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. and 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:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Allagash Coolship Red

Brewery:  Allagash
Location:  Portland, Maine

Style:  Described on the November 4, 2010 dated bottle, as an "ale aged in oak barrels with raspberries."

Aroma: Candied sweet tarts that have gotten damp/wet.

Taste: Tartly with an effervescence of mixed berries popping on your palate! Sour meets slightly salty in the finish. Very unique. But, I am someone who loves sour and salt so this combo appeals to me.  A very nice beer that I would highly recommend trying, if you can find it (see Mom Factoid below for info).

Color: An incredibly brillant fuchsia pink.

Thickness: Light mouthful yet bubbles create a depth each sip; a scant white head lingers during the tasting.

ABV: 5.7%

Mom Factoid:  This bottle was one of only 400 released back in late August at the brewery.  I learned of this from one of the brewmasters' twitter feed & hustled over to pick up a bottle.  Upon arriving, I learned you could purchase two bottles per/person for $15 each.  I chose to only buy one as I wasn't sure what to expect with the brew & don't have $30 to splurge on my craft beer hobby.  Anyway, I've since learned that these bottles were quite the hype, on the trading circuit, throughout craft beer geekdom.  Maybe, in the future, I will try to purchase more of Allagash's speciality release brews & explore the unique trading world, that exists for fans of rare craft beer. 
Speaking of, in less than two weeks, Allagash is releasing Ghoulschip on Halloween.  The following information became available yesterday to the public via the brewery:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale

Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale
Novares Res Bier Cafe
Portland, Maine

One of the newest & smallest breweries to emerge in Maine is located in a renovated barn on an 18 acre farm property in Newcastle.  The Oxbow Brewing Company specializes in producing, "traditional Belgian farmhouse beers with contemporary American influence."
Recently, I was meeting friends, who were visiting Portland & I suggested rallying for a brew at Novares Res in the Old Port.  I quickly glanced at the draft menu of brews & the Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale stuck right out.  Once the server placed it in front of me, I immediately took a picture.  This is one of the prettiest beers I've seen poured in a long time.  Look at the beautiful oranges & yellows in the glass.  Not only was the beer pretty, it was refrestingly delicious, sip after sip! 
Since, I wasn't taking actual tasting notes during my visit with friends, here is the Oxbow description of its Farmhouse Pale Ale from their website:
  • "Our Farmhouse Pale Ale has a golden and unfiltered body, the spicy yeast notes of a Belgian Saison-style ale, and the citrusy hop character of an American Pale Ale.  This beer’s creative merging of traditional styles embodies American farmhouse brewing at its finest." 
Mom Factoid:  If your mouth is watering, after seeing the Farmhouse Ale picture & after reading this post, you're in luck.  Tonight, at The Great Lost Bear in Portland, you can meet the Oxbow brewers and try their beers.  Sounds like a great way to go support local craft beer!  Cheers :)

Follow Oxbow Brewing Company on Twitter: @oxbowbeer
Or find them on the web at:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Preview: Pumking, Smashed, Imperial & Punkin

During the month of September, I had a poll question asking readers to vote on a pumpkin brew or two for me to taste once October arrived.  The results of the Pumpkin Poll by percentages were:
  • 40% Punkin by Dogfish Head
  • 40% Pumking by Southern Tier
  • 27% Smashed Pumpkin by Shipyard
  • 18% Pumpkin Ale by Smuttynose
  • 18% Pumpkinhead by Shipyard
  • 18% Imperial Pumpkin by Weyerbacher

The reality is that I was not able to secure all of the above brews for the tasting, but in a herculian effort, I managed to finagle a trade, on the playground, the other day, for one Dogfish Head Punkin in exchange for a Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron! Additionally, I was also able to snag a Smashed Pumpkin by Shipyard a few weeks back, as I remember not being able to find those too deep into October last year.  The Southern Tier Pumking I had on hand along with the Imperial Pumpkin by Weyerbacher.  I can easily find Shipyard's Pumpkinhead & thus it doesn't appeal to me to add it in this post, as the ones I'm focusing on were more in the "speciality" pumpkin category. 
As far as a formal tasting, I didn't do that.  Instead, I shared the brews with the husband & the visiting younger brother & called it a night to "preview the pumpkins"!
Here are the pictures from the preview & a few comments on our reactions but I will let you make up your own mind when/if trying pumpkin brews this autumn. 

Pumking by Southern Tier

The Pumking has a 8.8% ABV & I thought it would be neat one to share on the husband's birthday; given that he's a King!  We both had high hopes for it, as it came highly recommended out in the beer geek world & also because we LOVE Southern Tier's Creme Brulee brew.  However, both of us found this beer to be too syrupy & sweet without a balance of bold pumpkiness to offset the sweetness. The aroma was full of cinnamon & pumpkin overtones, but once I began sipping the liquid, it just didn't work for my palate.  However, I know many folks who rave about this one, so if you can find it, you should give it a whirl and see what category you fall into.

Smashed Pumpkin by Shipyard

The next speciality pumpkin beer we had, this time joined by the younger brother, was by Portland's Shippyard Brewing Company.  The Smashed Pumpkin is from their Pugsley's Signature Series & is a limited release offering, whereas their popular Pumpkinhead is now being distributed from August through Thanksgiving, for the first time this year.  In terms of the Smashed, which has a 9% ABV, both the husband & brother felt this was the best pumpkin brew of the evening.  It has dense flavors of cinnamon & pumpkin that hit your palate without the syrupy feel we hinted about from the Pumking.  I too prefered this to the Southern Tier's but my favorites of the night are still to come.

Punkin by Dogfish Head

The next pumpkin beer we tasted was the offering from Dogfish Head, one of my favorite breweries.  The Punkin has an ABV of 7% & isn't as boozy as the Smashed from Shipyard yet the flavors of pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg (as listed on the bottle) really meld well together.  The result is a smooth sip of Fall in your glass.  I found this one to be really enjoyable, whereas the husband & brother preferred the bolder pumpkin flavors of the Smashed.

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Last but not least, we sampled the Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Weyerbacher.  This brew boasts a medium ABV of 8% so it wasn't as strong as the Smashed or Pumking but had  more alcohol than the Punkin.  Personally, by this point in the evening, my palate wasn't really able to distinguish all the separate flavors the Imperial has but overall, the brew was a nice pumpkin offering.  Smooth, pretty in the glass, aromatic without being too powerful & had my personal favorite label (for what it's worth).

Mom Factoid:  The Pumpkin Poll was a fun way to engage readers on the blog & the tasting was a fun way to interact with others, while enjoying a variety of beer.  Therefore, whether it's a pumpkin style beer you're looking to try or a plethora of pale ales, ask around, get feedback & share your tasting with friends.  Being social is key in exploring the craft beer universe & also in parenting!

Friday, October 7, 2011

GABF Silver Medal Winner: Sunshine Pils, Tröegs Brewing Co

Last weekend finished up the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO.  The medal winners are listed by here!  Interestingly, I had one silver medal winner, from the German Pilsner category watching me from my fridge these past few weeks:  Sunshine Pils, from Tröegs Brewing Co., in Harrisburg, PA.  So, I decided I better check out what makes this an award winner!

Style:  Pilsner aka Pilsener (defined as a pale, light lager)

Aroma: Blend of citrus & cleaning products.

Taste:  Subtle lemon & pine tones hit the nose followed by a mild bitterness.  Detected a cottony feel in my mouth as the tasting continued.

Color:  Sunburst yellow

Thickness: Very light body with a beautiful & continual cascade of bubbles.  Small white head lasting the duration of the tasting, leaving lacing along the sides of the pint glass.

ABV:  5.3%;  Overall, an easy drinking beer with mild flavor.  More typical of a summer beer choice for me than a fall brew choice, but depending on where you live & do (think tailgating), this could be a perfect pint.

Mom Factoid:  Ironically, this past Wednesday, October 5th, marked two famous birthdays. First, the husband took the plunge further into his thirties & the other BIG birthday was the 169th celebration of the most well known Pilsner beer:  Pilsner Urquell.  Further irony, this weekend, here in Maine, we are supposed to have temperatures in the 80s, talk about getting a heavy dose of sunshine (but this time the kind with the vitamin D, not the Tröegs Sunshine Pils type from a bottlle)!  However, if the warm temps inspire you to seek out a new beer, to taste this weekend, rally around a light bodied, low ABV & land yourself a Pilsner.
Cheers ;)