Saturday, May 28, 2011

Maine Beer Company's Lunch

Is it time for Lunch yet?  If you're in the Portland area, some day soon, you should head to Whole Foods and try The Maine Beer Company's latest addition to their expanding repertoire of delicious beers.  Their newest is an India Pale Ale that they fondly call Lunch. According to the bottle, the name is derived from a story of a,"Fin whale that has been spotted off the coast of Maine since 1982-she has what looks like a bite taken out of her fin which adds to her unique character. We dedicate this beer to her determination & persistence."

Taste:  floral aroma; a hoppiness is picked up each sip & aftertaste lingers more sweet than bitter

Color:  Rich amber

Thickness:  Frothy fluffy white head that lasts the duration of the pour producing a dense mouthful of flavor.  Overall, a moderate thickness yet quite smooth and silky for an IPA


Mom Factoid:  This beer was very fresh as the batch was from 5.18.11.  How lucky to be able to drink fresh brew and eat fresh from local farms.  I love this time of year--get out and support your farmers and brewers!
BTW, The Maine Beer Company donates their spent grain to local farmers. They recycle their grain bags and give 1% of all sales to environmental non-profits! How cool are they?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yuengling Lager

I RE-discovered one of my favorite beers, the Yuengling Lager, this past weekend, when visiting the Seneca Lake wineries with a group of great girlfriends.  Drinking beer while exploring the Finger Lakes region of New York State seems blasphemous but I happily support my decision of packing a tasty cooler of brews for our bus trip to and from the wineries.  Now that I'm in beer review mode, to switch to wine just wasn't going to happen, and surprisingly we discovered a winery on our trip that was brewing its own beer!  It was like hitting the jackpot, because we decided to do our picnic lunch at Wagner's Winery which had a beautiful back deck area overlooking Seneca Lake.  In addition, to the beautiful view, we indulged ourselves with an assortment of  Wagner's homemade brews.  Their lengthy beer selection ranged from stout, IPA, lager, pilsner, bock and a seasonal. My two favorites were the Grace House Honey Wheat and the Dockside Amber Lager. I didn't take notes but if you want more information on their beers, check out this link:

Back to my old stand-by, the Yuengling Lager, which is from the oldest brewery in America dating back to 1829. The brewery, located in Pottsville, PA has a historic timeline you can learn about, if you follow this link: 

After all these years, I still think their lager, in a can, is pure deliciousness! Here's why:
Taste:  Aroma is a tad nut-like with a mild malt candy flavor that is not too sweet; slightly carbonated

Color: Out of the can it pours a golden amber

 Thickness: Soft white frothy head that lingers for a little bit after the pour; a light mouthful with a creamy fullness on the tongue that quickly fades

ABV:  Only 4.9% resulting in a high drinkability as it goes down a bit too easy!

Mom Factoid:  As, gasp, Memorial Day weekend approaches, Yuengling is an excellent brew for a BBQ & hanging out with friends and their brood!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Runabout Red Ale & Pamola Xtra Pale Ale

I took a much needed, SOLO, field trip to Sebago Brew Pub, in the Old Port, during ACBW (American Craft Beer Week), to sample some special brews! I told the husband this was my variation of him going for a SOLO morning run!  He said, "Go! Have fun but what should I feed the kids?" 
Anyway, once I got there, the environment at the pub was lively and full of excitement for the release of rare craft beers!  The menu of beer, not food, was long & descriptive!
I first attempted to sample a never before released beer called 'Lunch' produced by The Maine Beer Company (remember Mean Old Tom?) but that keg had already kicked (mind you it was only 6PM!)  So, I went with another Maine brewery, Baxter Brewing Company, known for reintroducing quality beer in a can. I tried their pale ale which ironically was on draft and not in a can!
After polishing that pint, I knew I needed to look at a food menu, since I rarely have more than one beer in a sitting, due to my title of MOM & sleep deprivation!  Anyway, I went out on a limb, ordering buffalo chicken tenders and proceeded to request a Sebago Runabout Red Ale to pair with the food!
While waiting at the bar to eat, my people watching & eaves dropping skills were in full on mode, and I happened to hear someone chatting about Lunch.  I politely joined in the conversation and mentioned how bummed out I was that I missed my chance at trying that beer!  The woman, who called herself Rory, empathized with me & cheerfully proclaimed that she knew where and when I could try Lunch!  All of a sudden, I was in the "in" crowd and was readily soaking up their secret club information about Lunch:
-go to RSVP Beverage store in Portland
-at 4pm the following day
-Lunch will be poured & sold in bottles! 
I nodded fervently while receiving these tips and said, "Thanks, I hope to be there!  But, don't judge me if I also have my two little ones in tow!" 
Stay tuned to see if I finally get to taste Lunch! 
Beer descriptions from the menu @ Sebago:  (My thoughts on the beers are beneath each of  the brief summaries)
Baxter's Pamola Xtra Pale Ale (4.9% ABV):  "A pale brewed with a proprietary blend of North American 2-row malted barely, including barley grown in Northern Maine's Aroostook County.  Bright golden in color with a creamy head. Subtle malt and hop aroma."
CQC: pour produced a golden straw color; little head with mild to moderate carbonation; nice & light finish; overall a good beer
Sebago's Runabout Red Ale (5% ABV):  "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 a seasonal ale.  It was so popular with regulars that we started brewing it year round in 2002" 
CQC:  pour produced a cranberry hued liquid; bursts of sweetness erupted with each sip; head stayed frothy & filled the mouth; delicious!

