Tag Archives: beers

5 Maine Breweries That Should be on Your Radar

State of Maine Map

Earlier this month, I hopped a train from Boston to Portland, Maine for Portland Beer Week. And I quickly realized that Portland is not only a beautiful city on the Atlantic ocean, but it has an amazing craft beer scene. Portland and the entire state of Maine are home to a handful of world-class breweries and beer bars.

Here’s a list of five Maine breweries you should be aware of, two of which you’ve probably heard of and three you’ll very likely be hearing more about in the not-too-distant future.

1) Allagash Brewing Co.

Allagash Brewing Co. Dubble Ale

Portland-based Allagash is already well known, thanks to its top-notch Belgian-style white ale, which is available throughout the United States. In fact, many folks outside of New England simply call that white ale “Allagash,” and they’re not aware that the brewery also makes a number of additional high-quality Belgian styles. (I’m partial to its Confluence wild ale and Hugh Malone Belgian IPA.) Read more about Allagash on the brewery’s website.

2) Maine Beer Co.

Maine Beer Company's Lunch IPA

Maine Brewing Company, also based in Portland, is the Maine brewery that I’m most impressed with. I’ve been drinking Maine Beer Co. brews for a couple of years now, and I’ve never met one I did not like. I would be very surprised if the popularity of this small, humble Maine brewery—with the motto, “Do what’s right”—doesn’t spread like wild fire through the United States and beyond. Maine Beer’s Lunch IPA is one of the best IPAs I have ever had. (Read my review of Lunch here.) Learn more about Maine Beer Co. on the brewer’s website.

3) Oxbow Brewing Co.

Oxbow Brewing Co. goblet glass

Oxbow Brewing Co. in New Castle, Maine, calls itself an American farmhouse brewery that makes “loud beer from a quite place.” I attended an Oxbow tap takeover at Novare Res Bier Cafe during Portland Beer Week, and I was very impressed with the range and quality of the brews. I had a fantastic IPA with tropical-citrus flavors and Brettanomyces called Funkhaus, and another solid IPA called Freestyle No. 8, both of which were complex and unique. Learn more about Oxbow Brewing Co. on the brewer’s website.

4) Bull Jagger Brewing Co.

Bull Jagger Brewing Co. logo

Bull Jagger is a newcomer to the Portland, Maine beer scene, but it’s quickly making a name for itself with some solid lagers and other noteworthy brews, including a fantastic porter, called Baltic Porter No. 19. I also attended a Bull Jagger tap takeover during Portland Beer Week, and I was very impressed with a tart, strawberry infused limited-release lager called WILD BJ. Visit the brewer’s website for more information.

5) Shipyard Brewing Co.

The Shipyard Brewing Co.

You’ve very likely heard of Portland’s Shipyard Brewing Co., makers of the insanely popular fall seasonal Pumpkinhead ale. (FWIW, I hate pumpkin beers; here’s why.) Shipyard also brews an export lager that’s widely distributed across the United States. I visited Shipyard’s brewery while in Portland, and as a New Englander, I’ve been drinking Shipyard brews for years. My favorite is probably its Monkey Fist IPA. For more on Shipyard Brewing Co., visit the brewer’s website.

(Honorable mentions: Baxter Brewing Co.; D.L Geary Brewing Company; and Rising Tide Brewing Co.)

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Pretty Things to Launch New ‘Once Upon a Time, Old Beer’ Dec. 9 in Boston

Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project OUAT Old Beers

The Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project on Saturday announced via Twitter that it will pour four beers from its Once Upon a Time collection of “old beers” at Deep Ellum in Boston’s Allston neighborhood on Sunday, December 9, including a least one brand new brew called 1879 IPA

Pretty Things is a small, Somerville-Massachusetts based brewery that’s making waves on the New England craft beer scene thanks to some great beers, unique bottle art and a lots of grassroots marketing. (I sat down for a chat with Pretty Things brewers Dann and Martha Paquette a couple of weeks ago.) Pretty Things’ Once Upon a Time Old Beers are recreations of lost styles of beer brewed in the 1800s and early 1900s.

From Pretty Things:

“Our historical projects begin by working with brewing historians such as our present collaborator: Ron Pattinson, a resident of Amsterdam. Ron provides us with brewsheets and insight from breweries often long shuttered. These sheets are the actual records written in the brewer’s hand at the moment he was brewing a batch of beer. This allows us to reach through the mists of time and pick up exactly where they left off.

“We do not interpret or attempt to commercialize these beers in any manner. In fact you have our pledge that if history presents us with a less-than-desirable beer, you will taste this beer as it was. That’s our unique commitment to you.

“Why do we do this? We do this because no one else does. We do this because despite the fact that beer played a much more significant role in our cultures years ago, we’re still unclear of what it actually tasted like. This is of significant interest to us and hopefully you too.”

The initiative is not unlike Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ales effort, but Pretty Things focuses on a very different era of brewing.

It’s unclear whether or not the additional three OUAT beers Pretty Things plans to pour on December 9 will also be new or if they’re previously released Old Beers. I’ve had a number of the OUAT beers, and they’re all interesting, particularly the “X Ales” from 1838 and 1945, which were based on recipes for similar English mild ales made almost a hundred years apart.

If you’re in the Boston area on December 9, swing by Deep Ellum and get your Old Beer on.

Learn more about the Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project on PrettyThingsBeerToday.com.

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Pucker Up: 12 Sour Beers that’ll Have You Hooked in No Time

Russian River Supplication Sour Ale

Sour beers aren’t for everyone. They’re definitely an acquired taste, and not everyone will acquire the taste for tart ales. Those who are daring enough to push their beer boundaries a bit, however, will very likely be rewarded. (Check out this post for details on the difference between “sour beer” and “wild beer.”)

I started drinking sour beers about a year ago, and I’m absolutely hooked today. It took a bartender at the Sunset Grill and Tap in Allston, Mass., to convince me to give sours a try beyond that first challenging sip. Now the first thing I do when I visit a beer bar is scan the draft/bottle list for sours.

It pays to start off slowly when wading into the waters of sour ales, though. The following list spotlights a dozen of my favorite sour beers, starting with some less-challenging sours and finishing up with some seriously sour brews. Most of these beers, with a few exceptions, can be found in quality craft beer shops throughout the United States. (Note: The Russian River beers at the bottom of the list are very hard to find outside of California, but they’re so damn good, I had to include them.)

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Happy 23rd Birthday, Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Growing up in Massachusetts and being the beer nerd that I am, I’ve always had an affinity for Samuel Adams and the Boston Beer Co. Back in the late 1990s, when I was in high school and I first started paying attention to the beer I was drinking, I quickly took notice of how Samuel Adams Boston Lager was different than any of the fizzy yellow piss beer most people brought to parties. Whenever somebody showed up with a 12 pack of “Sammys” instead of the usually 30 pack of Bud Light or MGD, other beer-conscious partygoers would swarm the dude with the Sam Adams in an attempt to trade a few cans of crap beer for a bottle of Boston Lager. I think that’s when my love affair with craft beer started. In fact, Sam Adams Boston Lager was probably the first “good beer” I ever drank.

I’m honestly not a huge fan of Samuel Adams Winter Lager—I much prefer the Boston Beer Co.’s Octoberfest and Summer Ale seasonals to Winter Lager. But the first bottles of Winter Lager shipped 23 years ago today, according to the Samuel Adams Twitter feed, so I’m wishing Winter Lager a happy beer birthday.

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New Stone ‘Enjoy by 12.21.12 IPA’ Now Shipping to 10 States

Stone Brewing Co. Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA

Today Stone Brewing Co. announced via Facebook and Twitter that its new Enjoy By IPA is now shipping to ten states. Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA is the third Enjoy By IPA the brewery released this year, and it will be available in the following markets: Southern California, Central Coast California, Northern California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City and Texas.

From Stone’s Facebook page:

“STONE ENJOY BY 12.21.12 IPA IS ON ITS WAY!

That’s right…a new wave of vibrant freshness and incredible hoppiness will soon be washing over the country…for purchase by those seeking the ultimate in instant beery gratification.”

