Imagine standing in front of a control panel with four knobs. The knobs are marked with the basic ingredients in beer – water, grains, hops and yeast. Now that we’ve set the clocks forward and gained daylight, it’s your job to twist the knobs to dial in a great spring beer.
Since the knobs are set on ‘Winter Levels’ you first have to turn down the Grain dial that is set high for the cold-weather stouts and porters. Now click the Hop dial up a few notches to bring some citrus and pine back into our beer, and you might even turn the Yeast dial to the saison setting to welcome spring back with spicy, earthy beers.
Brewing beer is obviously much more involved than twisting a few dials, but you get the idea. In the spring, it’s good to awaken the palate with light, refreshing flavors.
The spring lineup of Maine beers below is one of the most exciting foursomes I’ve assembled. Enjoy!
The salty, tart Gose style took off last summer with the ferocity of a Beyonce music video. Rising Tide’s Gose is 3.4 percent alcohol by volume and made with salt, lactobacillus, and coriander. The result is a beautifully refreshing beer with just the right subtle notes of salt and sour. If you’ve been intrigued by the sour beer world and haven’t yet taken the leap, Rising Tide’s Gose is the perfect start.
TASTING NOTES: Refreshing, subtle salt and sour flavors with spicy notes from the coriander
AVAILABILITY: Purchase cans at most beverage stores and at the Portland brewery
Farmhouse ales have been a spring tradition in Belgium and France for centuries, and in recent years they have received an American facelift with the addition of big citrus hops. Blaze from Foundation Brewing is a perfect example of an American-style farmhouse ale. Its aroma and flavor is an intriguing balance of citrus and pine notes from the hops along with the spicy earthiness of the yeast. Since this is an IPA, it has the hop kick I’m looking for with wonderful funky undercurrents from the yeast.
STYLE: Farmhouse IPA
TASTING NOTES: Earthy, funky flavors from the saison yeast, citrus and pine flavors from the American hops
AVAILABILITY: Purchase cans at select beverage stores in the Portland area and get cans and growlers at the Portland brewery when available
This American pale ale has only been on the market since early March, but it is already making a big noise. Brewed with Citra, Amarillo, Summit and Falconers Flight hops, Portland Pale Ale possesses a brilliant hop profile of grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines. Since it’s a pale ale and not an IPA, the malt flavors don’t muddy the clarity of the hop aroma and flavors. Portland Pale Ale is a crisp, bright beer that will wonderfully compliment warm spring days.
STYLE: American Ale
TASTING NOTES: Big hop flavors from the Citra, Amarillo, Summit and Falconers Flight blend, very clean malt body
AVAILABILITY: Purchase bottles at most beverage stores in the Portland area
It might look like I’m contradicting myself by having such a high alcohol beer on my spring beer list. But trust me. I’m not. Daikaiju is 8.7 percent alcohol by volume; however, you wouldn’t know it by drinking it. This double IPA doesn’t have the boozy bite of a high alcohol beer. The word ‘juicy’ continually comes to mind when I drink Daikaiju. American hop flavors gush from this beer imparting grapefruit, passion fruit, mango and orange flavors. There’s a very clean finish with a slight hint of pine. I’ve argued for some time that Daikaiju is the most underrated double IPA in Maine, get some and see for yourself.
STYLE: Double IPA
TASTING NOTES: Juicy fruit flavors of grapefruit, passion fruit, mango and orange
AVAILABILITY: Purchase cans at most beverage stores and at the Biddeford brewery
OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS
Mott the Lesser Release at Tributary Brewing
12 to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 Shapleigh Road, Kittery. facebook.com/events/972666846149001
For those of you not in the know, Mott the Lesser from Tributary Brewing is a Russian Imperial Stout that was once known as Kate the Great when it was brewed at Portsmouth Brewing Company by Tod Mott. When Mott opened his own brewery in Kittery, he kept the recipe to his world-class stout, but changed the name to Mott the Lesser. And it’s a good thing he held onto the recipe, because Kate the Great was once dubbed the Best Beer in the World by Beer Advocate. I expect a line for Saturday’s release, so if you want to purchase the two bottle limit, get there well before noon.
Allagash Brewing Gasharoo at Novare Res Bier Café
12 to 10 p.m. Saturday, 4 Canal Plaza, Portland.
Gasharoo is an annual event put on by Allagash Brewing Company and Novare Res Bier Café. This event brings together one of Maine’s premiere breweries and one of Portland’s best beer bars. Expect over twenty taps dedicated to Allagash’s award winning beers. Allagash will be flexing their muscles with beers ranging from their flagship Allagash White all the way to their world-class barrel-aged beers. Get there early for the rare Allagash offerings, since those kegs will surely kick within the first couple hours of Gasharoo.