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HOURS

(For Portland Location)

TUESDAY - 12:00 - 8:00PM

WEDNESDAY - 12:00 - 8:00PM

*THURSDAY - Dec. 13th Swish release, cans only sales at 11am then 12PM - 8PM OPEN FOR ALL TAPROOM SERVICES

FRIDAY - 12:00 - 8:00 PM

SATURDAY - 11:00 - 12:00 FOR CAN-ONLY SALES // 12:00 - 8:00PM FOR ALL TAPROOM OFFERINGS.

SUNDAY - 12:00 - 7:00PM


  I-Lucky   There is a restaurant located in Farmington, Maine that is affectionately known as  Thai   Smile . Although it has relocated to a new spot across the street, it is assuredly still there. When Noah walked into the original location, during his time in college, it was unlike anything he’d really ever seen. I am told that the place is still a relatively isolated bastion of awesomeness in the town.  Walking inside of Thai Smile, you are met with the aesthetic that you’ve seen over and over at countless take-out Asian food joints. You know what I mean, it could really be any “traditional” Thai restaurant in America. But what made Thai Smile a special place when Noah first walked in (and it still is) was that this place had a craft beer  program . Thirty craft beer lines, in Farmington, Maine, of all places. And someone working there who actually cared and knew about all of these beers!  That dude just so happened to be Seth Vigue. When Noah met Seth, a chance meeting at Thai Smile at that, they immediately hit it off over their love of and interest in beer. Yep, Seth was the bartender there, the man behind the sticks, and Noah and Seth quickly became fast friends. Fast forward, and the two are still friends, only Seth doesn’t pour beer for a living anymore, he  brews   it  here at Bissell Brothers.  In April of 2014, just a few months after we opened the doors of our brewery, we were approached by one of our accounts about putting on event, and brewing a new beer for it. The account was Pai Men Miyake, a Japanese-inspired ramen joint. The production crew, then really just Noah and Seth, saw this as an excuse to experiment. They would brew a beer to celebrate Noah and Seth’s happenstance meeting at Thai Smile, a not too dissimilar Thai-inspired joint.  In developing the recipe for the beer at the time, we most definitely saw it as an excuse to try out several new (to us) ingredients in the brewing process. Our goal is to integrate a Japanese-element into the beer, yet not try to replicate Japanese cuisine, per se. We had never brewed with rice, so this was the perfect impetus to incorporate that cereal grain into the grist. We had never used Sorachi Ace, but were intrigued by the applications of the hop that we had tasted in other beers, used to varying degrees of success. We felt that the lemongrass character of Sorachi Ace, sometimes also just slightly verging on dill and coconut, could provide the counterpoint to Citra hops that would provide citrusy mango and stone fruit flavors and aromas. Then, playing off the dryness of the beer imparted from the use of rice, we’d cut it all with a spice—fresh ginger, sliced up and added directly to the whirlpool.  The result was an IPA (of sorts) that was first and foremost a dry beer, light, clean, and crisp. The beer had an exotic, sultry spice character to it from the ginger and the hops, a slight heat, but not expressive of alcohol. Like walking through a jungle in Thailand. The beer was a hit at Pai Men for the event. We then decided to rebrew it, and we’ve since evolved the recipe slightly from its pilot form. But, the goal with this beer is still to provide a holistic experience when drinking it—drawing inspiration from food, but not necessarily tasting like it. To celebrate that first friendship that Noah made at Thai Smile with Seth, and all of the friendships that Noah and Seth have made since, with all of us, here, now. Yet, to ultimately pay homage to where it all started in Farmington.  The current iteration of this beer is built off a base malt of 2-Row Barley, with a moderate charge of Rye to compliment that spicy kick from the ginger and the hops. We also add equal parts of Vienna and Cara-Vienna malt, the Caramel Vienna providing a sweetness, a more rounded, toasty character that wouldn’t be present from use of Vienna alone.  Lemondrop hops, a low alpha acid varietal, added in the kettle provide that distinct lemon, grassy character, yet avoids producing an overly bitter beer. Sorachi Ace hops, featured in the dry-hop, further contribute intense lemon, grassy aromas and flavors. Citra provides the classical tropical notes to interplay with all of the flavors going on, from both the malts and the other hops. Finally, the addition of ginger, sourced fresh the day we brew the beer and processed literally hours before we add it into the whirlpool after flameout. The smell of that fresh ginger, co-mingling with the addition of the hops, is unmistakable. Exotic, pulsing with heat and spice and radiating throughout the entire brewery.  The name? Well the name is just another way that we use I-Lucky to pay homage to the important moments in time, the memories from our brewery’s past that continually drive us forward. Seth and Pete were on a long delivery run up to Farmington, shortly after we had released this beer—the type of haul where you’re forced to hang out together for the duration, for better or worse. Coincidentally—or perhaps not—they were delivering the beer to Thai Smile.  Seth, having worked there, was intimately familiar with this account of ours, including its owner, a man by the name of Chaiwat but who everyone in Maine knew simply as “Charlie.” After the beer was delivered, and the check was cut, Pete, excited from the end of the delivery run, shouted out to the first passerby, a middle-aged Thai waiter, “Thanks for your business, Charlie!” This waiter, startled and taken aback by the visibly exuberant Pete, laughed deeply, and dismissed Pete by explaining simply, “I not Charlie, I Lucky.”  It is in honor of this waiter, and in appreciation for Thai Smile, still one of our great accounts, that we named the beer “I-Lucky.” A tribute to Lucky, the waiter at Thai Smile, and in a more general sense, a tribute to all restaurant workers everywhere.  To create the label, we leaned upon another restaurant worker,  Ryan Lamunyon , who now is one of the folks behind the amazing BBQ at  Noble Barbecue  in Portland. Pete and Ryan were friends from childhood, and Noah had worked with Ryan at The Thirsty Pig. The next time you drink a can of I-Lucky, pause to take in the perfect depiction of a  maneki-neko , a Japanese Beckoning Cat (or, better known as a Lucky Cat) escaping a pack of ravenous wolves on the label. Just try not to (Thai) Smile at the design….  This art captures perfectly the zaniness of the beer, a beer that is niche, maybe so. But, ultimately an exercise in balance from a process and ingredients standpoint. And just like how our favorite restaurants can create food dishes that are so complex and flavorful, yet so balanced, we hope that you find I-Lucky to be a beer that strikes a true balance yet achieves its flavorful end goal.  And with that… Chon gâew, to you Lucky.  -- mvs

I-Lucky

There is a restaurant located in Farmington, Maine that is affectionately known as Thai Smile. Although it has relocated to a new spot across the street, it is assuredly still there. When Noah walked into the original location, during his time in college, it was unlike anything he’d really ever seen. I am told that the place is still a relatively isolated bastion of awesomeness in the town.

Walking inside of Thai Smile, you are met with the aesthetic that you’ve seen over and over at countless take-out Asian food joints. You know what I mean, it could really be any “traditional” Thai restaurant in America. But what made Thai Smile a special place when Noah first walked in (and it still is) was that this place had a craft beer program. Thirty craft beer lines, in Farmington, Maine, of all places. And someone working there who actually cared and knew about all of these beers!

That dude just so happened to be Seth Vigue. When Noah met Seth, a chance meeting at Thai Smile at that, they immediately hit it off over their love of and interest in beer. Yep, Seth was the bartender there, the man behind the sticks, and Noah and Seth quickly became fast friends. Fast forward, and the two are still friends, only Seth doesn’t pour beer for a living anymore, he brews it here at Bissell Brothers.

In April of 2014, just a few months after we opened the doors of our brewery, we were approached by one of our accounts about putting on event, and brewing a new beer for it. The account was Pai Men Miyake, a Japanese-inspired ramen joint. The production crew, then really just Noah and Seth, saw this as an excuse to experiment. They would brew a beer to celebrate Noah and Seth’s happenstance meeting at Thai Smile, a not too dissimilar Thai-inspired joint.

In developing the recipe for the beer at the time, we most definitely saw it as an excuse to try out several new (to us) ingredients in the brewing process. Our goal is to integrate a Japanese-element into the beer, yet not try to replicate Japanese cuisine, per se. We had never brewed with rice, so this was the perfect impetus to incorporate that cereal grain into the grist. We had never used Sorachi Ace, but were intrigued by the applications of the hop that we had tasted in other beers, used to varying degrees of success. We felt that the lemongrass character of Sorachi Ace, sometimes also just slightly verging on dill and coconut, could provide the counterpoint to Citra hops that would provide citrusy mango and stone fruit flavors and aromas. Then, playing off the dryness of the beer imparted from the use of rice, we’d cut it all with a spice—fresh ginger, sliced up and added directly to the whirlpool.

The result was an IPA (of sorts) that was first and foremost a dry beer, light, clean, and crisp. The beer had an exotic, sultry spice character to it from the ginger and the hops, a slight heat, but not expressive of alcohol. Like walking through a jungle in Thailand. The beer was a hit at Pai Men for the event. We then decided to rebrew it, and we’ve since evolved the recipe slightly from its pilot form. But, the goal with this beer is still to provide a holistic experience when drinking it—drawing inspiration from food, but not necessarily tasting like it. To celebrate that first friendship that Noah made at Thai Smile with Seth, and all of the friendships that Noah and Seth have made since, with all of us, here, now. Yet, to ultimately pay homage to where it all started in Farmington.

The current iteration of this beer is built off a base malt of 2-Row Barley, with a moderate charge of Rye to compliment that spicy kick from the ginger and the hops. We also add equal parts of Vienna and Cara-Vienna malt, the Caramel Vienna providing a sweetness, a more rounded, toasty character that wouldn’t be present from use of Vienna alone.

Lemondrop hops, a low alpha acid varietal, added in the kettle provide that distinct lemon, grassy character, yet avoids producing an overly bitter beer. Sorachi Ace hops, featured in the dry-hop, further contribute intense lemon, grassy aromas and flavors. Citra provides the classical tropical notes to interplay with all of the flavors going on, from both the malts and the other hops. Finally, the addition of ginger, sourced fresh the day we brew the beer and processed literally hours before we add it into the whirlpool after flameout. The smell of that fresh ginger, co-mingling with the addition of the hops, is unmistakable. Exotic, pulsing with heat and spice and radiating throughout the entire brewery.

The name? Well the name is just another way that we use I-Lucky to pay homage to the important moments in time, the memories from our brewery’s past that continually drive us forward. Seth and Pete were on a long delivery run up to Farmington, shortly after we had released this beer—the type of haul where you’re forced to hang out together for the duration, for better or worse. Coincidentally—or perhaps not—they were delivering the beer to Thai Smile.

Seth, having worked there, was intimately familiar with this account of ours, including its owner, a man by the name of Chaiwat but who everyone in Maine knew simply as “Charlie.” After the beer was delivered, and the check was cut, Pete, excited from the end of the delivery run, shouted out to the first passerby, a middle-aged Thai waiter, “Thanks for your business, Charlie!” This waiter, startled and taken aback by the visibly exuberant Pete, laughed deeply, and dismissed Pete by explaining simply, “I not Charlie, I Lucky.”

It is in honor of this waiter, and in appreciation for Thai Smile, still one of our great accounts, that we named the beer “I-Lucky.” A tribute to Lucky, the waiter at Thai Smile, and in a more general sense, a tribute to all restaurant workers everywhere.

To create the label, we leaned upon another restaurant worker, Ryan Lamunyon, who now is one of the folks behind the amazing BBQ at Noble Barbecue in Portland. Pete and Ryan were friends from childhood, and Noah had worked with Ryan at The Thirsty Pig. The next time you drink a can of I-Lucky, pause to take in the perfect depiction of a maneki-neko, a Japanese Beckoning Cat (or, better known as a Lucky Cat) escaping a pack of ravenous wolves on the label. Just try not to (Thai) Smile at the design….

This art captures perfectly the zaniness of the beer, a beer that is niche, maybe so. But, ultimately an exercise in balance from a process and ingredients standpoint. And just like how our favorite restaurants can create food dishes that are so complex and flavorful, yet so balanced, we hope that you find I-Lucky to be a beer that strikes a true balance yet achieves its flavorful end goal.

And with that… Chon gâew, to you Lucky.

-- mvs

  Nuclear Whim with a Fuse of a Mile   Beer and music are a lot alike, perhaps in more ways than you may realize. But if you stop and think about it, music and beer are both quite powerful forces, impactful in myriad ways on people’s daily lives. They are universal socio-cultural forces, just as everyone can appreciate a well-written and well-performed song, so to should everyone be able to enjoy a well-brewed beer. Beer and music bring people together, they are inherently social undertakings.  Beer and music can be divisive and can most assuredly result in opinionated, lively debate. Just as music fans could argue for hours about their favorite bands best song or album, so to could beer fans argue over what beer from their local brewery is the greatest of all-time. People wear brewery tee shirts and gear just like a band’s tee shirt from the latest tour.    If You Wanna Make Waves.    Perhaps most importantly, in my opinion, beer and music both have that special, uncanny ability to create vivid, deeply meaningful memories of a time and a place. When I sip one of my favorite beers, let’s say, Allagash White, my mind is flooded with flashbulb moments of enjoying that beer in the past—drinking a pint of White at Toronado, or touring Allagash Brewing with my Ma and Dad, or walking around Portland in the first rugged snow storm of my first year living here. When I listen to one of my favorite albums, let’s say  Champ  by Tokyo Police Club, my mind is inundated with memories of listening to those familiar songs—listening as I hiked in the sunshine in Santa Rosa, California, as I was studying in Law School and falling in love with beer at the same time. Or, from last December, at a very special Tokyo Police Club show at Aura in Portland, Maine…. But more on that, later.  Much like beer is meaningful to all of us at Bissell Brothers, music is too. Spend any time here, and you’ll soon find that Tokyo Police Club is a house favorite. Much like my own personal reflections on the band, others here share similar sentiment. And,  Champ  just so happens to be one of Noah’s all-time favorite albums, as well, and for him that collection of songs brings back vivid memories and associations with his time from the end of college until the brewery opened. A long period of time punctuated with school, a job, planning a business, and homebrewing. All of it accompanied by those Tokyo Police Club songs.  If you think about musical lyrics that really stick with you, at least the good ones, there is always an inherent bit of room for ambiguity. The lyrics mean something, deeply so, to the author, but there is ample room for each listener to interpret the meaning on his or her own, ascribing a personal meaning to make the words all their own.  There is a song on  Champ  titled  Frankenstein . If you haven’t listened to it, stop here, now. Go listen to it, and aw hell, go open a beer while you’re at it. We are just getting started.    The Nuclear Whim with the Fuse of a Mile.    This poignant line always stood out to Noah, it was a metaphor for that period in his life, in the history of our brewery. A long, hard grind from the conception of the brewery to actually opening the doors, all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into it. The Fuse of a Mile… all leading up to that inevitable BANG! of opening, of hitting the ground running, and of operating the brewery and the business for four years.  With our fourth anniversary last year in December, we wanted the celebration to be reflective of all that had happened in the brewery since our opening, up until that point in time. Not a traditional anniversary milestone, but just a point in time to us that seemed to warrant going big. Throw a hell of a party for us and for Portland and for the people who have supported us in any way. We were blown away when the band Tokyo Police Club agreed to provide the soundtrack for that party, and we knew we had to brew a beer that would fit the bill.    And I Have Found a Way To Celebrate.    Nuclear Whim would, ultimately, be a beer built around South African hops—specifically Southern Passion and African Queen. And although that’s now true, it nearly wasn’t.  We were intrigued by the promising characteristics of these hops, very reminiscent of some of the Australian hops that we love working with, but also (like any hop with any true brewing value) distinctly and uniquely their own. Bright, tropical, pithy, punchy. We, like many other brewers, contracted for these hops in fairly decent quantities, excited to brew with them on a regular basis.  But then, the floor dropped out on us. We, like all those other brewers, got a very blunt, non-negotiable email that informed us that those hop contracts, the hops we were hoping to brew with, were simply no longer available to us. AB InBev, through their acquisition of SABMiller and SABMiller Farms, had gained control of virtually the entire South African hop supply, and they decided to cut off that supply to all craft brewers, choosing to allocate hops to their “high end,” “crafty” brands, such as Wicked Weed and Golden Road.    But That’s My Only Crime.    A major disappointment for us, sure, but this is a business, and sometimes things happen. In what perhaps was an extension of the olive branch, the old purveyor of the South African hop farms extended to us a small amount of both Southern Passion and African Queen—essentially, enough hops for just one brew. We were damned well going to make that brew count.  Thinking that Nuclear Whim would be a one-and-done for the anniversary, we brewed an IPA featuring roughly 40% Southern Passion and 40% African Queen, rounded out by the familiar citrus character of Citra. The result, if you can recall, was a unique, delicious, and drinkable beer that was perhaps a bit too smooth and easy-going, in a great way. Drinking that beer at Aura that night, as Tokyo Police Club introduced that special song,  Frankenstein , was simply surreal for us all. If you were there for it, thank you. We couldn’t have been more stoked to have shared that experience with you all.  And we thought that this beer would end there…. Although that night would have provided a fitting send off for the beer, we were informed later, almost just as abruptly and suddenly, that we’d have access again to the South African hops. That our contracts were more-or-less “back on.” We liked the beer the first go-around so much so, that it was a no-brainer to brew it again.    New and Improved.    This version of Nuclear Whim is similarly a focus of those two South African hops—namely Southern Passion and African Queen. And again, Citra rounds out this pungently tropical hop profile in the beer. 2-Row malted barley provides a clean base for these hops to shine, and we use Maine-grown malted Oats (instead of the malted wheat that the original recipe called for) to impart an intensely fluffy mouthfeel and body to the beer. The beer drinks with an airy delightful-ness that makes you want to keep taking sip after sip.    So Tell Me. It’s Good to Be Back.    We are excited and grateful to have access to these hops, we are pleased to brew this beer and to share it with you at this point in time for our brewery, much like we had the opportunity to share it all with you for our fourth anniversary.    Catch your Breath. Take your Time.    Enjoy….  -- mvs

