Monday, December 9, 2013
For the past few months while I have been writing about local beers and beer events, I also have been tasting a variety of beers from other places. While Maine creates some of the best beers in the world, you can't be a locavore all of the time.
I was first attracted to Slumbrew by its Porter Square Porter because son Zachary lived for several years in that Somerville, Mass., neighborhood. This was a rich, almost black porter with a good rich mouthfeel and a lot of chocolate malt flavors, coming in at 6.5 percent alcohol.
After that, I had some Hoppy Sol and Rising Sun, two different ales made with the same kind of yeast.
Hoppy Sol is a wheat beer that pours a sunset orange. It has a good wheat and citrus flavor, and is 5.5 percent alcohol. This was a pleasant take on a hefeweizen.
Rising Sun is an altbier or dampfbier, made with all barley malt but using the yeast traditionally used in a wheat beer. The color is a darker orange to red, and is a bit hazy. This has a wonderfully big and malty flavor with a bit of fruitiness in the background, and is 5.7 percent alcohol.
All of these beers come in 22-ounce bombers, and I think the price was in the $6 range.
Somerville Brewing Co., which is behind the Slumbrew brand, has a small brewery in Somerville where the owners create recipes. But the company makes most of its beers as tenant brewers at Mercury Brewing Co. in Ipswich, Mass.
I WROTE about Wilco Tango Foxtrot by Lagunitas Brewing out of Petaluma, Calif., in early summer, and I continued drinking the company's beer over the course of the summer.
Since then, I have had Lagunitas' Hop Stoopid, Little Sumpin' Ale, Maximus and Censored. They all follow the German beer laws, which say that they can be made only with water, barley, hops and yeast.
The lowest-alcohol one of the group was Censored, a rich copper ale and the one that I liked the best. It had a good, rich malty flavor, with enough hops to make it interesting.
The others were in the 7 to 8 percent alcohol range, and were all hoppier than I like for routine drinking -- although Little Sumpin' was quite good.
I got the Hop Stoopid in a 22-ounce bomber, and the others in a mixed six-pack from the Bier Cellar. I think I paid about $6 for the bomber and about $14 for the mixed six-pack.
MY WIFE Nancy's favorite cousin, John, brought us a six-pack of beer from Nashoba Valley Brewery in Bolton, Mass.
This is a combination winery, brewery, restaurant and apple farm that is family owned and doing all sorts of different businesses to keep the farm going.
Nancy and I really liked the Nashoba Valley IPA, but the other beers -- Bolt 117, Waddaquoddoc Wheat, Heron Ale and Belgian Pale Ale -- were middle-of-the-road.
However, the chardonnay cousin John also brought was very good, especially if you like the fruit-centered, unoaked type of chardonnay they make in the Chablis region of France.
ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDERS is holding a beer, wine, food and music event from 5 to 10 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Ocean Gateway Terminal.
Beer + Wine + Water is designed to finance the group's mission to bring clean, safe drinking water to Ghana, in Africa.
Drinks will be supplied by Shipyard, Geary's and Maine Mead, and local caterers will provide appetizers while The Jason Spooner Band performs. There will also be an extensive silent auction.
Tickets are $30 and available by sending a check payable to EWB Portland Maine. Mail checks to: EWB Portland Maine, c/o Kathy Kern, 39 Glenridge Drive, Portland ME 04102.
Tom Atwell is a freelance writer living in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at: