Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tour de Maine 2017

This past January I got to enjoy one of the best birthday gifts from my wife, a day with no responsibility and lots of beer with a friend. She even set up the buddy to go with. The rules were simple (or so I thought) the trip has to be a day trip meaning I had to be home at night (no overnight). Needless to say my wife and I had different ideas what this meant.

Knowing that I had the whole day I decided the trip needed to be to Portland, ME. A number of years back before kids Kristin and I did a trip to Portland as part of our vacation. Since then the number of breweries doubled and even gained critical acclaim. So we were off late morning for the first stop at Bissell Brothers, they opened at 10 and we made sure that this was the first stop. Then it was to Foundations, Allagash, Austin St, Rising Tide, Oxbow and then on our way back home we would stop at Tributary. Other than not planning out where to eat we were set.

We arrived at Bissell about 20 minutes before they opened and were not too far behind the line that had formed. They were well organized and we got it, got our first beer and purchased a lot of beer and I even got a glass to come back with. This was by far one of my favorite breweries we visited and thy clearly have some of the best beer in Maine and the East Coast. The beer I tried that was on tap was Swish and it was excellent, hoppy and smooth. I could see why there is always a run on this beer. The ones we brought home was Substance and Lux. I was disappointed in myself for not bringing my whole allotment of Lux home with me. It was fantastic, it's a hoppy rye ale that I could drink all day long. So if any readers are going to Portland anytime soon or would love to mail me more cans of Lux I would be eternally grateful.

The next stop on our tour was Foundations. Their beer was solid overall with everything we tried. I think I had them built up in my mind, similar to Bissell but they didn't deliver the same way. There we tried three beers and left with one. My favorite out of the group was Afterglow, a fairly standard IPA, it was good, fairly piney. The other were fine choices too.

After we got a little lunch at Hannafords we went into Allagash for our tour. The last time I was at Allagash it was half the size and there was no coolship. Still, though the beer is excellent and it was awesome seeing both facilities. We left with my favorite beer we tried Little Brett, a brettanomyces pale ale. It was a sour ale made with mosaic hops. It was light, hoppy and a little bit sour.

Afterward, we went back across the street to Austin St. brewing and tried a couple of their beers. Florens was the top beer that I tried from them, even brought a growler home. I was hoping to not bring any growlers home but this beer was too good to let go.

Next, we drove across Portland to Rising Tide, this was another one of the breweries that we visited years ago, they had just opened the new facility not long after we went. Years later the place is huge and fully built out with a real bar and lots of beers. This was the first brewery where I went off and tried things I normally don't do, like drink beer with seawater in it. Yup, it had seawater in it and it was good, a little too salty for my tastes but I could tell that it was good.

After Rising Tide, we were starting to run out of steam but we still had two breweries to go. One thing I have learned is that I am not a big fan of Sours and that is what Oxbow is known for. I am sure they were good but I didn't really want to try any. The farmhouse was a good beer but not worth taking home with me.

Our final stop was at Tributary in Kittery, ME and I have to say this was the one place I was disappointed with. The Imperial IPA had a high amount of flaked wheat in it, or at least it came through strongly. The Pale Ale was ok but I would be interested in trying some of their other beers but I think dinner had a stronger calling on my stomach than any more beer.

All in all, it was a great trip and I would love to go back again, maybe for not all of the breweries but I definitely have my favorites. 

What are your thoughts, let me know in the comments below. Also, I am in the process of planning to start podcasting, so keep an eye out for it.











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