And from StoneBrew.com:

“Let us present to you a new, devastatingly fresh double IPA. While freshness is a key component of many beers – especially big, citrusy, floral IPAs – we’ve taken it further, a lot further, in this IPA. You see, we specifically brewed it NOT to last. We’ve not only gone to extensive lengths to ensure that you’ll get this beer in your hands within an extraordinarily short window, we made sure that the Enjoy By date isn’t randomly etched in tiny text somewhere on the label, to be overlooked by all but the most attentive of retailers and consumers. Instead, we’re sending a clear message with the name of the beer itself that there is no better time than right now to enjoy this IPA.”

The initial Enjoy By 09.21.12 IPA was available only in Southern California, Chicago and New Jersey, and the second version, Enjoy By 11.09.12 shipped only to Colorado and Ohio, so Enjoy by 12.21.12 will be the most widely distributed version to date. And I’m extremely glad to see it will be hitting my home state of Massachusetts. She will be mine. Oh yes, she will be mine.

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Help Cancer Survivors and Hangout with Will Ferrell at the Will Powered Holiday Craft Beer Bus and Jumpsuit Jubilee

Will Ferrell at the Will Powered Holiday Craft Beer Bus and Jumpsuit Jubilee

Comedian and Old Milwaukee spokesman Will Ferrell is pitching in to help cancer survivors this holiday season by hosting a San Diego pub crawl called the Will Powered Holiday Craft Beer Bus and Jumpsuit Jubilee.

On Saturday, December 15, Ferrell and his Will Powered Holiday Craft Beer Bus and Jumpsuit Jubilee will hit up three San Diego beer bars, the Blind Lady Ale House, Hamilton’s Tavern and Tiger! Tiger!. For $10,000, you and 10 of your best friends—or one or two of your richest pals—can hang out and drink with Ferrell. You can also pay $350 for a single ticket or $450 for single ticket and a growler of a limited edition Will Ferrell IPA. And all proceeds go to Cancer for College, a charity that works to provide college scholarships for cancer survivors.

That’s a lot of scratch for a pub crawl, and you’ll still presumably have to pay for beers. But it’s certainly a worthy cause, and hanging out with Will Ferrell is a surefire way to make some lasting memories.

You can find more details on the Will Powered Holiday Craft Beer Bus and Jumpsuit Jubilee on CancerForCollege.org.

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International Stout Day is November 8

International Stout Day 2012

Huh. Who knew? Next Thursday, November 8, is International Stout Day. This year apparently marks the second annual International Stout Day celebration.

From StoutDay.com:

International Stout Day is a worldwide celebration of the iconic beer style, Stout. Taking place in homes, pubs, breweries and restaurants; it’s all about celebrating the craft beer revolution, relishing in this beloved beer style, sharing your photos, tasting notes and events with the world.

It seems like every other week, somebody tries to capitalize on the popularity of beer today, with another beer day or beer week whatever. And I’m okay with that, I guess, though I don’t really need another excuse to drink. (At least International Stout Day has a website with some details about the event, unlike shitty ol’ National Drink Beer Day.)

I’m traveling to Portland Maine next week for Portland Beer Week, and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for Maine Beer Co.’s Mean Old Tom, but not because Thursday is International Stout day; because Mean Old Tom is a mean fucking stout.

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The 24 Best Beers in America, According to Men’s Journal

Men's Journal Best American Beers

Men’s Journal just released a list of what it thinks are the best 24 beers made in America right now. I’m not a really a big fan of these “best of” lists, because everybody’s tastes are different and there’s really no “best beer,” but the Men’s Journal list is a good one. I also like how they tried to include a wide variety of styles and not just pale ales and lagers. I’ve tasted more than half of the beers included, and they’re all fantastic. My favorites from the list are Russian River’s Consecration, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, 21st Amendment Back in Black and Stone IPA.

