Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oxbow Brewing Update

Me & Oxbow Beer Head Brewer, Tim Adams
Novare Res Bier Cafe

This past weekend, I was at Novare Res, with a mom friend, and met local Maine brewer, Tim Adams, from The Oxbow Brewing Company,  in Newcastle.  I've had their Farmhouse Pale Ale back in October as pictured here:

But, this past weekend, I tried their Freestyle #2 (it's pictured in my pint at the top of this post, when I'm posing next to Tim).  Wow, delicious!  Sadly, I didn't take formal tasting notes, but it is described on their website as a, "Smoked Chocolate Stout - This dry, mysterious stout is designed to drink when the days begin ending earlier.  American ale yeast, Belgian, German, and US Malts, US hops.  4.5% abv." 
Furthermore, Tim's newest release, is a holiday beer, called  Saison Noel, which is now available on draft at Novare Res, for their Bier Geek Christmas Celebration. I've yet to try the Noel but am hoping to get a chance before it runs out.  Thus far, I've really enjoyed the offerings from Oxbow & after meeting Tim, a down to earth, easy to chat with guy, I hope to venture up to Newcastle, someday soon and tour his brewery. 
Remember, this holiday season, support your local breweries.  Cheers!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Brooklyn Brewery's Pilsner

Liz's pretty photo of
 Brooklyn Brewery's Pilsner

Below is a special guest post from my NYC "mom craft beer consultant" & longtime friend, Liz.  I've known Liz since attending Boston College & we've remained close post college years as well.  She recently relocated back to the East Coast, after living in LA for awhile, & has a daughter close in age to my son.  You'd think since we both live on the same side of the country, now, we'd be able to get our act together and hang out, but sadly our paths have not crossed in a few years.  However, through the beauty of the internet & cell phone use, we've stayed in touch and I really appreciate that she would offer up a fantastic review for you to enjoy. My hope is that she & her cool husband, Jason, will share future reviews too! Cheers! 

Date of tastingSaturday December 3, 2011 
Who: Liz Cahill (with input from her husband Jason)
Where: Manhattan, NYC

On a chilly Saturday night in December, my husband and I decided to order in from our favorite pizzashopI asked myself, what could compliment this delectable thin crust better then beer?  Not much.  So it seemed only natural that tonight should be the night that I write a guest post on my friend Cecily's amazing blog.

Knowing Cecily often reviews local Maine brews, I decided to show off a beverage from my own neck of the woods and chose Brooklyn Pilsner of The Brooklyn Brewery, which the company describes as a pale refreshing lager.  Yum. My husband and I each grabbed a bottle & got down to business – here's what we found:

Aroma: The classic looking brew has a sweet malty scent.

Taste: As someone who hasn't made it her profession (or hobby) as a beer connoisseur, please excuse my inability to properly describe this beverage, but I'll give it my best! I found the first couple of sips to be smooth, if a little bitter.  However, the smoothness overtook any bitterness by sip three.  As a beer reviewing novice, I'll credit any bitterness to the brewing technique … or the malts … or the hops.  Not quite sure – taste it and decide for yourself!

Color: Pretty and golden – clear (not cloudy).

Thickness: Not at all thick, this was your traditional go-to lager style beer.

ABV: 5.1%, but what does this mean?  I'll just assume that anyone reading this knows way more about ABV then myself!

Mom Factoid: The pilsner style of beer began in the 1840s, emerging from central Europe – and it is now the world's most popular style of beer.  According to Brooklyn Brewery, the Brooklyn Pilsner is brewed like its ancestors – from the finest European two-row barley malts.  And because this beer is crafted in the style favored by NY's pre-Prohibition German-American brewers, it has a very cool historic factor.  I felt like I was experiencing a little bit of the early 1900s with each sip!  Who says drinking can't be educational too?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Polaris from Rising Tide

Bottle #29 out of 336
Released 11.2011

Listed as a Best Beer of 2011 by Seacoast Beverage Lab

Aroma:  Beautiful bourbon & vanilla notes

Taste: Bourbon, vanilla & caramel maltyness with a salt-water taffy-like finish.  Lip smacking delicious!  

Color: Midnight black

Thickness:  Silky, smooth mouthful with a medium to full body.  A deep, tan head, flecked with grains, lingered during the tasting and was met with a balanced carbonation.

ABV:  About 8.5 %!  After consuming the beer from my snifter glass, life felt right!  I adore a craft beer that can alter your mindset & mood not because of the ABV (though this helps) but because of knowing the time, effort & craftsmanship that went into producing a special release.  According to the hand-numbered bottle, the beer is, "unfiltered, unpasteurized and bottle conditioned."

Mom Factoid: Polaris is known as the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor; which is cool because Rising Tide produces a wheat stout called Ursa Minor.  Interestingly, Polaris, is Ursa Minor Weizen Stout but barrel aged in bourbon barrels, that were previously used by Allagash Brewing Company for their Curieux.  Love that there is a cohesiveness & a storytelling quality to the beer that Rising Tide brews!  I am lucky enough to know the brewer, Nathan Sanborn & his wife, Heather.  They embody what a local brewery is all about:  creativity, optimism, hard work & a willingness to share it all with the Portland community.  Speaking of, if you're in the neighborhood, they are having a tour at their brewery TODAY, December 21st at 1:30.   Check out their website for further details at: http://www.risingtidebrewing.com/ or follow them on Twitter @risingtidebeer 
Polaris aging in bourbon barrels!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hibernation Ale

Hibernation Ale is another Great American Beer Festival winner from Great Divide Brewing Company, located in Denver, Colorado.  According to the label it won a Gold Medal in 1997 and Silvers in 2003 & 2006.  Additionally, if looking to pair the Hibernation Ale with food, the label suggests trying; Romano cheese, grilled beef tenderloin and an apple crisp with ginger ice cream.  I haven't had the opportunity to check out the pairings, but I did have the chance to taste a few of Hibernation Ales while home in Binghamton, NY for Thanksgiving. Here are my thoughts:

Aroma: A slight blend of cinnamon & nutmeg spiciness with a deep lingering scent of caramel. Lovely!

Taste: Not overpowering with the caramel but definitely a malt forward flavor; think butterscotch chips & you're headed in the right direction! Yet, very balanced with a subtle bite of hops that create a mild bitterness in the finish.

Color: A beautiful, deep, caramel brown like an amber stone that you can not see through.

Thickness: Medium to full body that coats & creates a welcome stickiness of toffee like consistency in your mouth. Gorgeous pour with one inch of creamy, tannish head that leaves a delicate lacing in your pint.

ABV: 8.7%; Welcome winter brews :)

Mom Factoid: Sometimes the Thanksgiving holiday literally makes me feel like "hibernating," especially after eating delicious turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, decadent desserts & enjoying craft beer in excess.  Ironically, it turned out that my favorite beer over the Thanksgiving holiday was appropriately named Hibernation Ale.  I knew from having sampled Great Divide brews in the past, that I was in for a treat with their winter seasonal and I was not disappointed. Overall, the beer is very hearty & warming like you would crave in a winter beer. But, beyond those characteristics, the beer is, paradoxically, fresh, (bottled on 10.14.11) and slightly hoppy; two sought after qualities in craft beer but not necessarily present in every style you taste. Bottom line, if you like to hibernate, like me, during the winter months, you'd be foolish not to have Hibernation Ale along for your long journey. Cheers!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Maine Beer Week Update

Maine Beer Week has been going great!  Yesterday, I had the pleasure of chatting with Nathan Sanborn, co-owner & head brewer at Rising Tide, & his wife, Heather, at Novare Res Bier Cafe in Portland.  They were both there for a "Meet the Brewer" event, during which they were able to discuss their Rising Tide Brewing Company mission and chat about their beers, with interested beer geeks, like myself, and fellow mom friend.  Not only did we have a wonderful conversation with the Rising Tide folks but we also sampled their newest special release, Polaris, on tap.  The beer is outstanding & I look forward to featuring it in more depth in a future post.

Nathan Sanborn & me :)
Maine Beer Week
Novare Res Bier Cafe
Portland, Maine

Friday, November 11, 2011

Maine Beer Week: Maine Beer Co. Mean Old Tom Round 2

Mean Old Tom on cask at Sebago

I reviewed this beer back in March, 2011, but feel compelled to share it, again, with readers, as we are celebrating the First Annual Maine Beer Week, November 10-17, 2011, and Mean Old Tom just hit the shelves, again, in Portland. Actually, the husband brought home four bottles, tonight, all bottled on 11.10.11. Awesome! Can't wait to pour one over the next couple of days.  But, since I couldn't wait for these bottles, I went into Portland last night and sampled a Mean Old Tom on cask at Sebago Brewing Company. Wow, talk about delicious.  Okay, back to review, here it is but this time with pictures:

Mean Old Tom

The tenth beer to get reviewed goes by the name Mean Old Tom and is a stout aged on natural vanilla bean.  I was tipped off to this beer by a local mom friend who spotted it at Whole Foods Market in Portland.  It didn't take me long to remember all the necessities I needed to get from WF and off I went with Little J in tow, after Big Sister was happily playing at her Portland nursery school.  May I digress momentarily and say that shopping with a sleeping baby is so much easier than shopping with a three year old, although I did miss the constant background question of, "Mom, can I get a cookie now?"
Anyway, this beer is made locally by the Maine Beer Company, who I'm a HUGE fan of as they produce an ale called the Peeper and another ale, an amber, called the Zoe, which is delicious! So, I was thrilled to hear that they released a stout, since I thoroughly enjoy stouts and the added vanilla bean is the perfect complement!  Moreover, the bottle that I selected is Batch #1 which means I was tasting some brand new-to-the-world brew--exciting stuff!  Not only was I excited, but it tasted fantastic and the story behind the name of the beer added to the fun of drinking it, as I have a very close friend named Tom who I thought maybe this was named after---just joking TP!

Taste:  light vanilla bursts onto the palate with mild mocha hints in the background

Color:  a deep almost chestnut brown

Thickness:  light to moderate; very smooth almost silky with minimal head and a few bubbles

Will it help me sleep better?  The perfect number of 6.5% ABV means I could do fine with just one but two would mean bedtime!

Mom Factoid:  As mentioned earlier, I have a close friend named Tom which made me think of him while I was enjoying this brew.  Isn't it funny how names transform us to places and memories of people who have those names?  Speaking of, picking names is quite the adventure, between family ties, popularity rankings, meanings etc, you can have a blast or a headache leading up the the big day!

Mean Old Tom bottles

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rising Tide Polaris Launch

Do you want to know what brew is in that barrel?

Mom Factoid: The latest release from Rising Tide Brewing Company:  Polaris!
This brew is a stout aged in bourbon barrels that were shared by Allagash Brewing Company.
Polaris hits shelves in Maine tomorrow & there are only going to be 336, hand numbered, bottles available.
Hoping, I can get a few bottles, to help hold me over, the impending cold winter ahead.

Nathan Sanborn
Owner & Brewmaster at Rising Tide

PS Do you want to meet the brewer & learn more about Polaris & the  great line-up of brews Rising Tide produces? 
During Maine Beer Week, there are a variety of opportunities to do so, click here to find one!

PPS Get out & support your local brewery!

Monday, November 7, 2011

50 BACK The Brew of the Brave

Press Release:

50 BACK Brings The Brew of the Brave to Maine

50% of Profits Supports Veteran's Organizations


Pepperell, MA (November 7, 2011) –   With Veterans Day just a few days away, dozens of restaurants and retailers across the state of Maine are welcoming a new beer to their menus.  50 Back, The Brew of the Brave, will be available across Maine beginning this week.  50 Back, an American-style lager, proudly donates 50% of its profits to veteran's organizations.


50 Back was created by New England natives Paige Haley and Kimberly Rogers. Newcomers to the beer industry, Haley and Rogers came up with the idea of 50 Back after searching for a way to give back to Troops and Veterans. For every purchase of 50 Back Lager, the company donates 50% of its net profits to charities committed to supporting veterans and active duty service members and their families, all of whom who have sacrificed to protect our Nation and the freedom for which it stands. 


"Veterans and their families sacrifice every day for the rest of us.  We wanted to find a way to recognize their efforts," said Kimberly Rogers, Co-founder of 50 Back Brewing Company.  "Now when the citizens of Maine toast the sacrifices of the brave service men and women, they can support them in a concrete way by helping the charities that assist them." 


50 Back will be distributed by Mariner Beverages, Inc, a wholesale distributor of Fine Wines and Craft Beers in the state of Maine.  Located in Portland, Mariner Beverage will be offering 50 Back to licensed restaurants and retailers from Kittery to Bangor/Ellsworth and seasonal deliveries to the mountains and Mt. Desert Island.  Accounts across the state like Broadway Variety in South Portland, Food City in Bridgton, Bootleggers in Topsham, RSVP in Portland, and Brackett's Market in Bath are amongst those that will carry 50 Back. 


"At Mariner, we strive to provide the best possible portfolio of beers and wines to our customers across Maine.   50 Back fits that category," said Tim Wissemann, founder and President of Mariner Beverages.    "Not only is 50 Back a high quality brew, its mission of supporting military veterans and their families rings true to so many families across the state of Maine.  We know our customers will support their efforts.  We look forward to introducing them to 50 Back."    


50 Back Beer is currently supporting four national veteran support organizations, including the USO, Homes for Our Troops, the Ahern Family Charitable Foundation, and America's VetDogs


For more information about 50 Back and the charities they support, visit www.50Back.com.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Grocery List

Mom Factoid:  Most weeks, I try to hit the grocery store as infrequently as possible with the little duo.  Alas, sometimes, this plan falls WAY short & we end up, there, zooming around in the double seat car cart, that impedes everyone's travel path, including ours! But, enough mini ranting about the challenges of grocery shopping with children.
This post is truly an infomercial for tomorrow's FIRST ever International Stout Day. What does this mean to you & me?  Click here for the precise details, but bottom line, if you've ever wanted to try a stout, tomorrow's the day and if you're a stout lover like myself, you are thrilled to have a reason to find a tasty stout at the grocery store or wherever else your list takes you! Cheers!

