Tag Archives: Sebago Brewing

516. Sebago Brewing Bass Ackwards Berryblue Ale

Sebago Bass AckwardsThis is my second of three blueberry beers and probably my favorite. First I must admit that I am not a big blueberry fan, in a muffin they are OK but other than that I rarely have blueberries. This beer came from a Sebago Brewing employee and has been in my fridge for a while.

The beer looks like your typical beer which is encouraging, deep copper color with a very thin white head. Aroma is minimal but there is a bit of berry in there with some nice malts. Taste is a nice ale with just a hint of blueberry sweetness in the finish.

For me this is a good blueberry ale as it was very much a beer first with only a hint of blueberry.

Alcohol Content: 4.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 13.4
Brewers Website: Sebago Brewing
Brewers Description: Bass Ackwards Berryblue Ale is brewed during the Maine blueberry harvest. It is an unfiltered, all-natural mild pale ale made with real Maine blueberry juice. It is a refreshing, well balanced beer that has a crisp, fruity aroma and finishes clean and dry. The name Bass Ackwards Berryblue Ale is for its unconventional use of only fresh blueberries in the fermenter. The result is a surprisingly simple drinkability that enables you to drink more than one. Try a Black and Blue, our Bass Ackwards mixed with our rich Lake Trout Stout.

505. Sebago Brewing Bonfire Rye

Sebago Bonfire RyeThis is Sebago Brewing’s newest offering and the introduction of their new logo. You can see the old logo on the pint glass and the new logo at the top of beer label.

Bonfire Rye is described as a “rye ale stoked with hops” and that pretty much sums up this beer. It pours a nice caramel color with a thin white head. Aroma has a fair amount of hops for a rye beer and some spice from the rye. Taste is solid with the clean spicy rye and plenty of hop character including some pine. Finish is pretty clean and not terribly bitter.

Sebago did a great job with this seasonal beer and I hope it comes back year after year. 
Different combination of flavors that works well
Alcohol Content: 5.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 53
Brewers Website: Sebago Brewing
Brewers Description: Bonfire Rye is a unique seasonal offering that transcends any traditional beer style. The combination of malts complement the generous amount of late-addition American hops, creating a perfect balance between the earthiness of the rye and the resinous hoppy aroma.

Bonfire Rye was designed to be enjoyed on a hot summer day or cool autumn night.

417. Sebago Brewing Grand Crue

Sebago Grand CrueGrand Crue is a blend of several different beers from Sebago Brewing Company and the combination of these beers makes a very complex and tasty treat for anyone lucky enough to try it on tap or bottled. See notes from the brewer below for the combination of beers used for the 2012 version.

This beer pours a very dark red with a slight tan head that dissipates quickly leaving just a small amount of lacing on the glass. Aroma has plenty of roasted malts, chocolate and some oak/bourbon, very complex. Taste follows the nose with lots going on and the flavor continues to change as the beer warms a bit.

Carbonation is minimal but that does not take away from the experience on this beer. Overall this is a very nice blend of other Sebago beers and something I would recommend you try. 

Alcohol Content: 6.4% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Brewers Website: Sebago Brewing
Brewers Description: Sebago Brewing Company Grand Crüe (6.4% ABV) is a celebration of the art of brewing. Our 2012 edition is a blend of four distinct beers: barrel-aged Slick Nick Winter Ale and barrel-aged Midnight Porter, fresh Lake Trout Stout and Barleywine. Each beer adds its own complexity to the mix, from the vanilla and oak notes of the two bourbon barrel beers, to the roasted malt of fresh Stout and the chocolate, toffee-like notes of our Barleywine. The result is an intensely aromatic and malty beer with a surprising hop bitterness and a dry finish. Celebrate the holidays with a glass of this exclusive single-batch offering.

Grand Crüe is a limited release, available while supplies last on draft and in 22oz bottles at all Sebago locations.

402. Sebago Brewing Company Bub

Sebago Brewing BubThis was the very first growler filled at Sebago Brewing. Or at least the first retail growler as I am sure the employees probably had a few before mine. At the time they were offering Bub and Grand Crux so I opted for Bub.

Bub is Sebago’s black IPA which has not been bottled and prior to growler fills it was only available at the brew pubs. The beer pours a very dark brown (almost black) with a thick tan head. Aroma has plenty of piney hops with some roasted chocolate notes, very well done so far. Taste seems to have more of a coffee flavor than the chocolate you get in the smell but it is well balanced and finishes slightly bitter.

This is certainly one of the better black IPAs I have had and hope they bring Bub back for years to come. 
Well balanced, flavorful
Alcohol Content: 6.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 70
Brewers Website: Sebago Brewing
Brewers Description: BUB is from where the heart and hops are. It was created by longtime bartender Tiff Caron. Many who know Tiff from her passion for Craft beer, incredible social skills and love of people will be affectionately called BUB. Originally BUB was just a mere 31 gallon pilot brew released for Halloween 2012 we decided it was so good that it need to be brewed for the people and ramped up the recipe. BUB is full of roasted malts and caramel malts to balance out the huge portions of hops. It is big in flavor and dry on the finish. Don’t be surprised when you’re asked “Whatcha drinkin’ BUB?!”

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

239. Sebago Brewing Trekker Pale Ale

Thanks to Kevin @ Sebago Brewing I was able to pickup 2 bottles of Trekker Pale Ale last week and enjoyed one on Sunday afternoon. This is the beer that I “helped” to brew during Sebago’s Brewing for a Cause day back in April. If you have not been to this read my blog post here. This was a great event and if you are at all interested in craft beer, the brew process or simply hanging out with others that enjoy good beer I highly recommend you attend next year. If you do I am sure to see you there as this is going to be an annual event for me.

The Trekker Pale Ale from Sebago is a great example of the style and probably my second favorite pale ale in the 230+ beers I have had. My favorite so far is Edward by Hill Farmstead and that hardly qualifies as a pale ale as it is hoppier than many IPAs. If you had to sit someone down and give them an example of a quality pale ale Trekker would be my choice. Color is a nice orange with a slight white head. Aroma is nicely balanced with some hops and malts both apparent. Taste follows the nose with malts up front and the hops kick in late and linger a bit. The beer is very easy to drink, refreshing and leaves you wanting another even after a 22 oz bottle. Really enjoyed this beer and glad I have another to share with friends over the Memorial Day weekend.
Pros: Good representation of the style
Cons: Available for a very limited time as it sells out quickly
Alcohol Content: 6.1% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating:  ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Sebago Brewing
Brewers Description: Trekker Pale Ale was brewed at Brewing For A Cause, a fundraiser for the Trek Across Maine – a 3-day, 180 mile bike ride in support of the mission of the American Lung Association. This beer was our fastest selling Single Batch Series beer in 2011 and we’ve brewed a double batch this year for all our thirsty guests! Trekker Pale Ale (6.1% ABV) is a classic American pale ale. It is light bronze in color, with a moderate malt character up front that gives way to an increasing hop aroma with a clean dry finish. Available starting Friday May 11th on draft and in 22oz bottles.

Sebago Brewing – Brewing for a Cause (4/21/2012)

Each year since 2010 Sebago Brewing Company has opened its doors on a Saturday for a limited number of people to participate in their Brewing for a Cause benefit. Sebago has a team of riders in the Trek Across Maine (click the link to donate) and for a $100 donation you are given the opportunity to “work” in the brewery with the brew staff making their delicious Trekker Pale Ale. I convinced my wife this would be the perfect early Father’s Day present for me and signed up just in time as the event sold out (actually slightly over sold).
Yesterday morning I woke at 5:30 and prepared to head to Sebago’s brew facility located on Sanford Drive in Gorham, Maine. I arrived shortly after 7:30 and the parking lot quickly filled up with other eager participants. For most it was their first time but there were at least a couple that were returning from prior years. We were all encouraged to bring home brew for others to sample however I have not yet tried brewing my own beer so I arrived empty handed.  Shortly before 8:00 we all ventured into the brew facility and found Barnabas and Kevin already hard at work getting the first batch of Trekker in the mash tun.  The Trekker Pale Ale sold out very quickly in 2011 so this year they brewed a double batch.
50,000 lbs silo
Jon Clegg – Brewer / Packaging Manager and host for the day arrived shortly after and gathered us all for a short safety meeting. Everyone was required to wear safety glasses and closed toe shoes. After we all passed the safety check we went to find Barnabas and Kevin to see how things were progressing. The first batch of Trekker Pale Ale was in the mash tun so we went to the grain room to start prepping for the second batch. Sebago has a 50,000 pound grain silo filled with 2-row malt. In addition to the 2-row they use 4 or 5 other varieties of malt for the Trekker Pale Ale and several attendees were able to help pour the additional malts into the hopper. (See more after the break)

