Carla Jean Lauter

The Beer Babe

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Sebago Shakes Things Up with Simmer Down

There are some changes coming to the Maine craft beer lineup this summer, and I’m not just talking about the new breweries in town. Gorham-based Sebago Brewing Company is continuing its re-thinking of its current beer lineup and forging forward with a new summer seasonal. [Read more…]

The Maine Dream Team-up Project: Carla Companion

Fellow Beer Blogger Chad Lothian invited me to participate in a project called “The Maine Dream Team” a series of questions in which we imagine our ideas for Maine breweries (and beyond) to collaborate. Here’s my ideas for some interesting match-ups, both in and out of the state. [Read more…]

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Building a solid Foundation

On one of the many nights that a blizzard covered Portland with snow, I slowly maneuvered my car – down a mostly unplowed road – to Foundation Brewing Company on Industrial Way. I saw a bright glow from the door to the brewery as I slid into what would have been a parking spot if the lines were visible. Inside, I found Joel Mahaffey, brewer and co-owner, taking some gravity measurements. Friendly, but serious, he walked me around the brewery space and told me the story of how he and his co-founder John Bonney conceived of the brewery while homebrewing. With many years of homebrewing experience between them, they eventually outgrew the ambitions that they developed in their local homebrewing club – and the idea for Foundation was born. [Read more…]

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What’s in a name? Blue Lobster re-names beer brewed by former brewer

I have attempted to remain professional and impartial in my discussion of Blue Lobster Brewing Company, in Hampton NH. I have maintained as much neutrality as I could, both as a beer geek and beer writer throughout the process of starting up, brewing, and the recent brewer transition – but today I have to point out something unpleasant. Warning – this post includes the first curse word I’ve put to the page since I began this blog in seven years ago – because it is part of the beer’s name.

(For some background on Blue Lobster’s history, read this and this.)

In full disclosure, I have not yet had any beer brewed by the new brewer, and thus can not and have not commented on the quality of merits of the brewery since the personnel change out of respect to both the current and former brewer. However, today, I came on here to write this because of the brewery’s unprofessional conduct.

Today, photos surfaced of a bottled beer released by Blue Lobster that was a beer brewed by the former brewer, David Sakolsky and collaborator Paul Vaughn.

According to Sakolsky, Vaughn contributed significant time and his own funds to brew the beer, which had the planned name of “Paul’s Boutique” at the time of Saklosky’s departure from Blue Lobster – approximately two months ago. However, the beer that was the result of Sakolsky & Vaughn’s collaboration has shown up in photos bearing the name, “Broke Ass Hobbie” which is both offensive and appears to be targeted towards the former brewery employee.

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Secondarily, when brewers collaborate on beer, it is customary for that collaboration to be noted on the packaging, or at least the materials accompanying the release. As you can see by the photo, there is no such notation on this beer.

According to posts by Sakolksy on Facebook and Twitter:

It is a 7.8% Biere De Garde brewed with Tennessee grits and aged 10 months in Arrington Vineyards Port barrels with a mixed culture. It has multiple brett variants and bacteria. Paul not only built the bacterial culture, bought the grits, flew up here to brew with me on his dime, and got us a deal on the barrels, but also designed the recipe with me.
He deserves more than a mention for that beer.

While the specific intent and meaning of this label is not known (as the brewery has yet to publicly comment on it) I am here to express my disappointment that a brewery would act unprofessionally towards former employees, and, worse, collaborators. This release, which was not announced by the brewery, bears a name that is offensive, contains a curse word, and also has no mention of the collaboration anywhere on the label. In the beer business, this is just bad practice.

I hope that anyone reading this will consider this when evaluating this brewery’s merits going forward. I hate to have to write these types of things, and they are rare in the beer industry.

Post Script: Another beer brewed by Sakolsky but sold by Blue Lobster after his firing – an Imperial Stout – was also tapped at WHYM last night. The name for that one? Last Call.

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Bissell Brothers Slinging ‘The Substance’

A look into the colorful and interesting Bissell Brothers Brewing, one of the newly-opened breweries housed in the Industrial Way complex in Portland. [Read more]

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