2016 Maine Madness Beer Tournament Beer List

mainebeermadness_brackets1Here is the official list of the beers for the 3rd Annual Maine Madness tournament. Much discussion goes into crafting this list of Maine beers. We tried to include brews that are brilliantly crafted, available to try during the tournament, and/or popular in Maine and New England. It’s a tough job, and we had to make some difficult choices to leave beers off the list that we love.

You will notice that Rising Tide’s Maine Island Trail Ale is not on this list. After its second victory, MITA has been retired from the competition and now holds the distinction of Maine Madness Champion Emeritus. (All champions will be retired after garnering a second championship.)

We encourage you to give feedback if you feel we have made any egregious oversights in beers that were left off this list. Please make comments below and we’ll try to accommodate your suggestions.

Once the list is set, the match-ups will be chosen at random this Sunday at Rising Tide Brewing Company.

Cheers!

  1. 20 Gauge IPA // Marsh Island Brewing
  2. Allagash Black // Allagash Brewing
  3. Allagash White // Allagash Brewing
  4. Allagash Saison // Allagash Brewing
  5. Baby Genius // Bissell Brothers
  6. Blackfly Stout // Gritty’s Brewing
  7. Blueberry Ale // Sea Dog Brewing
  8. Brett Loves Hops // Austin Street Brewing
  9. Burnside Brown Ale // Foundation Brewing
  10. Cadillac Mountain Stout // Bar Harbor Brewing
  11. Cant Dog // Marshall Wharf Brewing
  12. Calcutta Cutter // Rising Tide Brewing
  13. Coal Porter // Atlantic Brewing
  14. Crystal Persuasion // SoMe Brewing
  15. Curieux // Allagash Brewing
  16. Cypher IPL // Bunker Brewing
  17. Daikaiju IPA // Banded Horn Brewing
  18. Daymark Ale // Rising Tide Brewing
  19. Dexter ‘Rippa’ Red IPA // Boothbay Craft Brewery
  20. Dinner // Maine Beer Company
  21. Epiphany Maine IPA // Foundation Brewing
  22. Export Ale // Shipyard Brewing
  23. Farmhouse Pale Ale // Oxbow Brewing
  24. Fresh Cut // Peak Organic Brewing
  25. Frye’s Leap // Sebago Brewing Company
  26. Grizacca // Oxbow Brewing
  27. G-String Pale Ale // Funky Bow Brewing
  28. Hampshire Special Ale // Geary’s Brewing
  29. Headstash IPA // Liquid Riot Brewing
  30. Jailbreak Chocolate Chili Stout // Bigelow Brewing
  31. Jali Apricot Jalapeno Ale // Hidden Cove Brewing
  32. Jamaican Stout // Sunday River Brewing
  33. Lunch IPA // Maine Beer Company
  34. Machine Gun Czech Pils // Bunker Brewing
  35. Midnight Special Porter // Funky Bow Brewing
  36. Mo Pale Ale // Maine Beer Company
  37. Mockingfish Gose // Rising Tide Brewing
  38. Mott the Lesser Russian Imperial Stout // Tributary Brewing
  39. Norweald Stout // Banded Horn Brewing
  40. Ozone IPA // Orono Brewing
  41. Pale Ale // Geary’s Brewing
  42. Pale Ale // Tributary Brewing
  43. Pamola Xtra Pale Ale // Baxter Brewing Company
  44. Paper Planes // Barreled Souls Brewing
  45. Patina Pale // Austin Street Brewing
  46. Patroon IPA // Hidden Cove Brewing
  47. Peeper Ale // Maine Beer Company
  48. Pemaquid Oyster Stout // Marshall Wharf Brewing
  49. Pepperell Pilsener // Banded Horn Brewing
  50. Phantom Punch Stout // Baxter Brewing Company
  51. Primus Belgian Table Beer // Liquid Riot Brewing
  52. Pumpkinhead // Shipyard Brewing
  53. Quadricentennial Pale Ale // Monhegan Brewing
  54. Simmer Down // Sebago Brewing Company
  55. Smiling Irish Bastard // Geaghan Brothers Brewing
  56. Space Gose // Barreled Souls Brewing
  57. Stowaway IPA // Baxter Brewing Company
  58. Substance // Bissell Brothers
  59. Super Fresh // Peak Organic Brewing
  60. Swish // Bissell Brothers
  61. Tectonic Tomahawk White IPA // Gneiss Brewing Company
  62. Wanderlust // Foundation Brewing
  63. Window Seat Porter // Baxter Brewing Company
  64. Whoopie Pie Porter // Friars’ Brewhouse

