Category Archives: Other Stuff

Six-Pack Project

Being and insurance agent that focuses on breweries and other craft beer related risks I spend a lot of time drinking local beer. Recently Bryan Roth from This is why im drunk asked me to participate in a series highlighting six beers from Maine. Bryan is recruiting beer bloggers from across the country to write blog posts about a specific state and include six beers others should try. They all have to be available in bottles or cans, no growlers and also should not be limited release beers.

We have so much great beer in Maine I knew picking six would not be easy but here they are in no particular order.

Maine Beer Mo

MO – Maine Beer Company – Freeport, Maine

Most craft beer drinkers outside the State of Maine seek out Maine Beer Company’s Lunch as it is the most popular beer from MBC and is an excellent IPA. However Mo should not be overlooked. This is a hoppy pale ale and is much easier to find than lunch. As you can see from the photo the beer has a great thick white head.

Aroma has more pine and citrus than many IPAs and the taste does not disappoint. Malty start but the hops quickly take over. MO is named for the brewers twin daughters; Madeline and Oliver. If you make it to Maine be sure to check out Maine Beer’s new facility in Freeport as it has a great tasting room and plenty of fresh beer.

Marshall Wharf Brewing Cant Dog

Cant Dog – Marshall Wharf Brewing – Belfast, Maine

Marshall Wharf only recently started making cans and the first beer they decided to can is their huge imperial IPA, Cant Dog. This beer is big with their website claiming it is 10% ABV. I drink a lot of imperial IPAs and I can honestly say none of them hit harder than Cant Dog. In addition to it being a big beer it comes in a big can – 16 ounces of pure hop pleasure.

This beer is darker than most IPAs with a nice tan off white head. Aromas are pungent with pine, citrus and grassy hops. The flavor is fairly well balanced but still extremely hoppy. There is a big malt backbone. Finish leaves the filmy residue that big IPAs often do.

Marshall Wharf makes some great beer and they do an exceptional job hiding the alcohol in their beer. Most people that visit Maine enjoy the coast and if you are planning a trip to the Mid-coast region be sure to include a stop at Marshall Wharf.

Allagash House Beer

House Beer – Allagash Brewing – Portland, Maine

Any list of beer from Maine would not be complete without something from Allagash. They make so many exceptional beers it was hard to choose only one for this list. Many of the beers by Allagash are available outside the State of Maine so I decided to include one of the few that is only available by visiting the brewery in Portland Maine. House Beer is a Belgian Pale Ale sold only by the case and only at the brewery.

This beer is fairly simple when compared to Confluence, Odyssey or any of the other beers that Allagash makes but this was intentional. Their goal with House Beer was to have a “table” beer similar to a house wine that you can enjoy with any meal. This beer comes in at 4.5% ABV, has a great color and taste is simple but has a decent amount of hop and spice from the Belgian yeast.

Allagash makes great beer and just went through a significant exp ansion. They provide one of the best brewery tours I have taken and it is well worth the visit if you come to Maine.

Bonfire RyeBonfire Rye – Sebago Brewing Company – Gorham, Maine

This is a new beer from Sebago Brewing Company, I beleive it replaces their brown which has been in their line up for a long time. It is described as a hoppy rye ale which sounds similar to Daymark from Rising Tide above but these beers are entirely differenct.

Bonfire Rye starts of with plenty of malt followed by some nice hop flavor then a hint of rye and smoke. If it sounds like there is a lot going on you are correct but it works well. This is a nice fall beer without the pumpkin or spice you get from so many other brewers.

Sebago has 4 brew pubs in Maine and their beer is available in most retail outlets. It would be hard not to find their beer if you are looking for it in Maine.

006Daymark – Rising Tide Brewing – Portland, ME

Rising Tide has not been around as long as Allagash or Maine Beer Company but in they are producing a lot of great beer from their new location on Fox Street in Portland. The picture here is of a growler of Daymark but this is one of their core beers sold in 22 ounce bombers.

Daymark is a rye beer with a solid Columbus and Centennial hop bill. The beer is very light and refreshing with a fair amount of floral hops in the aroma. Some peppery spice from the rye but everything is very well balanced.

The brewery has regular hours, sells growlers, bottles and other merchandise. They also have a solid schedule of food trucks and usually have corn hole to keep you entertained while having some samples.

