The Beer Babe
Portland Beer Week – Hanging in there?
Hello everyone. How are your livers holding up during Portland Beer Week? After the first seven days, we’ve seen everything from festivals to funny stories, and there’s still more to come.
Beer Week Highlights
Thirsty visitors to Portland were treated to tap takeovers at Novare Res Bier Cafe, Taco Escobarr, The Great Lost Bear, Nosh Kitchen Bar and The Thirsty pig. Rare selections from Marshall Wharf Brewing Company, single-batch releases from Allagash Brewing, Rising Tide and Maine Beer Company and Oxbow as well as hopped-on-location beers from Peak Organic Brewing and brand new beers from Sebago Brewing were able to be found all about – making me seriously thankful for such a diverse and wide selection of beer brewed in our state.
For those wanting to reflect on the life of brewers, an event at Andy’s Old Port Tavern featured stories told by brewers about mishaps and misadventures in beer. Bull Feeny’s also hosted a beer dinner featuring DL Geary and Alan Pugsley, where they shared stories of the different world of beer when DL Geary Brewing Company was incorporated in 1983, and the changing face of craft beer’s new explosion in popularity.
On Wednesday, some drinkers attempted to correctly identify 10 different IPAs at a blind tasting event at The Thirsty Pig. The morning after, The Thirsty Pig announced on Twitter that barely anyone exceeded a score of 3/10, which says to me that we need some additional IPA education for our palates! An opportunity to do that was provided on Thursday at the Great Lost Bear, where 14 Maine-brewed IPAs were featured, including selections from newer breweries such as Funky Bow and Gneiss Brewing Company.
There have been beer tours galore, including several “Traveling Beer Dinners” hosted by The Maine Brew Bus, featuring stops at several locations featuring one brewery’s beer throughout each course. While not sold to capacity, I think that these events have some great potential – I’d love to see this type of creative event continue periodically.
Probably the most silly event that’s taken place thus far has been the ‘Over the Hops‘ ladies’ arm wrestling contest that took place last night. A fund-raising organization known as the Superhero Lady Arm Wrestlers of Portland or ‘SLAP’ held an event at In’finiti that was packed with members of the Maine beer community. Nearly the entire staff of Novare Res was present (and members of the staff also competed or supported the competitors) leaving me to wonder who was left staffing the bar at Novare. Also in attendance were beer industry folks from Oxbow Brewing Company, Rising Tide, Bunker, and In’finiti, among others. A packed room cheered and laughed as costumed contestants battled it out for the right to have a Maine Beer Maven’s brew named after them. SLAP member Lumber Smack Sally (Kate Squibb) edged out Maine Beer Maven White Zin Lynn (Erika Colby, bartender at Novare Res) in the final match. For some awesome pictures of this event, check out today’s Portland Press Herald article on the event.
Some of my favorite Portland Beer Week beers:
- Peak Organic Fresh Cut Pilsner : On tap at the “Low ABV, Big Flavor” tap takeover at The Thirsty pig. Crisp, delicious and hoppy. Be forewarned, once you try this beer it might become your go-to beer for any day, time or season.
- Allagash Broken Elevator : In addition to their regular lineup, Allagash is always playing around with funky, tart and spontaneously fermented beers. Broken Elevator is definitely on the far side of the sour spectrum, and is aged in oak barrels – expect to pucker a little. But for those into that acetic acid twinge, this is where it’s at.
- Oxbow Brewing Company Original Deluxe: Reportedly named after a sandwich from a shop near the brewery, this collaboration with Stillwater Artisanal Ales is a Biere de Garde that featured some dark fruit types of flavors. Great for the chilly evening.
- Peak Organic Oak Aged Mocha Stout: While not the main feature of the LFK event, this beer was a stand out to me that evening. Smooth and rich, but not too thick, this hit all of the coffee and chocolate cravings one could ever had. I enjoyed it with a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, which couldn’t have paired better.
- Sebago Brewing Company ‘M’ Quad : Celebrating their 1,000th brew, “M” is a brand new beer that is debuting officially today at Sebago’s brewpubs (and to bottles not too soon after), but was previewed at Novare Res during their Sebago Night event. This is a great plum, dark and slightly warming quad, very well-executed from a brewery that doesn’t often dabble in Belgian styles. This is a treat, and I think it would go particularly well with some holiday dinners.
If you haven’t gotten your fill of Portland and Maine Beer, there are still more events coming up this weekend. Stay tuned for a weekend preview!