Official 2015 Maine Madness Beer Tournament Bracket

Official 2015 Maine Madness Beer Tournament BracketWe present to you the official 2015 Maine Madness Beer Tournament Bracket. Click on the document to get a better look at the match-ups. It’s clear that the early rounds are going to be tight with some amazing brews in head to head battles early on.

Remember, the purpose of this tournament is to celebrate Maine beer. We’re Jali Beer 2 Hidden Covelucky to live in such a fecund beer mecca. Go out and find the beers on this list you’ve never tried and toss ’em back. Support old favorites and seek out new beer companions.

Voting begins a week from today on March 26th through MaineToday.com. Like Maine Madness Beer Tournament on Facebook to get the updated voting links. Until then, print out the bracket, digest the match-ups, make your picks, and drink Maine beer!

Cheers!

The Official List of Beers for the Maine Madness Beer Tournament

Rising Tide Maine Island Trail AleWe are so happy to announce the participants in the 2015 Maine Madness Beer Tournament. What we’d like to ask of you is that you peruse this list and see if there are any Maine beers you dearly love that are not on this list. We are going to finalize the list in the next day and this weekend we will have “Selection Sunday” when we randomly choose our head-to-head match-ups for the first round. Last year we divided the bracket into categories, but we felt that it would be most democratic to randomly pick the match-ups.

This tournament is a celebration of the glorious Maine beer landscape. If you see a beer on this list you’re unfamiliar with, track it down and toss it down your grocery hole! Our motto at the Maine Madness Beer Tournament is: To Drink ME is to Love ME.

The 2015 List (in Alphabetical Order)

Ace Hole Pale Ale // Marshall Wharf Brewing

Allagash Black // Allagash Brewing

Allagash White // Allagash Brewing

Bissell Brothers Brewing CompanyAngels With Filthy Souls // Bissell Brothers

Baby Genius // Bissell Brothers

Blackfly Stout // Gritty’s Brewing

Blueberry Ale // Sea Dog Brewing

Bonfire Rye // Sebago Brewing

Brett Loves Hops // Austin Street Brewing

Burnside // Foundation Brewing

Cant Dog // Marshall Wharf Brewing

Calcutta Cutter // Rising Tide Brewing

Coal Porter // Atlantic Brewing

Coolship Resurgam // Allagash Brewing

Crystal Persuasion // SoMe Brewing

BunkerCurieux // Allagash Brewing (2014 Runner Up)

Daymark // Rising Tide Brewing

Dinner // Maine Beer Company

Eddy // Foundation Brewing

Epiphany // Foundation Brewing

Export Ale // Shipyard Brewing

Farmhouse Pale Ale // Oxbow Brewing

Fresh Cut // Peak Organic Brewing

IMG_20130816_121823Frye’s Leap // Sebago Brewing Company

Grizacca // Oxbow Brewing

G-String // Funky Bow Brewing

Halloween Ale // Gritty’s Brewing

Hop Swap // Sebago Brewing Company

HSA // Geary’s Brewing

King Titus // Maine Beer Company

Lobster Ale // Belfast Brewing

London Porter // Geary’s Brewing

Lunch // Maine Beer Company

Machine Gun Czech // Bunker Brewing

Maine Island Trail Ale // Rising Tide Brewing (2014 Tournament Winner!)

McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout // Belfast Brewing

Mean Old Tom // Maine Beer Company

MBC Leaning LunchMo Pale Ale // Maine Beer Company

Norweald Stout // Banded Horn Brewing

Pale Ale // Geary’s Brewing

Pale Ale // Peak Organic Brewing

Pale Ale // Tributary Brewing

Pamola Xtra Pale Ale // Baxter Brewing Company

Paper Planes // Barreled Souls Brewing

Patina Pale // Austin Street Brewing

Peeper Ale // Maine Beer Company

Pemaquid Oyster Stout // Marshall Wharf Brewing

Pepperell Pilsener // Banded Horn Brewing

Phantom Punch Stout // Baxter Brewing Company

Pumpkinhead // Shipyard Brewing

Real Ale // Atlantic Brewing

Salad Daze IPL // Bunker Brewing

Sea Belt Scotch Ale // Marshall Wharf Brewing

Simmer Down // Sebago Brewing Company

So Folkin’ Hoppy // Funky Bow Brewing

Stowaway IPA // Baxter Brewing Company

Summer Ale // Geary’s Brewing

Summer Ale // Shipyard Brewing

rising-tide-ursa-minorSubstance // Bissell Brothers

Swish // Bissell Brothers

Ursa Minor // Rising Tide Brewing

Veridian IPA // Banded Horn Brewing

Wanderlust // Foundation Brewing

Whoopie Pie Stout // SoMe Brewing

Maine Brewing Supply Rolls Out Clone Recipes

(Originally published in Maine Today Magazine on September 16, 2014.)

Do you crave a beer that you can’t buy here in Maine? Maybe it’s the elusive Pliny the Elder from Russian River Brewing in California. Or perhaps you still haven’t had the luxury of trying a Heady Topper from the Alchemist in Vermont. Or maybe Zombie Dust from Three Floyds in Indiana has piqued your interest, but you just can’t get your hands on a bottle of that diabolical IPA.

Maine Brewing Supply FrontIf the I-can’t-buy-that-beer-in-Maine blues have you feeling low, fret not. Maine Brewing Supply on Forest Ave in Portland has you covered.

The homebrew shop has started selling clone recipes of world-renowned beers both from Maine and beyond. A sign outside the store urges: “If you can’t get ‘em, brew ‘em!”

I first discovered their well-crafted clone recipes last year when I asked Kyle Jongerden, the Brewing Supply attendant, if they had any bottles of Zombie Dust in their well-stocked beer cooler. He nearly fell over laughing.

His laughter subsided, however, and he smiled at me and said, “We don’t have any bottles, but I have a good recipe for it.”

Clone KitsNext thing you know, my arms are filled with the arsenal to make the impossible-to-get Zombie Dust. I brew it, bottle it, and let it sit. A month later I’m sipping the best homebrew I’ve ever made. The beer is citrusy from the 8 oz. of Citra hops and well balanced from the recipe’s perfect grain/malt portions.

Last month, feeling the itch to brew, I headed to Maine Brewing Supply. On this trip Jongerden told me he had just perfected a Heady Topper recipe

I was so thrilled I think I may have done a backflip. As Jongerden gathered the ingredients into a green mesh bag, he explained that he’s been hunched over his computer for weeks digging through the deep recesses of internet beer forums, looking at recipes, trying out different configurations of ingredients in his own kitchen, until finally, he created a recipe that resembles the highly rated double IPA from Vermont.

Anyone who has ever crawled into the rabbit hole of internet forums knows how persnickety these people can be. What I love is that Jongerden is willing to enter these forums so we don’t have to. He does the dirty work and emerges with astounding homebrew recipes.

Maine Brewing Supply Street SignIn a side-by-side comparison, my clone Heady Topper holds its own with the original. Though I seem to have fallen a bit short on capturing the magic. This is all the more reason to try again!

What’s their most popular clone recipe? It’s actually a beer brewed right here in Portland: The Substance from Bissell Brothers Brewing. Seems like people can’t get enough of that beer right now.

Whether you’re an expert homebrewer or just thinking about buying your first homebrewing kit, head to Maine Brewing Supply, grab one of Kyle’s recipes, and bring the magic to your kitchen.

Cheers!

