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 Engram  Have you ever had a memory in your mind that you just can’t shake? A vivid, visceral replay of a moment in time, of something you have done in the past. This memory was a result of an event, impacting your life in an important way. In neuropsychological terms, an “Engram” is a hypothetical permanent change in the brain accounting for the creation of a memory. It is the way that a memory is stored, ultimately to be revisited.  Our beer, Engram, is the re-visitation in a sense of a memory from our homebrew past. Like many things in our brewing world, it goes back to Allagash White. Like most of us, after tasting Allagash White, Noah was smitten with its wheat character, its fluffy mouthfeel and complex flavors.  Wheat is unlike traditional base malts, and as you taste it in a beer, it is unavoidably unforgettable and absolutely delicious.  Not necessarily keen on brewing traditional witbiers, however, Noah began converging this newfound love of wheat as an ingredient in beers with his affinity for hoppy beers. A love of the flavors and aromas that could be developed from the artful use of the hop. He began homebrewing hoppy wheat beers, beers drawing inspiration from Gumballhead brewed by Three Floyd’s or 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat from Boulevard Brewing. Taking the wheat-based elements of Allagash White and merging that with new-school hops.  Since brewing those homebrews, years had passed and we had opened up Bissell Brothers Brewing Company. After brewing for some time, we had our collective feet under ourselves, and it felt right that the time had come to bring it full circle.  To revisit a memory of homebrewing and drinking those hoppy wheat beers several years ago.  To brew and share a beer called Engram.  Engram is definitively a showcase of wheat.  Comprised of nearly 70% wheat, it predominantly features this ingredient.  Among the wheat components are malted wheat, flaked wheat, and dark malted wheat, an ingredient somewhat similar to Munich malt, adding a further bready and doughy complexity to the wheat profile, as well as just a slight touch of color. The resulting base of the beer is wheaty, complex, delicious.  And all of this fluffy wheat base pairs perfectly in the beer with Denali hops. This dankly resinous, high alpha hop screams pineapple character in a direct sense of the expression. The hop is a straight blast of pineapple. So, in addition to Denali hops, Engram features a charge of Citra hops that serves to fill-in and round-out the profile, giving this beer a rounded citrus character that is not insularly pineapple.  As opposed to be styled as just another IPA, however, the hopping rate is actually quite conservative on this beer, a little more subtle and nuanced in character. It’s a showcase of wheat, first and foremost, with a nod to the hoppy character of beers that we all love. Fermented with our expressive house yeast strain, it finishes clean and dry. At 5.5% alcohol, it’s also incredibly sessionable. Full bodied and not watery, extremely drinkable in all senses.  This beer is one of our favorites, and tasting it will impart upon you a memory of drinking a hoppy wheat beer that you won’t soon forget. Enjoy...  --mvs

Engram

Have you ever had a memory in your mind that you just can’t shake? A vivid, visceral replay of a moment in time, of something you have done in the past. This memory was a result of an event, impacting your life in an important way. In neuropsychological terms, an “Engram” is a hypothetical permanent change in the brain accounting for the creation of a memory. It is the way that a memory is stored, ultimately to be revisited.

Our beer, Engram, is the re-visitation in a sense of a memory from our homebrew past. Like many things in our brewing world, it goes back to Allagash White. Like most of us, after tasting Allagash White, Noah was smitten with its wheat character, its fluffy mouthfeel and complex flavors.  Wheat is unlike traditional base malts, and as you taste it in a beer, it is unavoidably unforgettable and absolutely delicious.

Not necessarily keen on brewing traditional witbiers, however, Noah began converging this newfound love of wheat as an ingredient in beers with his affinity for hoppy beers. A love of the flavors and aromas that could be developed from the artful use of the hop. He began homebrewing hoppy wheat beers, beers drawing inspiration from Gumballhead brewed by Three Floyd’s or 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat from Boulevard Brewing. Taking the wheat-based elements of Allagash White and merging that with new-school hops.

Since brewing those homebrews, years had passed and we had opened up Bissell Brothers Brewing Company. After brewing for some time, we had our collective feet under ourselves, and it felt right that the time had come to bring it full circle.  To revisit a memory of homebrewing and drinking those hoppy wheat beers several years ago.  To brew and share a beer called Engram.

Engram is definitively a showcase of wheat.  Comprised of nearly 70% wheat, it predominantly features this ingredient.  Among the wheat components are malted wheat, flaked wheat, and dark malted wheat, an ingredient somewhat similar to Munich malt, adding a further bready and doughy complexity to the wheat profile, as well as just a slight touch of color. The resulting base of the beer is wheaty, complex, delicious.

And all of this fluffy wheat base pairs perfectly in the beer with Denali hops. This dankly resinous, high alpha hop screams pineapple character in a direct sense of the expression. The hop is a straight blast of pineapple. So, in addition to Denali hops, Engram features a charge of Citra hops that serves to fill-in and round-out the profile, giving this beer a rounded citrus character that is not insularly pineapple.

As opposed to be styled as just another IPA, however, the hopping rate is actually quite conservative on this beer, a little more subtle and nuanced in character. It’s a showcase of wheat, first and foremost, with a nod to the hoppy character of beers that we all love. Fermented with our expressive house yeast strain, it finishes clean and dry. At 5.5% alcohol, it’s also incredibly sessionable. Full bodied and not watery, extremely drinkable in all senses.

This beer is one of our favorites, and tasting it will impart upon you a memory of drinking a hoppy wheat beer that you won’t soon forget. Enjoy...