015-2Thunder Hole Ale – Bar Harbor Brewing – Bar Harbor, Maine

For my sixth and final beer I had so many options including some very good options from Gritty’s, Geary’s and many other great breweries. I opted for this one from Bar Harbor Brewing as it is one of the better brown ales I have tried.

Bar Harbor Brewing is actually part of Atlantic Brewing but still operates under the Bar Harbor label. This is a straight up English style brown ale with a nice deep brown color and tan head. Aroma has the nutty sweetness you expect and the taste has lots of caramel malts.

An excellent brown ale worth trying plus it is named after one of the more famous areas of the coast, a visit to Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park is a must.
Well that is my list of six beers from Maine as of August 2013. If I were to do this again in 2014 it may be entirely different as we have a number of breweries opening soon including Tod Mott’s new brewery in Kittery, Banded Horn Brewing in Biddeford which is owned by Ian McConnell former brewer at Sixpoint in New York as well as Bissell Brothers Brewing and Foundation Brewing opening on the same road as Allagash in Portland. So much is happening in Maine’s craft beer scene it is a great time to visit our wonderful state.

Below is the list of other participants for the month of August in the Six Pack Project:

 

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LD-1082 – Maine Growler Laws

growlersIf you follow my blog you know how much I enjoy growlers. There is a new bill introduced to the Maine Legislature that would allow your local beer store to fill growlers directly from kegs.

Imagine walking into your favorite beer store and they have a few rotating taps, you decide which beer you would like, the growler is filled and you are on your way. I love visiting breweries but sometimes I just want great fresh beer without trekking to Newcastle, Belfast or any of the other great breweries located hours from my home.

The link to the actual bill is here – LD-1082

The bill is currently in committee so everyone needs to contact the Veterans & Legal Affairs Committee and encourage them to recommend it with a Yes vote on April 24th. Link to the Veterans & Legal Affairs Committee is here.

Once the bill makes it to the entire legislature we will all need to contact our Maine Representative or Senator and ask them to support LD-1082. If you are not sure who your representative is find the list here. – Find you Maine Reps.

Also please be sure to share this post so others will contact their representatives. Links to share on Twitter, Facebook, etc are below.

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Banded Horn Brewery

Had a great meeting with Ian McConnell yesterday about his plans to start a production brewery in the Portland area. Ian is the former head brewer for Sixpoint and left them in September of 2012 to move back to Maine. Since then he has been working on his business plan and the mountains of paperwork that come with starting a brewery.

Things are progressing and he hopes to be producing beer this Summer. Not a lot of info yet but keep checking back as I will post links to Facebook and Twitter accounts as soon as they are available. Website will be www.bandedhorn.com, logos and website are being created.

I know there are lots of breweries opening and/or in planning but I am really excited to see what Ian does with Banded Horn.

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Growlers – the best way to drink beer at home

This post has been moved here. Please click to visit the new page. 

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Beer it Forward

Earlier this year I signed up to participate in a Beer It Forward put together by John at Beertography.com. It involves 13 guys from different parts of the country, John shipped a package of local beers to someone on the list. That person then ships to someone else on the list not in their area and it continues on until everyone has received a package. My package arrived today from Joel at Four Saint Brewing  with lots of beer from North Carolina. Joel also included some Four Saints beers and lots of other great stuff. So excited to try this stuff and really appreciate John putting this all together. Also excited to ship out a package full of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont beer to some lucky person in another part of the country.

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Lack of posts

Sorry for the lack of posts in the recent weeks. This is a very busy time of year for my household with 3 kids going back to school and lots of family birthdays including my own on October 10th. In addition to the family life, work has been extremely busy.

Many of you know that I sell insurance for a living and in the past year I have focused on beer related businesses including; breweries, brew pubs, beer bars, restaurants, package stores, hop farms, festivals and have even worked in a couple of wineries and a distillery. I am working with brewers from Orono, ME to Burlington, VT and everywhere in between and insure many of the places you see me post about.

It has been great to mix work with something I enjoy and I am confident things will continue to be busy as craft beer continues to grow.  Most of what I do is through word of mouth so if you hear of a new brewery, bar, store or other business opening send me a message – james@ghmagency.com or on Facebook or Twitter. I am on vacation this week so should be able to get the blog caught up and then my goal will be a post a day for the remainder of the year.