Maine Beer Company Releases Another Round of Dinner

(Originally published in Maine Today Magazine on August 7, 2014.)

Dinner SignI dream about Dinner. No, really. I have actual dreams about this double IPA from Maine Beer Company.

Here’s my latest one. I’m walking down a street in a city that vaguely looks like London and a woman with striking white hair approaches me and says, “I’m the one who wrote you the letter about Dinner.”

“You are?”

“Yes,” she says, “but I want to tell you about Supper.”

“Supper?”

The woman smiles, “Yes. Maine Beer Company’s triple IPA.”

Then I wake up. Not only do I dream about Dinner, but also I dream about IPA’s Maine Beer Company has yet to brew. What do you say about that one, Freud? Actually, I don’t want to know. I’m not emotionally mature enough to handle that kind of truth.

Dinner LabelBut less about me and my emotional shortcomings and more about Dinner. Maine Beer Company has released this beer three times: in March, May, and most recently on July 31st. Each release has caused near pandemonium. In May, a guy from Massachusetts slept in his car overnight outside of the brewery to ensure that he would get a case.

If you haven’t had the sublime joy of placing a glass of Dinner to your lips and experiencing the sensory overload of this beer, then I pity your senses.

Here’s a verbal tour of the physical joy of drinking the citrus bomb that is Dinner.

Dinner has a golden, hazy appearance. The haze is most likely a result of all the beautiful hop resin jammed into this beer. The lively hop resins are what give this beer the aromatic explosion when you lift the glass to your face. Before tasting Dinner, I like to take in a few deep breaths of its tropical fruit salad aroma.

Glass of DinnerNext, the all-important taste factor. Dinner’s flavor, coupled with its lush aroma, makes for a world-class beer drinking experience. And I don’t use the label ‘world-class’ lightly. Maine Beer Company hops and dry-hops the ever-loving heck out Dinner with Citra, Mosaic, Falconer’s Flight, and Simcoe hops. And boy does it pay off. The flavor is grapefruit and mango and passion fruit. Since they focus mainly on flavor and dry-hops, this beer doesn’t decimate your palate with bitterness. It’s more of a bright IPA than an offensively bitter IPA.

After a healthy gulp of Dinner, I like to let the citrus symphony linger on my tongue before I greedily go back for another swig.

After the last bottles of this release of Dinner have been tossed down our collective grocery holes, I’ll be back to dreaming of this beer. Who knows, maybe I’m clairvoyant and we’ll see a release of Supper in the near future.

Cheers!

Sierra Nevada Brewing Brings Beer Camp to Maine

(Originally published in Maine Today Magazine on July 31, 2014.)

Remember in 2012 when Mumford and Sons thundered into town with their Gentlemen of the Road Tour? Portland was one of only four U.S. tour stops. The most powerful Americana band in the world turned its eyes on our city for a night. The event was as magical as we could have hoped. It was a once in a lifetime event in Portland.

But what if I told you epic festival lightning could strike twice?

This August 1st at Thompson’s Point in Portland a second colossal lightening bolt will strike us. Hard.

Beer Camp Bus copyThe iconic brewers at Sierra Nevada have put together a rock and roll style tour called Beer Camp Across America to celebrate the opening of their new brewing facility in Mills River, North Carolina. And they have decided to make Portland one of its seven stops.

As of right now, over 100 breweries from New England and beyond will be pouring on August 1st. I know, Maine already has some great beer festivals throughout the year. What makes this one so special?

Frankly, the list of brewers for Beer Camp reads like the star-studded roster for the 1985 smash hit, ‘We Are the World.’

When the gates open, this beer writer is running straight for the following brewers: Russian River (mmm…Pliny the Elder), 3 Floyds (Zombie Dust, please), Firestone Walker (give me some Parabola), and finally, like a school girl screaming for Justin Bieber, I’m going to pay homage to Sierra Nevada, whose 1981-born Pale Ale ushered in the age of the American craft beer.

In addition to the impossible-to-get beers that will be at Beer Camp, Sierra Nevada collaborated with twelve of the best brewers in this country to create a one-time only twelve pack. God, I hope you got your hands on this. It’s a brilliant box of beer genius. It contains a range of styles from stouts to ales to bocks.

Beer Camp at Allagash copyDrinking this twelve pack is like watching the 1976 rockumentary, The Last Waltz, where The Band backed up the greatest singers of their generation for a night. The music was a wonderful blend of The Band and whoever was singing at the moment. That’s what’s going on in this twelve pack.

Of course, our hometown hero, Allagash, was part of this beer collaboration with their Belgian-Style Pale Ale, Myron’s Walk. This Pale Ale has the sharp bite of Allagash’s signature yeast and spicy coriander with a hop zing finish of Sierra Nevada-inspired Citra and Mosaic hops. It’s a true marriage of Belgian and American brewing styles, and I want it year round!

As August 1st approaches, look for special events around town related to Beer Camp Across America. There’s a good chance we’ll get a tap-takeover at a local bar where we can try the collaboration beers on draft.

Most importantly, buy, barter, or steal a ticket to Beer Camp, because like the Mumford and Sons festival on the Eastern Prom in 2012, this event will be talked about for years to come.

Cheers!

The Industrial Way Neighborhood is the Fertile Crescent of Maine Brewing

(Originally Published in Maine Today Magazine on July 24, 2014.)

Everything great has an intoxicating birth story. The Universe has the Big Bang. Life on Earth has the primordial soup. Civilization has the Fertile Crescent. The Beatles have Hamburg. And Apple has a garage in Los Altos, California.

As the Maine beer renaissance roars on like an engine at full-tilt, no one can deny that our craft brewing scene is thriving.

But from what primordial soup did these magnificent ales, porters, and sours first crawl? Where is the Fertile Crescent of brewing in Maine?

Bissell Brothers Brewing CompanyWell, if the Universe has the Big Bang and the Beatles have Hamburg then craft brewing in Maine has the Industrial Way neighborhood on the outskirts of Portland.

Brief history lesson: D.L. Geary brewed Maine’s first legally sold, post-Prohibition beer in this neighborhood in 1986, Allagash started crafting their hazy Belgium style brews there in 1995, and One Industrial Way is the birthplace of Maine Beer Company (now in Freeport) and Rising Tide Brewing (now in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood).

Earlier this year, Bissell Brothers Brewing, Foundation Brewing, and Austin Street Brewing each opened a garage door in One Industrial Way.

Perhaps this neighborhood is the Mesopotamia of Maine craft brewing because of Portland’s pure water supply or zoning codes that make commercial brewing possible or, just maybe, D.L. Geary opened up a mystical portal when he brewed his first batch of Geary’s Pale Ale. (I’d like to believe the mystical portal theory myself.)

Regardless of the forces responsible, the Industrial Way neighborhood is infused with a brewing voodoo that is as strong today as it was thirty years ago. Nay, dare I say, stronger?

Here’s how I suggest experiencing this brewing motherland: start at One Industrial Way. Go to Bissell Brothers. You’re insane if you haven’t tried the Substance yet. If they’re selling cans, buy as many as you can. Next, walk the twenty steps to Foundation. Try their farmhouse ales. I suggest purchasing a growler of Blaze, their farmhouse IPA. Now walk around the backside of the building and visit Austin Street. Marvel at their humble thirty-one gallon system while you sip Patina Pale. Of course, buy a growler before you move on.

Foundation Brewing CompanyNext, make your way across the street to Allagash. The recently expanded compound might make your head spin after seeing the small operations in One Industrial Way, but don’t be scared. Try a free paddle of samples. Take a tour. Buy a bottle of Curieux, their Tripel Ale aged in bourbon barrels, and the runner-up in the Maine Madness Beer Tournament.

On your way out of the neighborhood, drive by Geary’s on Evergreen Drive. Though they have yet to open a tasting room, watch the way the building seems to glimmer with the aura of an enchanted artifact.

I promise that you will leave the Industrial Way neighborhood feeling invigorated, as if you’ve just dipped your toe into the Tigris River of Maine craft brewing.

Cheers!