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Forest City Beeriad

November 2010

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By Karen E. Hofreiter

Rules of engagement

How to create a beer buzz with 25 of your closest friends

1. Invite equal numbers of Bud Light-gulpers, microbrew-sippers, and swirl-and-sniff beer aficionados.

2. Insist they think as they drink, answering all 98 questions contained in a 15-page handout.

3. Present 14 Maine beers chosen by an expert:

Allagash Fluxus

Allagash Victor Francenstein

Andrew’s English Pale Ale

Atlantic Brewing Brother Adam’s Bragget

Bar Harbor Cadillac Mountain Stout

Dogfish Squall IPA

Gritty’s Halloween Ale

Maine Beer Co. Peeper Ale

Maine Beer Co. Zoe Ale

Maine Mead Works Honeymaker Dry-hopped Mead

Marshall Wharf Ace Hole

Sebago Single Batch Dark Wheat Project

Shipyard Old Thumper

Shipyard Pumpkinhead

beerClever. European. Sexy. Diabolical. SoCal cool. If the words used to describe Maine beers at a local tasting are any indication, it would be safe to say that we’ve left behind our staid reputation for tweedy, English-style ales, emerging as the New World birthplace of world-class brews like Allagash’s lusty Belgian whites, Sebago’s breezy IPAs, Marshall Wharf’s maniacally hopped classics, and Shipyard’s pop-culture seasonals. “The typical profile of a Maine beer is an English-style pale/bitter that is malt-driven, has an amber-caramel color, and is low on the hops,” says Shahin Khojastehzad, bar manager at Portland’s Novare Res Bier Café. Local brewmasters concur: Dave Kleban of Maine Beer Company says, “English-style ales.” Tom Abercrombie of Sebago Brewing Company says, “Roots are British…for a long time, Maine was pushed into that corner. But the perception of craft beer in Maine is changing pretty quickly.”

Looks like it’s time we get to the bottom of the glass.


ALL-AROUND FAVORITES

Allagash Fluxus

“Full-bodied with a spicy, herbal taste”–allagash.com
10% abv, 25.4-oz bottle, $15

If this beer were a celebrity, who would it be?
“Charlize Theron–smooth and sexy”; “Kevin Spacey–don’t wanna like it, but can’t help it”

What are the human character traits of this beer?
“Creative, clever, sassy”

What food(s) does this beer remind you of?
“Black Twizzlers, pumpkin pie, and ginger snaps”

Would you drink this beer? If so, on what occasion?
Yes (100%)–”Like Allagash White but kick-ass”

Would you have guessed this is a Maine-brewed beer?
Yes (75%)–”Mainers have originality but sometimes get carried away with the spicing”

If this beer were a town or place in Maine, where would it be?
“Someplace touristy where all the locals have to pretend to like

the out-of-staters”

Are the label art and name representative of what’s inside the bottle?
“Label is plain; beer is not”

Allagash Victor Francenstein

“2008 Victor, aged in oak with wild yeast”–Novare Res
Only 400 bottles released, 9.7% abv, 375 ml bottle, $150 eBay

Celeb “Robert Downey, Jr. during his heroin years–brilliant and crazy as #$%@!”; “Lauren Bacall and Audrey Hepburn–classic, elegant, and beautiful”

Character “Sweet, but with an unexpected, worldly bite”; “Mysterious and ephemeral”

Eats “Green grapes, Razzles candy”

For you? Yes (75%)–”A true postcoital libation!”; No–”Not on my salary!”

ME-brewed? No (75%)–”Would have thought Europe–extremely complex and high-end”; Yes–”Maine beer rocks the party that rocks my body.”

Town “Waterford–sprawl-resistant, beautiful, and Maine’s best-kept secret”

Maine Beer Co. Zoe Ale

“Happy, hoppy, amber”–mainebeercompany.com
7.2% abv, 16.9-oz bottle, $5

Celeb “Mary Louise Parker in Weeds–sexy and clumsy with a whole lot going on”

Character “The smooth, sexy girl for whom you buy a beer and then can’t get her to give you her number”

Eats “Anything that leaves your taste buds wanting more”

For you? Yes (90%)–”I may fight it at first but then love it like a bad boyfriend”

ME-brewed? Yes (55%)–”Happy equals Maine to me”; No–”Too smooth and mature”

Town “Portland–there’s a lot going on, and no one wants to be in bed before last call”

Label “Should be named ‘Nick.’ Nick is your buddy who wakes up in the jail cell next to you and says, ‘Damn, that was fun!’”

Shipyard Old Thumper

“Hint of sweetness with fruit aromas, smooth texture, dry, hoppy finish”–shipyard.com
5.8% abv, six-pack $8

Celeb “Gene Hackman–earthy, mature flavor that is just sure to make you feel great”

Character “Solid, predictable–I’d ask it to help with my taxes”

For you? Yes (100%)–”This is my beer baby!”

ME-brewed? Yes (66%)–”Has a salt-of-the-earth taste”

Label “Onomatopoeia!”

