Carla Jean Lauter

The Beer Babe

Category: Beer Reviews (Page 35 of 92)

Rising Tide Brewing Company – Ishmael

After complimenting The Great Lost Bear (a beer bar in Portland, ME) on their new website, I received a tip that they had just acquired (and were chilling) some Rising Tide Ishmael, the brand new, as-of-yet unreleased beer in Maine. Rising Tide Brewing Company has been making progress over the summer and will officially launch their brews on October 1st. I’d been watching their progress with great anticipation.

I received the beer at The Great Lost Bear in a 22oz bottle that was soaking wet – I can only assume they had chilled it on ice – so the picture I took of the label design was less than flattering. As a result, I’ve replaced it with the actual label art (see right).

The beer was also too cold to drink immediately but I poured it into a glass to admire its color. A dark copper color with an off-white head, it looked very promising. Billed as an “American Copper Ale” it is described as being inspired by altbeirs, and is brewed with Munich malts – though keeps its foot in the US by using American-grown hops. The smell was initially of piny hops with a nice malt background, though as it warmed the malts came through a bit more. Once it was at a better temperature I dove in.

I admit, I’m always nervous to try a brewery’s first beer. I mean, what if it isn’t good? What if my first impression is that it’s forgettable or, worse, not good? Do I have faith that they’ll improve with time or do I give up forever?

Well, thankfully I have none of those dilemmas to face with this beer – it rocks. It has a hoppy front end with a nice twinge of bitterness before fading into some really earthy malts. The aftertaste and the finish on this one are a delight – and you don’t really get this level of depth too often. This isn’t your typical session beer – its well done, malty with a firm taste that lingers and gives one the feeling of contentment and satisfaction. I feel like this is a very grounded beer – not too lofty or refined, but just solidly there. This may not replace your go-to pale ale or lawnmower beer, but nor should it. This is the type of beer you could drink after a long day of hard work, to reflect on your accomplishments. Its strong, assertive and stays with you – long after you’ve taken the last sip. I caught myself smiling after each sip. That’s a very good sign.

As for the brewery, they’re launching their line on October 1st, so stay tuned for the buzz about that. So far, they’ve been effectively using social media as well, and I have to note that they’re the first brewery I’ve ever seen to include their twitter handle (@risingtidebeer) on the label. Their motto, written in tiny font in a corner under their logo, is “beer first.” I can tell that, so far, they’ve been sticking to that. Keep up the good work – and I look forward to trying more brews soon.

The DeCapper

The DeCapper is a unique bottle opener that opens the bottle by being placed on top of the bottle and pressing down. It’s a completely different shape then I’d ever seen – I received one of these an embarrassingly long time ago, and admittedly have neglected to review it, so with some outside help, here is the long-overdue write-up.

Part of my hesitation to review this gadget is that I couldn’t quite describe its function – so I enlisted some help. My guest reviewer, Mike Lauter (that’s his real name, by the way) is an engineer and very eloquently described the DeCapper’s correct function:

“It takes some getting used to, but works very well with a refined procedure. The first key is to make sure it is completely settled a deep as it can on the bottle. The second key is to use firm steady downward force to pry open the top. Too quickly will just bend the cap. If it does not open fully on the first press, simply rotate the De-Capper and press again.”

The DeCapper (right) compared to other bottle openers.

As for its internal workings, Mike couldn’t tell me without breaking it to find out, so I skipped that. I know it involves a spring. That’s about as specific as I can get.

Compared to other bottle openers, Mike had this to say:

“Its better than most keychain openers (which do a lot of bending but don’t always take the cap off), better than the church keys that are also not always effective. As long as you think for a second and apply the ‘correct procedure’ the DeCapper performs better than these styles. However, a well-dimensioned handled bottle opener still wins, if even by a small margin.”

I’d have to agree on all counts.

The DeCapper itself is available in many different styles to suit many interests or hobbies – but is definitely marketed towards sport and hunting fans (with football, moose, Labrador Retriever and shotgun cartridge shapes among the choices). I can easily see this fitting in many of the “man caves” out there – and basically it’s a must for anyone who drinks lots of beer and gets bored with the traditional church key.

Personally, I find the device to be fun, but a little ungainly. Mine is a stainless steel one, and it looks really spiffy sitting next to my stainless steel appliances. I’m not sure how I’d fare with some of the other shapes, though – it seems to need to be applied straight on, and I don’t know how you can apply steady and even pressure to a moose head.

If you have a beer fan in your life that’s “seen it all” this might be just the trick. Especially as that perfect addition to a man cave or sports bar. More info on this interesting beer gadget is available at www.thedecapper.com

Sebago Brewing Co. – Milestone Ale

This caught my eye the other day becuase, for the most part, Sebago (or Portland, ME) isn’t well known for large bottles, and primarily deal in 6-packs and draught (for those who don’t know of Sebago, you need to try their Hefewiezenm its phenomenal!).  This one is a special collaborative beer between two brewers decade of brewing beer with Sebago. What struck me after I read the label is that it was brewed in a way that I had never heard of – it was stoned.

No, I’m not talking about the kind of stoned that you’re thinking of. In this process, the unfermented mash had red-hot granite rocks dropped into it to instantly carmelize the malts. According to the Sebago website, “This collaboration beer is brewed using a non traditional process of stoning the beer, using granite stones that were heated until red hot and lowered into a wooden vat of unfermented beer.” I would really love to see picturesof this process – I can picture the hissing and the spitting of the stones, and can only imagine what that would smell like.

The end result of this process is a red ale, and I haven’t had a good red in a while. I like the aroma on this, it has a lot of malt there, and a lot of sweetness and depth. I think that the smell that I am getting is described by some as “pineapple” but I could be totally off base on that. needless to say it is a very inviting aroma and  something that I was eager to try.

I was very happy to taste this – it has a syrupy mouthfeel but a really nice balance. It is very sweet but not in a bad way. I like the way that it lingers, its a good beer to sip, even though it is such a common style. I think that this one is a winner, and I honestly wish they’d add it to their regular line. While I think that this may be Sebago’s first “specialty” brew, I hope that they continue to develop quality beers like this.

Page 35 of 92

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