The Beers of Summer

As I type, it's almost 90 degrees. When my editor requested some summer beer reviews for this column, I nearly wept with joy. Don't get me wrong, loyal reader, I love a good chewy stout when the weather is hot, but nothing drives me to drink like warm weather. This week, I'm going to be sampling some “summer beers.” I'm approaching this from a selfish perspective. I'm not going to drink anything that says, “Summer…

What's Red, Flemish, and Sour?

This spring, we've taken a virtual trip to Belgium. It's been a terrific journey featuring unusual adjuncts (like coriander!), brain-blistering levels of alcohol, and startling realizations. For example, who knew tripel was so light, and so easy to drink? I'm wrapping up our springtime Belgian ramble by sampling an unusual style called Flanders Red Ale. This uncommon style of beer features modest alcohol content (5-6 percent), strong sourness, and pronounced fruit character. This unique blend…

Belgian Whites: The Most Drinkable Beer Ever?

This season, we're taking a tour of Belgian beers. Last week, we sipped several Belgian stouts, so it's only natural that we explore the lighter side of Belgian beers: white or “Wit” beers. These lighter beers, which go by a variety of names, have a few characteristics in common. Most of them are brewed with a higher percentage of wheat malt, and many feature adjuncts like coriander, citrus peels and other spices. Not surprisingly, these…

Albanian Pastries and Smiles: The Coffee ME Up Experience

Coffee is the only beverage, that I have tried and failed, to give up. When sleep has been elusive, I have always attributed it to caffeine, and I don’t see the point in drinking coffee without caffeine. I have since decided any attempt will be futile, so I drink coffee every day and I do it in moderation – never after 2 p.m. The other gripe I have with coffee is that when I drink…

The Clink: Checking in with Bear Bones Beer

I first tasted Eben Dingman’s homebrew about ten years ago, when we were roommates at the University of Maine at Farmington. We were snobs on a budget then. Ron’s market would often bring in distressed cases – beer about to pass or having just passed its shelf life – of Gritty’s, Geary’s and the like, and we could grab a six pack for $4. I don’t think either of us could have predicted the meteoric…

Tiki Take Two — Rhum Revamps Its Menu

The Portland restaurant scene is so competitive that it often takes a creative approach to opening a new eatery.   Last year, two seasoned industry vets teamed up with two local developers to form the 5th Food Group. Jason Loring and Michael Fraser sat down with Jed Troubh and Chris Thompson to figure out how to keep track of each of their existing investments while venturing forward in two new fooderies—Rhum Tiki Lounge on North…

Taking a darker turn with Belgian stouts

We've spent the last few weeks sampling Belgian Abbey Ales, a family of beers traditionally brewed by Trappist monasteries. We've sipped single, dubbel, tripel and quadrupel. Yum! Now our exploration of Belgian styles is taking a darker turn: to stout! The stout most of us are familiar with is an Irish dry stout — like Guinness. Belgian stouts couldn't be more different! They typically have almost double the alcohol content (7-8% rather than 3-4%), smaller…

This Summer, Explore Portland's Craft Beer Scene

Please note, this article is sponsored content from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.   It’s festival season in Portland.  Each summer the weekends are jam-packed with fests of every sort, celebrating our rich food heritage, tall ships on the waterfront, the local art scene and everything that makes Portland unique.  Set against a backdrop of 19th century architecture, landmarks and seaside charm, these festivals add even more flavor to the quintessential Maine experience for visitors and residents…

Mezcal ... the Finer Tequila?

Mezcal has been in the news a lot lately. Perhaps it’s becoming the kale of the spirits world.   I recently had the good fortune to attend a "mezcal dinner" at Sonny’s in Portland. Misty Kalkofen, who represents Del Maguey, introduced us to the rich history and variety of tastes of mezcal.   I asked Misty when she realized that she wanted to be involved in the mezcal business.   “To a certain degree, as…

Quadrupel it!

This season, we're sipping beers of Belgian origin. We've slurped singels, drunk dubbels, and tanked tripels. We're moving on to the logical conclusion of this advancing series, loyal reader: drinking 200 proof grain alcohol from an enormous bucket! I jest. We'll actually be trying the strongest of the so-called “Abbey Ales.” These beers are known as a quadrupels, or quads, if you're a serious beer geek that would rather use your oxygen for alcohol metabolism,…
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