High tech malt funnel
The 50 pound bags of malt are poured into Sebago’s high tech system of adding them to the hopper. It is a bucket that has been cut down to work as a funnel and it worked very well. We also had the opportunity to taste the 2-row malt to see how the raw product tasted. Once the malt has been added it is milled, a process that cracks open the husks exposing the inside and it waits to be mixed with the hot water in the mash tun. After we were finished in the grain room Jon, Barnabas and Kevin had to take some time to fix the first problem of the day. The grain mill was not accurately measuring the weight of the malt being added to the mash tun which could cause all kinds of problems with the final product. After some time Jon determined there was a setting that was off and he was able to fix the problem to avoid any issues with the next batch. Brewers often battle with these things during the brew process and this was not the last issue of the day.
Brew system – mash tun on the left and boil kettle on the right
After the problem was resolved it was time to transfer the wert, the hot water that has been steeping in the malt for about an hour, from the mash tun to the brew kettle. Sebago Brewing uses a gravity system from Diversified Metal Engineering (DME) in Canada. Many of the brewers in Maine use a similar system and although the picture does not show this well the mash tun is installed slightly higher than the boil kettle so most of the wert can be transferred by gravity. They do use a pump to get the final bit from the mash tun to the brew kettle. Once the 650+ gallons of wert has been transferred the spent grain is removed from the mash tun and is eventually hauled off by local farmers as feed for their herd. The spent grain looks and smells a lot like oatmeal. I have photos and video of this and have posted them on my Facebook page if you are interested.
Hops waiting to be added to the boil
Once all the liquid is in the boil kettle it is time to add the hops. For the Trekker Pale Ale hops are added at 3 different times during the boil process. First at the beginning of the boil for bitterness, second about 30 minutes in for flavor and finally with about 5 minutes remaining for aroma. All of this may seem like a quick process but by the time the boil has finished the process has taken about 5 hours. For us that means we were quickly approaching lunch time and Jon stepped out briefly to pick up a very nice spread from the Gorham brew pub.  About this time Kai Adams – founder of Sebago stopped by and took the time to speak to each of us. He was also there to help out with the second problem of the day. Seems the boiler was not turning off at the appropriate pressure and after a few phone calls a tech appeared on site to help fix the problem. Like the first problem this one was resolved fairly quickly however we got to experience a true brew day with the minor issues that brewery staff are constantly dealing with.
Tasting room taps
While Jon was gone (or maybe before) several of us found the tasting room which had 7 different Sebago brews including some that were only available during the pilot brew night at the Portland brew pub. The Milk Stout was finished fairly quickly however they had a couple of my favorites; Full Throttle Double IPA and Elegans Saison and another from the pilot beer night The Catch III. Jon made it back with pulled pork, fresh fruit, coleslaw, corn bread and a platter of desserts. The food was excellent and if anyone left hungry it was not because of a lack of food. Also during lunch many of the participants took out their home brews for everyone to sample. There was a wide range of options including a barley wine that did not start out as a barley wine and an IPA from a husband and wife team that was excellent.
Pilot system
During the transfer and boil we also had the opportunity to check out Sebago’s pilot system. This is the brew system they use to test new recipes and give the brewers the opportunity to experiment. Many of the Single Batch Series and the beers available at the Pilot nights were brewed on this system. The homebrewers that were in attendance had a lot of questions about the setup and many of them wanted to take it home with them.  We also had the chance to taste the Porter, Hefeweizen and their first attempt at an Oktoberfest directly from the bright tanks. This is where the beer is held after fermentation until it is bottled and each of these beers tasted wonderful with the Hef having huge amounts of aroma and big banana taste. Even though the beer had not been carbonated at this point in the process it was still excellent.
Yeast in the keg
After lunch was finished it was time to transfer from the boil kettle to the fermentation tank and to add the yeast. The yeast is stored in old kegs and used approximately 12 times before it is retired. This process was fairly straight forward and the primary concern was sanitation. Lots of scrubbing on the nozzles and attention is given to hoses to ensure there is no contamination. The transfer between tanks went fairly quickly and at that point we were ready to start the second batch of Trekker Pale Ale. It may seem like there is a lot of down time while the beer is in the mash tun, boiling or being transferred between tanks but during this time Jon, Barnabas and Kevin were all very busy preparing for the next step, cleaning up from the prior step and at least on this day entertaining 20+ beer enthusiasts. Each of them spent a lot of time answering questions, explaining the process multiple times, giving tips to the home brewers on how to improve their brews and generally entertaining us. The three of them did an excellent job as 8 hours is a long time but the day went by very quickly.
They were not prepared to bottle anything but Jon was kind enough to give us a demonstration of the bottling line including the labeling, rinsing of the bottles and capping. This seems like the a very tedious part of the process and I am sure it gives Jon lots of headaches as the packaging manager. They have a single bottling line which can accommodate both 12 and 22 ounce bottles. Again I have videos and pictures of the bottling line in action on my Facebook page. If you check them out please take the time to like my page to keep up with beer reviews, news and articles.
After the transfer to the fermentation tank was complete and the second batch of Trekker Pale Ale was in the mash tun we had about an hour left in the day. During this time Barnabas, Kevin and Jon answered tons of questions and everyone spent lots of time talking beer. I really enjoyed my time at Sebago Brewing and will certainly plan to attend again next year.
Also towards the end of the day I got another nice surprise. When I registered for the event it mentioned all participants would have the opportunity to bring home some of the beer we brewed. Due to the time it takes to ferment, bottle, etc the beer would not be available on the actual brew day so Jon prepared a list of names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses so he could contact us when the beer was ready to be picked up. I assumed we would each receive a bottle of the Trekker Pale Ale however Jon let us know we could trade our case (12 – 22 ounce bottles) of Trekker for any other Sebago beer so we would not have to make the trip back to the brewery. Fortunately this included their Full Throttle Double IPA. I do enjoy the Trekker Pale Ale but I love the Full Throttle so I took home a case of this as did many others.
I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for this event but for someone that loves Maine Beer and was very interested in learning more about the process $100 was a small price to pay. Also the money was going to a great cause and one that means a lot to me as my grandfather died of lung cancer. At the end of the day the $100 seemed like a bargain for a day spent with great people, tasting great beer and enjoying some great food from Sebago Brewing. If you have not been to this event in the past I encourage you to sign up next year as I am certain you will enjoy it. Also please take the time to sponsor the Sebago team in the Trek Across Maine here as each rider needs to raise $500 and the money goes to a great cause.
Thank you Jon, Barnabas, Kevin and Kai for a great day at the brewery and I will see you all again next year if not before then.

210. Sebago Brewing Runabout Red Ale

If you have been following my blog for some time you know I have been searching for a truly exception red ale. This is a style of beer i really enjoy however almost all red/amber ales seem to taste almost identical. I know there is only so much you can do with the various malt characters that dominate the palate on red ales but there should be something that sets one apart.

I was hopeful when I found the Runabout Red from Sebago Brewing as they make very good beer. Color is nice red which thin head that disappeared quickly. Aroma has lots of caramel malts and the taste follows. Lots of caramel and toffee malts and very slight hop finish. Easy to drink and enjoyable but again very similar to other reds.
Pros: Lots of malt
Alcohol Content: 4.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 4.75
Brewers Website: Sebago Brewing
Brewers Description: Our Red Ale is Deep Amber in color and is very well balanced with a malty yet clean finish.

Runabout Red Ale is a classic! Our Red Ale has a malty sweet taste that comes from 3 different types of caramel malt. It is a clean, well-balanced beer that started as seasonal ale that we only brewed from March until July. It was so popular with our regulars that we started brewing it year round in 2002. Our red ale is made with only two hop additions to the kettle as opposed to three in most of our other brews and the malt character shows this. Please enjoy our staff favorite!

Pairing Suggestions: Shellfish, grilled
vegetables & salads

The name and logo for our Runabout Red Ale invokes the image of lake life in Maine. The antique wooden boat symbolizes quality craftsmanship, art, history and design as does our beer. The woman on the label is Elsie Whidden. Elsie has a passion for Maine lake life and antique wooden boats. In honor of Elsie, a lifelong Maine teacher living with Parkinson’s, we donate $1 to the Maine Parkinson Society for every case of Runabout Red Ale sold.

Learn more: Maine Parkinsons Society

190. Sebago Brewing Elegans Saison

This was the last beer of last weekend and what a great way to finish. Beautiful sunny Sunday with a nice Saison. Many people are not familiar with the style but it seems to be making a comeback in Maine and other parts of the US. I have not had many Saisons but this one seems to be a good example of the style. Beautiful hazy orange color, complex taste with some fruit flavors and a fair amount of sweetness. Finishes slightly bitter (in a good way) and dry. The description below from Sebago is excellent. A really nice looking beer, easy to drink and at just over 6% ABV the 22 oz bottle was just enough.
Pros: Complex, color
Alcohol Content: 6.1% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Sebago Brewing
Brewers Description: Saison is a classic Belgian beer style traditionally brewed by farms to refresh the many seasonal workers. This style is renowned for its complex fruitiness and aroma. Elegans Saison (6.1% ABV) is a smooth ruby red colored winter version brewed with Pineapple Sage, an herb from the mountains of Central America long used as a tension reliever. Pineapple sage (salvia elegans) imparts delicate fragrances of lemongrass and tangerine to compliment the bready malt aroma and caramelized sugar flavors. A balanced bitterness ends each sip and cleanses the palate, leaving you thirsty for more. Elegans Saison is a limited-release Single Batch Series beer, available beginning February 17th on draft at all Sebago Brewing Company locations and in 22oz bottles at better beer stores throughout New England.

189. Sebago Brewing Saddleback Ale

Had this one on Friday night after a very good beer tasting event at The Vault in Lewiston. Since I had already had a variety of beer from Allagash and Penobscot Bay Brewing I decided to keep it light. After a week of drinking imperial and double IPAs with ABV%s in the 8-11% range a 4.1% session beer seemed weak. Color is a pale  yellow with small white head. Aroma has some malt and floral aspects but nothing overwhelming. Taste is light and crisp, Sebago describes this as the perfect session beer and they are right. Grab a 6-pack when you are headed to a family gathering and enjoy.
Pros: Easy drinking
Cons: Not a lot of flavor
Alcohol Content: 4.1% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 20
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Sebago Brewing
Brewers Description: Saddleback Ale is a crisp light all malt beer with roots from an Eastern European lager. The Czech hops balance the pale malt, revealing balance and natural drinkability. Saddleback Ale is the perfect session beer.