Nuclear Whim with a Fuse of a Mile

Beer and music are a lot alike, perhaps in more ways than you may realize. But if you stop and think about it, music and beer are both quite powerful forces, impactful in myriad ways on people’s daily lives. They are universal socio-cultural forces, just as everyone can appreciate a well-written and well-performed song, so to should everyone be able to enjoy a well-brewed beer. Beer and music bring people together, they are inherently social undertakings.

Beer and music can be divisive and can most assuredly result in opinionated, lively debate. Just as music fans could argue for hours about their favorite bands best song or album, so to could beer fans argue over what beer from their local brewery is the greatest of all-time. People wear brewery tee shirts and gear just like a band’s tee shirt from the latest tour.

If You Wanna Make Waves.

Perhaps most importantly, in my opinion, beer and music both have that special, uncanny ability to create vivid, deeply meaningful memories of a time and a place. When I sip one of my favorite beers, let’s say, Allagash White, my mind is flooded with flashbulb moments of enjoying that beer in the past—drinking a pint of White at Toronado, or touring Allagash Brewing with my Ma and Dad, or walking around Portland in the first rugged snow storm of my first year living here. When I listen to one of my favorite albums, let’s say Champ by Tokyo Police Club, my mind is inundated with memories of listening to those familiar songs—listening as I hiked in the sunshine in Santa Rosa, California, as I was studying in Law School and falling in love with beer at the same time. Or, from last December, at a very special Tokyo Police Club show at Aura in Portland, Maine…. But more on that, later.

Much like beer is meaningful to all of us at Bissell Brothers, music is too. Spend any time here, and you’ll soon find that Tokyo Police Club is a house favorite. Much like my own personal reflections on the band, others here share similar sentiment. And, Champ just so happens to be one of Noah’s all-time favorite albums, as well, and for him that collection of songs brings back vivid memories and associations with his time from the end of college until the brewery opened. A long period of time punctuated with school, a job, planning a business, and homebrewing. All of it accompanied by those Tokyo Police Club songs.

If you think about musical lyrics that really stick with you, at least the good ones, there is always an inherent bit of room for ambiguity. The lyrics mean something, deeply so, to the author, but there is ample room for each listener to interpret the meaning on his or her own, ascribing a personal meaning to make the words all their own.

There is a song on Champ titled Frankenstein. If you haven’t listened to it, stop here, now. Go listen to it, and aw hell, go open a beer while you’re at it. We are just getting started.

The Nuclear Whim with the Fuse of a Mile.

This poignant line always stood out to Noah, it was a metaphor for that period in his life, in the history of our brewery. A long, hard grind from the conception of the brewery to actually opening the doors, all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into it. The Fuse of a Mile… all leading up to that inevitable BANG! of opening, of hitting the ground running, and of operating the brewery and the business for four years.

With our fourth anniversary last year in December, we wanted the celebration to be reflective of all that had happened in the brewery since our opening, up until that point in time. Not a traditional anniversary milestone, but just a point in time to us that seemed to warrant going big. Throw a hell of a party for us and for Portland and for the people who have supported us in any way. We were blown away when the band Tokyo Police Club agreed to provide the soundtrack for that party, and we knew we had to brew a beer that would fit the bill.

And I Have Found a Way To Celebrate.

Nuclear Whim would, ultimately, be a beer built around South African hops—specifically Southern Passion and African Queen. And although that’s now true, it nearly wasn’t.

We were intrigued by the promising characteristics of these hops, very reminiscent of some of the Australian hops that we love working with, but also (like any hop with any true brewing value) distinctly and uniquely their own. Bright, tropical, pithy, punchy. We, like many other brewers, contracted for these hops in fairly decent quantities, excited to brew with them on a regular basis.

But then, the floor dropped out on us. We, like all those other brewers, got a very blunt, non-negotiable email that informed us that those hop contracts, the hops we were hoping to brew with, were simply no longer available to us. AB InBev, through their acquisition of SABMiller and SABMiller Farms, had gained control of virtually the entire South African hop supply, and they decided to cut off that supply to all craft brewers, choosing to allocate hops to their “high end,” “crafty” brands, such as Wicked Weed and Golden Road.

But That’s My Only Crime.

A major disappointment for us, sure, but this is a business, and sometimes things happen. In what perhaps was an extension of the olive branch, the old purveyor of the South African hop farms extended to us a small amount of both Southern Passion and African Queen—essentially, enough hops for just one brew. We were damned well going to make that brew count.

Thinking that Nuclear Whim would be a one-and-done for the anniversary, we brewed an IPA featuring roughly 40% Southern Passion and 40% African Queen, rounded out by the familiar citrus character of Citra. The result, if you can recall, was a unique, delicious, and drinkable beer that was perhaps a bit too smooth and easy-going, in a great way. Drinking that beer at Aura that night, as Tokyo Police Club introduced that special song, Frankenstein, was simply surreal for us all. If you were there for it, thank you. We couldn’t have been more stoked to have shared that experience with you all.

And we thought that this beer would end there…. Although that night would have provided a fitting send off for the beer, we were informed later, almost just as abruptly and suddenly, that we’d have access again to the South African hops. That our contracts were more-or-less “back on.” We liked the beer the first go-around so much so, that it was a no-brainer to brew it again.

New and Improved.

This version of Nuclear Whim is similarly a focus of those two South African hops—namely Southern Passion and African Queen. And again, Citra rounds out this pungently tropical hop profile in the beer. 2-Row malted barley provides a clean base for these hops to shine, and we use Maine-grown malted Oats (instead of the malted wheat that the original recipe called for) to impart an intensely fluffy mouthfeel and body to the beer. The beer drinks with an airy delightful-ness that makes you want to keep taking sip after sip.

So Tell Me. It’s Good to Be Back.

We are excited and grateful to have access to these hops, we are pleased to brew this beer and to share it with you at this point in time for our brewery, much like we had the opportunity to share it all with you for our fourth anniversary.

Catch your Breath. Take your Time.

Enjoy….

-- mvs

  Umbra   To say that the wintertime in Maine can be “dark” is, well, a simplified way to put it. This overgeneralized descriptor doesn’t truly do justice, however, in conveying just how challenging, how brutal, that this stretch of winter months can be. You wake up and leave for work, it’s dark out on your commute. The moonlight illuminates your breath, visible in the cold quiet of the morning. You finish work, head home, and it’s already dark once more. Snow is falling and although it’s perhaps just yet 5:00pm, it is already nighttime and the cold is setting in. Impenetrable cold and total darkness is the reality this time of year in Maine, more often than not.  But, despite the dark and despite the cold, life goes on for all of us. And for us at the brewery, that means thinking and drinking beer. As cliché as it might be, for the colder months, for a dark winter day, there is maybe nothing that we crave more than a decadent, rich, dark beer. It just kind of makes sense, feels absolutely right.  Over two years ago now, when we were thinking about what beer we might brew next, the winter months were rolling in, and we had dark beers on our mind. We’d yet to regularly brew a dark beer on the commercial scale, so the impetus was certainly there for one—we settled upon an Oatmeal Stout.  There are myriad ways to approach brewing a beer in this style. There are various goals that you can have in mind when you develop a recipe, when you decide what it is exactly that you are setting out to brew. We wanted a dark beer that would be sessionable, in that you could drink it any day you pleased, but that also was heavy. Heavy in all of the ways that you want it to be, satisfying, rich, and big. To avoid an overly acrid beer from reliance on such a high proportion of crystal and roasted malts in, let’s say a Stout, we decided to use oats, hence an Oatmeal Stout. This smooths the acrid edges of the beer, incorporating instead the roasty, coffee, chocolate flavors into a balanced package.  We wanted a distinct, pronounced level of richness, however, and so to that end, the beer has a higher ABV than is traditional for the style. Yet, we wanted our Oatmeal Stout to remain approachable and drinkable, it’s not a special occasion beer by any means, go ahead and open one on any evening. We were interested in brewing a beer that  could  support the addition of adjuncts, or that  could  see an application in a barrel, that could have definitely been one approach. However, we wanted a beer that didn’t  need  that in order to provide everything that we wanted in a dark, dark beer.  To do this, we focused on layering the grain bill, creating perhaps the most complex grain bill of any of our beers. In fact, Umbra is a total showcase of the grain bill, because unlike any other beer that we brew, this one is all about the grain bill—the use of Chinook hops in the kettle are merely to provide bitterness to temper the sweetness of the malt character.  Ultimately, this beer balances nine different malts in unity to create the complex, dark, decadent flavors that we strive for. We start with a base of Maris Otter, a heritage English barley malt that we love for its bready, biscuit profile. A touch of 2-Row barley rounds the base out, and then we add roughly 10% of Maine-grown Flaked Oats into the grist to, again, temper all of the dark malt that we are about to use.  We then employ a bit of a see-saw approach, attempting to keep everything in balance. We use some lighter Crystal malt to impart a more delicate, restrained malt sweetness, alongside some Dark Crystal malt to deliver a caramel punch. We use some Pale Chocolate malt to provide a marshmallow-y, almost milk chocolate character as a counterpoint to work alongside the Chocolate malt that will deliver dark, bitter chocolate aromas and flavors.  We use a small percentage of Roasted Barley to contribute the coffee and roasty aromas and flavors that add complexity and balance and play against the chocolatey and sweet flavors of the Crystal and Chocolate malts. A final addition of Midnight Wheat provides a bridge between the chocolate and coffee flavors, imparting a neutral dark bitter character that only further adds to the depth and breadth of this Oatmeal Stout.  With all this dark malt, Umbra is not an easy beer to brew on the technical side, per se, but it’s by far the best smelling beer to brew—like walking into the naughtiest bakery that you’ve ever been too. Yep, if you’re around the brewery on an Umbra brew day you cannot help but smile in olfactory delight. Pour the finished beer into a glass, and all of this aroma jumps straight out. And the beer is as dark as the name implies, Umbra, the innermost and darkest part of a shadow. Total darkness, only in beer form.  But, putting the smell and appearance aside, this beer delivers everything that you would hope from a dark beer as far as flavors are concerned. Intensely satisfying, almost primally so, it is rich, and decadent, and deep. A complex ride of roast and coffee and chocolate, with just a kiss of underlying warmth.  It’s my favorite beer for drinking in the winter months in Maine. It’s my father’s favorite beer for drinking just about any time in San Diego. It’s that versatile. Just four ingredients—water, malt, hops, and yeast—that deliver a dark beer that is approachable and delicious in its own right. We hope it’s your favorite beer for drinking when you want the classic, rich and decadent aromas and flavors of a well-brewed dark beer.  -- mvs

Umbra

To say that the wintertime in Maine can be “dark” is, well, a simplified way to put it. This overgeneralized descriptor doesn’t truly do justice, however, in conveying just how challenging, how brutal, that this stretch of winter months can be. You wake up and leave for work, it’s dark out on your commute. The moonlight illuminates your breath, visible in the cold quiet of the morning. You finish work, head home, and it’s already dark once more. Snow is falling and although it’s perhaps just yet 5:00pm, it is already nighttime and the cold is setting in. Impenetrable cold and total darkness is the reality this time of year in Maine, more often than not.

But, despite the dark and despite the cold, life goes on for all of us. And for us at the brewery, that means thinking and drinking beer. As cliché as it might be, for the colder months, for a dark winter day, there is maybe nothing that we crave more than a decadent, rich, dark beer. It just kind of makes sense, feels absolutely right.

Over two years ago now, when we were thinking about what beer we might brew next, the winter months were rolling in, and we had dark beers on our mind. We’d yet to regularly brew a dark beer on the commercial scale, so the impetus was certainly there for one—we settled upon an Oatmeal Stout.

There are myriad ways to approach brewing a beer in this style. There are various goals that you can have in mind when you develop a recipe, when you decide what it is exactly that you are setting out to brew. We wanted a dark beer that would be sessionable, in that you could drink it any day you pleased, but that also was heavy. Heavy in all of the ways that you want it to be, satisfying, rich, and big. To avoid an overly acrid beer from reliance on such a high proportion of crystal and roasted malts in, let’s say a Stout, we decided to use oats, hence an Oatmeal Stout. This smooths the acrid edges of the beer, incorporating instead the roasty, coffee, chocolate flavors into a balanced package.

We wanted a distinct, pronounced level of richness, however, and so to that end, the beer has a higher ABV than is traditional for the style. Yet, we wanted our Oatmeal Stout to remain approachable and drinkable, it’s not a special occasion beer by any means, go ahead and open one on any evening. We were interested in brewing a beer that could support the addition of adjuncts, or that could see an application in a barrel, that could have definitely been one approach. However, we wanted a beer that didn’t need that in order to provide everything that we wanted in a dark, dark beer.

To do this, we focused on layering the grain bill, creating perhaps the most complex grain bill of any of our beers. In fact, Umbra is a total showcase of the grain bill, because unlike any other beer that we brew, this one is all about the grain bill—the use of Chinook hops in the kettle are merely to provide bitterness to temper the sweetness of the malt character.

Ultimately, this beer balances nine different malts in unity to create the complex, dark, decadent flavors that we strive for. We start with a base of Maris Otter, a heritage English barley malt that we love for its bready, biscuit profile. A touch of 2-Row barley rounds the base out, and then we add roughly 10% of Maine-grown Flaked Oats into the grist to, again, temper all of the dark malt that we are about to use.