Shipyard Pumpkinhead

“Hints of pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg”–shipyard.com
5.1% abv, six-pack $8

Celeb “Regis Philbin–as much as you hate to say it, you look forward to seeing him”

For You? Yes (100%)–”This is my fall beer of choice, reminds me of falling leaves and corn mazes”

CULT FOLLOWING

Maine Mead Works HoneyMaker Dry-Hopped Mead

“Strong, fruity aroma with hints of pine, grapefruit, and subtle floral notes; subtle hint of honey and natural bitterness of the hops” –mainemeadworks.com; 12.5% abv, 750 ml bottle, $14

Celeb “Taylor Swift–as far from masculine as you can get”

Character “Sweet but sneaky–I wouldn’t turn my back on it”

Eats “Honey with Tabasco, marmalade, candy canes”

For you? Yes (80%)–”I’d down it on a hot day with other Vikings”

ME-brewed? Yes (60%)–”We have lots of bees”

Town “Lewiston–can be good, but can be gross”

Label “’Mrs. Butterworth’s would be more appropriate”

Bar Harbor Cadillac Mountain Stout

“Full-bodied stout with focused chocolate flavors and plenty of hops and malt” –barharborbeer.com
6.7% abv, six-pack $11

Celeb “Hugh Laurie on House, M.D.–you want to hate the bitterness, but you can’t help but warm up to it”

Character “Strong and drives a big car, gas no object”

Eats “Brown bread”

Maine Beer Co. Peeper Ale

“American-style pale ale, citrus and floral hops”–Novare Res
5.5% abv, 500 ml bottle, $4.50

Celeb “Tony Shalhoub on Monk–more bark than bite”

Character “Complicated, quirky, smart”; “Boringness–besides giving me a buzz, it wouldn’t do much for me”

Eats “Lime, tarragon, gin, stale cheese”

For you? Yes (60%)–”Like a classic IPA, only better”

ME-brewed? Yes (80%)–”Simple, clean, delicious–perfect expression of Maine brewing”

Town “Old Orchard Beach–goes down easy”

SPLIT DECISION

Andrew’s English Pale

“Classic, English-style ale”–Novare Res; 4.5% abv, six-pack $8

Celeb “Kelsey Grammer on Frasier
very dry”

Character “Rolls with the punches”

ME-brewed? Yes (60%)–”Reminds me of Gritty’s or Sebago”

Town “Yarmouth–a little pretentious”

Atlantic Brewing Brother Adam’s Bragget

“Belgian-style with unique & sophisticated flavor due to the use of wildflower honey, pale malt,
and a very small amount of hops”
–atlanticbrewing.com; 11.8% abv, 22-oz bottle, $6

Celeb “Ryan Seacrest–schmoozes you, draws you in, and then…it’s downhill from there”

Character “A fragrant, herbal scent and a sweet first taste with a bitter finish. Like a first wife. We’d have to come to an understanding”; “Poetically handsome and rugged”

For You? No (60%)–”Too sweet”

Town “Freeport–cutesy and ‘Mainey’”

Label “Who the hell is Brother Adam?”

Dogfish Head Squall IPA

“Super-pungent imperial IPA, dry-hopped”–dogfish.com (brewed by Dogfish in Delaware specifically for beer drinkers in Maine); 9% abv, 25-oz bottle, $7

Celeb “John Cusack–not afraid to be complicated yet charming”

Character “Like a refined gentleman reading Jack Kerouac while sipping a PBR–intelligent but approachable”

ME-brewed? Yes (50%)–”Warms the numb toes. Plus, the name is all Maine”; No (50%)–”This is what people outside of Maine think Mainers want”

Town “Freeport–bright and fun but ultimately for tourists”

Label “Makes me think of a classic, rugged drink, not something fruity”; “This should be named ‘Sprinkle’”

Gritty’s Halloween Ale

“Robust brew has a deep amber color, a bold, malty palate, and a well-rounded hop finish.”–grittys.com; 6% abv, six-pack $8

Celeb “Kirsten Dunst–everyone says she’s great, but I’m bored”; “Freddy Krueger–dark, mysterious, and you always want more”

Character “Easy-going, warm, friendly…and I would ask for this beer’s number”

Eats “Store-bought pumpkin pie”

Town “Kittery–’Yay! I’m in Maine’; then it takes forever to get where you want to go”

Marshall Wharf Ace Hole

“American pale ale hopped with Sorachi Ace and Citra hop, floral, tropical fruit, spicy” –marshallwharf.com; 5.9% abv, on draught rotation at Great Lost Bear and Novare Res, $5/pint

Celeb “John Wayne–strong flavor, like rawhide”

Character “Funky, unpredictable, sarcastic”; “Bitter–this beer holds a grudge”

Eats “Grapefruit, apricots, stinky-feet cheese”

For you? Yes (65%)–”To convince my parents I’ve graduated from Bud”

ME-brewed? No (56%)–”Too sophisticated and trendy”

Label “Tastes high in alcohol, which for some is an ace in the hole itself”

Sebago Single Batch Dark Wheat Project

“Black wheat ale brewed with roasted malts”–Novare Res
7.5% abv, 22-oz bottle, $8

Celeb “Samuel L. Jackson–badass mofo”

Character “Maine emo-hipster”

Eats “Chocolate, cigarettes, charred beef”

For you? No (60%)–”Too much like burned toast”

Label “Should be ‘Dark & Stormy’ or ‘Snowed-In’”

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