Friday, June 24, 2011

Gritty's Vacationland

I took a much needed, Friday, late afternoon, solo field trip to the Portland Pie Company, to pick up pizza for the troops.  Given that it was 4:30, the bar was empty but the music of the Counting Crows, song being played was Hard Candy, transported me back to summers years ago, when I saw them perform live, with the husband, on Jones Beach in Long Island. I love that song & I love them!  For a few minutes, I was in my twenties again and it felt great :)

Anyway, back to the brew, I tasted Gritty's Summer seasonal, which is called Vacationland.  It's categorized as an American Blond Ale. I found it to be particularly yummy. Here's why:

Taste: Dense flavors mix together in the mouth. Malty but not overly sweet. Definite hop burst onto the scene in the finish.

Color: Mild bronze with hidden orange (almost like a game of peek-a-boo; now you see the orange, now you don't--very cool!)

Thickness: Medium body; poured from draft, produced a quarter inch, white frothy head that lasted the majority of the tasting.


Mom Factoid: "Vacationland" refers to one of the nicknames Maine has! Not being a true Mainer, I'm still getting used to things up here, but I will say, if you've never been, you need to plan a "vacation" here! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Harpoon Summer Beer

After 25 years, the Harpoon Brewery knows how to make quality brew! They've really hit the mark with their summer seasonal, available April-August, which we ended up enjoying this past weekend. When I asked the husband what type of beer he wanted for Father's Day, he first asked me what I would like to review (so sweet) and then suggested I look for this one. Not only did I find it, but I spotted it in cans, specifically a 12 pack, which was exciting!
So, since today, marks the summer solstice, I find it appropriate to share my tasting notes on this yummy, highly drinkable, summer brew:

Taste: The sip is like a cascade of flavors with no bitterness or hop.  Rather, you are greeted with a sweet, crisp, light citrus blend on the palate! Upon sniffing the beer, I detected an orange floral aroma.

Color: faded gold

Thickness: Out of the can, the beer pours an inch thick, snow white, fluffy head that very quickly fades. The husband thought the carbonation level is perfect for this type of beer, a German Kolsch. According to the Harpoon website: 
  • "Harpoon Summer Beer is a Kolsch style ale.  Originating in the Rhineland city of Cologne (Koln), Kolsch ales have the characteristics that many people associate with lager beers.  Kolsch is brewed with an ale yeast."
ABV: 5%

Mom Factoid: Not only did we celebrate Father's Day with our Harpoon Summer but we also celebrated our son's first birthday! May I add that the beer paired well with his cake :)
Love Beer. Love Life. Harpoon
(great motto)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Offshore Amber Ale Martha's Vineyard

You might be wondering how I was able to taste brew from MV & the answer lies in my dad.  He recently spent a week writing in Provincetown & was able to bring some bottles of the Offshore Amber Ale back for me to sample.  Their website provides a brief history of the brewpub and can be accessed at
The Amber Ale is considered their "flagship" brew with a high level of drinkability for visitors of the island to enjoy.  I may not have traveled to the island for my experience of being "offshore" but it sure is a tasty beer. If you're lucky enough to be traveling to MV or Cape Cod this summer, see if you can find some to try too!

Taste: Nutty with caramel overtones & a mildy sweet aftertaste

Color: Poured an acorn hazy brown

Thickness: Medium body, a very small head with barely any froth; low carbonation

ABV: 5.0 %

Mom Factoid: Back in my very early coaching days at Newton South High School, I had the extraordinary experience of taking a ferry over to Martha's Vineyard & chaperoning some members of my Newton South Girls' Basketball family!  Iwould love to return someday with my own family & enjoy the beauty of Martha's Vineyard with them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shipyard Summer @ Famous Daves

Weeks after taking tasting notes on Shipyard's Summer Ale, today, I woke up motivated to post them. Why you wonder?  The place I had this beer is called Famous Daves (a bbq joint in Scarborough) & the husband goes by the same name...not the "famous" part but the "Dave" part!  And, guess what he's doing tonight for a work-related, team-bonding activity?  Drum roll.....participating in a private beer tasting at Gritty McDuffs in the Old Port.  I'm not jealous, really, just finding the irony in the situation.  I'm hopeful, that he will provide some quality tasting notes on the brews he tries & maybe share them as a guest post later on.  Anyway, back to Shipyard's Summer release which is considered an American Pale Ale:

Taste: Crisp & refreshing; no bitterness! Aftertaste is non-lemony with a slightly malty finish; quite enjoyable as the sweetness is not overpowering for a summer brew. I was unable to detect a distinct aroma as the air in the bar was filled with deep bbq scents resulting in mouth watering drool!

Color: Draft pour yields a mild gold

Thickness: Mild body with very low carbonation.  There was a small white, non-frothy head which didn't linger.

ABV: 5.10%

Environment: 3 flat screens in an open & airy bar with a friendly waitstaff

Mom Factoid: Given that the husband & I could eat bbq all the time, I'm wondering, if a family, can live off of bbq in the summer? Any recipe suggestions for kid-friendly bbq sides?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Saranac Pale Ale

I've always enjoyed Saranac's Black & Tan and thought it would be fun to purchase their 12 Beers of Summer variety pack.  My intent was to sample a few from the variety pack and share my opinions on more than one beer.  I have sampled a few of them, but find that I only want to review their Pale Ale (read between the lines, the others:  Kolsch, Summer Ale, Belgian White and Hefeweizen were decent beers but not ones I would pick again)!  However, the Pale Ale was tasty and the opportunity to give a shout out to Utica, NY and the Boilermaker was too tempting--so here goes:

Taste:  Mild bitterness, did not detect any sweetness; overall a balanced fresh flavor with a slight pop on the palate after the sip

Color:  Pours a chrome color

Thickness:  Medium-bodied smooth mouth full; Low carbonation; Plentiful frothy white head which diminished quickly after the pour

ABV:  4.7 %

Mom Factoid:  Prior to having the little duo, I ran a few road races.  One of the neatest was the Boilermaker Road Race, which takes place in Utica, NY.  Its official sponsor is the Saranac Brewery.  Check out this link to learn more about the brewery:
Besides being a 15K, which is a unique distance for a road race, after you finish running, you get to drink free beer courtesy of the Saranac Brewery. Check out the following website if you are interested in learning more about the race:
I'm hoping to run this race again, maybe next summer :)

Allagash Victoria Ale Premiere at Victoria Mansion

Future field trip for this mom...upcoming event in Portland!

Sounds like the place to be....