Here’s the full list from MensJournal.com:

  • Victory Prima Pils
  • Lagunitas Czech-Style Pils
  • Trumer Pils
  • Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat
  • Allagash White
  • Avery White Rascale
  • Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Yuengling Traditional Lager
  • Sprecher Black Bavarian
  • Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • Dale’s Pale Ale
  • Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale
  • New Belgium Ranger IPA
  • 21st Amendment Back in Black
  • Stone IPA
  • Alaskan Amber
  • Surly Coffee Bender
  • Big Sky Moose Drool
  • Ommegang Abbey Ale
  • Jolly Pumpkin Barn Biere
  • Russian River Consecration
  • Old Rasputin Russian Imperial
  • Zonker Stout
  • Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

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Respect Beer — and Trees. Read Beer Advocate’s Digital Magazine for Android

Beer Advocate magazine for Android

I’ve been reading Beer Advocate magazine for years, but it wasn’t until last month that I actually subscribed to it. In the past, I’d just pick up a free copy at my local watering hole. That meant I’d sometimes miss an issue because the magazine always disappears from bars quickly—it never ceases to amaze me how much people like free shit, doesn’t matter what it is.

I figured it was about time to subscribe to Beer Advocate, because I really like the magazine, and I appreciate what it and its associated website, BeerAdvocate.com, do for the craft beer community. I’d been freeloading for long enough. But what really inspired me to subscribe was the release of a digital version of Beer Advocate for Android tablets and smartphone. Now I’m able to read my favorite craft beer publication on my Nexus 7 Android tablet and my Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone.

The digital subscription is half the price of the print publication, at $7.49 a year, or just $0.63 per issue, via Google’s Play Store for Android. (The print subscription costs $14.99 a year, or about $1.25 per issue.) You can buy individual issues for $1.99 each, and you get a 14-day free trial from Google. Back issues are available. You can download the digital edition of Beer Advocate instantly, as soon as new issues are released, so you don’t have to wait for the USPS to deliver them—and you don’t have to worry about your shiesty-ass, Bud-Light-guzzling neighbor stealing your copy. You can read Play Magazines on Google Android smartphones, and both 7- and 10-inch Android tablets. And you can read the digital version of Beer Advocate on your desktop computer using Google’s Chrome browser. (Unfortunately, Beer Advocate digital is not available for Apple iOS devices or any other mobile platforms at this point.)

Beer Advocate magazine for Android

The digital Beer Advocate interface is good-looking and intuitive. You can access a table of contents at any time by tapping your Android screen once and then tapping the box that appears in the bottom left corner of your display. You can also quickly scan through thumbnail images of all the pages; just tap the screen and then slide the horizontal bar of images that appears at the bottom of your display. And you can click into a text version, which strips out some of the images and formatting for easier reading, by tapping your display and then choosing the “View Text” option at the top of your screen.

My one complaint about Beer Advocate‘s digital version for Android: Existing print subscribers have to pay separately for the digital edition. That sucks, because print subscribers already pay double the price of the digital edition, and Beer Advocate should reward these folks for their loyalty, not punish them by charging an additional fee.

Beer Advocate magazine’s motto: Respect beer. Now you can follow that advice while respecting Mother Nature and saving some trees, thanks to the digital edition of Beer Advocate for Android.

Learn more about the digital edition of Beer Advocate on BeerAdvocate.com or download it from Google Play.

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Stone Releases Its Latest Illegitimate Children: Lukcy Basartd and Double Bastard Ales (2012)

Lukcy Basartd and Double Bastard Ales (2012)

On Monday, while the American east coast was being slammed by Hurricane Sandy, Southern California’s Stone Brewing Co. released the 2012 versions of its Lukcy Bastard and Double Bastard ales.

Lukcy Basartd is one of my favorite Stone beers, and it’s a unique blend of three other Stone creations. From Stone:

The trmiraivute of Arorgnat Basartd Ale, OEKAD Arorgnat Basartd Ale and Dbolue Basartd Ale are all in paly in this cvueé de Basartd you now hlod, and wihle it is idneed a Lukcy Basartd, lcuk had ntohing to do wtih it.

Translation:

The triumvirate of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale and Double Bastard Ale are all in play in this cuvée de Bastard you now hold, and while it is indeed a Lucky Bastard, luck had nothing to do with it.

Lukcy Basartd has an ABV of 8.5%, and it is available in 22-ounce bomber bottles and on draft.

Double Bastard is extremely hoppy American strong ale with a 10.5% ABV. It’s available in bomber bottles, on draft and in big-ass three-liter bottles that can be refilled at Stone’s brewery. (Stone also makes a Double Bastard habanero hot sauce that’s no joke.)

More details on all of Stone’s Bastard ales are available on ArrogantBastard.com.

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