February 6

What Ales You: While building Tributary, brewer creates with others

Tod Mott collaborates on beers with Rising Tide and Redhook while working on his new brewery in Kittery.

By Tom Atwell

After I tasted Eradinus, a Scotch ale collaboration between Rising Tide in Portland and Tod Mott, I had to get in touch with Mott to discuss Tributary Brewing Co., which he is building in Kittery.

Mott is the former head brewer at Portsmouth Brewery, where he created the famous Kate the Great imperial stout, and was a brewer at Harpoon, where he created Harpoon’s original IPA.

“It’s closer than I have ever been, and I am pretty darn excited,” Mott said when I called him last week.

He said the brewery will have a 15-barrel brewhouse and is located in part of a former grocery store in Kittery’s downtown, at 10 Shapleigh Road. It has a huge parking lot, where the Kittery Farmers Market is held Wednesdays – so he expects that to be a busy day for the brewery.

“We hope to brew between 300 and 400 barrels our first year,” he said. “We won’t be opening until May or June, so that is a good goal.”

Mott plans to brew two full-time beers and a saison for each season.

“We will do a hop-forward pale ale,” he said. “A lot of people are doing session IPAs, and this will be kind of what we are doing – 4.5 percent ABV (alcohol by volume), 40 IBU (international bittering units), light colored, kind of hoppy and tasty.”

There will be a robust porter, at about 5.5 percent ABV, just because he likes black beers.

“And of course we will be brewing a big, black imperial stout that I have the recipe for but not the name,” Mott said, referring to Kate the Great, a beer with a cult following that sold out the day it came out each year at Portsmouth Brewery.

Mott said he hopes people will be able to buy the as-yet-unnamed beer over a longer period of time than they were able to find Kate the Great.

Tributary’s beers will be available mostly at the brewery, and Mott is using a couple of innovations in growlers.

“Our business model is to sell a good amount of beer at the brewery,” he said. “We are going to have a counter-pressure growler filler, so we will be able to fill growlers ahead of time.”

Most brewers fill growlers from the tap, and lose some carbonation as a result. Mott said the counter-pressure system will allow the growlers to stay carbonated longer, and save time for the customer.

He said he plans to sell 64-ounce and 32-ounce growlers, calling 32 ounces “the perfect size for two people for one night.”

In addition to the collaboration with Rising Tide, Mott did a collaboration with Andy Schwartz, head brewer at Redhook, on the Portsmouth brewer’s three-barrel system.

He said some people criticize Redhook because it is so big, but he said Schwartz is a great brewer, Redhook is a good brewery and he was excited to do a weizenbock there because it is a beer he knew how to brew. I missed out on Mottsenbock, but did like Eradinus (which had the name McMottster early in its development).

It is a Scotch ale, at 7.9 percent ABV, a malty beer that finishes absolutely dry. Most Scotch ales have a lot of residual sugar, and this one didn’t. There is just enough hops to balance the malt, but it is not a major player. And this tastes a lot lower in alcohol than it is.

Stasia Brewczynski, who handles the counter at Rising Tide, said they brewed a seven-barrel batch of Eradinus, and there might still be some available when this column appears.

Eradinus, meaning “the river,” is a constellation, and a customer at the counter with me said the name makes sense because a tributary flows into a river. Brewczynski said she thinks Rising Tide owners Nathan and Heather Sanborn knew that when they picked the name, but she didn’t. Tributary Brewing’s motto is “One tributary leads to another.”

IF YOU GET REALLY SICK of Maine during the typical mud season, you could cruise the Caribbean March 30 to April 6 with David Geary, founder and brewmaster at D.L. Geary Brewing Co. in Portland.

The cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette includes two beer tastings with Geary as well as a special beer lunch.

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

tomatwell@me.com

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