January 3, 2013

What Ales You: King Titus might be my favorite Maine Beer

King Titus is described as a Porter, but it is as dark and thick as a stout.

By TOM ATWELL

While having dinner recently at the Foreside Tavern in Falmouth, I was surprised and pleased to find Maine Beer Co.'s King Titus on the menu.

I had not known that Maine Beer was producing a new beer -- even though I am a Facebook friend of the company and on its email list. But I had been away, and I am convinced I missed some messages.

King Titus is described as a Porter, but it is as dark and thick as a stout with a wonderfully chewy mouthfeel, flavors of chocolate in the malt and a great roastiness. It is 7.5 percent alcohol, so would probably qualify as an imperial porter.

I have liked all of Maine Beer's offerings, and this might be my favorite.

Son Zachary and Marah spent the night of Zach's 40th birthday -- while Nancy and I baby-sat -- at Mama's Crowbar, and Zach said King Titus was his favorite of the four beers he had there. And it had some good competition, including an Allagash, an Oxbow and Rising Tide Tempest.

The beer, by the way, is named after Titus, a silverback gorilla that lived in the Vigunga Volcano Mountain region of Rwanda. The species is protected by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, which is one of the charities Maine Beer supports through the 1 Percent for the Planet fund.

BROTHER STEVE brought home from Vermont two cans of Heady Topper, an American Double India Pale Ale from The Alchemist in Waterbury, Vt. 

I broke the company's rule right away, because while the message on the can says to drink it from the can, we wanted to split the two cans several ways.

This is an unfiltered can-conditioned ale, so it was very cloudy. The hops aroma was strong, but the beer was not overly bitter. It was flavorful and easy-drinking, which could be dangerous in a beer listed at 8 percent alcohol. 

CHRIS AND MICHELLE DiSOTTO, who joined the Christmas Eve meal at daughter Tandy's, brought four beers that Chris bought from a similarly named L'Alchimiste brewery out of Joliette, Quebec.

The four beers were a Claire Blonde, a winter bock, a brown ale and an India Pale Ale.

The blonde was a fairly light but flavorful ale, the bock was what I expected from a bock, and the IPA was a bit hoppy for an English IPA but mild for a West Coast IPA. The brown ale, which was really dark and flavorful, was my favorite of the four. 

I WROTE in mid-November that Baxter Brewing Co. in Lewiston was going to be introducing Phantom Punch, its winter seasonal, but did not get a chance to taste it until Nancy and I got back from our recent vacation. I bought some to taste, and Christian had some for Christmas Eve.

This is an excellent beer -- a stout brewed on cocoa nibs and vanilla beans, coming in at 6.8 percent alcohol. Despite the cocoa and vanilla, it is a dry stout with a nice bitterness at the end. 

I picked up this beer during my first visit to Tully's Beer and Wine in Wells. Andy Tomlinson and Jim Orser recommended the store when I visited them at Rocky Coast Brewing in Ogunquit, and the selection is very good.

I bought some other beers that I will be writing about soon. I am just about running out of my recommended column space.

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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