Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Beercation: Portland Day 2 (Final Beercation Post)

This was the door to something beautiful
So later in the week we went to Portland for a second time. There is a lot of beer in Portland and the surrounding area and I intended to get as much of it as I could. We were able to visit 3 breweries and we began at Allagash.

Here I go again with the Artsy Me
Allagash was a great first stop at 11:00 a.m. They have great looking facility and our tour guide was great. We began our tour with testing the product. They poured 4 beers for us: Allagash White, Tripel, Curieux, and Bourbon Barrel Black. The tour itself was great; I took a bunch of pictures especially of the barrel room, which was awesome.

White: This is their flagship beer. The beer is their take on a Belgian Wheat Beer. It had a strong coriander taste. This beer is one that I will generally gravitate towards when I'm out if I don't feel like drinking an IPA.  The wheat and coriander together is light and refreshing and always enjoyable. 

The second beer I tasted was the Tripel. The Tripel was a smooth finishing beer that had a strong taste of honey and banana. The banana flavor is common in many of the beers in the Allagash, which comes from their yeast. The beer was fine overall but I don't think I would order one out.

One of the brewers was adding
local cherries to a beer
Next on the list of beers was Curieux. This beer is one that I haven't tried before and one that I won't forget next time I'm looking to get a non-IPA beer. The beer had a nice light bourbon flavor to it and some soft vanilla notes. While I am not a vanilla fan, this was a very nice beer. Similar to many double IPA's this beer is 11% alcohol, which is high overall. I believe this happens because of the aging process in the bourbon barrels that they purchased from Jim Beam. 

Here are some of the barrels with various beer
The final beer at Allagash was one you can only get on tap in the Portland area; this is the Bourbon Barrel Black. This is there black beer aged in three stages in Jim Beam Bourbon barrels. They then mixed the three stages together to make one beer. Black is a Belgian Stout that has a strong coffee taste. Although I don't like coffee at all, it seems that I can pick out the coffee roast in any stout. This is unfortunate because I am told that I miss out on many good beers. This beer was tasty but I don't think I could drink a pint of it. 

Another Artsy shot of barrels
Allagash: Good Beer, Great Tour, A must for any beer lover going to Portland!

The next stop on our tour was Rising Tide.

One day I'll have one this nice
Rising Tide is a nano-brewery located on Fox street in Portland and was worth the drive to find it. They began as a small nano-brewery, by the urging of friends to continue to pursue their love of making high quality beers. I was extremely surprised and I thoroughly enjoyed that surprise. Our tour guide was one of the owners, which also was unique, as most breweries that we have toured hired this out to other people. The other interesting part of the tour is they were still in the process of getting everything up and running, which was neat to see. 

They had two beers on tap that we were able to try. The first was Daymark, an American Pale Ale. As I reflect on our vacation (this post is the last and is many days later) this was my favorite beer overall. It is brewed with Columbus and Centennial hops which gives us a spicy presence in the beer. The grain they use is all from Maine and Valley Malt in South Hadley. They also dry hop the beer to give more of a hop aroma. The beer was smooth and so enjoyable that I purchased a bomber to bring home with me. 

Look at all this new equipment, so shiny
The other beer that had available for us to try was Ishmael. Ishmael is an American Copper Ale, which means that it a type of altbiers from Germany. Altbiers are top yeast fermented; this was done at a warm temperature. This beer had a nice malty flavor and a good hop presence. It is a solid beer and one that I would love to have available in Western Mass. Again many of the grains come from the local area. 

Up in the left corner is their original system they worked off
Once they have everything up and running they will begin to distributed outside of Maine and into Mass.

Rising Tide: Best Beer, Best Tour of vacation.

The final brewery that we visited in Portland and on Vacation was Maine Beer Company.

This tour was one that was disappointing, our guide didn't seem to know what equipment they had and he wasn't very clear on how things worked.

The beers that we tried were good though. The first of the two was Pepper. This is their standard beer, an American Ale that is lightly hopped in my opinion. It was clean, crisp and very drinkable. There was nothing special about the taste of the beer. What was special is that this was the founder’s first beer that they brewed together. 

The second beer the guy giving the tour said we were lucky that they had it on tap, they were planning to bottle most of the Collaboration Time Ale they did with Lawson's Finest Ales from Vermont. I don't remember what type of beer it was but I do remember it being dark and hoppy. It was well balanced but I wouldn't buy it for myself. I do have friends that I would have gotten it for if it was in bottles but alas like I said it was the first tap of the beer. 

Maine Beer Company: Good beer, not so good tour. The plus is that it is free and you get free beer so that makes up for it.

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