You know what I love about writing this column? After a year and a half, I can still walk into a beverage store and be surprised by the Maine beer I find. Take for instance last Saturday when I walked into the Bier Cellar on Forest Avenue for some liquid provisions. Out on the floor, I spotted the aluminum glow of 12-ounce cans from Liquid Riot Bottling Company. Huh, I thought, six-packs from Liquid Riot.
In stock was Headstash, an IPA, and Primus, a Belgian table beer. Lost in the depths of a beer-purchasing quandary, I made the only right decision I could decipher: I picked up six-packs of each.
Boy am I glad I did.
Before I delve into the flavor experience inside cans of Headstash and Primus, let’s pause to examine Liquid Riot Bottling Company.
For craft beer philistines who don’t follow the Portland beer scene closely, Liquid Riot was formerly known as In’finiti Fermentation and Distillation. After a dispute over the name last winter, the Commercial Street brewery and distillery became Liquid Riot Bottling Company. New name, same beers.
This fall, Liquid Riot purchased a canning machine that features a two head filler. Head brewer, Greg Abbot, tells me that this means, “Our process is EXTREMELY hands on and labor intensive, as handcrafted as it comes!”
Cracking a can of Headstash and breathing in the dank hop aroma wafting off the can, I am ever grateful that the Liquid Riot crew is willing to put in the effort. It’s a labor of love with a mighty payoff.
Now for the part where I slowly undress each beer with my words.
As mentioned, the hop aroma coming off a freshly opened can of Headstash will make hop lovers weak in the knees. Dank is the word that is best used here. There are also undertones of citrus fruit. Cans are the perfect vessel for hoppy beers, really containing the hop resin. Taking a big gulp of Headstash, I get notes of pineapple and grapefruit all with that dank undercurrent working through the palate. It’s clear that plenty of dry hopping went into this beer. The aftertaste is clean, leaving me wanting more. Drink this beer as fresh as possible.
On the other end of the flavor spectrum, Primus is a well-crafted Belgian-style table beer that weighs in at a drinkable 4.3 percent alcohol by volume. Cracking a can of Primus releases aromatic yeast and hop notes of lemon and pepper and hints of fresh cut grass. Taking a healthy pull from the can, I notice a brightness from the Belgian yeast with a kick of pepper and a clean finish from what Liquid Riot describes as a “nice hop snap.” Like a true Belgian table beer, Primus is refreshing and has just the right balance of bright, clear flavors while not overwhelming the palate. And it tastes dynamite out of a can.
In addition to regular releases of Headstash and Primus, Liquid Riot will also be releasing cans of Lagerbier, a German-style Helles, and Sour Trouble, a sour brown ale. Cans are available at Portland-area beverage stores as well as at Liquid Riot’s retail shop at the Commercial Street brewery, distillery, and restaurant. Follow Liquid Riot on social media to stay abreast on canning dates. You’ll be glad you did.
Cheers to Liquid Riot and to the Maine beer scene that just keeps getting better with each passing day.
WHO: Liquid Riot Bottling Company
BEER: Look for Regular Releases of Headstash (IPA), Primus (Belgian Table Beer), Lagerbier (German-style Helles) and Sour Treble (Sour Brown Ale)
AVAILABILITY: Purchase at Portland-Area Beer Stores and At the Brewery, 250 Commercial St, Portland
MORE INFO: liquidriot.com
2 Feet Brewing Looking to Raise Money to Start a Brewery
Bangor location TBD. 2feet.myevent.com
Are you looking to give a Christmas gift to help start a brewery this holiday season? 2 Feet Brewing is trying to raise money to start a Bangor-area brewery with a “homebrew mentality.” That means that they will have a constantly rotating selection of beers, and as the fundraising page notes they “plan on allowing homebrewers to brew in [the] brewhouse and have their beers available on tap in the tasting room.” It’s a unique twist on commercial brewing. If you’re in the giving spirit, send a few shekels their way.