I am very excited to get more beer from Banded Horn. Again beer will be available in growlers at the brewery.

Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.,  Foundation Brewing Company and Austin Street Brewery have all signed leases and are setting up equipment and preparing to brew at 1 Industrial Way in Portland. This is the same building that Maine Beer Co and Rising Tide Brewing started in. Bissell Brothers are hoping for a November launch based on their Facebook page. Not sure the timing on Foundation or Austin Street but fall technically does not end until December 20th so there is time.

In extreme Southern Maine we have SoMe Brewing Company in York, space has been leased, build out is happening and brewers notice applied for. Dave should have beer for the year round residents of Southern Maine in the coming months.

Moving further North, Tumbledown Brewing has finally found space, signed a lease and submitted their brewers notice. Again not sure they will open in the fall but it is possible. Even further north the Friar’s Brewhouse in Bucksport is now operating and selling beer at Bangor Wine and Cheese.

What a time to be a beer drinker in Maine. Keep an eye on my FB page, blog, etc for updates on all of these breweries and more.

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