--mvs

 Nothing Gold  So Eden sank to grief,  So dawn goes to day.  Nothing gold can stay.  Those words, a poem by Robert Frost, encapsulate oh-so-much. At some point, in just about everyone’s life, one experiences a sense of remembrance of times better had, and challenges moving forward. The poem represents the fragile nature of innocence, goodness, and of simpler times.  In  The Outsiders , it was Johnny’s dying wish that Ponyboy would “stay gold,” despite the world going to hell around him. A futile effort, perhaps, to hold on, despite the need to let go.  When we were shutting the door on the first part of our journey with Bissell Brothers Brewing, moving out of the warehouse at 1 Industrial Way, and moving into our new facility, our current home, at Thompson’s Point, the meaning of these words couldn’t have rung truer.  We were moving away from a simpler, golden time in the Industrial Park, facing steep challenges with all that lay ahead.  Nothing Gold would be a beer to celebrate the wonderful moments and memories from our beginning, and embrace this new chapter, our slow and sure evolution toward having more room to be flexible, more space to host guests, more people on staff, more brewing, more everything.  Up until that point, we had just brewed one double IPA, a beer called Swish that we brewed during the winter months in Maine. Nothing Gold was conceived as a seasonal counterpart to Swish. However, the beer would not become just a riff on Swish, not a tweaked recipe, but something in and of itself entirely.  With that in mind, we selected a base of Golden Promise malt, one of our favorite base malts, something old and true. A traditional Scottish barley malt variety, Golden Promise delivers a robust, yet clean base, ideal for hoppy beers. As a result, Nothing Gold has a complex malt profile that is accentuated with just a kiss of Honey Malt--a malt we had previously not brewed with before, something new and inventive.  The Honey Malt imparts subtle, layered complexity to the beer, without coming across as overly sweet. And to that end, the beer is incredibly easy to drink, despite its ABV and impact.  Upon this layered and complex malt profile, we wanted to hop the beer with Citra, a hop that definitively reflects summer. When you open a bag of Citra, and close your eyes, every single summer memory floods back to you -- riding your bike in that “magical hour” before dark past freshly cut lawns, a moment in time that you want to hold onto but it just cannot last.  There is a fresh blast of hops that is never quite as powerful as when you first open that bag. It is the impermanence of something so very good that it must be treasured while it’s here.  Although Citra serves as the prominent hop in Nothing Gold, we choose Amarillo as a hop to accentuate the beer and, again, ensure that this beer was not simply a revision of Swish. Amarillo brings a subtle peach character to the beer, the hop is soft and rounded, adding to the beer’s drinkability. It’s a summer crusher, after all. Amarillo is that old school-new school, gap-bridging hop that contributes much to the beers hop profile in its supporting roll. For a rounded dry hop, we choose Ekuanot. This hop contributes additional layered complexity given the nuanced application here. We do not use this hop distinctly and singularly, but instead, we deliberately use the hop with intent to add yet another layer of flavor and aroma...  Building out the new Thompson’s Point required many early mornings here in the new facility, standing in what would become the taproom and looking out. In those early morning hours, the light would come through the windows at the front of the building, a golden start to the day.  Nothing Gold’s can design and artwork takes its appearance from that “magical hour” when the light is just perfect, coming in through those square windows up front.  When we opened at Thompson’s Point on June 4, 2016, Nothing Gold was the beer that we released that day.  It was a distinctly different double IPA from what we had done at Industrial Way.  It was (and is) a celebration of the simple, “magical hour” times that we shared there. But it was (and is) a nod toward what the future can be and whatever challenges we will overcome to get there.  Nothing Gold embodies our vision of the perfect summer double IPA.  It’s a beer that celebrates what was, what’s next, and when you take that first sip, what ultimately is.  Nature’s first green is gold,  Her hardest hue to hold.  --mvs

Nothing Gold

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Those words, a poem by Robert Frost, encapsulate oh-so-much. At some point, in just about everyone’s life, one experiences a sense of remembrance of times better had, and challenges moving forward. The poem represents the fragile nature of innocence, goodness, and of simpler times.  In The Outsiders, it was Johnny’s dying wish that Ponyboy would “stay gold,” despite the world going to hell around him. A futile effort, perhaps, to hold on, despite the need to let go.

When we were shutting the door on the first part of our journey with Bissell Brothers Brewing, moving out of the warehouse at 1 Industrial Way, and moving into our new facility, our current home, at Thompson’s Point, the meaning of these words couldn’t have rung truer.  We were moving away from a simpler, golden time in the Industrial Park, facing steep challenges with all that lay ahead.  Nothing Gold would be a beer to celebrate the wonderful moments and memories from our beginning, and embrace this new chapter, our slow and sure evolution toward having more room to be flexible, more space to host guests, more people on staff, more brewing, more everything.

Up until that point, we had just brewed one double IPA, a beer called Swish that we brewed during the winter months in Maine. Nothing Gold was conceived as a seasonal counterpart to Swish. However, the beer would not become just a riff on Swish, not a tweaked recipe, but something in and of itself entirely.

With that in mind, we selected a base of Golden Promise malt, one of our favorite base malts, something old and true. A traditional Scottish barley malt variety, Golden Promise delivers a robust, yet clean base, ideal for hoppy beers. As a result, Nothing Gold has a complex malt profile that is accentuated with just a kiss of Honey Malt--a malt we had previously not brewed with before, something new and inventive.  The Honey Malt imparts subtle, layered complexity to the beer, without coming across as overly sweet. And to that end, the beer is incredibly easy to drink, despite its ABV and impact.

Upon this layered and complex malt profile, we wanted to hop the beer with Citra, a hop that definitively reflects summer. When you open a bag of Citra, and close your eyes, every single summer memory floods back to you -- riding your bike in that “magical hour” before dark past freshly cut lawns, a moment in time that you want to hold onto but it just cannot last.  There is a fresh blast of hops that is never quite as powerful as when you first open that bag. It is the impermanence of something so very good that it must be treasured while it’s here.

Although Citra serves as the prominent hop in Nothing Gold, we choose Amarillo as a hop to accentuate the beer and, again, ensure that this beer was not simply a revision of Swish. Amarillo brings a subtle peach character to the beer, the hop is soft and rounded, adding to the beer’s drinkability. It’s a summer crusher, after all. Amarillo is that old school-new school, gap-bridging hop that contributes much to the beers hop profile in its supporting roll. For a rounded dry hop, we choose Ekuanot. This hop contributes additional layered complexity given the nuanced application here. We do not use this hop distinctly and singularly, but instead, we deliberately use the hop with intent to add yet another layer of flavor and aroma...

Building out the new Thompson’s Point required many early mornings here in the new facility, standing in what would become the taproom and looking out. In those early morning hours, the light would come through the windows at the front of the building, a golden start to the day.  Nothing Gold’s can design and artwork takes its appearance from that “magical hour” when the light is just perfect, coming in through those square windows up front.

When we opened at Thompson’s Point on June 4, 2016, Nothing Gold was the beer that we released that day.  It was a distinctly different double IPA from what we had done at Industrial Way.  It was (and is) a celebration of the simple, “magical hour” times that we shared there. But it was (and is) a nod toward what the future can be and whatever challenges we will overcome to get there.

Nothing Gold embodies our vision of the perfect summer double IPA.  It’s a beer that celebrates what was, what’s next, and when you take that first sip, what ultimately is.

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

--mvs

 Lux  It was Wednesday evening, April 23, and the year was 2014. It was still early on in the night, but there was already a line forming out the door at Mama’s CrowBar on Congress Street on Munjoy Hill. This “beer only-cash only” dive of a joint, a known Allagash Black house, was hosting us for an event.  After many months of being open at 1 Industrial Way, but brewing just the one beer, The Substance, we were invariably eager and looking forward to the start of signing on to our hop contracts--finally we’d have the chance to experiment and brew with some of the “sexier” hop varietals that we were excited about.  One of those hops was decidedly Mosaic.  Introduced to the potential of the Mosaic hop by Focal Banger, a beer brewed by The Alchemist in Vermont, Noah was excited to pilot a beer that would feature this expressive hop. On a small 5-gallon scale, the team formulated and brewed a Rye Pale Ale that would include Mosaic and Chinook hops, as well as a decent percentage of rye in the grist to cut the overtly tropical character of Mosaic.  This beer would potentially serve as a bookend to a beer that would become Swish, a easy drinking lower ABV Pale Ale to stand alongside a massive Double IPA.  That night at Mama’s, at our event, Bissell Brothers was debuting this pilot, a beer that we named Munjoi at the very last minute before the keg got delivered to the bar.  The beer had to be called something for the event, and we practically cringed writing that name onto the keg collar, but it was a spoof on the popular skateboard company Enjoi, and a nod to the bar’s location on Munjoy Hill. Despite its hazy appearance and lousy name, the beer was a smash hit at Mama’s. That single keg did not last all that long.  Today, Mama’s CrowBar no longer exists. Despite its contribution to the (even still then) burgeoning beer scene here in Portland and throughout Maine, the bar sadly closed its doors in September 2015.  The joint sold, and the new owners overhauled the place, re-opening it as a less beer-focused establishment, and certainly a place far less soulful than Mama’s. Mama’s CrowBar may no longer be Mama’s CrowBar, and Munjoi is not called Munjoi…. But from all that history there is a beer we call Lux.  Lux is still a Rye Pale Ale, and it is still a showcase of the Mosaic hop.  But it’s true that hops are an agricultural, seasonal ingredient, subject to slight variations from crop-year to crop-year, with many variables resulting in the ultimate characteristics of any particular bag of hops.  We’ve seen our Mosaic hops drift from what once was a pure vehicle for peach and blueberry to take on a danker quality, and it was this drift that led to slight recipe tweaks to Lux over time. We shifted the hop schedule to a duo pairing of Mosaic and Centennial, and then moved to the all-Mosaic recipe that’s in the beer today.  All the while, we’ve kept the rye (nearly 20% of the grist) component to provide a palpable spicy rye character to the beer.  Balanced with Vienna and Crystals malts, this new school version of a archetypal pale ale delivers ultimate drinkability, and the beer is a favorite of  our staff  and folks who work in the industry.  At 5.1% ABV, it hits that sweet spot where multiple pints are the preferred serving size. Lux is a beer designed for drinking, it’s flavorful, complex, and nuanced, all while simultaneously remaining simple and approachable. It is a beer that you can satisfyingly drink everyday and not grow fatigued, or it is a beer you can revisit once every few weeks and be absolutely blown away. It’s simply delicious and we brew it as often as we can.  After the event at Mama’s CrowBar, we knew we wanted to brew this beer all-the-time on a bigger scale.  With several more months of tweaks on the pilot system, we were finally ready to brew the beer on the big system. It was the dead of winter, a particularly long haul through snow and wind and dark, cold, nights, but it was also a time when we finally were able to have access to more and more hops, and different varieties.  Being able to access and brew with hops like Mosaic was metaphorically the beginning of a golden age of hoppy beers for us--an allegorical light shining down, illuminating our ideas of what Pale Ales and IPAs could actually be. The name “Lux” ultimately captured this feeling...  The beer is punchy, tropical, hoppy, and when you sip it, it feels warm in a very real and visceral way. Bright and light, the beer illuminates the palate, and inspires relaxation and a slower pace of life. In that--and in many ways--Lux is an escape to a sunnier state of mind.  Enlighten your day with a can (or two) of Lux.  --mvs

Lux

It was Wednesday evening, April 23, and the year was 2014. It was still early on in the night, but there was already a line forming out the door at Mama’s CrowBar on Congress Street on Munjoy Hill. This “beer only-cash only” dive of a joint, a known Allagash Black house, was hosting us for an event.

