As a craft beer drinker, I am always on the look out for the new, the novel, the hard-to-find. Sometimes, I forget that there are beers available that have been around a while and just work, no questions asked. When they are made by bigger brewers or show up on the shelf at the supermarket, it’s easy for me to find reasons to pass them by for the next newest release. While doing some beer and cheese tastings, I picked up a few lighter beers to use for research, and three of them gave me pause because they were just what I was looking for – but on an average day I might not have stopped to try them at all.
The rail system in Maine is limited, but expanding. I can hop on a train and go South to Boston very easily, but only recently have the stations been built to go north of Portland. I hadn’t yet explored any of that leg (which goes all the way to Brunswick, ME currently) so I booked a little trip to Freeport.
I haven’t written much about Bar Harbor based Atlantic Brewing Company because only a few bottles from their lineup tend to trickle down to Portland, but they do occasionally pop up. I was given this bottle as a thank-you and I was eager to try it because it had been so long since I’d sampled any of their brews. The MacFoochie’s Scottish Ale (7% ABV) is described on the label as an “Ale Brewed With Scottish Heather Tips” making its execution very traditional. The Scottish made a name for themselves in brewing history by using a variety of bittering herbs in their beer (hops do not grow as well in Scotland as they did in the England and other parts of Europe) for hundreds of years, including the plentiful heather plants.
This past weekend, Sebago Brewing Company hosted a group of fifty beer bloggers and writers as part of a Beer Blogger’s Conference taking part in Portland and Boston, MA. Sebago Brewing sponsored a well-organized and impressive beer pairing event, to the delight of bloggers. The last pairing in the lineup was a surprise, as it came with Sebago’s new seasonal release the Bonfire Rye. Not officially released until the beginning of August, this beer was given to us as a sneak peek before being released to the public.
On the eve of the fourth annual Beer Blogger’s Conference, I thought I’d give a few words of advice for anyone attending their first this year in Portland/Boston. I have been lucky enough to have attended all of the beer bloggers conferences that have been held since they first began in 2010 – and I have learned a lot along the way. Here are my _ pieces of advice on how to survive (and enjoy!) your first Beer Blogger’s conference.
Many craft brewers have acknowledged the role that seasons play in the styles of beer that they brew, and summer is no exception. With the increase of the number of brands and individual beers available, I have been remiss in keeping up with all of the options available for summer beer enjoyment – and Peak Summer Session is one that I recently tried that is worth adding to your list.
Peak, like many other breweries, has several beers that they release only seasonally, and their summer beer is named, simply, “Summer Session Ale.”
I was lucky enough to be invited on a Maine-based beer podcast called Drink’n Think’n. Ben, Ryan and Tony were amazing to chat with, and we shared a lot of beer (and non beer) geekery together.
Topics of discussion included (but was definitely not limited to): Guinness floats (spoiler alert: yum), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, lobster doughnuts, women and beer, and fireworks. I had a lot of fun with it and I hope you enjoy listening. There is some profanity in the podcast, so that’s my official warning on that.