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!