We then employ a bit of a see-saw approach, attempting to keep everything in balance. We use some lighter Crystal malt to impart a more delicate, restrained malt sweetness, alongside some Dark Crystal malt to deliver a caramel punch. We use some Pale Chocolate malt to provide a marshmallow-y, almost milk chocolate character as a counterpoint to work alongside the Chocolate malt that will deliver dark, bitter chocolate aromas and flavors.

We use a small percentage of Roasted Barley to contribute the coffee and roasty aromas and flavors that add complexity and balance and play against the chocolatey and sweet flavors of the Crystal and Chocolate malts. A final addition of Midnight Wheat provides a bridge between the chocolate and coffee flavors, imparting a neutral dark bitter character that only further adds to the depth and breadth of this Oatmeal Stout.

With all this dark malt, Umbra is not an easy beer to brew on the technical side, per se, but it’s by far the best smelling beer to brew—like walking into the naughtiest bakery that you’ve ever been too. Yep, if you’re around the brewery on an Umbra brew day you cannot help but smile in olfactory delight. Pour the finished beer into a glass, and all of this aroma jumps straight out. And the beer is as dark as the name implies, Umbra, the innermost and darkest part of a shadow. Total darkness, only in beer form.

But, putting the smell and appearance aside, this beer delivers everything that you would hope from a dark beer as far as flavors are concerned. Intensely satisfying, almost primally so, it is rich, and decadent, and deep. A complex ride of roast and coffee and chocolate, with just a kiss of underlying warmth.

It’s my favorite beer for drinking in the winter months in Maine. It’s my father’s favorite beer for drinking just about any time in San Diego. It’s that versatile. Just four ingredients—water, malt, hops, and yeast—that deliver a dark beer that is approachable and delicious in its own right. We hope it’s your favorite beer for drinking when you want the classic, rich and decadent aromas and flavors of a well-brewed dark beer.

-- mvs

  Industry Versus Inferiority   According to Erik Erikson’s renowned psychosocial theory, people progress through a series of stages in their lives as the grow and develop. The  Industry Versus Inferiority  stage is the fourth stage in this series, and it is ultimately a question that must be asked, a hurdle that needs to be faced in early childhood. How can I create good within myself? How can I display competence? How can I garner feelings of industry in my life? How do I cast aside feelings of inferiority?  In early 2017, now over three years into operations at Bissell Brothers, and having gotten settled squarely into our new home at Thompson’s Point, progressing past all of the challenges that that move entailed, our brewery was squarely, symbolically in its early childhood years. We now all felt a new challenge—how do we, as a brewery and as brewers, keep progressing in the right direction within this scene, within the beer community in Portland and far beyond? How do we avoid stagnancy? How can we display competence? The answer, we decided, was to brew a new beer.  The recipe for the beer that would become “Industry Versus Inferiority” was a focus on pushing ourselves forward at this critical point in our brewery’s growth and development. A concerted effort to keep momentum going for us in a sensical way. An exercise to build self-confidence and display competency, especially with respect to skill of using ingredients.  Idaho 7, in particular, was one of those ingredients. Similar in line with other “newer school” hop varieties, say El Dorado, for example, we saw great potential in the Idaho 7 hop varietal, but we hadn't discovered any beer that fully executed on the hop’s potential. It’s not necessarily a hop well-suited for a single hop beer, at least in our opinion, as it can overrun a beer quite quickly. A coarse, albeit rounded, bitterness that can be too grating if not blended appropriately. If not used with intention and with, well, competence.  Idaho 7 is packed full of springtime pine character, a walk through a wet forest—and we love it for this. But there is also plenty of stonefruit character imparted, as well. So, we decided to marry this Idaho 7 hop with Amarillo, a hop that packs plenty of orange fruit characteristics alongside more general stonefruit aromas and flavors in its own right. The  Yin  of sorts to Idaho 7’s  Yang , Amarillo is grassy where Idaho 7 is perhaps true tree bark. The goal was to give these hops the proper justice, all in a beer that would add value not just to our brewery, but to the rest of our beers as well. To keep growing the ability and range of ourselves, not just playing the same song again and again.  To do this, we married this hop blend of Idaho 7 and Amarillo with just a kick of Mosaic hops for an additional complexity of nuanced citrus and pine, delivering some tropical undertones. We then combine this complex hop profile with one of our most complex malt bills for an IPA. Taking note of the minimalist trend in IPAs of utilizing just base malt and hops, we pivoted in a different direction, as we’ve done for other hoppy beers, The Substance being just one example, and choose not to take one tool from our brewers’ toolbox (that specifically being malt) and locking it away. Choosing not to limit our beer to simply base malt alone.  Starting with Golden Promise, a heritage malt that we fell in love with in its application in Swish, we use a restrained amount of Carastan to build body and malt character, and a kiss of Caramel-60 to add a whisper of roasty, restrained sweetness into the beer. A small amount of flaked grains add a nuanced texture, and a touch of oats increase mouthfeel.  The result is a unique animal. A true highlight of ingredients, of using all of the tools in the brewers’ toolbox, and of agricultural products—hops and malt. A complex, balanced, easy to drink beer that would keep momentum moving forward for us at Bissell Brothers, for us in the industry in Portland, and for us in beer in general.  And as much as Industry Versus Inferiority as a beer symbolizes a paradigm shift in our production operation, a clear design to avoid stagnancy in this point of development of the brewery’s life stage, it also represented a turning point in our labeling and design. We had worked with artists before on collaborative label design, but no one quite like  Mike Hammecker  of  @Flatcolor1 . After all, there is no artist singularly as important to the Taproom aesthetic than Mike.  As soon as you walk into our Taproom at Thompson's Point, you are inundated with Mike’s artwork. Clean, punchy, line work that is bright and loud and vibrant. Through design of the Industry Versus Inferiority label, we sought to impart that feeling of the Taproom, that crisp aesthetic into a new avenue—into the hands of beer drinkers everywhere. A paradigm shift toward a holistic incorporation of everything we seek to do—both in the taproom and now in the beer drinkers fridge or cooler—to keep pushing ourselves forward, to not stagnate.  Complex, sure, but drinkable, Industry Versus Inferiority is our embodiment of all things needed to keep progressing, to keep grinding, to keep developing, and to grow. It is a series of small shifts, forever, that enables growth. Small shifts that we hope will garner industry and cast inferiority aside. It starts small, drinks big….  -- mvs

Industry Versus Inferiority

According to Erik Erikson’s renowned psychosocial theory, people progress through a series of stages in their lives as the grow and develop. The Industry Versus Inferiority stage is the fourth stage in this series, and it is ultimately a question that must be asked, a hurdle that needs to be faced in early childhood. How can I create good within myself? How can I display competence? How can I garner feelings of industry in my life? How do I cast aside feelings of inferiority?

In early 2017, now over three years into operations at Bissell Brothers, and having gotten settled squarely into our new home at Thompson’s Point, progressing past all of the challenges that that move entailed, our brewery was squarely, symbolically in its early childhood years. We now all felt a new challenge—how do we, as a brewery and as brewers, keep progressing in the right direction within this scene, within the beer community in Portland and far beyond? How do we avoid stagnancy? How can we display competence? The answer, we decided, was to brew a new beer.

The recipe for the beer that would become “Industry Versus Inferiority” was a focus on pushing ourselves forward at this critical point in our brewery’s growth and development. A concerted effort to keep momentum going for us in a sensical way. An exercise to build self-confidence and display competency, especially with respect to skill of using ingredients.

Idaho 7, in particular, was one of those ingredients. Similar in line with other “newer school” hop varieties, say El Dorado, for example, we saw great potential in the Idaho 7 hop varietal, but we hadn't discovered any beer that fully executed on the hop’s potential. It’s not necessarily a hop well-suited for a single hop beer, at least in our opinion, as it can overrun a beer quite quickly. A coarse, albeit rounded, bitterness that can be too grating if not blended appropriately. If not used with intention and with, well, competence.

Idaho 7 is packed full of springtime pine character, a walk through a wet forest—and we love it for this. But there is also plenty of stonefruit character imparted, as well. So, we decided to marry this Idaho 7 hop with Amarillo, a hop that packs plenty of orange fruit characteristics alongside more general stonefruit aromas and flavors in its own right. The Yin of sorts to Idaho 7’s Yang, Amarillo is grassy where Idaho 7 is perhaps true tree bark. The goal was to give these hops the proper justice, all in a beer that would add value not just to our brewery, but to the rest of our beers as well. To keep growing the ability and range of ourselves, not just playing the same song again and again.

To do this, we married this hop blend of Idaho 7 and Amarillo with just a kick of Mosaic hops for an additional complexity of nuanced citrus and pine, delivering some tropical undertones. We then combine this complex hop profile with one of our most complex malt bills for an IPA. Taking note of the minimalist trend in IPAs of utilizing just base malt and hops, we pivoted in a different direction, as we’ve done for other hoppy beers, The Substance being just one example, and choose not to take one tool from our brewers’ toolbox (that specifically being malt) and locking it away. Choosing not to limit our beer to simply base malt alone.

Starting with Golden Promise, a heritage malt that we fell in love with in its application in Swish, we use a restrained amount of Carastan to build body and malt character, and a kiss of Caramel-60 to add a whisper of roasty, restrained sweetness into the beer. A small amount of flaked grains add a nuanced texture, and a touch of oats increase mouthfeel.

The result is a unique animal. A true highlight of ingredients, of using all of the tools in the brewers’ toolbox, and of agricultural products—hops and malt. A complex, balanced, easy to drink beer that would keep momentum moving forward for us at Bissell Brothers, for us in the industry in Portland, and for us in beer in general.

And as much as Industry Versus Inferiority as a beer symbolizes a paradigm shift in our production operation, a clear design to avoid stagnancy in this point of development of the brewery’s life stage, it also represented a turning point in our labeling and design. We had worked with artists before on collaborative label design, but no one quite like Mike Hammecker of @Flatcolor1. After all, there is no artist singularly as important to the Taproom aesthetic than Mike.

As soon as you walk into our Taproom at Thompson's Point, you are inundated with Mike’s artwork. Clean, punchy, line work that is bright and loud and vibrant. Through design of the Industry Versus Inferiority label, we sought to impart that feeling of the Taproom, that crisp aesthetic into a new avenue—into the hands of beer drinkers everywhere. A paradigm shift toward a holistic incorporation of everything we seek to do—both in the taproom and now in the beer drinkers fridge or cooler—to keep pushing ourselves forward, to not stagnate.

Complex, sure, but drinkable, Industry Versus Inferiority is our embodiment of all things needed to keep progressing, to keep grinding, to keep developing, and to grow. It is a series of small shifts, forever, that enables growth. Small shifts that we hope will garner industry and cast inferiority aside. It starts small, drinks big….

-- mvs

  Lagerbier   Sometimes the inspiration for a beer, or the inspiration for anything worthwhile doing in life’s pursuits, can strike in the most unexpected places. You may be walking along the street and happen upon something unforeseen, sparking that creative drive that you need to make something special in your own right. But sometimes, that very same inspiration can come from the obvious. A “no-shit” moment, wherein that place in time you know exactly what you need to create.  For Lagerbier, the first Lager that we brewed, serving as the baseline of our Lager program, it was definitely the latter. Noah and Peter were traveling overseas with their father, Jensen, visiting the historic, iconic beer destinations of Germany. Cozied into the Tavern at Mahr’s Brau in Bamburg, they discovered a pitched-wooden cask of Mahr’s Brau Ungespundet Lager, or better known as “U-Bier.” Served gravity-fed from a table in hearty mugs, the pours of beer prominently featured a perfect collar of foam, a head on the beer that you’d expect from employing a traditional  side-pull tap .  Raising the mug of beer to his lips, Noah smiled. In this moment, inspiration truly struck -- this here in his glass was everything that is good about the simplicity of beer, the nuanced elegance of Lager in general. The sublime mix of beer in-its-essence. The definition of  beer . Malt driven and well-hopped (but not hoppy), there was literally nothing that Noah could think of, save a mild alcohol content, that would limit him from drinking this beverage exclusively for the rest of his life. This was a life-changing, oh-my-god, Lager experience. This was absolute inspiration.  Six months or so later, Noah and Peter were back in Portland, Maine, and we were set to release our brewery’s first Lager, simply called “Lagerbier.” Although entirely inspired by U-Bier, our Lagerbier is totally different, save perhaps the malt character. Our beer is malt-driven, sure, although subtly done so. There is just enough Munich malt to give the beer a firm, bready quality. A steady heart and backbone to the base of Pilsner malt. A bracing malt impact, like grasping the reins of a traditional horse drawn beer wagon, navigating powerful work horses down the Weisen at Oktoberfest. Bringing Lager beer satisfaction to the masses.  That malt impact in the beer is balanced delicately by a unique hop combination of Maine-grown Sterling, Mittelfrüh, and Lemondrop hops. This hop trio provides a little lemon-y spritz character, as the Lemondrop name would imply, but nothing notably jumps out. There is a rounded, noble, crisp, but slightly earthy, hop balance to it all.  We ferment the beer on the slightly-warmer side for our Lagers, but it certainly undergoes a full and clean and proper Lager fermentation. We then lager the beer in one of our horizontal tanks at near freezing temps for a duration of time that intentionally delivers a “younger lager,” our take on a Kellerbier—an unfiltered, unpasteurized lager. This provides a deliberate sense of wholesomeness, some subtle yeast-driven characteristic, another way to impart additional nuance and balance into the beer.  As such, Lagerbier it is simply a well-balanced lager that isn’t trying to be anything but a well-balanced Lager. This beer isn’t a Pilsner or a Helles, and shouldn’t be conflated as one -- to do that would be to diminish the qualities of both of those traditional, categorical styles, as well as to diminish what Lagerbier is in the glass. This is a beer intending to be a flavorful and crisp, delicious and satisfying, drinkable Lager.  And the name, the ambiguity in simply calling this beer “Lagerbier,” is not for lack of creativity. No, it is entirely intentional. This beer is a Lager that hits all of the boxes. It is a Lager that we are proud to feature in our program, and it’s a beer that we relish the opportunity to brew and to drink.  You may think of brewing hoppy ales as painting on a huge canvas, wide brush strokes, large swaths of color and noise and stimulus coming out of the package. If that is the case, then brewing Lager is the intentional art of putting all of that color and flavor into a succinct, tiny little package. A gift box that when the drinker opens it up, that package will yield unrivaled beauty.  When you open your next can of Lagerbier, do so knowing that we carry all the intentions of a beer in-its-essence in mind. Enjoy it every day, for all occasions, the unexpected and the obvious...  --mvs

Lagerbier

Sometimes the inspiration for a beer, or the inspiration for anything worthwhile doing in life’s pursuits, can strike in the most unexpected places. You may be walking along the street and happen upon something unforeseen, sparking that creative drive that you need to make something special in your own right. But sometimes, that very same inspiration can come from the obvious. A “no-shit” moment, wherein that place in time you know exactly what you need to create.

For Lagerbier, the first Lager that we brewed, serving as the baseline of our Lager program, it was definitely the latter. Noah and Peter were traveling overseas with their father, Jensen, visiting the historic, iconic beer destinations of Germany. Cozied into the Tavern at Mahr’s Brau in Bamburg, they discovered a pitched-wooden cask of Mahr’s Brau Ungespundet Lager, or better known as “U-Bier.” Served gravity-fed from a table in hearty mugs, the pours of beer prominently featured a perfect collar of foam, a head on the beer that you’d expect from employing a traditional side-pull tap.

Raising the mug of beer to his lips, Noah smiled. In this moment, inspiration truly struck -- this here in his glass was everything that is good about the simplicity of beer, the nuanced elegance of Lager in general. The sublime mix of beer in-its-essence. The definition of beer. Malt driven and well-hopped (but not hoppy), there was literally nothing that Noah could think of, save a mild alcohol content, that would limit him from drinking this beverage exclusively for the rest of his life. This was a life-changing, oh-my-god, Lager experience. This was absolute inspiration.

Six months or so later, Noah and Peter were back in Portland, Maine, and we were set to release our brewery’s first Lager, simply called “Lagerbier.” Although entirely inspired by U-Bier, our Lagerbier is totally different, save perhaps the malt character. Our beer is malt-driven, sure, although subtly done so. There is just enough Munich malt to give the beer a firm, bready quality. A steady heart and backbone to the base of Pilsner malt. A bracing malt impact, like grasping the reins of a traditional horse drawn beer wagon, navigating powerful work horses down the Weisen at Oktoberfest. Bringing Lager beer satisfaction to the masses.

That malt impact in the beer is balanced delicately by a unique hop combination of Maine-grown Sterling, Mittelfrüh, and Lemondrop hops. This hop trio provides a little lemon-y spritz character, as the Lemondrop name would imply, but nothing notably jumps out. There is a rounded, noble, crisp, but slightly earthy, hop balance to it all.

We ferment the beer on the slightly-warmer side for our Lagers, but it certainly undergoes a full and clean and proper Lager fermentation. We then lager the beer in one of our horizontal tanks at near freezing temps for a duration of time that intentionally delivers a “younger lager,” our take on a Kellerbier—an unfiltered, unpasteurized lager. This provides a deliberate sense of wholesomeness, some subtle yeast-driven characteristic, another way to impart additional nuance and balance into the beer.

As such, Lagerbier it is simply a well-balanced lager that isn’t trying to be anything but a well-balanced Lager. This beer isn’t a Pilsner or a Helles, and shouldn’t be conflated as one -- to do that would be to diminish the qualities of both of those traditional, categorical styles, as well as to diminish what Lagerbier is in the glass. This is a beer intending to be a flavorful and crisp, delicious and satisfying, drinkable Lager.

And the name, the ambiguity in simply calling this beer “Lagerbier,” is not for lack of creativity. No, it is entirely intentional. This beer is a Lager that hits all of the boxes. It is a Lager that we are proud to feature in our program, and it’s a beer that we relish the opportunity to brew and to drink.

You may think of brewing hoppy ales as painting on a huge canvas, wide brush strokes, large swaths of color and noise and stimulus coming out of the package. If that is the case, then brewing Lager is the intentional art of putting all of that color and flavor into a succinct, tiny little package. A gift box that when the drinker opens it up, that package will yield unrivaled beauty.

When you open your next can of Lagerbier, do so knowing that we carry all the intentions of a beer in-its-essence in mind. Enjoy it every day, for all occasions, the unexpected and the obvious...

--mvs

  Diavoletto   Flashback to High School, and a young Noah was eagerly looking forward to a class trip abroad, a visit to the Iberian Peninsula and the country of Spain. The trip was a worldly, cultured experience for Noah at the time, traveling the globe and engaging upon new experiences. There in Spain, where the legal drinking age is sixteen, the students did what almost any American teenagers would do, and that is, buy two cases of the first macro Spanish beer that they could find. After slugging down can after can of a beverage that tasted truly terrible to these kids who were utterly inexperienced with art of drinking beer, Noah and his classmates made a sad, telling discovery—purchased in reckless haste, these particular cans of beer were non-alcoholic. Printed clearly on the package: Alc. 0.0% Vol.  Flash forward years later, and a slightly older Noah had uncovered a different, but similarly lower-alcohol offering from Spain—Guineu Riner, a 2.5% ABV American-style Pale Ale from Cervesa Guineu. Unlike the non-alcoholic macros that Noah had eagerly gulped down on that class trip years earlier, this Spanish beer was delicious, drinkable, and fulfilling.  At that time, golf was one of Noah’s favorite diversions from work and life at the brewery, and although the fact that the golf course and adult beverages can go oh-so-well together, there’s a fine line between total enjoyment and too much consumption. Sick and tired of chasing golf balls into the woods, Noah wanted a low alcohol offering he could drink on the course. A beer that was still full-flavored, but wouldn’t have him repeatedly slicing his ball out-of-bounds.  And around this same time,  James Krams , then a bartender at the Thirsty Pig, turned Noah onto another low-ABV, full flavored beer, Bikini Beer from Evil Twin. Clocking in at 2.7% ABV and packaged in sixteen-ounce cans, Bikini Beer was (and is) simply awesome for what it is. Noah and James were regulars together at the local links, and one day out on the course, James handed Noah a can of Bikini Beer as they turned the second hole. Cracking that low-ABV beer and taking a sip before teeing off on the next hole, everything clicked for Noah. Game changer.  Ever since that discovery, Noah had been inspired and intrigued by all aspects of the challenge of brewing an inherently light beer (in ABV and impact), but an American hop-forward beer (not light in flavor). If you aren’t always (or aren’t often, for that matter) drinking beer to get drunk, less ABV really is more!  Our version of a beer inspired by Guineu Riner and Bikini Beer would be originally brewed as a pilot batch for Slab, brewed during our first summer of operation. We’d ultimately name this beer Diavoletto, taking Italian-inspiration from the fare served at Slab, but also referencing what would be the beer’s low ABV. Little Devil; Imp (plus, fittingly, as is our inclination, we always use the word “imp” whenever appropriate, it’s simply a good word).  Brewing a beer with such a low ABV requires a great deal of fastidiousness, attention to every detail. The goal is a healthy and fully complete fermentation, but with a very low attenuation. Without relying on lactose or other scientific tricks to “freeze” fermentation, there is a heightened risk for off-flavors to show their colors with such different fermentation.  In the brewhouse, this means employing an extremely thin mash, that is, a higher ratio of water to pounds of grain going into the mash tun. A thin mash allows the vast majority of the wort to be collected as “first runnings”—that means before any sparge water is added to rinse the additional sugars from the grain bed. Although this provides us the better ability to control the unstable pH and the excessive tannin extraction that low-gravity brewing is particularly susceptible to, it doesn’t come without difficulties. Such a higher water-to-grain ration makes fostering and maintaining a flat, even layer of grist in the mash tun quite challenging. And that uniformity is another particularly important facet of ensuring that we achieve exactly the type of delicate wort composition that we are striving for.  In addition, brewing a hyper-drinkable, hyper-flavorful beer without the impact of a bigger beer requires an equally deft hand in recipe formulation. For the grist, we start with a base of Golden Promise, imparting a full and pleasantly sweet, malty character. We use Carahell, an extremely light German crystal malt, to impart just a touch of color, but more so to provide some flavors and unfermentable sugars that would be present with the use of a more traditional, darker crystal malt. Use of an equal amount of a malt like Carastan, however, would be cloying in this delicately balanced beer. We can use a higher percentage of Carahell, on the other hand, because it is lighter and more restrained. Finally, we round out the grist with Munich malt for some bready, chewy nuance, as well as flaked wheat and flaked oats for body and mouthfeel.  For hops, we chose Lemondrop, a hop varietal that we were excited about, with a subtle citrusy character, and low in alpha acids—great for application in a nuanced and low gravity beer. The lower alpha acid content allows us to use more of the hop, imparting more of that pleasantly grassy, unique citrus character, yet extracting less bitterness. We ramp up the American-hop character with healthy additions of Citra and Mosaic, both in the kettle and in the dry-hop. The big, bold tropical notes of Citra and Mosaic are tempered by the use of Lemondrop, providing depth and not overwhelming the balanced, definitively American hop profile to the beer.  The result is a beer with massive flavors and body, but an impossibly low ABV of 3%. An “imp” of a beer that is still, first and foremost, a damn delicious   beer  . The next time you want to enjoy a beer without the buzz, the next time you want a beer that can accompany nearly any activity that commands concentration, focus, sharp senses, think of the Little Devil.  And, the next time you are on the links swinging the golf clubs with your buds, bring a four-pack of Diavoletto, enjoy some cans out on the course. But better dream up some fresh excuses, this time you won’t be able to blame your slice on the beers.  --mvs

Diavoletto

Flashback to High School, and a young Noah was eagerly looking forward to a class trip abroad, a visit to the Iberian Peninsula and the country of Spain. The trip was a worldly, cultured experience for Noah at the time, traveling the globe and engaging upon new experiences. There in Spain, where the legal drinking age is sixteen, the students did what almost any American teenagers would do, and that is, buy two cases of the first macro Spanish beer that they could find. After slugging down can after can of a beverage that tasted truly terrible to these kids who were utterly inexperienced with art of drinking beer, Noah and his classmates made a sad, telling discovery—purchased in reckless haste, these particular cans of beer were non-alcoholic. Printed clearly on the package: Alc. 0.0% Vol.

Flash forward years later, and a slightly older Noah had uncovered a different, but similarly lower-alcohol offering from Spain—Guineu Riner, a 2.5% ABV American-style Pale Ale from Cervesa Guineu. Unlike the non-alcoholic macros that Noah had eagerly gulped down on that class trip years earlier, this Spanish beer was delicious, drinkable, and fulfilling.

At that time, golf was one of Noah’s favorite diversions from work and life at the brewery, and although the fact that the golf course and adult beverages can go oh-so-well together, there’s a fine line between total enjoyment and too much consumption. Sick and tired of chasing golf balls into the woods, Noah wanted a low alcohol offering he could drink on the course. A beer that was still full-flavored, but wouldn’t have him repeatedly slicing his ball out-of-bounds.

And around this same time, James Krams, then a bartender at the Thirsty Pig, turned Noah onto another low-ABV, full flavored beer, Bikini Beer from Evil Twin. Clocking in at 2.7% ABV and packaged in sixteen-ounce cans, Bikini Beer was (and is) simply awesome for what it is. Noah and James were regulars together at the local links, and one day out on the course, James handed Noah a can of Bikini Beer as they turned the second hole. Cracking that low-ABV beer and taking a sip before teeing off on the next hole, everything clicked for Noah. Game changer.

Ever since that discovery, Noah had been inspired and intrigued by all aspects of the challenge of brewing an inherently light beer (in ABV and impact), but an American hop-forward beer (not light in flavor). If you aren’t always (or aren’t often, for that matter) drinking beer to get drunk, less ABV really is more!

Our version of a beer inspired by Guineu Riner and Bikini Beer would be originally brewed as a pilot batch for Slab, brewed during our first summer of operation. We’d ultimately name this beer Diavoletto, taking Italian-inspiration from the fare served at Slab, but also referencing what would be the beer’s low ABV. Little Devil; Imp (plus, fittingly, as is our inclination, we always use the word “imp” whenever appropriate, it’s simply a good word).

Brewing a beer with such a low ABV requires a great deal of fastidiousness, attention to every detail. The goal is a healthy and fully complete fermentation, but with a very low attenuation. Without relying on lactose or other scientific tricks to “freeze” fermentation, there is a heightened risk for off-flavors to show their colors with such different fermentation.

In the brewhouse, this means employing an extremely thin mash, that is, a higher ratio of water to pounds of grain going into the mash tun. A thin mash allows the vast majority of the wort to be collected as “first runnings”—that means before any sparge water is added to rinse the additional sugars from the grain bed. Although this provides us the better ability to control the unstable pH and the excessive tannin extraction that low-gravity brewing is particularly susceptible to, it doesn’t come without difficulties. Such a higher water-to-grain ration makes fostering and maintaining a flat, even layer of grist in the mash tun quite challenging. And that uniformity is another particularly important facet of ensuring that we achieve exactly the type of delicate wort composition that we are striving for.

In addition, brewing a hyper-drinkable, hyper-flavorful beer without the impact of a bigger beer requires an equally deft hand in recipe formulation. For the grist, we start with a base of Golden Promise, imparting a full and pleasantly sweet, malty character. We use Carahell, an extremely light German crystal malt, to impart just a touch of color, but more so to provide some flavors and unfermentable sugars that would be present with the use of a more traditional, darker crystal malt. Use of an equal amount of a malt like Carastan, however, would be cloying in this delicately balanced beer. We can use a higher percentage of Carahell, on the other hand, because it is lighter and more restrained. Finally, we round out the grist with Munich malt for some bready, chewy nuance, as well as flaked wheat and flaked oats for body and mouthfeel.

For hops, we chose Lemondrop, a hop varietal that we were excited about, with a subtle citrusy character, and low in alpha acids—great for application in a nuanced and low gravity beer. The lower alpha acid content allows us to use more of the hop, imparting more of that pleasantly grassy, unique citrus character, yet extracting less bitterness. We ramp up the American-hop character with healthy additions of Citra and Mosaic, both in the kettle and in the dry-hop. The big, bold tropical notes of Citra and Mosaic are tempered by the use of Lemondrop, providing depth and not overwhelming the balanced, definitively American hop profile to the beer.

The result is a beer with massive flavors and body, but an impossibly low ABV of 3%. An “imp” of a beer that is still, first and foremost, a damn delicious beer. The next time you want to enjoy a beer without the buzz, the next time you want a beer that can accompany nearly any activity that commands concentration, focus, sharp senses, think of the Little Devil.

And, the next time you are on the links swinging the golf clubs with your buds, bring a four-pack of Diavoletto, enjoy some cans out on the course. But better dream up some fresh excuses, this time you won’t be able to blame your slice on the beers.

--mvs

  Reciprocal   There is an inherent aspect of risk in any course of action. There is never a guarantee of success. There is no assurance, at the end of the day, that someone will take stock of what you’ve done and say, “hell yeah, this is awesome. Nice work, man.” Most times you just have to go for it, and put yourself and your hard work out there. Hope that someone actually cares. Hope that someone shows up. Hope that they will show up again.  Making the decision to open up a business is an especially risky course of action. Opening up a business that is built around brewing beer is absolutely no exception, no matter how magical that beer by itself really may be. You can brew the most artistic, most technically perfect, most delicious and special beers around, but if there is no one to buy them, it’s game over. We’ve all seen businesses that didn’t make it, and some of those businesses have been breweries. But sometimes, in your heart, no matter the risk, you just know you need to go for it.  And when things start to go right, we you try and try again and it ultimately starts to click…. Oh, wow. When we opened shop in the Industrial Park, and people started showing up. Damn, there was simply nothing quite like that. When bars and restaurants started asking for and demanding our beer. Yep, oh, wow. When folks started coming from all over the world to buy our beer, to support us. To validate what we were trying to do. Wow, even more.  There exists a symbiotic relationship between every beer brewer and the beer buyer (and ultimately the drinker). It’s a mutually beneficial co-existence of sorts, a “can-you-dig-what-we’re putting down” vibe to it all. We recognized it, and embraced it, just as soon as we were lucky and grateful enough to see some semblance of success.  To that end, we wanted to brew a beer that would capture that, well, reciprocal feeling that both the brewer and drinker could share over a glass of our beer. With Substance and Baby G already on the books, people kept asking for something new and something hoppy. Of course, as brewers, we had the natural itch to brew something creative and different. To brew something that “we wanted to drink,” but also with the recognition that we could only viably introduce a new beer if there was at least a sliver of the world outside of ourselves that would be into it. To tie that all together, we thought, let’s think creatively about hops.  As you’ve heard before, we (like so many other breweries) were unable to source Galaxy hops at any true quantity a few years back, at the time. The folks at Willamette Valley Hops turned us onto a varietal called Vic Secret, not a substitute for Galaxy, but an Australian breed in the same family. We brewed a pilot batch with these hops, and were struck deeply with the Australian character of the hop, tried and true, and the highly expressive and curiously unique fruit profile.  So, despite the un-proven track record behind Vic Secret, we decided to double-down, and commit to a substantial hop contract. Frankly, we felt empowered to take this risk on an expensive and unknown hop because of the support we’d seen for our brewery and our beer. If you ever came out to an early release, if you ever helped spread the good word, if you ever shared our beer with a buddy, then it is for you that this beer exists.  Reciprocal is first and foremost a thank-you to the diehards who have supported us from day one. And sure, it is definitely a Vic Secret showcase, a hop that is extremely fruit forward and purely Australian in character. But the beer is rounded out with two other Australian hops. Summer, a low alpha Australian variety that imparts a touch of bitterness, and Ella, providing a drier herbal character. The combination of these three, all-Australian hops, impart a touch of subtle anise character to the beer, floating atop an undercurrent barrage of fruitiness. A hoppy offering, for sure—a beer brewed for you all.  The grist is a standout amongst our beers, the body is unlike the other beers we are brewing. There exudes an inviting coarseness of that classic Australian hop character, with a pillowy, fluffy mouthfeel and drinkability to the beer. Take a sip, you’ll see just what we mean. It’s a base of 2-Row Malt, with a large percentage of Wheat Malt. The malted wheat, as opposed to flaked wheat, sets this one apart, providing an intriguing interplay between the polyphenol content of the hops and the soluble protein of the Wheat Malt—sorry to geek-out a bit, let me rephrase: it’s simply delicious. Carastan and Flaked Oats round it all out, yielding a deceptively drinkable, lower-end on the ABV spectrum version of a double IPA.  Designing and brewing this beer initially wasn’t easy, and it definitely was risky, especially at the time. Jumping off that bridge into the waters that was a whole lot of Vic Secret in each batch, something quite different for the time. But if we were going to put another hoppy beer into our lineup, we knew it had to be unique, and embody that sense of risk. It had to be worth it, and represent the reciprocity to our relationship that you all truly helped establish.  So, grab some cans of Reciprocal, our heavily hopped Australian double IPA, this weekend, and open and enjoy with friends. It really is true. You earned it, bud. You are appreciated.  --mvs

Reciprocal

There is an inherent aspect of risk in any course of action. There is never a guarantee of success. There is no assurance, at the end of the day, that someone will take stock of what you’ve done and say, “hell yeah, this is awesome. Nice work, man.” Most times you just have to go for it, and put yourself and your hard work out there. Hope that someone actually cares. Hope that someone shows up. Hope that they will show up again.

Making the decision to open up a business is an especially risky course of action. Opening up a business that is built around brewing beer is absolutely no exception, no matter how magical that beer by itself really may be. You can brew the most artistic, most technically perfect, most delicious and special beers around, but if there is no one to buy them, it’s game over. We’ve all seen businesses that didn’t make it, and some of those businesses have been breweries. But sometimes, in your heart, no matter the risk, you just know you need to go for it.

And when things start to go right, we you try and try again and it ultimately starts to click…. Oh, wow. When we opened shop in the Industrial Park, and people started showing up. Damn, there was simply nothing quite like that. When bars and restaurants started asking for and demanding our beer. Yep, oh, wow. When folks started coming from all over the world to buy our beer, to support us. To validate what we were trying to do. Wow, even more.

There exists a symbiotic relationship between every beer brewer and the beer buyer (and ultimately the drinker). It’s a mutually beneficial co-existence of sorts, a “can-you-dig-what-we’re putting down” vibe to it all. We recognized it, and embraced it, just as soon as we were lucky and grateful enough to see some semblance of success.

To that end, we wanted to brew a beer that would capture that, well, reciprocal feeling that both the brewer and drinker could share over a glass of our beer. With Substance and Baby G already on the books, people kept asking for something new and something hoppy. Of course, as brewers, we had the natural itch to brew something creative and different. To brew something that “we wanted to drink,” but also with the recognition that we could only viably introduce a new beer if there was at least a sliver of the world outside of ourselves that would be into it. To tie that all together, we thought, let’s think creatively about hops.

As you’ve heard before, we (like so many other breweries) were unable to source Galaxy hops at any true quantity a few years back, at the time. The folks at Willamette Valley Hops turned us onto a varietal called Vic Secret, not a substitute for Galaxy, but an Australian breed in the same family. We brewed a pilot batch with these hops, and were struck deeply with the Australian character of the hop, tried and true, and the highly expressive and curiously unique fruit profile.

So, despite the un-proven track record behind Vic Secret, we decided to double-down, and commit to a substantial hop contract. Frankly, we felt empowered to take this risk on an expensive and unknown hop because of the support we’d seen for our brewery and our beer. If you ever came out to an early release, if you ever helped spread the good word, if you ever shared our beer with a buddy, then it is for you that this beer exists.

Reciprocal is first and foremost a thank-you to the diehards who have supported us from day one. And sure, it is definitely a Vic Secret showcase, a hop that is extremely fruit forward and purely Australian in character. But the beer is rounded out with two other Australian hops. Summer, a low alpha Australian variety that imparts a touch of bitterness, and Ella, providing a drier herbal character. The combination of these three, all-Australian hops, impart a touch of subtle anise character to the beer, floating atop an undercurrent barrage of fruitiness. A hoppy offering, for sure—a beer brewed for you all.

The grist is a standout amongst our beers, the body is unlike the other beers we are brewing. There exudes an inviting coarseness of that classic Australian hop character, with a pillowy, fluffy mouthfeel and drinkability to the beer. Take a sip, you’ll see just what we mean. It’s a base of 2-Row Malt, with a large percentage of Wheat Malt. The malted wheat, as opposed to flaked wheat, sets this one apart, providing an intriguing interplay between the polyphenol content of the hops and the soluble protein of the Wheat Malt—sorry to geek-out a bit, let me rephrase: it’s simply delicious. Carastan and Flaked Oats round it all out, yielding a deceptively drinkable, lower-end on the ABV spectrum version of a double IPA.

Designing and brewing this beer initially wasn’t easy, and it definitely was risky, especially at the time. Jumping off that bridge into the waters that was a whole lot of Vic Secret in each batch, something quite different for the time. But if we were going to put another hoppy beer into our lineup, we knew it had to be unique, and embody that sense of risk. It had to be worth it, and represent the reciprocity to our relationship that you all truly helped establish.

So, grab some cans of Reciprocal, our heavily hopped Australian double IPA, this weekend, and open and enjoy with friends. It really is true. You earned it, bud. You are appreciated.

--mvs

  Pine Tree Agronomics   If you’re a left-brained brewer, one of the most rewarding aspects of brewing is having the opportunity to truly dial-in a beer recipe. To set out with deliberate intention to brew a beer consistently, over and over and over again. To maybe make a minor recipe tweak, here or there. Manipulating the percentages of certain grains or adjuncts in the grist. Or, especially if it is a hoppy beer, layering hop combinations and perfecting the hopping rates in order to achieve the exact flavors you are setting out to create. It is, in a sense, a rather precise, scientific endeavor.  On the other hand, if you’re a right-brained brewer, one of the most rewarding aspects of brewing is having the opportunity to throw caution-to-the-wind, to trust your instinct. To have only one chance a year to brew a beer, and not having any pure sense of what that will be until you brew it (and maybe not even until you package it). To be brewing, to be creating a recipe, almost on the fly. A sense of urgency to it all. This is what it’s like to brew a wet hop beer. You’re at the whim of the farmer, and it all happens within 24-hours of picking that year’s hop harvest and putting those hops into a beer. Trusting your instinct as a brewer that the beer will be good. It is a rather creative, artistic endeavor.  Wet hop beers are inherently a very special thing. These beers were born in the Pacific Northwest, the heart of it all when it comes to hop-growing in the United States, at least for a long, long time. Our brewer,  Patty McAnany , discovered these beers and fell in love with them during his time out in Portland, Oregon (the “second” Portland) in the Fall of 2012. As it does every year around that time in the PNW, that year’s hop harvest brought with it a bounty of wet hop ales. Brewers all throughout the region brewing beers with hops picked directly from the farm, destined for a beer that very same day.  Tasting these beers was a novel experience to Patty, one informed by a sense of uncertainty as to what made these beers different, or better perhaps? Sure, the wet hops—hops that do not undergo the typical drying and pelletization before their use in a beer, but are instead freshly picked, still “wet”—impart a vegetal character to a certain degree. But the hop flavors are “muted,” rounder and softer. An extremely representative flavor of the specific hop varietal. Your rub and smell a hop cone in your hand, and you taste that experience in your glass. These beers are quite particular, uniquely hopped with hops picked straight off-the-bine.  Back in Portland, Noah had had some experience with wet hop beers as well, but that was limited in nature, mainly to Founders’ Harvest Ale. Geographically constrained, at least years ago at the time, this iconic wet hopped beer was one of the few that made it here to Maine. It was intriguing, a hoppy beer, for sure, but with that “x” factor that made it stand out amongst many other hoppy offerings.  Yep, Patty Mc’s knowledge and affinity for wet hopped beers certainly played a role in it, but it was really the viability of The Hopyard in Gorham, Maine that led us to try our hand at a wet hop beer. It seemed nonsensical for us to overnight hops from 3,000 miles away, and the hops grown in your “Uncle Freddie’s” (bless his well-intentioned heart) backyard garden just weren’t the type of quality ingredient that we wanted to put into a beer. There really wasn’t a legitimate source of wet hops for us (and numerous other brewers throughout Maine) until The Hopyard came into its own, and relatively recently so.  When Noah and our crew visited The Hopyard, they were taken with the level of quality and the degree of professionalism behind the operation and the hops they were holding in his hands. Putting all of the challenges of growing hops on a commercial scale aside, these were some genuine Maine-grown varietals. Maybe “Cascade” in name and in genetic composition, but more so “Maine-grown Cascade.” Something representative of our home. Something worth it to us to use in a wet hop beer.  For the second year in a row now, we’ve penciled Pine Tree Agronomics into our production schedules as a wet hopped beer to brew, and, you guessed it, at the whim of the farm, we brew it when the hops are ready. We drive out to Gorham to pick-up the hops on brewday (multiple trips are required—you can only fit so many hop flowers in a Subaru, and good luck explaining that to a cop should you happen to get pulled over!), and then we use the mash tun as a hop back, tossing bag after bag into the hot vessel to extract all the aromas and flavors that the wet hops have to offer up. It’s quite the unique visual and olfactory experience, one that surely puts a smile on the face of even the most irritable of brewers.  This year we predominantly used Maine-grown Cascade in our beer, a Pale Ale that we scaled back a bit from last year’s Pine Tree Agronomics recipe in efforts to further showcase more directly these lovely Maine-grown hops. We once again brewed the beer with all Maine-grown malts, another nod to the bounty of our home state. After fermentation in a conical tank, we transfer the beer into one of our horizontal tanks where bag-after-bag of the somewhat ironic “wet-dry-hop” addition awaits. The sheer poundage of hops is extraordinary, nearly comical. An 80-pound dry hop of pellets will quickly translate into a 400-pound-plus dry hop of wet hops, mostly a simple factor of the water-weight involved. It may be a wet mess, sure, but it’s worth it.  There’s a lot of uncertainty going into Pine Tree Agronomics each year, a beer we named to honor the history of logging and the lumber industry in the state of Maine. Brewed with all Maine-grown grains, and with wet hops grown just miles from the brewery in Gorham, it’s unpredictable what, exactly, the beer will taste like. We’re never quite sure what that will be until the beer goes into the package, but we damn sure know from the start that it will taste like Maine. For us, for this year’s harvest of Maine-grown Cascade and Nugget, we get a huge zippy lime presence, a Maine-centric departure on how these hops supposedly  should  taste on paper--a factor of how these varieties work when grown in this state specific climate and soil.  And just like the fleeting window that we have to pick-up the hops and brew the beer, we recommend that this beer is best picked-up from the brewery and drank as soon as possible. Drink fresh, with good friends, in the spirit of the hop harvest in Maine.  -- mvs

Pine Tree Agronomics

If you’re a left-brained brewer, one of the most rewarding aspects of brewing is having the opportunity to truly dial-in a beer recipe. To set out with deliberate intention to brew a beer consistently, over and over and over again. To maybe make a minor recipe tweak, here or there. Manipulating the percentages of certain grains or adjuncts in the grist. Or, especially if it is a hoppy beer, layering hop combinations and perfecting the hopping rates in order to achieve the exact flavors you are setting out to create. It is, in a sense, a rather precise, scientific endeavor.

On the other hand, if you’re a right-brained brewer, one of the most rewarding aspects of brewing is having the opportunity to throw caution-to-the-wind, to trust your instinct. To have only one chance a year to brew a beer, and not having any pure sense of what that will be until you brew it (and maybe not even until you package it). To be brewing, to be creating a recipe, almost on the fly. A sense of urgency to it all. This is what it’s like to brew a wet hop beer. You’re at the whim of the farmer, and it all happens within 24-hours of picking that year’s hop harvest and putting those hops into a beer. Trusting your instinct as a brewer that the beer will be good. It is a rather creative, artistic endeavor.

Wet hop beers are inherently a very special thing. These beers were born in the Pacific Northwest, the heart of it all when it comes to hop-growing in the United States, at least for a long, long time. Our brewer, Patty McAnany, discovered these beers and fell in love with them during his time out in Portland, Oregon (the “second” Portland) in the Fall of 2012. As it does every year around that time in the PNW, that year’s hop harvest brought with it a bounty of wet hop ales. Brewers all throughout the region brewing beers with hops picked directly from the farm, destined for a beer that very same day.

Tasting these beers was a novel experience to Patty, one informed by a sense of uncertainty as to what made these beers different, or better perhaps? Sure, the wet hops—hops that do not undergo the typical drying and pelletization before their use in a beer, but are instead freshly picked, still “wet”—impart a vegetal character to a certain degree. But the hop flavors are “muted,” rounder and softer. An extremely representative flavor of the specific hop varietal. Your rub and smell a hop cone in your hand, and you taste that experience in your glass. These beers are quite particular, uniquely hopped with hops picked straight off-the-bine.

Back in Portland, Noah had had some experience with wet hop beers as well, but that was limited in nature, mainly to Founders’ Harvest Ale. Geographically constrained, at least years ago at the time, this iconic wet hopped beer was one of the few that made it here to Maine. It was intriguing, a hoppy beer, for sure, but with that “x” factor that made it stand out amongst many other hoppy offerings.

Yep, Patty Mc’s knowledge and affinity for wet hopped beers certainly played a role in it, but it was really the viability of The Hopyard in Gorham, Maine that led us to try our hand at a wet hop beer. It seemed nonsensical for us to overnight hops from 3,000 miles away, and the hops grown in your “Uncle Freddie’s” (bless his well-intentioned heart) backyard garden just weren’t the type of quality ingredient that we wanted to put into a beer. There really wasn’t a legitimate source of wet hops for us (and numerous other brewers throughout Maine) until The Hopyard came into its own, and relatively recently so.

When Noah and our crew visited The Hopyard, they were taken with the level of quality and the degree of professionalism behind the operation and the hops they were holding in his hands. Putting all of the challenges of growing hops on a commercial scale aside, these were some genuine Maine-grown varietals. Maybe “Cascade” in name and in genetic composition, but more so “Maine-grown Cascade.” Something representative of our home. Something worth it to us to use in a wet hop beer.

For the second year in a row now, we’ve penciled Pine Tree Agronomics into our production schedules as a wet hopped beer to brew, and, you guessed it, at the whim of the farm, we brew it when the hops are ready. We drive out to Gorham to pick-up the hops on brewday (multiple trips are required—you can only fit so many hop flowers in a Subaru, and good luck explaining that to a cop should you happen to get pulled over!), and then we use the mash tun as a hop back, tossing bag after bag into the hot vessel to extract all the aromas and flavors that the wet hops have to offer up. It’s quite the unique visual and olfactory experience, one that surely puts a smile on the face of even the most irritable of brewers.

This year we predominantly used Maine-grown Cascade in our beer, a Pale Ale that we scaled back a bit from last year’s Pine Tree Agronomics recipe in efforts to further showcase more directly these lovely Maine-grown hops. We once again brewed the beer with all Maine-grown malts, another nod to the bounty of our home state. After fermentation in a conical tank, we transfer the beer into one of our horizontal tanks where bag-after-bag of the somewhat ironic “wet-dry-hop” addition awaits. The sheer poundage of hops is extraordinary, nearly comical. An 80-pound dry hop of pellets will quickly translate into a 400-pound-plus dry hop of wet hops, mostly a simple factor of the water-weight involved. It may be a wet mess, sure, but it’s worth it.

There’s a lot of uncertainty going into Pine Tree Agronomics each year, a beer we named to honor the history of logging and the lumber industry in the state of Maine. Brewed with all Maine-grown grains, and with wet hops grown just miles from the brewery in Gorham, it’s unpredictable what, exactly, the beer will taste like. We’re never quite sure what that will be until the beer goes into the package, but we damn sure know from the start that it will taste like Maine. For us, for this year’s harvest of Maine-grown Cascade and Nugget, we get a huge zippy lime presence, a Maine-centric departure on how these hops supposedly should taste on paper--a factor of how these varieties work when grown in this state specific climate and soil.

And just like the fleeting window that we have to pick-up the hops and brew the beer, we recommend that this beer is best picked-up from the brewery and drank as soon as possible. Drink fresh, with good friends, in the spirit of the hop harvest in Maine.

-- mvs

  Kickflip   Anyone who has been even tangentially involved with the beer community and scene throughout Maine and in Portland over the past decade or so, would very likely to happen to know Seth Vigue. Or, at the very least, y’all should.  Seth Vigue, affectionately better known to some as  Viggy 3 Flip  (or simply “Viggy” or “Viggs”), first cut his teeth in the industry behind the bar at the “hallowed” Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunquit, you may well know him from his years there. Or, perhaps you met him at the beloved Thai Smile in Farmington, Maine as he poured you a beer—after all, that’s where Noah first met and befriended Seth when Noah was living in Western Maine, attending school. Maybe you know Seth from his time at Bissell Brothers in Portland, literally here from day one, the first employee. Doing anything and everything to help our brewery succeed.  Perhaps you’ve seen Seth zipping around One Industrial Way on his skateboard, a talented athlete in that sense. Balanced and poised. Or maybe you’ve shared a pint with him at The Pig, or at one of the other better beer bars around town. And if you’ve have that pleasure, then you’d know that Seth is truly a good, good “(beer) dude.”  He’s also an incredibly skilled homebrewer. Starting in on the hobby in 2015, notably  after  he was already a professional brewer with us at Bissell Brothers, Seth brewed a number of different beers and styles—motivated by curiosity and initiative and a self-directed drive to learn more about beer and be a better brewer. In Seth’s mind, a Cream Ale just “sounded good,” the style intrigued him. And his version of that beer is the one homebrew that truly became his, a beer he befittingly named Kickflip for the skateboard trick, one of Viggs’ favorites.  After brewing the beer four or five times at home, we all fell in love with it as Seth would kindly share bottles of his homebrew that he had filled by hand. After brewing the beer twice on the pilot system, Noah saw merit in what was a really, really good beer entirely in its own right. Standing out so far and above any of the other twenty to twenty-five pilot beers we’d done, Noah decided to green light a beer that wasn’t his own recipe for the first time, calling for a full commercial batch of Kickflip to be brewed just as soon as we had the capacity and resources to do so....  If you think about it, the Cream Ale beer style personifies Seth in many ways. It’s modest and humble. It’s hard-working and reliable. It’s friendly and approachable. Balanced and poised? You bet. After a hard day, you look in the fridge and there in the corner are a few cans of Cream Ale, seemingly always there, dependable. When things are going to hell at the brewery, yep, Viggy is there for you to lend a helping hand. At the end of the day, Cream Ales are just plain awesome. Clean and crisp, they are simply fun and easy beers to enjoy.  But first off, there is no “cream” in a Cream Ale, there’s no lactose, no nonsense. Instead, a traditional Cream Ale is a light bodied ale, typically brewed with corn and/or rice, low in esters, and balanced—neither the hops nor the malt should prevail. Sessionable strength ABV. Absolutely drinkable and delicious, a beer-flavored beer.  With his recipe, Viggy sought out to brew a traditional Cream Ale. Inspired deeply by Frank Lever, the owner of now-defunct Kennebec Brewing in Gardiner, Maine, Seth hoped to recreate something in the vein of the “iconic” Kennebec Cream Ale. A Cream Ale brewed in the true spirit of the state of Maine.  The grist on Kickflip is simple. 2-Row Barley Malt, almost entirely Maine-grown Buck Farms Mapleton Pale 2-Row, serves as the base for the beer, and there are equal parts Flaked Corn and Flaked Rice added. These flaked adjuncts lend a defining zippy smoothness and crispness to the beer, drying it out, creating drinkability. The hop profile is, fittingly, simple as well. A light addition of Cluster hops, one of the oldest, most classic American hops, is utilized in the kettle and whirlpool. Hallertau CalLista, a low-alpha, highly aromatic hop, serves as the dry-hop. It’s an incredibly balanced beer, an homage to Kennebec Cream. Kickflip is truly a Cream Ale brewed in the spirit of Maine, with Maine-grown ingredients at that.  And although ironically the Cream Ale was developed in the 1950’s and 60’s as a quick fermenting Ale, a beer that could be turned around faster than a Lager, but could “compete” with macro Lagers having similar flavors, Seth’s goal was the opposite. We aren’t trying to “compete” with any gas station macros, and to be honest, sometimes we even love those beers for what they are. We wanted something complexly more nuanced in flavor, with similar drinkability. To that end, we fermented Kickflip for a full two weeks in a conical fermenter at low temperatures, and then condition the beer cold in a horizontal tank for nearly an entire month.  The beer is naturally carbonated on the higher end for an Ale. So, the result is a heady, and you guessed it, a creamy, delicious treat of a beer. We hope you enjoy the fruits of Seth’s—and the rest of the production and packaging crew’s—labors as much as we do.  Cheers to you, Viggy.  -- mvs

Kickflip

Anyone who has been even tangentially involved with the beer community and scene throughout Maine and in Portland over the past decade or so, would very likely to happen to know Seth Vigue. Or, at the very least, y’all should.

Seth Vigue, affectionately better known to some as Viggy 3 Flip (or simply “Viggy” or “Viggs”), first cut his teeth in the industry behind the bar at the “hallowed” Barnacle Billy’s in Ogunquit, you may well know him from his years there. Or, perhaps you met him at the beloved Thai Smile in Farmington, Maine as he poured you a beer—after all, that’s where Noah first met and befriended Seth when Noah was living in Western Maine, attending school. Maybe you know Seth from his time at Bissell Brothers in Portland, literally here from day one, the first employee. Doing anything and everything to help our brewery succeed.

Perhaps you’ve seen Seth zipping around One Industrial Way on his skateboard, a talented athlete in that sense. Balanced and poised. Or maybe you’ve shared a pint with him at The Pig, or at one of the other better beer bars around town. And if you’ve have that pleasure, then you’d know that Seth is truly a good, good “(beer) dude.”

He’s also an incredibly skilled homebrewer. Starting in on the hobby in 2015, notably after he was already a professional brewer with us at Bissell Brothers, Seth brewed a number of different beers and styles—motivated by curiosity and initiative and a self-directed drive to learn more about beer and be a better brewer. In Seth’s mind, a Cream Ale just “sounded good,” the style intrigued him. And his version of that beer is the one homebrew that truly became his, a beer he befittingly named Kickflip for the skateboard trick, one of Viggs’ favorites.

After brewing the beer four or five times at home, we all fell in love with it as Seth would kindly share bottles of his homebrew that he had filled by hand. After brewing the beer twice on the pilot system, Noah saw merit in what was a really, really good beer entirely in its own right. Standing out so far and above any of the other twenty to twenty-five pilot beers we’d done, Noah decided to green light a beer that wasn’t his own recipe for the first time, calling for a full commercial batch of Kickflip to be brewed just as soon as we had the capacity and resources to do so....

If you think about it, the Cream Ale beer style personifies Seth in many ways. It’s modest and humble. It’s hard-working and reliable. It’s friendly and approachable. Balanced and poised? You bet. After a hard day, you look in the fridge and there in the corner are a few cans of Cream Ale, seemingly always there, dependable. When things are going to hell at the brewery, yep, Viggy is there for you to lend a helping hand. At the end of the day, Cream Ales are just plain awesome. Clean and crisp, they are simply fun and easy beers to enjoy.

But first off, there is no “cream” in a Cream Ale, there’s no lactose, no nonsense. Instead, a traditional Cream Ale is a light bodied ale, typically brewed with corn and/or rice, low in esters, and balanced—neither the hops nor the malt should prevail. Sessionable strength ABV. Absolutely drinkable and delicious, a beer-flavored beer.

With his recipe, Viggy sought out to brew a traditional Cream Ale. Inspired deeply by Frank Lever, the owner of now-defunct Kennebec Brewing in Gardiner, Maine, Seth hoped to recreate something in the vein of the “iconic” Kennebec Cream Ale. A Cream Ale brewed in the true spirit of the state of Maine.

The grist on Kickflip is simple. 2-Row Barley Malt, almost entirely Maine-grown Buck Farms Mapleton Pale 2-Row, serves as the base for the beer, and there are equal parts Flaked Corn and Flaked Rice added. These flaked adjuncts lend a defining zippy smoothness and crispness to the beer, drying it out, creating drinkability. The hop profile is, fittingly, simple as well. A light addition of Cluster hops, one of the oldest, most classic American hops, is utilized in the kettle and whirlpool. Hallertau CalLista, a low-alpha, highly aromatic hop, serves as the dry-hop. It’s an incredibly balanced beer, an homage to Kennebec Cream. Kickflip is truly a Cream Ale brewed in the spirit of Maine, with Maine-grown ingredients at that.

And although ironically the Cream Ale was developed in the 1950’s and 60’s as a quick fermenting Ale, a beer that could be turned around faster than a Lager, but could “compete” with macro Lagers having similar flavors, Seth’s goal was the opposite. We aren’t trying to “compete” with any gas station macros, and to be honest, sometimes we even love those beers for what they are. We wanted something complexly more nuanced in flavor, with similar drinkability. To that end, we fermented Kickflip for a full two weeks in a conical fermenter at low temperatures, and then condition the beer cold in a horizontal tank for nearly an entire month.

The beer is naturally carbonated on the higher end for an Ale. So, the result is a heady, and you guessed it, a creamy, delicious treat of a beer. We hope you enjoy the fruits of Seth’s—and the rest of the production and packaging crew’s—labors as much as we do.

Cheers to you, Viggy.

-- mvs

  Preserve & Protect   Percival P. Baxter, the former Mayor of Portland and Governor of Maine, had a “magnificent obsession.” We all have them, so you know what I mean. An idea, or a thought, something so pervasive and important to you that it wholly and continuously preoccupies every waking moment in your mind. And then of course, you dream about it too…  Percival Baxter’s magnificent obsession, his dream, was to create a place in Northern Maine, a place that would be forever wild. A massive landscape, rugged terrain, an inescapable beauty. A place that would be home to Katahdin, the mountain that rests in the Northeast, peacefully with enduring glory. A true wilderness in every sense of the word.  Yet unlike so many obsessions that are held onto so tightly for selfish reasons, or personal pleasure or gain, Percival Baxter ending up giving away his obsession to each and every resident of Maine, past, present, and future, in perpetuity. Amazingly, Governor Baxter would grant the land that would become Maine Baxter State Park through 28 donations, in trust, from 1931 - 1962. The gift was unconditional—save for one thing. The land must be preserved, it must be protected. It must remain unchanged, and true. Forever wild. It would take a hell of a lot of work to do that, however, and it would take strong minded, dedicated people to carry on Governor Baxter’s vision.  Jensen Bissell is such a person. Among many others, he heedlessly answered the call. Beginning his career at the park as Resource Manager in 1987, Jensen would help steward and carry on Percival’s obsession. It wasn’t easy. Jensen gave so much to the park in his 31 years of service, commuting nearly an hour each way, back and forth to the Park, to make sure that this gift to Maine would always remain unchanged. He stood his ground, sometime unpopularly, to resist seeming inevitable changes. In 2005, he was appointed to Director of the Park, but that wasn’t the extent of his responsibilities. He was (and still is) a Husband and a Father. He was instrumental in providing the support needed to make the brewery a reality, believing that the college homebrewer in Noah, and the budding entrepreneur in Peter, could make this thing succeed.  When Jensen was transitioning into retirement from his years and years of service at the Park, Peter and Noah (and all of us at the Brewery) knew that they wanted to do something incredibly special to send him off. We had just celebrated our fourth anniversary at Bissell Brothers, and we had done so with an anniversary beer called “Nuclear Whim with the Fuse of a Mile,” named for the Tokyo Police Club lyric. Unfortunately, we hoped that that beer would enter regular rotation, but it was immediately relegated to a one-off thanks to the AB-InBev monopolization of the African hop varietals that we had used in the beer.  But, we really liked Nuclear Whim (and we certainly still do, just trust us on that one). There was something about the grain bill and the grist profile that perfectly fit the mold for a double IPA on the lower-side of the ABV spectrum, a beer being so eminently drinkable while still being so big and impactful. Undoubtedly, it is the kiss of Honey Malt that brings together a base of 2-Row barley malt and malted wheat and flaked oats for the grist. Presenting a hyper-caramelized flavor on its own, the light, judicious use of Honey Malt in the beer adds a subtle, but critical, balancing sweetness to the beer.  Building out the beer off of this grist recipe, we selected Simcoe and Citra hops, a tried and true “West Coast-inspired” hop combination. We’re talking a classic combo here, flavors that will always taste good together. Along with this pair, we would use Denali, a hop that we loved having explored its use in the beer Engram. The intense, dank, dank, pineapple of Denali would pair well with the predictably eclectic notes in Citra and Simcoe. And a dry-hop addition of Vic Secret would lend that classic Australian-hop character to the beer that we’ve talked about before, one that we truly love, yet wouldn’t be overbearing in any way.  The label on the can ties everything together for this special beer, an iconic image of Percival P. Baxter, the man whose incredible gift is beloved by so many here in Maine, even to this day. Superimposed with an iconic image of Jensen Bissell, the man whose incredible dedication is (part of) the reason why Katahdin and Park remain unchanged, forever wild, even to this day. The beer is our substantiation of gratitude for the tremendous acts of hard work, vision, and selfless giving exuded by these two men for so many, many years.  And not that there is any way that we could ever repay these two men for all that they have given, but a percentage of sales from each four-pack of Preserve & Protect are donated to Friends of Baxter State Park, an independent citizen group, found in 2000, with a mission to preserve and support, and enhance the wilderness character of Baxter State Park. This donation is our small gift in return for so much.  The beer is delicious, and satisfying to drink, sure. But the next time you open a can of Preserve & Protect, we urge you to take a moment and reflect on Percival P. Baxter, Jensen Bissell, Katahdin, and the wilderness of Baxter State Park, and think about how much we really have been given.  --mvs

Preserve & Protect

Percival P. Baxter, the former Mayor of Portland and Governor of Maine, had a “magnificent obsession.” We all have them, so you know what I mean. An idea, or a thought, something so pervasive and important to you that it wholly and continuously preoccupies every waking moment in your mind. And then of course, you dream about it too…

Percival Baxter’s magnificent obsession, his dream, was to create a place in Northern Maine, a place that would be forever wild. A massive landscape, rugged terrain, an inescapable beauty. A place that would be home to Katahdin, the mountain that rests in the Northeast, peacefully with enduring glory. A true wilderness in every sense of the word.

Yet unlike so many obsessions that are held onto so tightly for selfish reasons, or personal pleasure or gain, Percival Baxter ending up giving away his obsession to each and every resident of Maine, past, present, and future, in perpetuity. Amazingly, Governor Baxter would grant the land that would become Maine Baxter State Park through 28 donations, in trust, from 1931 - 1962. The gift was unconditional—save for one thing. The land must be preserved, it must be protected. It must remain unchanged, and true. Forever wild. It would take a hell of a lot of work to do that, however, and it would take strong minded, dedicated people to carry on Governor Baxter’s vision.

Jensen Bissell is such a person. Among many others, he heedlessly answered the call. Beginning his career at the park as Resource Manager in 1987, Jensen would help steward and carry on Percival’s obsession. It wasn’t easy. Jensen gave so much to the park in his 31 years of service, commuting nearly an hour each way, back and forth to the Park, to make sure that this gift to Maine would always remain unchanged. He stood his ground, sometime unpopularly, to resist seeming inevitable changes. In 2005, he was appointed to Director of the Park, but that wasn’t the extent of his responsibilities. He was (and still is) a Husband and a Father. He was instrumental in providing the support needed to make the brewery a reality, believing that the college homebrewer in Noah, and the budding entrepreneur in Peter, could make this thing succeed.

When Jensen was transitioning into retirement from his years and years of service at the Park, Peter and Noah (and all of us at the Brewery) knew that they wanted to do something incredibly special to send him off. We had just celebrated our fourth anniversary at Bissell Brothers, and we had done so with an anniversary beer called “Nuclear Whim with the Fuse of a Mile,” named for the Tokyo Police Club lyric. Unfortunately, we hoped that that beer would enter regular rotation, but it was immediately relegated to a one-off thanks to the AB-InBev monopolization of the African hop varietals that we had used in the beer.

But, we really liked Nuclear Whim (and we certainly still do, just trust us on that one). There was something about the grain bill and the grist profile that perfectly fit the mold for a double IPA on the lower-side of the ABV spectrum, a beer being so eminently drinkable while still being so big and impactful. Undoubtedly, it is the kiss of Honey Malt that brings together a base of 2-Row barley malt and malted wheat and flaked oats for the grist. Presenting a hyper-caramelized flavor on its own, the light, judicious use of Honey Malt in the beer adds a subtle, but critical, balancing sweetness to the beer.

Building out the beer off of this grist recipe, we selected Simcoe and Citra hops, a tried and true “West Coast-inspired” hop combination. We’re talking a classic combo here, flavors that will always taste good together. Along with this pair, we would use Denali, a hop that we loved having explored its use in the beer Engram. The intense, dank, dank, pineapple of Denali would pair well with the predictably eclectic notes in Citra and Simcoe. And a dry-hop addition of Vic Secret would lend that classic Australian-hop character to the beer that we’ve talked about before, one that we truly love, yet wouldn’t be overbearing in any way.

The label on the can ties everything together for this special beer, an iconic image of Percival P. Baxter, the man whose incredible gift is beloved by so many here in Maine, even to this day. Superimposed with an iconic image of Jensen Bissell, the man whose incredible dedication is (part of) the reason why Katahdin and Park remain unchanged, forever wild, even to this day. The beer is our substantiation of gratitude for the tremendous acts of hard work, vision, and selfless giving exuded by these two men for so many, many years.

And not that there is any way that we could ever repay these two men for all that they have given, but a percentage of sales from each four-pack of Preserve & Protect are donated to Friends of Baxter State Park, an independent citizen group, found in 2000, with a mission to preserve and support, and enhance the wilderness character of Baxter State Park. This donation is our small gift in return for so much.

The beer is delicious, and satisfying to drink, sure. But the next time you open a can of Preserve & Protect, we urge you to take a moment and reflect on Percival P. Baxter, Jensen Bissell, Katahdin, and the wilderness of Baxter State Park, and think about how much we really have been given.

--mvs

  Bucolia   buc·ol·ia  /byo͞oˈkōliā/   noun   1. the state of being bucolic; 2. a reservoir of memories from Fall in New England; 3. an evolved Amber Ale  Take a moment to conjure up and imagine every cliché that you can think of about the season of Fall in New England. If you’ve ever spent an Autumn here in Maine, you know. No one is walking around the Old Port, and surely no one is out there in the woods on a hike in Baxter State Park, going around saying “man, Fall freakin’ sucks.” Fall is pretty magical here. There is a reason those clichés are clichés.  There is something about experiencing Autumn in Maine, the perfect time of the year, that is, simply put, so special. Everything about it—the way the cool air feels against your skin, the smell of the outdoors that permeates every moment of being in it, the sound that dry leaves make underfoot when you’re walking in the light of a fading afternoon. Or perhaps it is the cool kiss of the salty ocean on your face as you paddle out to catch some surf in the magical pre-dawn sunlight at Higgins Beach. Close your eyes in Fall, and you’re swept away in a sea of involuntary memories about past-times spent in the Northeast.  It was the Fall of 2014, with two beers solidly under our belts—having now brewed Substance and then Baby Genius routinely—we started to think about what beer would come next. That Fall, our mind kept getting swept up with vivid memories, good and bad, of say, leaving home, heading to school on a Fall day. Memories of throwing the football around with your best buds. Racing your bike downhill with windswept, colored leaves trailing behind you. Those mercurial feelings of a perfect October afternoon. We decided we would brew something that would elicit those feelings, would embody and emulate those moments in the glass.  Inspired broadly by the dryly assertive malt character in our favorite European, old-world, Amber-beers, we set out to brew a beer in the vein of the Marzens and Biere de Gardes that we found so satisfying to drink. We would further draw more direct, albeit bookended, inspiration from two very different beers. First, Calico from Ballast Point, a soft, easy-drinking, dry Amber Ale. Calico was a delicious, simple yet complex, beer to drink. And second,  Zoe , Maine Beer Company’s hoppy Amber Ale, first brewed in 2009. Zoe was unlike any beer we’d ever had at the time, so hoppy but possessing a defined roasty edge and that deep, red hue and luminance when poured in a glass.  With the goal of striking a balance, and with the idea to keep alcohol in moderation, we started with a base of Golden Promise. Providing a subtle, but still very present toastiness, Golden Promise provides the platform for Munich malt to contribute a biscuity, chewy, but not inherently sweet malt profile. A touch of Dark Wheat Malt aids in head formation and retention. A kiss of Pale Chocolate malt—a softer version of the standard roasted malt—added for a subtle additional layer of color and flavor.  Finally, to complete the grist, the recipe for Ballast Point’s Calico (a recipe that was gleaned from  Can You Brew It?,  one of our favorite shows on  The Brewing Network ) provided the impetus for adding a small percentage of Carastan into the beer. An English malt, contributing toasty and caramel characters, this malt quickly became one of our favorite tools to provide balance in maltier, hoppier beers. Not yielding a burnt fruit character, restrained complexity. Carastan rounds out a beer that we would want to drink on that perfect New England October afternoon.  Although it is definitively not an IPA, we do add our own thumbprint to Bucolia with hops. Simcoe seemed ideal, imparting a brightly fruity, sweet juicy character, with the distinct character of pine that can evoke the scents of an Autumn day. The beer is delicately balanced with both Centennial and Chinook hop additions. It’s a hoppy beer, for sure, but the hops don’t steamroll the malt profile that we’ve so thoughtfully crafted, the entire time with Fall in Maine in mind. And every bit as delicious to drink…  Whenever you sip Bucolia—Spring, Summer, Winter, or Fall—we hope that you too experience the sensation of a bucolic New England Autumnal day. Maybe you are with your friends, sitting around a campfire, wearing your favorite pair of jeans, worn-in just right, and your most comforting flannel shirt. Your crew altogether, cans of Bucolia in hand, laughter and smiles peeking through the flames, celebrating Fall in Maine. Sound cliché? Sure is.  --mvs

Bucolia

buc·ol·ia

/byo͞oˈkōliā/

noun

1. the state of being bucolic; 2. a reservoir of memories from Fall in New England; 3. an evolved Amber Ale

Take a moment to conjure up and imagine every cliché that you can think of about the season of Fall in New England. If you’ve ever spent an Autumn here in Maine, you know. No one is walking around the Old Port, and surely no one is out there in the woods on a hike in Baxter State Park, going around saying “man, Fall freakin’ sucks.” Fall is pretty magical here. There is a reason those clichés are clichés.

There is something about experiencing Autumn in Maine, the perfect time of the year, that is, simply put, so special. Everything about it—the way the cool air feels against your skin, the smell of the outdoors that permeates every moment of being in it, the sound that dry leaves make underfoot when you’re walking in the light of a fading afternoon. Or perhaps it is the cool kiss of the salty ocean on your face as you paddle out to catch some surf in the magical pre-dawn sunlight at Higgins Beach. Close your eyes in Fall, and you’re swept away in a sea of involuntary memories about past-times spent in the Northeast.

It was the Fall of 2014, with two beers solidly under our belts—having now brewed Substance and then Baby Genius routinely—we started to think about what beer would come next. That Fall, our mind kept getting swept up with vivid memories, good and bad, of say, leaving home, heading to school on a Fall day. Memories of throwing the football around with your best buds. Racing your bike downhill with windswept, colored leaves trailing behind you. Those mercurial feelings of a perfect October afternoon. We decided we would brew something that would elicit those feelings, would embody and emulate those moments in the glass.

Inspired broadly by the dryly assertive malt character in our favorite European, old-world, Amber-beers, we set out to brew a beer in the vein of the Marzens and Biere de Gardes that we found so satisfying to drink. We would further draw more direct, albeit bookended, inspiration from two very different beers. First, Calico from Ballast Point, a soft, easy-drinking, dry Amber Ale. Calico was a delicious, simple yet complex, beer to drink. And second, Zoe, Maine Beer Company’s hoppy Amber Ale, first brewed in 2009. Zoe was unlike any beer we’d ever had at the time, so hoppy but possessing a defined roasty edge and that deep, red hue and luminance when poured in a glass.

With the goal of striking a balance, and with the idea to keep alcohol in moderation, we started with a base of Golden Promise. Providing a subtle, but still very present toastiness, Golden Promise provides the platform for Munich malt to contribute a biscuity, chewy, but not inherently sweet malt profile. A touch of Dark Wheat Malt aids in head formation and retention. A kiss of Pale Chocolate malt—a softer version of the standard roasted malt—added for a subtle additional layer of color and flavor.

Finally, to complete the grist, the recipe for Ballast Point’s Calico (a recipe that was gleaned from Can You Brew It?, one of our favorite shows on The Brewing Network) provided the impetus for adding a small percentage of Carastan into the beer. An English malt, contributing toasty and caramel characters, this malt quickly became one of our favorite tools to provide balance in maltier, hoppier beers. Not yielding a burnt fruit character, restrained complexity. Carastan rounds out a beer that we would want to drink on that perfect New England October afternoon.

Although it is definitively not an IPA, we do add our own thumbprint to Bucolia with hops. Simcoe seemed ideal, imparting a brightly fruity, sweet juicy character, with the distinct character of pine that can evoke the scents of an Autumn day. The beer is delicately balanced with both Centennial and Chinook hop additions. It’s a hoppy beer, for sure, but the hops don’t steamroll the malt profile that we’ve so thoughtfully crafted, the entire time with Fall in Maine in mind. And every bit as delicious to drink…

Whenever you sip Bucolia—Spring, Summer, Winter, or Fall—we hope that you too experience the sensation of a bucolic New England Autumnal day. Maybe you are with your friends, sitting around a campfire, wearing your favorite pair of jeans, worn-in just right, and your most comforting flannel shirt. Your crew altogether, cans of Bucolia in hand, laughter and smiles peeking through the flames, celebrating Fall in Maine. Sound cliché? Sure is.

--mvs

  Baby Genius   Imagine the face of a young child, eyes steadfast and solemn, looking out at the world she inhabits. Imagine, just for a fleeting moment, perhaps, that that child had the answer to all of the world’s problems. That that little girl, her worldview unsullied, had the power to cure all of this planet’s ills. She would fittingly, for lack of a more poetic description, be the “Baby Genius.”  Now imagine sipping a beer. Perhaps it’s been a long, hard, trying day at work. Perhaps it’s just another “one of those days.” Imagine that that beer—a beer that is so full of aromas and flavors, yet a ‘small’ beer, low in ABV, and entirely soft and crushable—would, even if for that fleeting moment, solve all of your troubles. Make all of your cares melt away. That beer would, for what might be a more poetic description than warranted, be the “Baby Genius.”  When we were starting to think about the second beer that we wanted to brew commercially in the summer of 2014, it was a long time coming. We had, up to that point, been brewing one beer alone, solely The Substance. There wasn’t too much to actually inspire what we wanted to brew as the second beer, we just knew that we wanted to scale down the Alcohol-By-Volume. Although 6.6%—where The Substance clocks-in ABV-wise—isn’t all that outrageous, especially in today’s day of DIPAs and TIPAs, we were squarely intent on brewing a beer that was lower in ABV and sessionable. A beer for drinking more than just one can. Casting aside any aspirations of an ABV-arms race with our beers that we would brew regularly, a target of 4% ABV seemed the sweet spot.  Enamored, perhaps to a fault, with wanting to use Galaxy to at least some degree, we turned to the sparse, cutthroat, secondary market. Of course, we were a young upstart brewery, years away from getting our hands on any sort of Galaxy in quantity and on contract at the time. But, we ended up purchasing some Galaxy at absurd prices on the spot-market, something approaching $30/pound, nearly double what we pay today for similar hops. Even buying a few overpriced bags of Galaxy, we still couldn’t source enough of the hop for a single 20-bbl turn of the beer on our brewhouse.  So, instead of singularly hopping a beer with Galaxy, we designed a sessionable beer comprised of Galaxy and Ella (also a hop from Australia), a beer that would showcase that distinct Australian hop-profile and character that we loved. That early version of the beer that would ultimately be Baby Genius was damn delicious, but simply not sustainable, not at those Galaxy hop prices. So, as we have done seemingly time and time again, we pivoted.  We discovered Ella, an Australian hop varietal that was bred and marketed as “Galaxy’s half-sister,” somewhat by chance, by piloting single-hop IPAs on our small batch system and experimenting. We found that Ella is uniquely different from Galaxy, for sure, but it has that tried-and-true Australian hop character. We liked it. A lot. An undeniable fruitiness, flirting with coarse anise flavors. A tropical burst on the nose that carries into the taste. (Ella also happens to be the name of a young girl who, and only time may tell, may just solve the world’s problems, she may be the “Baby Genius” after all...and the inspiration for this beers’ name).  Leaving Galaxy out of the mix this time, we balanced the hop profile in the beer by using Citra to round out some of the course edges that Ella presents, without taking anything away from that Australian hop punch. Perhaps even saturating the fruity, intense flavors and aromas in the beer even further. Bright and entirely eclectic, the beer washes over the palate with a citrusy, new world punch.  For the malt bill, it was important for us to brew a beer that had more perceived mouthfeel than the drinker might expect. To brew a beer that would be soft and crushable. To achieve this, we experimented with ratios of flaked versus malted wheat, settling upon nearly a 50-50 split. Critical to this beer, however, is the addition of flaked oats. Sometimes lost in the presence of a bigger beer, flaked oats impart in Baby Genius an airy, chewy, fluffiness that ultimately makes the beer utterly so drinkable. A small percentage of Vienna malt round out the malt bill, adding a touch of hefty toastiness without getting in the way of anything.  When we packaged that first commercial batch of Baby Genius, it was still the early, “dark” days for running a canning line. Hand-canning each beer. Hand-stickering the labels onto each can. Running at a snail’s pace, it proved to be an undertaking that would consume Noah, Pete and Sniff’s, and the new guy,  Cam ’s (who suffered this exercise on his first day at Bissell Brothers) entire day. A discouraging, laborious, messy and taxing task.  But when it was all said and done, the guys opened up that first can (with several more cans to follow) of Baby Genius., and just like that, their troubles all melted away. Still to this day, when you are holding a glass of Baby Genius, if at least for that moment, there are no problems in your world. Turns out, it’s one smart beer, the “Baby Genius” of our brewery, after all…  --mvs

Baby Genius

Imagine the face of a young child, eyes steadfast and solemn, looking out at the world she inhabits. Imagine, just for a fleeting moment, perhaps, that that child had the answer to all of the world’s problems. That that little girl, her worldview unsullied, had the power to cure all of this planet’s ills. She would fittingly, for lack of a more poetic description, be the “Baby Genius.”

