550. Maine Beer Company Red Wheelbarrow

Maine Beer Red WheelbarrowAmber/red ales and brown ales are two of my least favorite styles as they tend to be fairly boring and very similar from brewery to brewery. Occasionally a brewery decides to break the mold a bit and do something a little different and Maine Beer Company certainly tried to do that with Red Wheelbarrow.

This beer is red in color with a thick off white head. Aroma has some hops but still has plenty of dark fruit and malt character. The taste starts with a nice dose of hops followed by the sweet malts and only slightly bitter finish. Overall this was a decent beer but nothing to get too excited about and not up to par with Mo, Lunch and the others from Maine Beer Company. 
Pros:
Hoppy for a red
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 7.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Maine Beer Company
Brewers Description: Like many of our beers, Red Wheelbarrow (which started out as a pilot batch brewed by Brewer Dan Roberts) doesn’t fit neatly into a style category — think of it as a stronger, more hop-forward interpretation of a traditional red ale.  Red Wheelbarrow is not, however, a “red IPA” – there is robust malt character (think raisin and fig) on both the nose and palate that temper the abundant hop presence (think citrus fruit).

Malt – Weyermann Munich 1, Briess 2-Row, Victory, Chateau Special B, Chateau Abbey, Briess C-80

Hops – Columbus, Amarillo, Falconer’s Flight

549. Hill Farmstead Edith

Hill Farmstead EdithMost saisons I drink are light in color and body but this one from Hill Farmstead is a black saison. The only other dark saisons I have had were from Oxbow’s Freestyle series and their Saison Noel.

This beer is very dark, almost black, with a thick tan head. Aroma has plenty of funky earth smells. Taste has a large amount of funk and roasted malts. Overall this is probably my favorite dark saison but I still prefer the lighter saisons as I think it works better without the roasted malts. This mirrors my thoughts regarding black IPAs, there still quality beers but I prefer the lighter counterparts. 
Pros:
Very funky
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 6.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewers Description: Edith (1897-1992) was our grandfather’s sister, and Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to her and her 13 siblings. In her honor, this black saison is crafted from American malted barley, German roasted malts, European hops, our farmhouse yeast, and water from our well. Unfiltered and naturally carbonated, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with Edith.
12º P
Ingredients: Pale Malt; Roasted Barley; European Hops, Farmhouse yeast, Brettanomyces, and our Well Water.

548. Hill Farmstead Anna

Hill Farmstead Vera MaeYou know how much I love Hill Farmstead’s hoppy beers. Their pale ales, IPAs and DIPAs are some of my favorite beers and you can find many reviews here. In addition Shaun makes some of the best saisons available and the variety is incredible. I reviewed Vera Mae a couple weeks ago and this one is Anna a honey saison.

This beer is unfiltered and beautiful, pale orange color with a thick white head. Aroma is amazing with a nice sweet honey, tart lemon, flowers and grass. Taste follows the nose with all of the above items plus a nice peppery spice. The beer is nicely carbonated and very easy drinking. My wife split the bottle with me and she really enjoyed it too.

If you have focused on Hill Farmstead’s hoppy offerings in the past I recommend you find some of their saisons and give them a try.
Pros:
Lovely mix of flavors
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 6.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewers Description: Anna is Bière de Miel, brewed with 20% raw wildflower Vermont honey and our house saison yeast.

547. Oxbow Brewing Arboreal

Oxbow ArborealAnother beer that has been in my cellar for some time. Arboreal was a brewery only release with only 200 bottles total. This was bottle #57 which is the only bottle I was able to purchase as their was a one bottle limit. I really wish I had more as this was an amazing beer.

Getting into this beer was a chore. The wax dipped top was very thick and hard to cut through. Once I did get through it and opened the bottle some of the precious contents were lost as it was a gusher. Fortunately I was prepared and opened over the sink with glass nearby so I was able to contain most of the beer.

Appearance is a deep red with a solid off white head. Aroma had plenty of funk, I find it difficult to identify the aromas on many of these sour/wild beers. Taste is very complex with a nice sour fruit taste with some oak but the bourbon was not apparent. I wonder if it was there and went away with age or if the sourness simply overpowered it.

This beer was truly amazing and it is unfortunate that more people will not be able to enjoy it. If anyone has a bottle at home, OPEN IT or contact me as I would love to obtain another bottle. 
Pros: 

Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 8.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Oxbow Brewing
Brewers Description: An American Sour Ale, fermented and aged in bourbon barrels with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus.

546. Hill Farmstead Elaborative One

Hill Farmstead ElaborativeThe description of this beer is unlike any other – “A tart brown ale brewed with Ohio walnuts, aged 18 months in a variety of oak barrels”. First I am not sure I have ever had a tart brown ale, second who uses walnuts in beer? Fortunately when you have Shaun Hill, Brad from Jackie O’s and Chad from Crooked Stave involved the end result is something unique and very tasty.

Pours a deep brown with a very thick tan head. Aroma has plenty of wood from the barrels but also some nut and funk. The taste is incredibly unique with a slight sour taste to start followed quickly by the walnut. Also has some dark fruits, wood and funk in there.

This is not a beer or a style that I would drink on a regular basis (nor could I since it was a limited release) but it is something that you should try just to enjoy the complex combination of flavors.
Pros: Very complex and unique
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 6.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Hill Farmstead
Brewers Description: Tart Brown Ale brewed with Ohio Walnuts. Aged 18 months in a variety of oak barrels… in friendship with Brad at Jackie O’s and Chad at Crooked Stave.

545. Allagash Brewing Gargamel Ale

Allagash GargamelThis one was given to me by Paul who sells hops for Willamette Valley Hops. Gargamel had been in his cellar for some time and then sat in mine for several months before being opened as part of my October Epic Beer Month.

This beer has a nice amber color with a very thin white head that disappears almost immediately. The aroma has some dark fruit and a nice earthy funk. Taste has probably mellowed out quite a bit from when it was originally bottled as it has been at least 2 years. Still has some oak but the raspberries mentioned in Allagash’s description are almost entirely lost. Really complex mix of flavors and very tasty.

Would have loved to have tried this one when it was fresh so I had a point of comparison with this bottle but it is still tasting great. If you have a bottle in your cellar you may want to give it a try.
Pros: Very complex
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 9.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Allagash Brewing
Brewers Description: Gargamel, a Belgian Style sour ale, is the first offering in our limited release 375 ml series. Our brewers used a blend of American 2-row barley Malt, Raw and Malted wheat and selected caramel malt to brew this beer. After primary fermentation the beer was inoculated with our house Brettanomyces aged in French Oak wine barrels with a generous amount of local raspberries for over 18 months. Gargamel’s aroma is full of un-ripened raspberry, vanilla and citrus notes. This medium bodied beer has hints of biscuit and graham cracker with a clean, fruity and refreshingly tart finish.

544. Lake Placid Pub & Brewery IPA

Lake Placid IPAMy brother in law picked up a growler and glass from Lake Placid Pub & Brewery when he went out there for some hiking and rock climbing. Another growler and glass for the collection.

Appearance is a very nice copper color with a thick off white head. The aroma had a nice mix of floral and piney hops. Taste was what I would expect from an American IPA, hop forward with plenty of pine and some citrus notes but balanced well with caramel malts. Fairly bitter finish reminds you this is an IPA.

Overall a solid American IPA, nothing crazy hoppy or citrusy but just a nice beer.
Pros: Well balanced
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 6.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 67
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Lake Placid Pub & Brewery
Brewers Description: A tribute to the original West Coast-style IPA’s, our IPA is aggressively hopped for a citrus and piney flavor and aroma, but maintains a subtle, bready malt backbone.