Baxter Brewing Co. is selling its first seasonal beer, Celsius Summer Ale. The beer is definitely on tap at the brewery at 130 Mill St. in Lewiston, and probably at some other pubs around the state.

You will have to wait until mid-May to buy it in the company’s signature cans.

“We decided at the end of last year after meeting with our distributors and also the drinking public that they were calling for us to have seasonal beers,” said Luke Livingston, founder and president of Baxter.

He said seasonals are the hottest thing in brewing right now, and the Celsius will be followed by fall and winter beers.

Livingston said the beer was created by Ben Low, Baxter’s interim head brewer. In Baxter’s April email newsletter, Low said, “Celsius has a solid base of citrusy American hops, which gives it a crisp bitterness, without overpowering the summery touches that make this beer so unique: Lemon and lime peel, Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.”

Livingston first described Celsius, which is 4.7 percent alcohol, as Baxter’s first unfiltered offering in addition to being the company’s first beer with nontraditional ingredients.

I asked about Low’s title as interim head brewer, and Livingston said that the previous head brewer, Michael LaCharite, left the brewery last November. Low, who previously worked at Gritty’s, came in.

“We are calling the title ‘interim,’ but we are certainly in no hurry to have him leave,” Livingston said. “He has some other plans that he wants to work on, but we are not sure how long he will be here at this point.”

Livingston said the response to Amber Road, the brewery’s third full-time offering, has been very good.

“It is my personal favorite of our three beers,” he said. “It is not as hop-centric as the other two; a little more malt forward.”

THE NATIONAL Brewers Association recently released its list of the top 50 brewers and top 50 craft brewers in the country, and there was some interesting information on the lists.

Shipyard is the only Maine brewer on either list. It places No. 16 on the craft brewer list, rising from No. 19 the previous year. Shipyard is also No. 24 on the list of total brewers — which demonstrates that most of the big brewers have joined forces.

Smuttynose of Portsmouth, N.H., made its first appearance on the craft beer list, coming in No. 47. And while it is across the state line, I count Smuttynose as a local beer — if only because the buy-local movement for food recommends a 100-mile range.

Boston Beer Co., maker of the Samuel Adams line, is the No. 1 craft brewer and No. 5 overall. The companies ahead of Boston Beer on the overall list are Anheuser Busch (which includes Busch), MillerCoors, Pabst and Yuengling.

Narragansett just barely makes it as No. 50 on the list of overall brewers, but does not make the list of craft beers, which raises several questions. If the definition of craft beer is size, shouldn’t it have been part of the craft beer list too? Just what does make a craft beer?

ALLAGASH, Maine Beer Co. and Rising Tide Brewing Co. have collaborated on a beer that sounds absolutely awesome.

Dan Kleban of Maine Beer said the beer was produced at Allagash and will be distributed by Nappi, Allagash’s distributor, in kegs for bars and in 750-milliliter bottles.

“What we came up with out of the brainstorming is kind of a hoppy Belgian IPA, brewed with Allagash base malt and the Belgian house yeast strain,” Kleban said. “To that, we added the locally grown rye that Rising Tide uses in Daymark, and the American-style yeast that we use in Peeper Ale, so you get a blend of the three styles.

“It’s about 8 percent alcohol, very hoppy with a citrusy hops, and you get the banana-sweet flavor from the Allagash yeast and a spiciness from the Rising Tide rye.”

The release party is scheduled from 4 to 9 p.m. May 12 at Mama’s Crowbar, 189 Congress St., and although it is a couple of weeks away, this is an event that is definitely worth putting on your calendar.

The beer will make it to other locations beginning with American Craft Beer Week (May 14-20).

Tom Atwell is a freelance writer living in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:

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