Great Divide Brewing Company
Yeti Imperial Stout

PS Please leave a comment below if you plan to drink a stout & tell me what you plan to have.  It will be neat to see the variety of stouts that people consume on International Stout Day!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Maine Beer Week Update

In just two short weeks, the first ever Maine Beer Week kicks off.  A range of events throughout the state begin on November 10th and run through November 17th.  Not only is this week about supporting local craft beer but also supporting local retaurants & chefs who are pairing their delicious food with a variety of brews.  Furthermore, there are some charitable events planned during the week as well.  For more specific details on what is occuring during Maine Beer Week, read the schedule below:

Schedule of Events:

Nov 10
Five Brewers + Five Courses @ David's 11-10-11, starting at 6:00 PM, at David's Restaurant, Chef David Turin and five premier breweries will join flavors and kick off Maine Beer Week. The meal will include 5 perfectly paired courses. David's cuisine will be matched with beers from Oxbow, Rising Tide, Marshall Wharf, Maine Beer Co., and Baxter Brewing Company. To make reservations call the restaurant at (207) 773-4340.

Oxbow Night at Novare Res Bier Cafe
11-10-11, starting at 4PM. The brewers will be at Novare presenting their finest beers.

Beer dinner at Inn by the Sea
11-10-11, $42. per person including beer flight. Call for details (207) 799-3134.


Nov 11
Oxbow Night at Lion's Pride 11-11-11, starting at 5:00 PM, Oxbow Night at The Lion's Pride in Brunswick. The brewers will be presenting an enticing lineup of beers. 5-8pm.

Rising Tide Beer Dinner at Farmers Table
11-11-11, gathering at 6:00 PM, dinner starting at 6:30, at Farmers Table. Four courses with four Rising Tide beers. $65 per person, includes tax and tip. Please call for reservations, (207) 347-7479.

Maine Beer Company night at Novare Res Bier Cafe
11-11-11, starting at 4PM.

Nov 12
Goods from the Woods
11-12-11, noon to 5PM. Oxbow Brewing Company proudly presents "The Goods From The Woods", a first annual event at the brewery to celebrate Maine Beer Week. The brewery will be open for tours, samples, growler fills, and general revelry in the gorgeous farmhouse setting. Harvest Moon Pizza will be joining the party, offering brick oven pizza baked in their mobile oven. Please carpool, as parking space is limited. www.oxbowbeer.com and www.facebook.com/oxbowbeer for details.

Nov 14
Meet your local brewer dinner at Newcastle Publick House
11-14-11 Oxbow Brewing and the Newcastle Publick House will be collaborating on a beer dinner beginning with a "meet your local brewer" happy hour at 5pm. Dinner to start at 6pm, please call for reservations. (207) 563-3434.

Nov 15
Dian Fossy Gorilla Fundraiser at Nosh
11-15-11, starting at 6:00 at Nosh Kitchen Bar. Maine Beer Co. fundraiser for Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. 1/2 of Maine Beer sales go to charity.

Nov 16

Back Street Bistro Beer Dinner
11-16-11, starting at 6:00 PM, at Back Street Bistro. Oxbow Brewing is teaming up with the Back Street Bistro in Brunswick for a beer dinner in the upstairs bar. Please call for reservations, (207) 725-4060.

Rising Tide Brewers Night at Nocturnem Draft House
11-16-11, starting at 6:00 PM, Rising Tide pint glass giveaway at Nocturnem Draft House.

Nov 17
Total Tap Takeover @ Great Lost Bear
11-17-11, from 5:00 to 9:00pm, at Great Lost Bear, twenty-one Maine breweries are taking over. Every tap will be pouring award-winning drafts from Maine. Maybe better yet, the event supports Preble Street.

Beer Garden Dinner at Pairings and Penobscot Bay Brewery
11-17-11, from 6:30pm, at Pairings and Penobscot Bay Brewery. Chef Doug Winslow presents five courses paired with five Penobscot Bay Brewery Ales. $35 per person plus tax and tip. Reservations required. Call 207-223-4500.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Museum Monday

Mom Factoid:  Monday mornings, here in Portland, usually mean a trip with the little duo, to the Children's Museum! From 9-11AM, it is only open to members, which, typically, makes for a great playtime!  Mondays, also mark an attempt at preparing a meatless meal for the whole family.  What do your Mondays mean to you? Wish you could join us at the museum or for dinner?  Sadly, my cooking isn't anything to focus on.  Instead, I thought I'd provide you a chance to imagine yourself, walking the halls of a photography exhibit, featuring craft beer pictures that I've taken, these past few months.  Cheers to having a meaningful Monday, in your neck of the woods :)

Mom's Brew Pics Photogallery
Part 2: