Eddy and Blaze, the first two beers from Foundation Brewing Co. in Portland, are pouring in bars and restaurants all over the state.
Foundation is one of four new breweries I visited last month on a Maine Brew Bus tour with beer writer Joshua Bernstein, and is one of three breweries operating at 1 Industrial Way in the Portland Industrial Park – near Allagash and Geary’s.
Foundation’s launch party was held last Thursday at The Thirsty Pig in Portland, and the company’s Facebook page mentioned it being available at Salvage Barbecue in Portland and Nocturnem Draft Haus in Bangor.
Mariner Beverages, Foundation’s distributor, “has been releasing our first two batches over the entire state,” co-founder Joel Mahaffey said last week. The third and fourth batches will be following quickly.
“Our goal is to do a gradual and steady release of beer and not sell out and be scrambling for more,” he said.
Eddy is a farmhouse style that is also called a saison, and Blaze is a saison-IPA hybrid. They both use the same yeast strain, which Mahaffey and his co-founder, John Bonney, used when they were home-brewing together.
Eddy is an easy-drinking ale, with a lot of flavor and floral aromas, coming in at 5.0 percent alcohol by volume.
Blaze is a bigger beer, coming in at 6.5 percent ABV, with a lot more hops but still has a good, crisp flavor.
Mahaffey said the beers have been received well.
“Blaze has been doing what we hoped,” he said. “People who do not consider themselves fans of hoppy beers say they like the flavor of the beer because of how it is constructed,” he said. “And people have liked Eddy because it is a nice crisp beer that is also full of flavor.”
Foundation has no plans to sell its beer in bottles and cans, at least for the immediate future. The brewery tasting room has been open Friday and Saturday afternoons for the past couple of weeks, and traffic has been good.
“We’ve had quite a few people but not enough so we can’t give people one-on-one attention,” Mahaffey said. “Our neighbors have been very good about sending people to see us after they have finished visiting them.”
During the new-brewery tour, Bonney told me the secret of why the building at 1 Industrial Way has given birth to three breweries.
“It’s all about the floor drains,” Bonney said. The drains are connected to Portland’s sewage-treatment system, so it makes cleanup easy. Installing floor drains is an expensive process once the building is already up.
Maine Beer Co. and Rising Tide started at the complex before outgrowing their space, and Bull Jagger started there. Bissell Brothers (see below) and Austin Street Brewery, which is not yet selling its beer, are Foundation’s neighbors there now.
Bonney and Mahaffey first met at a home-brew club in Bangor. Mahaffey, formerly a website developer, is working full-time as Foundation’s brewer, while Bonney is a family-practice physician in Waterville but looking to join a practice in Portland, so he can move his family closer to the brewery.
BISSELL BROTHERS BREWING, which has been selling its Substance Ale at bars since December, has hit the stores for takeout.
The Bier Cellar notified its customers that the first offering of Bissell Brothers cans was going to be dropped off there and at other stores on Feb. 26, and I was among the first to put in an order, paying $12.99 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans.
Substance Ale is a hoppy American ale that the brothers say is very close to an IPA. The Bier Cellar and the bars where I have found it have called it an IPA. Giving it a style name doesn’t really matter. It is a very good beer, 6.6 ABV, full of hops flavor without being too bitter, and with a wonderful mouthfeel.
Greg Norton of the Bier Cellar found it even better in cans than on draft, and I didn’t see that – although the beer in cans had a bit more hops than I remembered it on draft. Nancy – who hadn’t tried it until I brought it home – liked it, mentioning a citrus aroma and soft-smooth mouthfeel.
Bissell Brothers is a family operation: Younger brother Noah is the brewer, and Peter is the one who designs and promotes the beer.
When I dropped by as part of the new-brewery tour their parents were on hand helping out. Their father, Jensen Bissell, has a full-time gig as director of Baxter State Park.
Tom Atwell is a freelance writer living in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at: