Without Rising Tide Brewing Co., Maine would not have the world-class beer scene it boasts today.
That’s a bold statement that I’m sure will make its humble, down-to-earth owners, Nathan and Heather Sanborn, uncomfortable, but if you spend time in the craft beer world, you know it’s true.
On Sunday, the East Bayside brewery is throwing its 6th Anniversary Party in true Rising Tide fashion — with eats from local food vendors, crafts from local artisans, live music from local bands,and a hoppy anniversary IPA called Six Fathoms Deep. (Remember the word “local” for later.)
Of course, there are a number of Maine breweries that helped make our beer scene what it is today, but for the past six years Rising Tide has been at the forefront, propelling the scene forward.
Let’s start with the beer. Head brewer Nathan Sanborn’s undying dedication to balanced, always consistent beers helped Rising Tide gain immediate traction after opening in 2011.
Remember the first time you had Daymark, its American Pale Ale? I do. It was spring, the season of budding love, and the crisp citrus and light pine of the hops along with the spicy bite of local rye made it love at first sip. As I drank my way down its lineup of beers, that love blossomed.
While many new breweries hang their hats on outrageously big IPAs, Sanborn and his brewing team have remained focused on creating clean, approachable beers that have a controlled flare of flavor — like a delicately prepared risotto or a briny raw oyster. Though they aren’t afraid to occasionally go big, as with Cutter Imperial IPA, an 8.7 percent dank hop bomb.
Over the past six years, Sanborn and his ever-growing brewing team has proven that they can deftly brew it all: tasty seasonal saisons; one of the best hefeweizens in the state in Spinnaker; a low-alcohol, big flavor coffee porter in Waypoint; a gose called Pisces made with Maine salt water and even barrel-aged beers.
Every year, it seems Rising Tide adds another finely crafted, innovative beer to its oeuvre. Don’t expect anything less as the brewery moves into its seventh year of production.
In addition to the beer, Sanborn’s wife and brewery co-owner, Heather, has made her mark on the Maine beer scene.
Sipping fresh beer at a brewery while gawking at stainless steel tanks is a relatively new experience in Maine. And we have, in large part, Heather Sanborn to thank. A former lawyer, she worked with the Maine Brewers’ Guild to petition the state to overturn the law prohibiting brewers from selling samples of beer at breweries.
That law has exponentially increased the number of breweries in this state since it was passed in 2012. New brewers tell me time and again they are able to open because they know they will have an immediate revenue stream from selling beer in their tasting rooms.
Now, recall the word ‘local’ from earlier. Rising Tide has a deep commitment to supporting local businesses. In its daily operations and in its plans for expansion in the future, it always have an eye on the local economy.
“We’ve taken a very local and methodical approach to expansion. We want to grow deep roots in Maine,” Heather Sanborn said.
The 6th Anniversary Party embodies that “support local” mentality.
“In planning this event, we really wanted to work with and feature the other small businesses that we’ve grown up alongside over the last 6 years. So we’re excited to have the Thirsty Pig, CN Shawarma, El Corazon, Mami and O’ Oysters working with us on food, plus Tandem Coffee bringing their delicious pies and coffee,” she said.
Food vendors will even be preparing dishes with lamb from North Star Sheep Farm that has been fed Rising Tide’s spent grain.
Between the top-shelf beer, the contribution to tasting room laws and the authentic dedication to the local economy, Rising Tide Brewing Co. has given us plenty of reasons to raise a glass of Six Fathoms Deep this Sunday.
WHEN: Noon to 5 p.m., Sunday
WHERE: 103 Fox St., Portland
ON DRAFT: The full lineup of Rising Tide beer, including Six Fathoms Deep (6.2 percent alcohol), an IPA brewed with Loral and El Dorado hops along with a few new experimental hops
ENTERTAINMENT: Food from Thirsty Pig, CN Shawarma, El Corazon, Mami, and O’ Oysters; ceramics from C&M Ceramics and music from Native Isles, along with a special performance by the Rising Tide Brewery Band
COST: $40 for general admission
BUY TICKETS: www.eventbrite.com/e/rising-tides-6th-anniversary-party-tickets-26847384249
OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS
Zwanze Day Celebration at Novare Res Bier Café
Noon Saturday, 4 Canal Plaza, Portland. facebook.com/NovareResBierCafe
For yet another year, Portland’s Novare Res has the honor of being part of Cantillon Brouwerji’s Zwanze Day. On this day, the famed Belgian brewery sends kegs of a specially brewed beer to select locations around the world. Each location taps the keg at the same time in a celebration of lambic beers. If you’re not familiar with Cantillon (pronounced Cant-e-on), it’s the Beatles of lambics. Sour beer fans revere bottles of Cantillon the way whiskey lovers drool over Pappy Van Winkle. If you want in on this celebration, get in line well before noon, when patrons in line will receive a ticket securing a pour of the Zwanze Day beer. The keg will be tapped at 3 p.m.
Maine Craft Association and the Maine Brewers’ Guild Present Maine Craft Weekend
Saturday and Sunday. Locations throughout the State. mainebrewersguild.org/maine-craft-weekend/
In coordination with American Craft Week, the Maine Craft Association and the Maine Brewers’ Guild have put together Maine Craft Weekend. Up and down this great state, Mainers are encouraged to visit craft studios, breweries and businesses. It’s being touted as the Maine Maple Sunday of crafts. Beer lovers should browse the website to find events happening at their local breweries. This is a great way to celebrate the work being done by artisans in Maine.