Draft-only Allagash Treat

Posted by Jim on Mar 23rd, 2012
Mar 23

Allagash Saison Mihm

look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Served in a 13.5 oz tulip at the Great Lost Bear. This beer has been available in town for a month or so, but this is my first time trying it.

It’s a dark copper colored beer, almost like an amber ale. The head is tall, off-white and foamy. As it settles plenty of uniform lacing is left behind. It’s too dark in here to see if there is any internal carbonation.

The beer has a semi-dry, grassy aroma. There is apparently a lot of lemongrass in this beer, s that is probably what I am smelling. The are small amounts of lemon citrus and candi sugar sweetness, but I am not smelling anything that I can directly attribute to the yeast.

There is a lot of lemongrass to the flavor of this beer. Some Belgian sugars are also evident. A somewhat dry finish has some musty flavors that I assume are caused by the yeast. There is a touch of pepper in the aftertaste that is very interesting.

The beer has a light effervescent feel. The pepper and carbonation manage to tickle my tongue a lot more than I expected. The beer has a fuller body than most Samson’s and has a lot of carbonation.

This is an interesting beer. I can see what it is draft only. I can’t see myself drinking a full 750ml bottle of this one, but I also don’t see it having the wide appeal that would move it in 12oz bottles. Allagash could get away with doing a brewery only release in 375ml bottles, but the draft only method of delivery will get the beer into more people’s glasses. It was a good decision to go this way. If you are a fan of Allagash, give this one a try.

Spring Snows Yield Great Treasure

Posted by Jim on Mar 16th, 2012
Mar 16

The transition from February to March brought a rather significant snow storm to much of Maine. As a dedicated beer fan, particularly when it concerns Maine beers and especially when it is the first ever limited bottle release from Maine Beer Company, I ventured out into the snow early that Thursday morning to ensure I got myself a bottle of Thank You Allan. Two weeks later, I’ve decided it is time to try this ale that I risked my safety for.

Maine Beer Company Thank You Allan
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
This is bottle #9, it has been in my cellar since the release two weeks ago. As I tried to open the bottle, the twist tab on the cage broke—something that has never happened to me before. I was able to remove the rest of the cage with a butter knife and then pop the cork. I’m pouring it into a Maine Beer Company glass.

The beer is golden and clear, with highlights of orange. Lots of carbonation was clinging to the walls of the glass initially, but it dissipated. There is still plenty of carbonation rising from the bottom. The head was a finger thick layer of pure white bubbles. It has settled to a lacy skim.

The nose has a distinct funk to it. It is more lambic-like than something one would find in a farmhouse ale. There are also aspects of white wine, giving it the overall aroma of white grapes. A slight sweetness, reminding me of powered sugar, lingers in the back.

The flavor has a great mixture of hoppy bitterness and wild yeast sourness. At first it is a slightly sweet pale ale flavor, but wild yeast’s flavors quickly make themselves known. Like the nose, traits of white grapes abound. Fruity hops are mostly tasted in the finish. The beer doesn’t taste as hopped as Lunch, Peeper or MO, but if my memory is correct, it is hoppier than Mean Old Tom. Mild bitterness and a slight musty flavor linger on after swallowing.

This beer provides plenty of tingling sensations. Well after I’ve swallowed, my tongue still feels the ghosts of the carbonation bubbles. I’m sure the sensations are heightened by the sourness of the beer. The body is of medium strength…perhaps slightly fuller than I expected. Carbonation is at above average levels. A slight feeling of a coat is on my lips, but not real physical coat remains inside my mouth.

I like this beer. It’s an interesting wild ale with plenty of hops and not too much sourness. I’m glad I opened the bottle while the hops were still fresh and strong, but I imagine the other flavors would still be quite enjoyable with some time on them. This beer has probably sold out and its unlikely many people will get to try it, but hopefully MBC keeps this barrel-aging program up. I know that I would risk another drive out to the industrial park in a snowstorm for their next special release.

A second, bonus review…

Peak Organic IPA

look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Cellar temp bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Translucent copper orange body with little rising carbonation but a good sized head of light brown bubbles. Good lacing.

S: Big grapefruit hops make up the aroma. There is some earthiness and mustiness mixed in as well.

T: Lots of hops in the flavor profile. Begins grassy, gets piney and ends up oily and bitter. Tastes like there is a fairly high IBU count to this beer, but perhaps it’s just because the malts are minor compared to the hops. Either way, I like it.

M: My lips are left slightly sticky, and there is a decent mouthcoat that has bitter flavors.

O: I like this beer a lot; it’s probably my favorite beer Peak makes. Too bad it isn’t available year-round. I’ll have to seek it out again next time spring rolls around.

Old Friends

Posted by Jim on Mar 10th, 2012
Mar 10

Avery/Russian River Collaboration Not Litigation Ale

look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
This a bottle from batch #2 (2008). I purchased it in August of 2009 and it has been in my cellar since then. I am serving it in my Smuttynsoe tulip at cellar temperature.

The beer is a translucent dark copper color. It appears nearly brown until I shine a light through it. Lots of carbonation can be seen within, both clinging to the walls of the glass and rising to the surface. On top is a finger or so of tan and pink foam. Swirling the glass leaves a filmy coat and patchy foam.

The beer smells fairly sweet, with lots of dark Belgian candi sugar. I am also getting some dark fruits, like raisin and plum. There may be a bit of oxidation, but it isn’t very strong.

The first thing I taste is a big mouthful of raisins. Dark malts (perhaps a measure of them have been roasted?) form a strong base, but I feel that the residual sweetness is mostly from the candi sugar. Hardly any bitterness, just some grassy and coffee notes as I swallow. The finish is musty and only a touch alcoholic. Was this beer a little hot when fresh? The flavor isn’t prefect, but still very enjoyable.

The beer is thick and strongly carbonated. My lips are left sticky and every part of my mouth feels coated. It contains a dry sweetness and a touch of the musty yeast.

This is a fine ale; I’m glad I got to try it. I’m not sure it has improved with the years I’ve been sitting on it, but it was a fun experiment. I’d certainly drink this one again, as it appears that it is still in production.

Two Doubles

Posted by Jim on Mar 3rd, 2012
Mar 3

Sixpoint Resin Double IPA

look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
A chilly tall, narrow can is poured into a glass mug. There is a best by date of 30 July 2012 stamped on the bottom. Thanks to smakawhat for sending me this one!

The beer is darker than some other DIPAs I’ve had the pleasure of drinking; it’s somewhere between a brown ale and an amber. A uniform head of tan foam rest on top. It was a small head as I poured the beer, but it filled out at the end. It’s now two fingers in size. Good lacing rings are left behind as I work through the beer.

A strong hop aroma greets my nose as I inhale. Citrus notes dominate. There is a touch of malt sweetness at the back end to balance things out, but obviously, this one is all about the hops.

This is a big bitter beer. The hops keep going and going. It feels like it is more bitter after I swallow—maybe my tongue just needed to catch up. The hops have some citrus and pine qualities and there is plenty of oil. A slight taste of alcohol is there, but the hops generally mask it. Some malt sweetness can be tasted, to remind you this is a double ale.

The beer is thick and sticky, like many beers of this caliber. Carbonation feels average, possibly slightly low. The hops don’t tingle my tongue as much as I thought they would; perhaps all of the oils dull that sensation.

This is an interesting DIPA. It’s not my favorite example of the stye, and I don’t think it’s going to challenge Pliny and Heady for the top spots, but I’m glad I was able to get a pair of cans. The 103 IBU’s are nothing to laugh about. Resin is recommended to any hop head.

Lagunitas Cruising With Ruben & The Jets Double Stout

look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
This is a cellared bottle I’ve had since August, 2009. I’ve poured it into my Lion’s Pride tulip.

The beer is opaque and colored dark brown. Small spots of ruby are visible where the light makes its way through the liquid. A thin head of tan foam formed as I poured the beer, but now it has settled to a mere skim. Swirling the glass leaves plenty of film and patchy foam on the sides, but the head itself doesn’t reform. Streams of carbonation can be seen rising to the top, but only near the top and right at the sides of the glass.

The beer still has plenty of big chocolate notes in the aroma. There is still some alcohol discernible. Also present is a scent that recalls dark fruits, like plum. It is still an enticing aroma 2+ years after bottling.

The flavor is still good as well, although no longer too complex or robust. Chocolate, raisin, coffee bitterness and alcohol are all present. There isn’t too much sweetness, although you can still tell this is a malt forward beer. There is also still a roasted aspect, but it is minor. I can taste it as the beer first hits my tongue, but it doesn’t last long.

The beer is full-bodied and has medium carbonation levels. The bubbles still manage to tickle my tongue. A pretty good layer of stickiness is left on my lips, but the internal coat isn’t too thick.

This stout is enjoyable, but it is probably past its peak at this point. I never drank it fresh, so I can’t know for sure. If you have a bottle in your cellar, I’d recommend opening it soon. If you never were able to try it, don’t go looking for a bottle now.

Getting to know MO

Posted by Jim on Mar 1st, 2012
Mar 1

Maine Beer Company MO (Madeline & Oliver) Pale Ale
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
I picked up this bottle today from Downeast Beverage in Portland. It wasn’t even on the shelf yet, I had to pull it out of the delivery box. It was bottled on 2.23.12, or possibly 2.28.12, it’s hard to tell, but it seems unlikely that it left the brewery a mere 24 hours ago. The bottle was at room temperature, so I chilled it in the fridge for about 15 minutes before pouring into my MBC glass.

The beer looks ot be strongly carbonated with a very large white foam head that fills the top third of my glass. The body is a clear tarnished gold liquid with plenty of tiny bubbles rising within. Widespread patchy lacing is left behind as the head recedes.

There is a very nice hop aroma on this beer. Big earthy, pin hops smells dominate. I can tell this is one fresh beer.

MO has a pretty decent pale ale flavor. Pine flavored hops are the strongest taste; it gives me the impression of twigs and pine cones. The hops aren’t too oily, but there is a lingering bitterness that isn’t sitting right with me. It doesn’t taste off or anything like that, it’s just not what I was expecting. I guess I would prefer a crisper finish. Still, it is very tasty brew.

Although medium-bodied, the beer feels a touch watery to me. The large amount of hops make me want a meatier beer. Carbonation levels are good.

I like this beer. Although similar, it is distinctly different than Peeper. This is hoppier than a lot of pale ales…it’s close to an IPA. Fans of MBC won’t be disappointed with this new product. IF you’ve enjoyed their other offerings, I recommend you give MO a shot as well.