For a complete list of all the beers served at the event go to:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Twilight Brewing

On the VERY first day of American Craft Beer week (May 16-22), I'm VERY excited to be reviewing two home brews made by Twilight Brewing out of Binghamton, NY. Technically, TB hasn't been officially reviewed, so I feel honored to expose their beers to the loyal "followers" & readers of Mom's Malt Barley Blog! 
Naming your brew has power & prestige and in Twilight's case, they creatively tied their brews to an occasion-the Kentucky Derby! So, drum roll, the two beers getting reviewed are called: Along The Rail Pale Ale and Horsie-Weizen!
Now, for the results from their first public appearance!
Along the Rail Pale Ale: 
Taste:  Vibrantly fresh with a noticeable crispness! There was a subtle bite coupled with a carmel sweetness! Overall, the beer was delicious!
Color: Appearance was a deep amber
Thickness: the pour produced a plentiful & frothy head! Mild-to-moderate thickness with a smooth and creamy finish.
ABV: 6%  
Taste: pleasant on the palate with lemon overtones (lemon wedge was placed in the glass as directed by the brew master); no bitterness
Color: a beautiful chrome 
Thickness: after the pour there was a tiny head with a pretty array of sediment particles (the yeast); a balanced carbonation produced a light mouthful & finish
ABV: 5%
Mom Factoid:  When you raise kids, it's natural to want them brought up in a supportive community beyond their family members.  Proudly, I was raised for most of my childhood in Binghamton, NY as were the creators of Twilight Brewing. We share our hometown with Rod Serling, the creator of the Twilight Zone. He had this to say about his hometown: 
"Everybody has to have a hometown.
Binghamton's mine.
In the strangely brittle, terribly sensitive
make-up of a human being, there is a need for a
place to hang a hat or a geographical womb to
crawl back into, or maybe just a place that's
familiar because that's where you grew up.  When
I dig back through my memory cells, I get one
particularly distinctive feeling-that's one of
warmth, comfort and well-being.  For whatever
else I may have had or lost, or will find,
I've still got a hometown.
This nobody's gonna take away from me."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Clown Shoes Clementine White Ale

After watching the Curious George episode on PBS, where the Man in the Yellow Hat & George are stuck in the subway, for the 100th time, with the three year old, I was propelled to get this review written.  I know, what does Curious George and brew have in common?  Well, that remains to be seen, but in this particular episode there is a clown in the subway and the most recent brew I tasted was produced by a brewery called Clown Shoes which is located in Ipswich, MA.
I had heard of this brewery--Clown Shoes through some "research" of craft beer blogs and the following link will give context to their name:

Taste: very light with a citrus peel aftertaste...not that enjoyable!

Thickness: very carbonated--too much for my liking as it seemed more like a soda than a beer

Color: an orange silhouette

ABV: 6%

Mom Factoid: Most days being a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) means you need to have a ton of tricks and a great sense of humor, very similar to a clown, minus the red squeaky nose! Another thing you have to have is an outlet or two from the repetitiveness of spending your days with little people.  I've found that reading and writing are great outlets for me....along with tasting a variety of brews :)  One of the best things I've read lately is a fellow blog called 'Dear Life, It's on. Love, Me'.  This blog truly makes me laugh out loud every time there is a new post.  All clowning aside, you should check it out too for a unique perspective on life at:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Magic Hat's Scrumptious Spring Lager

By far, the best signage I've seen this year is from Magic Hat.  Their Scrumptious Spring Lager label caught my eye in Wegmans. I was captivated by the colors and hence took more than one look at it in the cooler.  I ended up getting some, back in April, while visiting my parents and actually took notes on my tasting but left the notes there.  However, upon returning to Binghamton this past weekend for Mother's Day, (may I add that my ten month old son decided to officially call me "mama" on MD...true story) I found my notes and decided this brew and particularly its label were worth the wait for the official review.
The beer is a seasonal release, amber lager, only available from January 15th to March 31st, from Magic Hat, which is a Vermont brewery, located in South Burlington.  I've enjoyed their beers over the years but never run into this one before, and I found it to be very good.

Taste: layered with sweet butterscotch not hoppy or sour in the finish

Color: Garnet with caramel overtones

Thickness: moderate head...goes down quite easily

ABV: 5.1%

Mom Factoid:  Magic is an interesting concept in childhood.  On the one hand, you want your kids "believing" in the impossible and on the other hand you're constantly answering their "why" questions about everything!  Recent example from the 3 year old:  "Mom, why do we have legs?  Why do I have a big toe? Why do we have eyes?"  Typically, I feel propelled, when I have the patience, to give her concrete information.  Yet, it is a "magical" experience to watch their minds figure things out on their own and discover life's mysteries in front of you.