After many months of being open at 1 Industrial Way, but brewing just the one beer, The Substance, we were invariably eager and looking forward to the start of signing on to our hop contracts--finally we’d have the chance to experiment and brew with some of the “sexier” hop varietals that we were excited about.  One of those hops was decidedly Mosaic.

Introduced to the potential of the Mosaic hop by Focal Banger, a beer brewed by The Alchemist in Vermont, Noah was excited to pilot a beer that would feature this expressive hop. On a small 5-gallon scale, the team formulated and brewed a Rye Pale Ale that would include Mosaic and Chinook hops, as well as a decent percentage of rye in the grist to cut the overtly tropical character of Mosaic.  This beer would potentially serve as a bookend to a beer that would become Swish, a easy drinking lower ABV Pale Ale to stand alongside a massive Double IPA.

That night at Mama’s, at our event, Bissell Brothers was debuting this pilot, a beer that we named Munjoi at the very last minute before the keg got delivered to the bar.  The beer had to be called something for the event, and we practically cringed writing that name onto the keg collar, but it was a spoof on the popular skateboard company Enjoi, and a nod to the bar’s location on Munjoy Hill. Despite its hazy appearance and lousy name, the beer was a smash hit at Mama’s. That single keg did not last all that long.

Today, Mama’s CrowBar no longer exists. Despite its contribution to the (even still then) burgeoning beer scene here in Portland and throughout Maine, the bar sadly closed its doors in September 2015.  The joint sold, and the new owners overhauled the place, re-opening it as a less beer-focused establishment, and certainly a place far less soulful than Mama’s. Mama’s CrowBar may no longer be Mama’s CrowBar, and Munjoi is not called Munjoi…. But from all that history there is a beer we call Lux.

Lux is still a Rye Pale Ale, and it is still a showcase of the Mosaic hop.

But it’s true that hops are an agricultural, seasonal ingredient, subject to slight variations from crop-year to crop-year, with many variables resulting in the ultimate characteristics of any particular bag of hops.  We’ve seen our Mosaic hops drift from what once was a pure vehicle for peach and blueberry to take on a danker quality, and it was this drift that led to slight recipe tweaks to Lux over time. We shifted the hop schedule to a duo pairing of Mosaic and Centennial, and then moved to the all-Mosaic recipe that’s in the beer today.  All the while, we’ve kept the rye (nearly 20% of the grist) component to provide a palpable spicy rye character to the beer.

Balanced with Vienna and Crystals malts, this new school version of a archetypal pale ale delivers ultimate drinkability, and the beer is a favorite of our staff and folks who work in the industry.  At 5.1% ABV, it hits that sweet spot where multiple pints are the preferred serving size. Lux is a beer designed for drinking, it’s flavorful, complex, and nuanced, all while simultaneously remaining simple and approachable. It is a beer that you can satisfyingly drink everyday and not grow fatigued, or it is a beer you can revisit once every few weeks and be absolutely blown away. It’s simply delicious and we brew it as often as we can.

After the event at Mama’s CrowBar, we knew we wanted to brew this beer all-the-time on a bigger scale.  With several more months of tweaks on the pilot system, we were finally ready to brew the beer on the big system. It was the dead of winter, a particularly long haul through snow and wind and dark, cold, nights, but it was also a time when we finally were able to have access to more and more hops, and different varieties.  Being able to access and brew with hops like Mosaic was metaphorically the beginning of a golden age of hoppy beers for us--an allegorical light shining down, illuminating our ideas of what Pale Ales and IPAs could actually be. The name “Lux” ultimately captured this feeling...

The beer is punchy, tropical, hoppy, and when you sip it, it feels warm in a very real and visceral way. Bright and light, the beer illuminates the palate, and inspires relaxation and a slower pace of life. In that--and in many ways--Lux is an escape to a sunnier state of mind.

Enlighten your day with a can (or two) of Lux.

--mvs

 The Substance  In the spring of 2009, Pete and Noah embarked on a road trip that would prove to be formative for many facets of our brewery. On a fated night in the Nevada desert, they “discovered” the concept and the idea of the name, The Substance--not only as an idea that something (for example, a substance) could make you feel different or alter the mind, but also as a philosophy that our actions should have weight and merit to them. The idea that there would be substance to what we wanted to collectively create in Bissell Brothers Brewing Company.  From that night on, the notion of “The Substance” became an underlying theme that would permeate through Noah’s homebrewing career, and through Peter’s development of the brewery and culture behind the brand. The Substance, or at the least, an early iteration of it, was a beer that Noah had home brewed 5-gallons at a time, every other week, for over a year-and-a-half. The name seemed the perfect fit for Noah’s home brew. This beer would be our beer, and we would, too, call it The Substance. And it would ultimately launch our brewery as we humbly opened shop in late 2013 across the street from Allagash at 1 Industrial Way. And it would ultimately carry us to where we are today on Thompson’s Point.  The Substance, Batch 1, was first brewed in early December of 2013, and it would be the only beer that Bissell Brothers Brewing Company would produce for the first 8-9 months. Noah’s homebrew versions of the beer featured some of the more “sexy” hop varieties such as Citra and Mosaic.  As a fledgling start-up brewery in 2013, these hops were utterly unavailable to us. It simply wasn’t an option to build a beer around these types of hops, so Noah and our brewers would need to pivot hard with the recipe.  By necessity, the commercial version of The Substance was approached more creatively and flexibly. Featuring Falconer’s Flight, and a combination of many other hop varieties that just so happened to be what we could acquire by contract at the time, the beer was an inventive exercise in recipe formulation.  From there, brewing it over and over again, it has been an exercise in recipe development, refinement, and continued creativity. But some things remain true when it comes to The Substance. As beer writer Joshua M. Bernstein has said, “The Substance smells like a Phish concert.” The beer is dank in nearly every sense of the word, and notes of weed and resin are present in the aroma that carry through into the flavor. The beer has a “big-ass, dank” profile, but it is also incredibly balanced with a hit of citrus and topicality.  Although the element of dankness may be a less attractive characteristic in today’s world filled with bitter-less and juicy IPAs, The Substance does flirt with the new world IPA style in a way that intrigues and compels, adding complexity and not detracting from the beer. It is hazy and expressive, with a round and soft mouthfeel. It does have notes of tropical citrus underlying the dankness. But it is still first and foremost “dank” with a perceived bitterness that contributes to an overall balanced experience.  Because of this balance, The Substance is eminently drinkable. The yin and yang of old-school dankness and new school flair yield a beer that’s easy to drink, yet evolves. It’s an IPA that lets you choose your own journey. You can knock back a pint or two, or you can sit and experience the beer and its constant evolution over the course of time, one sip at a time as it washes across the palate. Intriguing, instead of fatiguing, all of your senses.  And it is our flagship, nearly 30-40% of overall production. In a beer world that is less-and-less interested in the flagship, The Substance has grown to our number one beer, by far and away. And, just as The Substance has helped us build our brewery, it’s helped the farming business in Maine thrive as well. The Substance is currently comprised of nearly 75% Maine-grown grain. Our brewery will use in excess of 250,000 pounds of Maine grown 2-row malted barley this year, and nearly 50,000 pounds of flaked wheat and oats. There isn’t much “local” that usually goes into brewing beer, but this truly is.  These distinct Maine-grown malts contribute to a uniquely delicious malt perception in the beer, despite the grist being a relatively simple formulation. And the malt presence in the beer is another reason this beer is such a great beer for drinking. There are impression beers and there are drinking beers. The Substance is definitively a beer for drinking. You don’t want just one sip, you want a whole pint. And then probably another. It truly is a “dank ale that threads many needles,” and it only continues to do so.  It’s my favorite beer, and it’s one that we collectively should all feel extremely proud to call our flagship. “What is this Substance”? Pour a glass, find out.  --mvs

The Substance

In the spring of 2009, Pete and Noah embarked on a road trip that would prove to be formative for many facets of our brewery. On a fated night in the Nevada desert, they “discovered” the concept and the idea of the name, The Substance--not only as an idea that something (for example, a substance) could make you feel different or alter the mind, but also as a philosophy that our actions should have weight and merit to them. The idea that there would be substance to what we wanted to collectively create in Bissell Brothers Brewing Company.

From that night on, the notion of “The Substance” became an underlying theme that would permeate through Noah’s homebrewing career, and through Peter’s development of the brewery and culture behind the brand. The Substance, or at the least, an early iteration of it, was a beer that Noah had home brewed 5-gallons at a time, every other week, for over a year-and-a-half. The name seemed the perfect fit for Noah’s home brew. This beer would be our beer, and we would, too, call it The Substance. And it would ultimately launch our brewery as we humbly opened shop in late 2013 across the street from Allagash at 1 Industrial Way. And it would ultimately carry us to where we are today on Thompson’s Point.

The Substance, Batch 1, was first brewed in early December of 2013, and it would be the only beer that Bissell Brothers Brewing Company would produce for the first 8-9 months. Noah’s homebrew versions of the beer featured some of the more “sexy” hop varieties such as Citra and Mosaic.  As a fledgling start-up brewery in 2013, these hops were utterly unavailable to us. It simply wasn’t an option to build a beer around these types of hops, so Noah and our brewers would need to pivot hard with the recipe.  By necessity, the commercial version of The Substance was approached more creatively and flexibly. Featuring Falconer’s Flight, and a combination of many other hop varieties that just so happened to be what we could acquire by contract at the time, the beer was an inventive exercise in recipe formulation.

From there, brewing it over and over again, it has been an exercise in recipe development, refinement, and continued creativity. But some things remain true when it comes to The Substance. As beer writer Joshua M. Bernstein has said, “The Substance smells like a Phish concert.” The beer is dank in nearly every sense of the word, and notes of weed and resin are present in the aroma that carry through into the flavor. The beer has a “big-ass, dank” profile, but it is also incredibly balanced with a hit of citrus and topicality.

Although the element of dankness may be a less attractive characteristic in today’s world filled with bitter-less and juicy IPAs, The Substance does flirt with the new world IPA style in a way that intrigues and compels, adding complexity and not detracting from the beer. It is hazy and expressive, with a round and soft mouthfeel. It does have notes of tropical citrus underlying the dankness. But it is still first and foremost “dank” with a perceived bitterness that contributes to an overall balanced experience.

Because of this balance, The Substance is eminently drinkable. The yin and yang of old-school dankness and new school flair yield a beer that’s easy to drink, yet evolves. It’s an IPA that lets you choose your own journey. You can knock back a pint or two, or you can sit and experience the beer and its constant evolution over the course of time, one sip at a time as it washes across the palate. Intriguing, instead of fatiguing, all of your senses.

And it is our flagship, nearly 30-40% of overall production. In a beer world that is less-and-less interested in the flagship, The Substance has grown to our number one beer, by far and away. And, just as The Substance has helped us build our brewery, it’s helped the farming business in Maine thrive as well. The Substance is currently comprised of nearly 75% Maine-grown grain. Our brewery will use in excess of 250,000 pounds of Maine grown 2-row malted barley this year, and nearly 50,000 pounds of flaked wheat and oats. There isn’t much “local” that usually goes into brewing beer, but this truly is.

These distinct Maine-grown malts contribute to a uniquely delicious malt perception in the beer, despite the grist being a relatively simple formulation. And the malt presence in the beer is another reason this beer is such a great beer for drinking. There are impression beers and there are drinking beers. The Substance is definitively a beer for drinking. You don’t want just one sip, you want a whole pint. And then probably another. It truly is a “dank ale that threads many needles,” and it only continues to do so.

It’s my favorite beer, and it’s one that we collectively should all feel extremely proud to call our flagship. “What is this Substance”? Pour a glass, find out.

--mvs

 January 11, 2018  Sure, it’s a new year for us all. But we are still grinding.  The year is quickly shaping up to be a big one for us at Bissell Brothers. We’ve got an ambitious production schedule with a lot of great beer that we are aiming to brew. Some old favorites, and some new surprises. We’ve got an ambitious travel schedule, with visits planned to St. Louis, Belgium, the UK, Colorado. We’ll visit some old friends and make some new ones along the way. We learn from these experiences, and bring those lessons back home to Maine where we will put them to use to brew better beer and provide a better experience for you, the people who support us and the reason we are here.  We’ve also got Milo. As of January 10, 2018, we’ve got the inaugural brew under our belts up North. A double brewday on our old system, producing 28 barrels of wort that will ferment and condition for the months ahead. It’s the start of a long-term project for us, one that will come together in the months and year ahead. We still don’t have a definitive timeline for Milo, but with each passing day we are closer to our vision of serving our hometown, making an impact in that community. All while still serving our home base of Portland, Maine.  Although we look ahead to the new year, we look back on the old. 2017 was a banner year. From our earliest days, we’d blast Tokyo Police Club tunes to get us through those long packaging runs, a positive musical force to get us through some tough workdays. In December, that very band rocked our Four Year party, truly a celebration for our brewery and our friends.  We also gave back, in a big way, to our community. Thanks to you, big time. Our four weeks of giving in December raised over $20,000 for local charities, and in the year 2017 we donated nearly $42,000 altogether to worthy causes. We could not have done this without you all. Thank you, again. You continue to push us to aspire to do bigger and better things for our state of Maine, and we will absolutely be continuing that this new year.  For those who have been with us all this time, including last year, let’s keep grinding. For those of you who are new in 2018, welcome to Bissell Brothers. Let’s share some beer.

January 11, 2018

Sure, it’s a new year for us all. But we are still grinding.

The year is quickly shaping up to be a big one for us at Bissell Brothers. We’ve got an ambitious production schedule with a lot of great beer that we are aiming to brew. Some old favorites, and some new surprises. We’ve got an ambitious travel schedule, with visits planned to St. Louis, Belgium, the UK, Colorado. We’ll visit some old friends and make some new ones along the way. We learn from these experiences, and bring those lessons back home to Maine where we will put them to use to brew better beer and provide a better experience for you, the people who support us and the reason we are here.

We’ve also got Milo. As of January 10, 2018, we’ve got the inaugural brew under our belts up North. A double brewday on our old system, producing 28 barrels of wort that will ferment and condition for the months ahead. It’s the start of a long-term project for us, one that will come together in the months and year ahead. We still don’t have a definitive timeline for Milo, but with each passing day we are closer to our vision of serving our hometown, making an impact in that community. All while still serving our home base of Portland, Maine.

Although we look ahead to the new year, we look back on the old. 2017 was a banner year. From our earliest days, we’d blast Tokyo Police Club tunes to get us through those long packaging runs, a positive musical force to get us through some tough workdays. In December, that very band rocked our Four Year party, truly a celebration for our brewery and our friends.

We also gave back, in a big way, to our community. Thanks to you, big time. Our four weeks of giving in December raised over $20,000 for local charities, and in the year 2017 we donated nearly $42,000 altogether to worthy causes. We could not have done this without you all. Thank you, again. You continue to push us to aspire to do bigger and better things for our state of Maine, and we will absolutely be continuing that this new year.

For those who have been with us all this time, including last year, let’s keep grinding. For those of you who are new in 2018, welcome to Bissell Brothers. Let’s share some beer.

 December 1, 2017  Fall is a time of transition.  A fleeting moment that finds one hand grasping onto the last of summer’s safe comfort and warmth, with the other hand thrusting forward cautiously towards winter’s stark uncertainty.  Much like the consistent routine found in the dynamic change of the seasons, we are realizing consistency and embracing change. One hand rooted firmly in our operation in Portland, the other cautiously extended north to our new facility in Milo, Maine.  In these last few months, we’ve re-invested in our home in Portland: we brought on two new employees, veterans of the industry. We’ve installed two 40bbl horizontal tanks that yielded this year’s Seed and our new Lagerbier, tanks that we are now bringing on-line full time for lagers and other projects. We’ve invested in our packaging line and our lab. We’ve begun employee wellness initiatives—all of this in the effort to provide the highest quality beer and the best possible customer experience. It is your endearing support that has allowed this all to come to fruition in Portland. Thank you.  If Portland, in a sense, represents the warmth and familiarity of summer, our new home in Milo is the fresh canvas of the winter months ahead. So much promise in a world anew, with so much left still unknown. Our old 10 bbl brewhouse is installed, awaiting the inaugural Milo brewday. We’ve installed eight foeders, vessels that will bring wood-aged beers to light, along with our established and growing barrel-aging program that will call Milo its home. We’ve installed a coolship, custom engineered by Forest J. Stone, our friend and metal fabricator based right here out of Portland. Milo will be wild.  There’s no definitive timeline on Milo, and like all good stories, there is no rush to get to the end. We hope to be brewing there in the coming weeks, beers that will age and evolve in time. We will continue to build out and develop the space, and hope to be open to the public sometime next year. Meanwhile in Portland, we’ll hold onto the spirit of summer throughout the coming months and continue business as usual.  We are continuously stoked by the outpouring of support and love we feel from you: you are the catalyst that is driving us forward. Forward for the journey. Forward for the beer.  Forward for Maine.

December 1, 2017

Fall is a time of transition.

A fleeting moment that finds one hand grasping onto the last of summer’s safe comfort and warmth, with the other hand thrusting forward cautiously towards winter’s stark uncertainty.

Much like the consistent routine found in the dynamic change of the seasons, we are realizing consistency and embracing change. One hand rooted firmly in our operation in Portland, the other cautiously extended north to our new facility in Milo, Maine.

In these last few months, we’ve re-invested in our home in Portland: we brought on two new employees, veterans of the industry. We’ve installed two 40bbl horizontal tanks that yielded this year’s Seed and our new Lagerbier, tanks that we are now bringing on-line full time for lagers and other projects. We’ve invested in our packaging line and our lab. We’ve begun employee wellness initiatives—all of this in the effort to provide the highest quality beer and the best possible customer experience. It is your endearing support that has allowed this all to come to fruition in Portland. Thank you.

If Portland, in a sense, represents the warmth and familiarity of summer, our new home in Milo is the fresh canvas of the winter months ahead. So much promise in a world anew, with so much left still unknown. Our old 10 bbl brewhouse is installed, awaiting the inaugural Milo brewday. We’ve installed eight foeders, vessels that will bring wood-aged beers to light, along with our established and growing barrel-aging program that will call Milo its home. We’ve installed a coolship, custom engineered by Forest J. Stone, our friend and metal fabricator based right here out of Portland. Milo will be wild.

There’s no definitive timeline on Milo, and like all good stories, there is no rush to get to the end. We hope to be brewing there in the coming weeks, beers that will age and evolve in time. We will continue to build out and develop the space, and hope to be open to the public sometime next year. Meanwhile in Portland, we’ll hold onto the spirit of summer throughout the coming months and continue business as usual.

We are continuously stoked by the outpouring of support and love we feel from you: you are the catalyst that is driving us forward. Forward for the journey. Forward for the beer.

Forward for Maine.


 May 26th, 2017  Moving Into summer          A long blink of an eye, and the warm months land. Summer in Maine holds so much we keep close. Windows are down, spirits are high, and beers that capture the essence of summer are emptied all too quickly. Even as schedules fill and the pace of work is at a constant step, moving away from Winter's purr is never a hard task.  It's crazy to think we were just settling into our new home on Thompson's Point exactly a year ago. That move seemed impossible at the time, taking every bit of our energy and focus, as well as every ounce of your support. Had we been told at the time that in twelve months we'd be undergoing yet another expansion, we simply would have laughed. Yet somehow, plans were made, and we once again find ourselves standing at the other end of a process as necessary as it was hectic.  Our new 20 barrel brewhouse is a beauty. In the 14 hours it used to take to make 900 gallons of wort, we can now make over 1200! This will allow us far more time to examine and refine our process, tweaking the countless nuances so critical in the never-ending quest to make better beer. In line with our brewhouse upgrade, we have also added 3 more 40 barrel fermentors, a 40 barrel brite tank, and added capacity to our canning line. If you are seasoned to our space, you will certainly notice the new stainless. Our days at the brewery will be as busy and long as they've ever been, but at least we will have a bit more beer (about 30%!) for our beautiful state.  We thank you for the unwavering support as we adapt to schedule changes. We thank you for your patience as we grow into our new production lineup. We thank for always being on the other side of this growth. Since day 1, every step forward has been because of you.   You are the backbone to this life we live and the reason we're always striving to be better.  With love for you. With love for the beer. With love for Maine.   

May 26th, 2017

Moving Into summer        

A long blink of an eye, and the warm months land. Summer in Maine holds so much we keep close. Windows are down, spirits are high, and beers that capture the essence of summer are emptied all too quickly. Even as schedules fill and the pace of work is at a constant step, moving away from Winter's purr is never a hard task.

It's crazy to think we were just settling into our new home on Thompson's Point exactly a year ago. That move seemed impossible at the time, taking every bit of our energy and focus, as well as every ounce of your support. Had we been told at the time that in twelve months we'd be undergoing yet another expansion, we simply would have laughed. Yet somehow, plans were made, and we once again find ourselves standing at the other end of a process as necessary as it was hectic.

Our new 20 barrel brewhouse is a beauty. In the 14 hours it used to take to make 900 gallons of wort, we can now make over 1200! This will allow us far more time to examine and refine our process, tweaking the countless nuances so critical in the never-ending quest to make better beer. In line with our brewhouse upgrade, we have also added 3 more 40 barrel fermentors, a 40 barrel brite tank, and added capacity to our canning line. If you are seasoned to our space, you will certainly notice the new stainless. Our days at the brewery will be as busy and long as they've ever been, but at least we will have a bit more beer (about 30%!) for our beautiful state.

We thank you for the unwavering support as we adapt to schedule changes. We thank you for your patience as we grow into our new production lineup. We thank for always being on the other side of this growth. Since day 1, every step forward has been because of you. 

You are the backbone to this life we live and the reason we're always striving to be better.

With love for you. With love for the beer. With love for Maine. 
 


 February 1st, 2017  IT'S BEEN TOO LONG!  TO ALL YOU FOLKS THAT SIGNED UP TO RECEIVE OUR EMAILS, THANK YOU FOR HANGING TIGHT AS WE FIND OUR GROOVE IN USING THIS PLATFORM REGULARLY.   THE CALM AND QUIET OF WINTER IN MAINE HAS FINALLY PROVIDED US SOME VERY NECESSARY TIME FOR REFLECTION. BETWEEN THE STRESS AND UNCERTAINTY OF MOVING OUR BREWERY AND THE DAILY GRIND OF BREW DAYS, KICKED KEGS, BROKEN PUMPS, AND AN EVER-GROWING PILE OF PAPERWORK, WE STILL FEEL THE SAME SENSE OF ENTHUSIASM, WONDER, AND PRIVELAGE WE DID THE DAY WE SOLD OUR FIRST KEG.  IN DECEMBER, WE WORKED CLOSELY WITH THE LOCKER PROJECT, TOYS FOR TOTS, ANIMAL WELFARE SOCIETY, AND RUTH'S REUSABLE RESOURCES FOR A MONTH LONG "4 WEEKS OF GIVING" EVENT. WE DONATED OVER $19,000 AND WITNESSED FIRST HAND THE POWER OF GENEROSITY WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY.   IN JANUARY, WE HAD A STAFF HOLIDAY PARTY. EVERYONE (EMPLOYEES, SPOUSES, KIDS, AND DOGS) CAME TOGETHER TO JUST HANG OUT. THERE WERE BOTTLES, THERE WAS PIZZA, AND SOME INCREDIBLY TENSE PING PONG SHOWDOWNS. IT'S INCREASINGLY HUMBLING TO SEE HOW OUR BBB FAMILY, IMMEDIATE AND EXTENDED, CONTINUES TO GROW, IN NUMBERS BUT EVEN MORE IN CHARACTER.  EVEN IN THE QUIET OF FEBRUARY, TIME CONTINUES TO FLY. IT'S ALL TOO EASY FOR US TO FORGET TO STEP BACK AND BREATH EVERYTHING OUR SITUATION IN NOW AND AGAIN, BUT IT IS MORE IMPORTANT NOW THAN EVER. WE ARE SO, SO FORTUNATE TO BE ON THIS JOURNEY AND IT WOULD SIMPLY NOT EXIST WITHOUT ALL OF YOU. YOUR ENTHUSIASM AND SUPPORT FOR WHAT WE DO IS WHAT GETS BBB UP IN THE MORNING, KEEPS US UP AT NIGHT, AND PUSHES US TO IMPROVE EVERY SINGLE DAY. YOU GIVE US PURPOSE AND MAKE US CARE ABOUT THIS CRAFT MORE THAN WE THOUGHT .   SIMPLY PUT, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING. WE SINCERELY HOPE YOU'RE AS EXCITED TO SEE WHAT PROFOUND AND UNEXPECTED PLACES 2017 TAKES US. IN THE MEANTIME, WE WILL TRY TO KEEP THE UPDATES MORE STEADY.    GRATITUDE.       

February 1st, 2017

IT'S BEEN TOO LONG!

TO ALL YOU FOLKS THAT SIGNED UP TO RECEIVE OUR EMAILS, THANK YOU FOR HANGING TIGHT AS WE FIND OUR GROOVE IN USING THIS PLATFORM REGULARLY. 

THE CALM AND QUIET OF WINTER IN MAINE HAS FINALLY PROVIDED US SOME VERY NECESSARY TIME FOR REFLECTION. BETWEEN THE STRESS AND UNCERTAINTY OF MOVING OUR BREWERY AND THE DAILY GRIND OF BREW DAYS, KICKED KEGS, BROKEN PUMPS, AND AN EVER-GROWING PILE OF PAPERWORK, WE STILL FEEL THE SAME SENSE OF ENTHUSIASM, WONDER, AND PRIVELAGE WE DID THE DAY WE SOLD OUR FIRST KEG.

IN DECEMBER, WE WORKED CLOSELY WITH THE LOCKER PROJECT, TOYS FOR TOTS, ANIMAL WELFARE SOCIETY, AND RUTH'S REUSABLE RESOURCES FOR A MONTH LONG "4 WEEKS OF GIVING" EVENT. WE DONATED OVER $19,000 AND WITNESSED FIRST HAND THE POWER OF GENEROSITY WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY. 

IN JANUARY, WE HAD A STAFF HOLIDAY PARTY. EVERYONE (EMPLOYEES, SPOUSES, KIDS, AND DOGS) CAME TOGETHER TO JUST HANG OUT. THERE WERE BOTTLES, THERE WAS PIZZA, AND SOME INCREDIBLY TENSE PING PONG SHOWDOWNS. IT'S INCREASINGLY HUMBLING TO SEE HOW OUR BBB FAMILY, IMMEDIATE AND EXTENDED, CONTINUES TO GROW, IN NUMBERS BUT EVEN MORE IN CHARACTER.

EVEN IN THE QUIET OF FEBRUARY, TIME CONTINUES TO FLY. IT'S ALL TOO EASY FOR US TO FORGET TO STEP BACK AND BREATH EVERYTHING OUR SITUATION IN NOW AND AGAIN, BUT IT IS MORE IMPORTANT NOW THAN EVER. WE ARE SO, SO FORTUNATE TO BE ON THIS JOURNEY AND IT WOULD SIMPLY NOT EXIST WITHOUT ALL OF YOU. YOUR ENTHUSIASM AND SUPPORT FOR WHAT WE DO IS WHAT GETS BBB UP IN THE MORNING, KEEPS US UP AT NIGHT, AND PUSHES US TO IMPROVE EVERY SINGLE DAY. YOU GIVE US PURPOSE AND MAKE US CARE ABOUT THIS CRAFT MORE THAN WE THOUGHT . 

SIMPLY PUT, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING. WE SINCERELY HOPE YOU'RE AS EXCITED TO SEE WHAT PROFOUND AND UNEXPECTED PLACES 2017 TAKES US. IN THE MEANTIME, WE WILL TRY TO KEEP THE UPDATES MORE STEADY. 


GRATITUDE.