Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Chris & Emma's 2012 US Beer Adventure - Part 2 - Maine

This post is Part 2 of our US Beer Adventure from last year, which was originally posted to Live Journal last year. With our move to Blogger, we thought it would be worthwhile to re-post it for our new friends to read. Enjoy!

After a red-eye flight from Portland to Portland, ME via Chicago with not much sleep had due to a poorly controlled child. A drive down to York Harbour for a few days to relax (no new beers sampled!) and then a long drive up to Bar Harbour on a crap, rainy day set us up for a couple of days beer sampling.
Gritty's IPA (unknown) - a lightly hopped IPA that is pretty standard. Drinkable but doesn't hold a candle to some of the Oregon IPAs. 
Bar Harbour Real Ale (unknown) - passable pale ale with a subtle flavour but no clear character. 
Atlantic Big Wicked IPA (unknown) - best NE beer so far. Delightfully hoppy but not overpoweringly bitter with a sharp, citrus finish. 
Allagash White (unknown) - fresh, citrus wheat ale that's similar to Hoegaarden but slightly less bitter and body. But that's a good thing as it makes it easier to drink. 
Dogfish Head Raisin D'Etre (unknown) - while not a NE beer (it's from Delaware), this is one of the best beers I had on the NE leg of the trip. Malty and rich with a complex body this is an absolute treat. Has an interesting green raisin flavour in the finish that raises an eyebrow. 
Unibrew Ephemere (approx 5.5%) - flavoured with apples, coriander, cinnamon and possibly oranges. Tastes like a cross between a dry cider and beer and is fucking marvellous. If you see it, buy it and drink chilled.
Unibrew La Fin de Monde 9% - a spiced ale that despite its strength tastes very light. A well-rounded, balanced beer that is probably head and shoulders over other beers in this list but still comes second to its brother, the Ephemere.
I never thought French Canadians could make beer - I was wrong

From Bar Habour, we headed back down to Portland again. After a great dinner with Charlene and Andy at the fantastic Fore Street (thanks for dinner and great company guys!) before having dinner at the Sebago Brewpub the following night, where a gigantic portion of mac n'cheese with lobster nearly finished off poor Emma. But I digress, back to the beers we had on those nights.

Baxter Brewing Stowaway IPA (unknown) - citrusy, hoppy IPA with a refreshing grapefruit flavour. Dry and crisp finish and really quite nice. 
Sebago Local Harvest Ale (unknown) - hoppy yet surprisingly smooth IPA. Drinkable but somewhat behind the better Portland, OR IPAs. 
Sebago Oktoberfest ale (unknown) - a little bit hoppy, a little bit malty with a crisp finish. All right but nothing special. 
Sebago Frye's Leap IPA 6.2% - hoppy, medium-bodied ale with a floral finish. Tasty and would go well with food. 
Sebago Saddleback Ale 4.1% - like a Kolsch with a light body. Very drinkable and crisp. 

Next, on to one of our best experiences of our whole time in New England - our visit to the The Great Lost Bear pub in North Portland. 70 beers on tap plus a few other bottled beers, this could have been THE best NE experience. However, it was ruined (for me) by the host who greeted us, a rather dishelleved chap appeared out of nowhere where an IRA (Irish Republican Army) T-shirt, which had some text on the back proclaiming them as 'heroic freedom fighters'. For my American friends this is the equivalent of wearing an Al-Qa'ida T-shirt proclaiming that they're just defending their 'religious freedom'. I'm sure that wouldn't go down well in most parts of the US, so why is wearing a T-shirt defending the actions of a group of evil men who bombed shopping centres and shot off-duty policemen in front of their wives and children. I had to suppress a rising anger and a very strong desire to accost this individual in order to point out his utter stupidity. He's never been to Northern Ireland, he has no idea what it was like seeing news stories on TV every night reporting the evil that the IRA and their counterparts on the other side of the sectarian divide did to the majority of innocent people on an almost daily basis, so how can he defend their actions? GAAAHHH! However, not wanting to ruin Emma's holiday by starting a fight (while sober), I swallowed my pride and ordered some beer. /rant. On to the beer.

Flying with Great Lost Bear Beerlines

Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA 6% - a medium bodied IPA that has a bitter bite but a fantastic smooth finish. I enjoyed this one :)
Magic Hat #9 Not Quite Pale 5.7% - light bodied ale with a mild fruity finish. Has some bitterness from the hops but remains light and refreshing. Emma liked this one. 
Allagash Confluence 7.5% - interesting nose with complex flavours that include a slight banana scent and something we couldn't quite place. Really quite nice. 
Allagash Curieux 11% - deliciously smooth Belgian wheat beer with a rounded, sweet finish. Aged in Jim Beam casks for 8 weeks which really shows in the finish with a subtle heat like a good whiskey. Excellent beer. 
Allagash Fluxus 8% - light-bodied spicy ale that tastes light at the top but finishes strongly. Delicate fruity finish and similar to the Unibrew La Fin de Monde. Very nice. 
Allagash Tripel 9% - medium-bodied Belgian beer that is strong tasting with an unexpected sweet finish. Not as good as the previous Allagash beers. 
Victory Hop Devil 6.7% - amber IPA that is dry and very hoppy. Has a delicious florsl finish. I enjoyed this but it was a bit too much for Emma. 
Maine Beer Peeper Ale 5.5% - a light-bodied pale, mildly hoppy with a floral finish that is very easy to drink. Went really after the Hop Devil. Both of us enjoyed this one. 
Rising Tide EntrepĂ´t 7.5% - a very smooth, dry medium-bodied ale that has a surprisingly complex finish that leaves you instantly wanting more. An excellent seasonal ale. 
Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale 5% - Pumpkin in the top notes but not overly sweet. Has some hop flavour in the middle with a spicy finish. Very different from Pumpkinhead. 
Baxter Hayride Autumn Ale 6.6% - a medium-bodied, creamy, hoppy seasonal ale with a dry finish. 
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA 9% - a heavy-bodied IPA with dry, rich flavour that is complex and malty. Suggestions of coffee in the finish. Tastes strong though!
Switchback Pale Ale 5% - floral pale ale with a light body. Nothing spectacular but perfectly drinkable. 
Redhook Pumpkin Porter (unknown) - a surprisingly light-bodied porter that makes for a good seasonal ale. Plenty of pumpkin in the high notes but not too sweet. Would go well with food. 
Rogue 15K Belgian Dark Ale 7% - a dark ale that is surprisingly smooth and complex at the same time. Has an excellent finish that shouts 'REMEMBER ME!' but not in an offensive way. 
Slumbrew Happy Sol 5.5% - light-bodied wheat beer with a subtle orange flavour. Very easy drinking and nicer than the Track Town Honey Orange Wheat. 

Tasty food and beer at the Great Lost Bear

On our last day in Portland, we had a tour of the Shipyard planned for that evening but we wondered what we could to fill the hours in between. After a unsatisfying breakfast at Denny's (largely because of the extended freight train rumbling vibration that upset Emma), we headed off to Gritty's Brewpub in downtown Portland. This was followed by a trip to Duckfat (awesome fries!) and then on to the brewery tour. On reflection, we should have toured the Allagash brewery as well but we only really found our love for the Allagash beers the day before.
Gritty's Oak Aged Hallowe'en Ale (unknown) - creamy medium-bodied seasonal ale with a suggestion of pumpkin. Average. 
Gritty's Maine's Best IPA (unknown) - isn't. A standard hoppy IPA that doesn't stand up to other NE and Oregon IPAs. 
Gritty's Pub Style Ale (unknown) - medium-bodied pale ale with a floral nose and not particularly hoppy. Possibly not at its best on the day. 
Gritty's Red Claws Brown Ale (unknown) - an amber session ale that is drinkable but nothing special. 
Marshall Wharf Toughcats IPA 7% - a well-balanced medium-bodied IPA that delights and teases the palate with a dry finish. 
Oxbow Brewing Company Farmhouse Pale Ale 6% - a light-bodied pale ale that is easy to drink with a delicious fruity and floral finish. 
Seadog Raspberry Wheat Ale (unknown) - dry, crisp and refreshing wheat ale with a light fruitiness. 
Shipyard Barley Wine (unknown) - its strong, full bodied, quite malty but nothing spectacular compared to most barley wines. 
Shipyard Export (unknown) - light-bodied ale like a European style beer. Emma thought it was too hoppy but I thought it wasn't all that hoppy at all. Nothing special. 
Shipyard Chamberlain Pale Ale (unknown) - light and refreshing but not overly hoppy. Easy drinking. 
Seadog IPA (unknown) - average IPA that is completely unremarkable. 
Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA 6.9% - a strong IPA that competes with some of the NW US IPAs. Medium bodied with a strong hoppy flavour. 
Old Thumper ESB (unknown) - pretty unremarkable beer that reminds you how dull some English beers can be. 
Shipyard Blue Fin Stout (unknown) - similar to Guinness but with a more burnt malty taste. Passable. 
Not quite!

Running total for the trip so far: 72
Next up - Part 3 - New York City!

No comments: