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



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!