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1 Year of Blogging

I just realized that it has been one year since I started blogging about beer. July 10th of last year I bought a couple of bottles from Harvest Hills Farm in Mechanic Falls and was bored on a hot afternoon. I decided to start taking pictures of beer, writing a short review and categorizing the beer I drink. In the beginning I was taking crappy cell phone pics inside my kitchen and after several months decided to start using our Canon Digital SLR with a 50 mm lens as it takes great pictures. In the past year I have tried nearly 300 different beers (not all good), met some great people and had lots of fun.

My blog has had nearly 13,000 page views in the past year with my posts about Bissell Bros Brewing, Sebago Brewer for a Day and Growlers being the top 3. If you have friends that enjoy craft beer please have them follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you all for your support and as long as people keep reading and sharing I will keep this going.
In addition I have been successful in turning a very fun hobby (drinking beer) into part of what I do everyday working in the insurance industry. I now work with several breweries and package stores providing superior insurance coverage at competitive prices. I have several start ups as well as a few established breweries lined up for later this year and next. If you know someone that works in the beer industry; brewer, beer store, bar, restaurant or distributor please send them my way as I would be happy to help.
Keep an eye on things as there will be lots more beer related stuff coming including a post about my recent trip to Vermont and Craft Beer Comes to Boothbay on Saturday. Also planning on some updates to the blog. Thanks again for reading and here are some links you may like.
Here are a few of my favorite places to buy craft beer;
Some of my favorite blogs;
Other links of interest to beer drinkers;
Untappd – Great app to track your beer
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Urban Farm Fermentory

I know this is a beer blog but I had a chance to try the products from Urban Farm Fermentory and talked with  owner/fermentor Eli Cayer at The Vault on Friday. At the tasting he had his cider, hopped cider and Kombucha tea which is supposed to have some health benefits. The cider is not at all what I expected and the hopped cider was  wonderful. The tea has a very low 1.5% ABV and tasted terrific and I am not a tea drinker. If you happen to see bottles of their cider or tea in your local beverage store give it a try, you might be surprised.

Website – Urban Farm Fermentory
Facebook Page – UFF on Facebook

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Maine Beer Trail Pass

Came across this today while viewing some stories on Craft Beer in Maine. This is such a great idea and I will certainly have to give it a shot. If anyone wants to join me at any of the breweries let me know.

Maine Beer Trail

Since 1986, Maine has been at the forefront of the craft brew movement.  The Maine Beer Trail spotlights the high quality and creative diversity of fresh, hand-crafted, Maine-made beer. You’ll find a wide range of award-winning breweries and brew pubs throughout the state. Cheers!

http://www.mainebrewersguild.org/BeerTrailWeb.pdf

There are also prizes for visiting breweries;
– 5 breweries = Baseball hat from a Maine brewery
– 10 breweries = T-shirt from a Maine brewery
– All breweries = Prize pack from Maine Beer Gear

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Maine Beer Trading

I am looking for some people in other parts of the country to exchange some local beer. Here is what I am thinking but I am open to other ideas.

There are many great craft brewers in Maine and New Hampshire and I can purchase and ship a variety or 6-pack of whatever you would like and you do the same. Priority Mail flat rate boxes are $10.95 or $14.95 depending on the size and you should be able to ship 4-6 beers per package. No exchange of money – you send me beer and I send you beer. Could be a great way for you to experience some of the quality beer from the Northeast and a way for me to sample some beer from other parts of the country.

Here are just a few of the local brewers websites. If there is anything that interests you let me know.

Gearys – http://gearybrewing.com/pages/home.php
Grittys – http://www.grittys.com/beers_home.php
OPB – http://www.oakpondbrewery.com/locations.asp
Sea Dog – http://www.seadogbrewing.com/seadogbrews.php
Allegash – http://www.allagash.com/beer/
Baxter – http://www.baxterbrewing.com/
Sebago Brewing – http://www.sebagobrewing.com/brews.php
Kennebec River – http://www.northernoutdoors.com/
Shipyard – http://www.shipyard.com/taste/

Below is a good video on shipping beer, keep in mind the US Postal Service does not allow you to ship beer or wine so you must describe the package as something other than beer / wine. In the video he tells the Post Office he is shipping snow globes so they know it is fragile and liquid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5HXqiIJxwE

If you are interested leave your email address in comments here and I will send you a message.

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