Sebago Brewing Co. has a new ale called M, the 1,000th variety of beer the company has produced since its founding in 1998. It’s a quadruple Belgian ale coming in at 10.1 percent alcohol.
Introduced Nov. 9 as part of Portland Beer Week, M was served in a brandy snifter, a stout black with a thick head and a wonderful aroma of malt, caramel and raisins.
The mouthfeel was superb, smooth and silky. I saw online that they used a lot of traditional Caribbean rum sugars in this beer to boost the alcohol, and that was supposed to give the beer a bit of a rum flavor. I didn’t find that, although there was a complex sweetness to the beer that I liked.
It had just a little bit of a hops bite at the end, but not a lot of hops aroma, making a big change from a lot of Sebago’s recent hoppy beers. I liked this beer a lot.
I did not have a Slick Nick, but even though it was still early November, that winter seasonal was also on draft at the Sebago Brewing restaurant in Portland. I will have to go back for some of Slick Nick when it is closer to Christmas.
A bit before that, I found some Sebago Local Harvest at RSVP. I bought that and enjoyed it on a cool evening after doing a last mowing to pick up fallen leaves from our lawn. That brought to mind the wonderfully warm and sunny day in late summer when I was one of a group stripping hops from the vines for that beer.
ON THE FIRST DAY of Portland Beer Week, I stopped by Bunker Brewing at 122 Anderson St., not for a special event but just because it was open.
The beer I tried was called Hombre, and I had to try it if only for the Elmore Leonard novel of that name that became a Paul Newman movie, which I liked a lot.
This is a dunkelweizen, a dark wheat beer style from southern Germany, but this one came in 7.5 percent ABV and included pablano peppers.
The beer had a nice chocolate malt flavor, with the peppers giving it just a bit of a kick but certainly not dominating.
Brewer Chresten Sorensen said the beer was made in collaboration with Eventide Oyster Company for an event to be held at Port City Music Hall that ended up being canceled, so the brewery has been sending it out to a few local bars and serving it at the brewery.
I also saw Sorenson’s new 15-barrel conditioning tank, which he said will be dedicated to Bunker Machine Pilsner, which he has just named his first flagship beer. It’s a Czech-style pilsner made with Saaz hops, and while hoppier than most lagers, does not move into the category of India pale lager that several breweries are now experimenting with. It also has a good, biscuity malt flavor. It isn’t overly carbonated and has a thin head, but it is a good, easy-drinking beer. It is available at the brewery and at a lot of bars around Portland.
AFTER DOING a one-year update on the Marshall Wharf cans, I found the opportunity to drink some of that beer.
I found Tug Pale Ale, which I wrote two weeks ago was about to come to Portland. It had sold out at the Bier Cellar, so I continued down Forest Avenue and found it at RSVP.
This was a very good, 5 percent ABV pale ale, with good but not overpowering hops well balanced by a smooth malt. Nancy, Christian and I both enjoyed this with some cheese and sandwiches on a Sunday afternoon, and I am looking forward to the other two cans.
Marshall Wharf co-owner David Carlson told me he would slip me a can of Sexy Chaos if I dropped into the Beer Week Marshall Wharf Night at Novare Res. I did so, and the beer was as good as I remembered it from three years ago – black, malty, sweet, with chocolate overtones to go along with the oak and vanilla beans on which it is roasted.
At the bar, I drank Dan McGovern’s Imperial Oatmeal Stout. When McGovern ran Belfast Brewing Company, he made McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout, but that brew pub closed and McGovern went to work at Marshall Wharf. McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout is available in 12-ounce bottles, but is brewed at Shipyard with Ringwood yeast, and is different from the original McGovern recipe.
Occasionally he brews his original recipe at Marshall Wharf.
He brewed the Imperial version for the sixth anniversary party at Marshall Wharf, and the pint I had at Novare Res was rich, smooth and silky, with a lot of roasted malt flavor. After one 16-ounce glass of that, I was well-satisfied for the night.
Tom Atwell is a freelance writer living in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at: