Friday, March 7, 2014
By TOM ATWELL
Rising Tide Brewing Co. introduced a couple of new beers during the middle of March, but I have had a chance to taste only one of them.
Brewery owner Heather Sanborn, left, and volunteer pourer Penny Vaillancourt talk to a customer at the Rising Tide booth at the Central Maine Brew Fest on April 13 in the Augusta Armory.
Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal
Spinnaker is a traditional German hefeweizen made with 60 percent malted wheat and fermented with Bavarian weizen yeast. It's designed to be the companion to Ursa Minor, Rising Tide's weizen stout that is the winter seasonal.
Spinnaker has a wonderfully cloudy golden color in the glass, a smooth and creamy texture, a very smooth flavor and lots of bready yeast. This is going to be an excellent beer to enjoy on the warm summer days that we all hope are coming.
"All of our beers have a twist," said Heather Sanborn, co-owner of the company with her husband and brewer Nathan Sanborn, when I tried Spinnaker at Rising Tide night at the Great Lost Bear. "The twist to this beer is that there is no twist. This is absolutely true to the style of a hefeweizen."
Spinnaker is going to be available throughout Rising Tide's distribution area in 22-ounce bombers and on draft, including in growlers at the brewery, 103 Fox St., Portland.
The new Rising Tide that I haven't tried yet is Entrepot Printemps, a spring saison that will be available only in Maine bars and at the brewery. It's brewed with pilsner malt, wheat, oats and Magnum, Mt. Hood, Calypso and Citra hops. I'm going to have to get out and try it soon, because I suspect it won't be around for long.
BUNKER BREWING CO. -- just up the street from Rising Tide at 122 Anderson St. -- showed the wide array of beers that a brewer can make during a recent visit.
Brewer Chresten Sorensen was offering Trashmaster II imperial stout, which came in a 9.5 percent alcohol; Munjoy Mild, a wonderfully tasty brown ale that was only 4 percent alcohol; and 122 Coffee IPA, which was somewhere in between.
Trashmaster is an all-around big beer with a lot of roasted malt flavor balanced by some hops, but also a surprisingly sweet flavor along with a slightly syrupy texture.
Munjoy Mild is a classic British session beer that's heavier on the malt than on the hops, and very well done. You could enjoy a couple bottles of this beer on a relaxing afternoon.
The 122 Coffee IPA is good and flavorful, but I have not completely gotten comfortable with the coffee and beer mix. It makes me think I should be having it for breakfast, and there are very few days each year when I want beer with breakfast.
WHEN WIFE, NANCY, and I went over to daughter Tandy and son-in-law Christian's for dinner recently after a particularly difficult week. They had Director's Cut from Harpoon Brewery's 100-barrel series and a wonderfully oaky chardonnay for Nancy. They were both well appreciated.
Harpoon, which was founded in Boston and now also has a brewery in Windsor, Vt., regularly does limited-edition beers of 100 barrels. This one was released in January.
The idea behind this beer is that two longtime Harpoon board members, Mark Edwards and Jim Perry, could not agree on a style of beer to honor them, so it is a mix of a pale ale and a stout.
The Director's Cut is a rich and flavorful beer. It has an almost black color with reddish tinges, and a nice head. The taste includes a bit of caramel and some roasted malt smokiness. It's a good and fairly complex beer, coming in at 6.3 percent alcohol. Christian said he thinks it cost about $9 for a 22-ounce bottle.
Having enjoyed the Director's Cut, we bought Harpoon's Summer Vacation 12-pack at the supermarket. The four beers included were UFO White, which came in the middle of a white-beer tasting we did last summer; IPA, probably the company's flagship beer and a good IPA; Summer Beer and Midsummer Fling.
Midsummer Fling is new this year, and has lemongrass and elderflower -- neither of which I could discern even though it had a bit of spiciness to the flavor. It was smooth and silky, only 4.7 percent alcohol and very easy to drink.
The Summer Beer is Harpoon's version of a kolsch. It had more bitterness and acidity than the Midsummer Fling, but was still a good beer for summer's days.
We spent about $14.50 for the 12-pack, but it was on special.
Tom Atwell is a freelance writer living in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at: