In the 26th anniversary of its existence, D.L. Geary Brewing Co. has put the first of its 25th-anniversary beers into bottles.

I am thankful.

Geary’s was the first commercial brewery in Maine since Prohibition when it opened in 1986, and David Geary celebrated the anniversary by offering four special beers, available only on draft at local bars, throughout the year.

The first offering was an Oatmeal Stout, and by the time I discovered that Geary’s was doing the series, the stout had disappeared from the taps. I didn’t get to taste it until the Maine Brewers Festival in November, and I absolutely loved it.

It has a rich malt flavor and a wonderful silky feel that Geary says is from the oatmeal. The beer from the bottle was almost black, with a good thick head. The flavor is rich and malty, with not much hops.

There is no real plan about how long it is going to be available, so you should stock up now.

“It is not going to be a full-time product,” Geary said. “It is going to be a seasonal, but we don’t know what season.”

One batch of the Oatmeal Stout hit the shelves on Feb. 18, and Geary said he brewed another batch on Feb. 21. So it will be around for a while, if you know where to look for it.

“The response has been terrific,” Geary said. “You’re not likely to see it at Shaw’s or Hannaford — which have been very good to us — simply because of the shelf space. This will be for the independent stores.”

Son-in-law Christian bought some when he noticed a sign at RSVP that they were doing a beer tasting and that the beer being offered was the Oatmeal Stout, selling for $7.99 per six-pack of 12-ounce bottles.

The idea for the Oatmeal Stout came from Sean Cooledge, who has been working at Geary’s for 18 years, with Geary and Cooledge collaborating on the final recipe.

Geary said he was pleased with the way the beer came out in the bottled product. He said the draft is unfiltered, and the filtering done for the bottled beer strips away some of the body.

I made the comparison to Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, and Geary said that if you tasted the two beers side by side, they would be almost identical, with Geary’s product being a bit fresher.

Geary said he will be bringing out Hudson’s Red Ale, another beer from the 25th anniversary series, probably in May.

“That is another one that had a tremendous following,” he said.

NARRAGANSETT has just started selling Cream Ale as its second year-round beer, and I found it at RSVP for $8.19 for a six-pack of 16-ounce cans.

This is a light ale, and is somewhat similar to a lager because it undergoes some cold conditioning. It poured a medium-golden color, and had an off-white head that lasted quite a while.

At 5 percent alcohol, this is an easy-drinking beer with a bit of sweetness at the beginning and some bitterness at the end. There is a bit of viscosity, giving a creamy texture for which the style is known.

The pricing is the same as ‘Gansett’s craft seasonals — Porter, Bock, Summer and Fest — and a couple of dollars more per six-pack than the flagship lager.

Narragansett made a Cream Ale through the 1960s and ’70s, but this is a richer beer than its earlier namesake. Nancy and I like this beer, and I probably will buy some more of it. But I like all four of Narragansett’s seasonal beers better, and I am not sure how many customers will spend the extra $2 for the cream ale when compared with the lager.

BULL JAGGER’S Baltic Porter — which I tasted before it was carbonated — showed up in stores last week as well, and it was as good as I expected it to be.

It had a good, stiff dark head and a wonderfully rich flavor, with a strong taste of coffee. I noticed the hops more in the bottled version than I did when I tasted it at the brewery, but that could be because I drank it immediately after ‘Gansett Cream, and the contrast made the hops stand out more. The price was $6.39 for a 16.9 ounce-bottle.

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

[email protected]

 

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