I’m rooting for every Maine brewery to make great beer. Not just good beer. Great beer. I have my favorite breweries – the ones that I think are making the best beers in the state – but that doesn’t mean I’m counting anyone out. I’m open to my palate being blown away by any brewery, be it the old guard brewers to the brewery opening its doors next week.
I’m on the sidelines cheering on each brewer as he fiddles with recipes, adding his grains, scooping in his hops, and pitching his house yeast. That faint sound he hears in the distance is me yelling, “Make great beer! Don’t settle for middle of the road. Make great beer!”
The latest brewery to answer this call is Foundation Brewing Company out of One Industrial Way in Portland. Epiphany, their double IPA, stopped me in my tracks. The beer is citrus-y. The beer is clean from start to finish. But most importantly, the beer is great.
I didn’t expect a double IPA from Foundation Brewing Company. Not because they don’t make good beer – they certainly do – however, they’re known for farmhouse-style beers that center around their house saison yeast. When I think Foundation, I think sour flavors indicative of saison yeast. I don’t think hop-forward beers like Epiphany.
But like any person seeking enlightenment, it’s important to suspend all judgment and be open to being surprised. And I was joyously so by Epiphany.
Epiphany pours a hazy golden hue with a nice strong head that I like to see in a double IPA. Before I drink a hoppy beer, I like to spend a few moments taking in the aroma right after the beer is poured. The brewers at Foundation got the dry hopping of Epiphany dead on, because the aroma from this beer is brimming with clean citrus fruits.
It looks like an IPA. It smells like an IPA. Now the most important question: Does it taste like an IPA? Hell yes it does.
The first flavors that hit the tongue are grapefruit and passion fruit. There’s a nice citrus sweetness to Epiphany. As you swallow, a pleasant bittering appears on the back of the tongue that lets you know you’re drinking an IPA. Foundation uses Columbus, Cascade, Citra, Ella, and Mosaic hops in Epiphany. As a result, the citrus shines, the bitter is subtle. At 8 percent alcohol by volume, the beer offers a nice kick, but it’s not so boozy that the alcohol flavor gets in the way of the glorious hop resin. Epiphany hits all the right notes from beginning to end.
What makes Epiphany stand out in the abundance of double IPAs in Portland, I believe, is that Foundation uses their house British ale yeast instead of the American ale yeast most brewers use. I usually prefer American ale yeast, but in Epiphany, the British ale yeast imparts a sweet, malty flavor that complements the sweet citrus notes of the hops.
Since demand for Epiphany has been so high in its first two batches, Foundation is brewing this IPA once a month throughout 2015. Get it at the brewery in growlers and at bars around Portland. If you demand great beer from our local breweries, then get your mitts on Epiphany.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Epiphany from Foundation Brewing Company
STYLE: Double IPA
WHERE: One Industrial Way, Portland; also on draft at select locations
HOURS: 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday and 12 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday
MORE INFO: foundationbrew.com
Funky Bow Brewing’s Weekly Growler Night
Ledgewood Lane, Lyman
4 to 9 p.m. Friday
If you still haven’t made your way out to a Friday Growler Night at Funky Bow, then get in the old Subaru and hit up this weekly party. They have a unique tasting room, live music, and free wood-fired pizza. It’s a party every Friday night at Funky Bow, and it’s worth the drive. Fill up a growler or two while you imbibe brews, listen to down-home tunes, and fill up on pizza.
Austin Street Brewing Releases Brett Loves Hops
One Industrial Way, Portland
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday
If you pine over sour beers brewed with brettanomyces yeast, then Brett Loves Yeast will have you drooling. This beer is made with 100-percent brett yeast and hopped this go around with Nelson Sauvin hops. Brett Loves Hops has created quite a buzz around town (pun intended) and is a nice mash up of the sour beer and hoppy beer worlds. It comes in 750ml bottles and there is a two bottle per person limit.