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Drink (33)

Dipping into Dubbel

Welcome to Belgium, loyal reader! We're spending the spring tasting beers from this small country. Last week, we tasted Belgian “table beers”; this, we're moving onto dubbels. This style (like many of the others we'll taste over the next several weeks) has its roots in the traditional brewing culture of the Trappist, a Christian monastic order that originated in La Trappe, France.   Dubbel has an oddly specific origin — it can be traced back…

Swilling Maine Singles

  Close your eyes, loyal reader, and join me on a magical journey. We're going to a tiny country, approximately the size of Maryland, that nonetheless supports three official languages. Citizens here consume an average of 84 liters of beer per year. We're going to Belgium!   Despite its small surface area, Belgium is a giant in the beer world. With a beer culture that predates the crusades, it's no surprise that this tiny country…

Over a Barrel with Maine Stout

  Last week's tasting of Barrel Aged Stout was supposed to mark the dark climax of a month-long exploration of darker beers. Then, a blast of frigid air descended, weakening my resolve, and the combined opportunity to taste local stouts, and use the phrase “dark climax,” proved too much. This week, I'll be sipping several local barrel aged stouts. These intensely aromatic beers benefit from a wide -mouthed glass (like a snifter, or a chalice)…

Imported from Brooklyn: De-lax and enjoy at Drifters Wife

With Brexit, the British have made their stand against free immigration. Soon enough work will begin on Trump’s wall. Is it time we Mainers made a stand against unwelcome migration as well? It does no good to pretend that we don’t have a problem. These quickly accumulating castoffs from Brooklyn threaten to fundamentally change our culture. And since people from Brooklyn don’t care about anything they can’t put in their mouths, it is our culinary…

There are no shortcuts to good beer: separating innovation and gimmickry

Today I was targeted on facebook with an ad for a product called “Mad Hops.” Mad Hops are “Flavored Brew Drops.” The idea is that you squirt a few drops of a concentrated liquid into your shitty beer, and the “brew drops” alchemically turn the flavor and color of the cheap beer into something satisfying and not-shitty. A testimonial from the product’s Kickstarter site (which has already raised around $5k of its $25k goal): "Yep,…

Peers, partnership and progress: This Friday’s New England Craft Brew Summit

This Friday a large contingent of some of the biggest names in New England brewing will converge on the Abromoson Center at University of Southern Maine’s Portland Campus for the New England Craft Brew Summit. The proliferation of consumer-facing beer festivals has been by turns a boon and a frustration for the industry over the last few years, but this is not a beer festival. Think of it more as a B2B industry conference. It’s…

Fernet frontrunner: Liquid Riot taps into metro drinking-Renaissance trend

The folks at Liquid Riot Bottling Co. are making history: they’ve produced the first fernet in the state. If you’re not familiar with fernet, it’s an Italian type of amaro liquor, commonly used as a digestive and described as bitter and herbal. Liquid Riot’s Fernet Michaud, however, goes down smoothly. You can easily taste notes of many of the 22 herbs and botanicals used to create it, most notably in the minty finish. It’s also…

Food-movement offshoot: Natural wine bar puts Portland on cutting edge

With one-year-old Washington Avenue retail shop Maine & Loire a certified success and a bar called Drifter’s Wife under development in the front of the same space, business and life partners Orenda and Peter Hale are thrusting Maine to the forefront of the natural wine movement. “There’s definitely something afoot,” says Peter. Though it gets a lot of attention from high-end publications, natural wine is mostly only popular in “tiny pockets within larger markets” like…

An Ale by Any Other NameThe Arbitrary Nature of “New Beer Styles”

I drank a beer last week called Cult Rider from Ohio’s Hoof Hearted Brewing. The beer is labelled as an imperial black IPA. It’s excellent: a beer that smacks you in the mouth but also has a ton of depth and which cuts a very long and slow track across the palate. But it’s not an imperial black IPA, it’s a super hoppy imperial stout, or maybe it isn’t.
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