Now imagine sipping a beer. Perhaps it’s been a long, hard, trying day at work. Perhaps it’s just another “one of those days.” Imagine that that beer—a beer that is so full of aromas and flavors, yet a ‘small’ beer, low in ABV, and entirely soft and crushable—would, even if for that fleeting moment, solve all of your troubles. Make all of your cares melt away. That beer would, for what might be a more poetic description than warranted, be the “Baby Genius.”

When we were starting to think about the second beer that we wanted to brew commercially in the summer of 2014, it was a long time coming. We had, up to that point, been brewing one beer alone, solely The Substance. There wasn’t too much to actually inspire what we wanted to brew as the second beer, we just knew that we wanted to scale down the Alcohol-By-Volume. Although 6.6%—where The Substance clocks-in ABV-wise—isn’t all that outrageous, especially in today’s day of DIPAs and TIPAs, we were squarely intent on brewing a beer that was lower in ABV and sessionable. A beer for drinking more than just one can. Casting aside any aspirations of an ABV-arms race with our beers that we would brew regularly, a target of 4% ABV seemed the sweet spot.

Enamored, perhaps to a fault, with wanting to use Galaxy to at least some degree, we turned to the sparse, cutthroat, secondary market. Of course, we were a young upstart brewery, years away from getting our hands on any sort of Galaxy in quantity and on contract at the time. But, we ended up purchasing some Galaxy at absurd prices on the spot-market, something approaching $30/pound, nearly double what we pay today for similar hops. Even buying a few overpriced bags of Galaxy, we still couldn’t source enough of the hop for a single 20-bbl turn of the beer on our brewhouse.

So, instead of singularly hopping a beer with Galaxy, we designed a sessionable beer comprised of Galaxy and Ella (also a hop from Australia), a beer that would showcase that distinct Australian hop-profile and character that we loved. That early version of the beer that would ultimately be Baby Genius was damn delicious, but simply not sustainable, not at those Galaxy hop prices. So, as we have done seemingly time and time again, we pivoted.

We discovered Ella, an Australian hop varietal that was bred and marketed as “Galaxy’s half-sister,” somewhat by chance, by piloting single-hop IPAs on our small batch system and experimenting. We found that Ella is uniquely different from Galaxy, for sure, but it has that tried-and-true Australian hop character. We liked it. A lot. An undeniable fruitiness, flirting with coarse anise flavors. A tropical burst on the nose that carries into the taste. (Ella also happens to be the name of a young girl who, and only time may tell, may just solve the world’s problems, she may be the “Baby Genius” after all...and the inspiration for this beers’ name).

Leaving Galaxy out of the mix this time, we balanced the hop profile in the beer by using Citra to round out some of the course edges that Ella presents, without taking anything away from that Australian hop punch. Perhaps even saturating the fruity, intense flavors and aromas in the beer even further. Bright and entirely eclectic, the beer washes over the palate with a citrusy, new world punch.

For the malt bill, it was important for us to brew a beer that had more perceived mouthfeel than the drinker might expect. To brew a beer that would be soft and crushable. To achieve this, we experimented with ratios of flaked versus malted wheat, settling upon nearly a 50-50 split. Critical to this beer, however, is the addition of flaked oats. Sometimes lost in the presence of a bigger beer, flaked oats impart in Baby Genius an airy, chewy, fluffiness that ultimately makes the beer utterly so drinkable. A small percentage of Vienna malt round out the malt bill, adding a touch of hefty toastiness without getting in the way of anything.

When we packaged that first commercial batch of Baby Genius, it was still the early, “dark” days for running a canning line. Hand-canning each beer. Hand-stickering the labels onto each can. Running at a snail’s pace, it proved to be an undertaking that would consume Noah, Pete and Sniff’s, and the new guy, Cam’s (who suffered this exercise on his first day at Bissell Brothers) entire day. A discouraging, laborious, messy and taxing task.

But when it was all said and done, the guys opened up that first can (with several more cans to follow) of Baby Genius., and just like that, their troubles all melted away. Still to this day, when you are holding a glass of Baby Genius, if at least for that moment, there are no problems in your world. Turns out, it’s one smart beer, the “Baby Genius” of our brewery, after all…

--mvs

  Big Small World   If you’ve been drinking better beer for a long enough time now, you’ve most likely heard the phrase: “Drink Local.” That mantra to drink locally, buy local, support local breweries is often criticized in today’s brewing day-and-age. Just because a beer is brewed locally, doesn’t mean it’s inherently a good beer. And, with a few exceptions to the norm, not much about the ingredients in the beer you have in your glass right now is actually all that “local.”  But, it wasn’t always that way. There is an inherent beauty, something fascinatingly romantic, about locality. And historically, there are numerous examples of beer traditions and beer styles that were born out of “local” elements. Take for example, the water in Plzen that gave the world the  Pilsner  (and thank the beer gods for that one).  Lambic  born of the microflora in the Pajottenland region of Belgium (and thank the beer gods for that one). The smoked German malts from Bamberg that gave the world the Rauchbier (and derivatively speaking, thank the beer gods for  Schlenkerla Helles , while we are at it). The locally grown, complex grains and other herbs and spices that fueled the Belgian traditional of brewing Saison. And so on…  But in today’s modern age of brewing, there are very few global boundaries. As a production brewery in Maine, we have access to ingredients sourced from all over the world. Those ingredients will literally show up on a truck to our loading dock in sometimes under 2-days’ time. It’s a small world, after all. And given that that’s the case, there really isn’t inherently any good, rational reason to utilize a “local” ingredient when developing a recipe and brewing a beer. Unless, of course, there is.  When we were beginning to receive our supply of  Maine Malt House  malts in quantity, we were blown away with the consistency in the malting qualities of the 2-Row, Maine-grown malt that was available to us. That Buck Family, Mapleton Pale malt possesses an indescribable quality that adds an element and depth of character that isn’t available in other 2-Row base malts that are accessible to us from really any other supplier around the globe.  We were looking to brew another lower ABV Pale Ale offering on a yearly basis, something that we could drink a few glasses of in one sitting and still be able to go about the rest of the evening. That Maine-grown Mapleton Pale malt from just hours up North of our home in Portland, Maine, in conjunction with the Flaked Oats and Flaked Wheat that  Maine Grains  in Skowhegan is able to offer up to us locally, proved to us to be local ingredients that really tasted different and delicious in a way we couldn’t find if we looked outside of Maine. Maybe it’s actually a big world, here in our home state.  Embracing the duality of the use of all-local ingredients in the malt bill, we decided to embrace the locality of other global regions when it came to hops. If you’ve had hoppy beers before, single-hop beers in particular, you’ll notice that hops grown in different regions have different, well, regional characteristics. German hops are generally known to be clean, spicy, floral. UK hops are known to be earthy and pungent. Australian hops are tropical, juicy, and often cast a hop-haze. American hops are typically brightly dank and piney. New Zealand hops, zingy and citrusy.  Using the contracts and quantities we had available, we selected Galaxy from Australia to provide that tropical citrus, a blast of passionfruit. We selected Hallertau Blanc from Germany to support the aromatic floral characteristics in the beer with a cleaner, rounded nature. We also selected Motueka from New Zealand to add a slight lemon-lime accent to compliment a hop-forward, yet not overly impactful overall profile to be found in our “Transatlantic” Pale Ale.  An example of the hyper-local coming together with the utterly global. Maine. Germany. Australia. New Zealand. It’s a Big Small World.  Yet, you don’t need to necessarily know any of that. When you take a sip of Big Small World, it is truly a local beer in perhaps the  most  literal sense. It is the glass of beer that’s in your hand. I mean, look down at the beautiful foam atop on your beer… Doesn’t get more “localized” than that.  And when you’re drinking Big Small World, you don’t need to know where the malt comes from, or where the hops were sourced, in order to enjoy all that it has to offer. We know it’s a beer we are proud of, and we know it’s a good beer. When you take that second sip, you will know it’s a good beer too. We hope you enjoy it, wherever in the world you might be.  --mvs

Big Small World

If you’ve been drinking better beer for a long enough time now, you’ve most likely heard the phrase: “Drink Local.” That mantra to drink locally, buy local, support local breweries is often criticized in today’s brewing day-and-age. Just because a beer is brewed locally, doesn’t mean it’s inherently a good beer. And, with a few exceptions to the norm, not much about the ingredients in the beer you have in your glass right now is actually all that “local.”

But, it wasn’t always that way. There is an inherent beauty, something fascinatingly romantic, about locality. And historically, there are numerous examples of beer traditions and beer styles that were born out of “local” elements. Take for example, the water in Plzen that gave the world the Pilsner (and thank the beer gods for that one). Lambic born of the microflora in the Pajottenland region of Belgium (and thank the beer gods for that one). The smoked German malts from Bamberg that gave the world the Rauchbier (and derivatively speaking, thank the beer gods for Schlenkerla Helles, while we are at it). The locally grown, complex grains and other herbs and spices that fueled the Belgian traditional of brewing Saison. And so on…

But in today’s modern age of brewing, there are very few global boundaries. As a production brewery in Maine, we have access to ingredients sourced from all over the world. Those ingredients will literally show up on a truck to our loading dock in sometimes under 2-days’ time. It’s a small world, after all. And given that that’s the case, there really isn’t inherently any good, rational reason to utilize a “local” ingredient when developing a recipe and brewing a beer. Unless, of course, there is.

When we were beginning to receive our supply of Maine Malt House malts in quantity, we were blown away with the consistency in the malting qualities of the 2-Row, Maine-grown malt that was available to us. That Buck Family, Mapleton Pale malt possesses an indescribable quality that adds an element and depth of character that isn’t available in other 2-Row base malts that are accessible to us from really any other supplier around the globe.

We were looking to brew another lower ABV Pale Ale offering on a yearly basis, something that we could drink a few glasses of in one sitting and still be able to go about the rest of the evening. That Maine-grown Mapleton Pale malt from just hours up North of our home in Portland, Maine, in conjunction with the Flaked Oats and Flaked Wheat that Maine Grains in Skowhegan is able to offer up to us locally, proved to us to be local ingredients that really tasted different and delicious in a way we couldn’t find if we looked outside of Maine. Maybe it’s actually a big world, here in our home state.

Embracing the duality of the use of all-local ingredients in the malt bill, we decided to embrace the locality of other global regions when it came to hops. If you’ve had hoppy beers before, single-hop beers in particular, you’ll notice that hops grown in different regions have different, well, regional characteristics. German hops are generally known to be clean, spicy, floral. UK hops are known to be earthy and pungent. Australian hops are tropical, juicy, and often cast a hop-haze. American hops are typically brightly dank and piney. New Zealand hops, zingy and citrusy.

Using the contracts and quantities we had available, we selected Galaxy from Australia to provide that tropical citrus, a blast of passionfruit. We selected Hallertau Blanc from Germany to support the aromatic floral characteristics in the beer with a cleaner, rounded nature. We also selected Motueka from New Zealand to add a slight lemon-lime accent to compliment a hop-forward, yet not overly impactful overall profile to be found in our “Transatlantic” Pale Ale.

An example of the hyper-local coming together with the utterly global. Maine. Germany. Australia. New Zealand. It’s a Big Small World.

Yet, you don’t need to necessarily know any of that. When you take a sip of Big Small World, it is truly a local beer in perhaps the most literal sense. It is the glass of beer that’s in your hand. I mean, look down at the beautiful foam atop on your beer… Doesn’t get more “localized” than that.

And when you’re drinking Big Small World, you don’t need to know where the malt comes from, or where the hops were sourced, in order to enjoy all that it has to offer. We know it’s a beer we are proud of, and we know it’s a good beer. When you take that second sip, you will know it’s a good beer too. We hope you enjoy it, wherever in the world you might be.

--mvs

  Here’s to Feeling Good All the Time   It was late one quiet evening in the Old Port at the Thirsty Pig, and Noah was there by himself, wrapping up a shift behind the bar. Working as the bartender and line cook, Noah would occasionally choose to let the dirty glassware build up over the latter course of the night, saving that task instead for that blissful moment when the bar would empty out. In that time of peace after what might have sometimes been a chaotic shift, he’d put on a movie or a tv show, clean the pile of glasses and gaze up at the television in corner of the bar, illuminating in the onset darkness.  Noah had his favorites. Perhaps nothing more-so than the 1990s NBC sitcom,  Seinfeld . Noah had the entire series on DVD, a prized possession that usually lived at the Pig, and he’d often times select a DVD from the boxed-set and turn on an episode. That night, it was the “Sniffing Accountant,” one of the all-time classics from the fifth season. In the episode, Jerry’s accountant is suffering from a case of pronounced “sniffing.” Jerry convinces himself that his accountant is addicted to cocaine, perhaps squandering Jerry’s hard earned money. And so, Kramer, Newman, and Jerry organize a sting to find out and get to the bottom of it all.  Kramer follows the accountant into a bar wearing his sunglasses indoors, orders a mug of beer, and lights up a smoke. In that scene, Kramer nods over to the sniffing accountant, raises his glass and slightly cocks his head, and says a cheer: “Here’s to Feeling Good All the Time.” He proceeds to slug down the beer, cigarette in mouth, submerged in the glass the entire time, and then exhales the drag after finishing the beer.  That night, as that scene was playing, Noah echoed the line back to himself as Kramer downed the beer and exhaled. As Kramer coughed, Noah chuckled. And then he went back to washing glassware.  When Noah and Peter first got the brewery open, it was a tough go to get hop contracts. No hop proved more difficult to secure than Galaxy. And that hop, possibly more than any other, was one that we knew we wanted to brew with. Yet, last summer, after over two years of patience, it was finally coming around to the point where we’d be getting the Galaxy contract coming in. We were all excited to design a big, hoppy beer around this unique, Southern Hemisphere hop.  Galaxy is unmistakable. A hugely aromatic, passionfruit-forward hop variety that is fantastic in singularly hopped IPAs. Although we knew we loved Galaxy on it’s own, we wanted to be able to make the most of the relatively limited supply we could get on contract, and so we would brew a beer that would utilize a blend of hops and not a single hop alone.  In support, we choose Mosaic, a hop with similar notes to Galaxy, but leaning more peachy than passionfruit-forward, and possessing a categorically American dankness. We also choose Simcoe, a hop with a relatively shifting profile based on crop-year and farm, but one that tends to present pine and notes of passionfruit as well. Together, these three hops create a rounded, delicious, but Galaxy-prominent, but not overbearing, soft and aromatic hop profile.  For the grist, we selected Spelt, a grain that we’d not really used in many applications. Where malted wheat is an accent in Reciprocal, and malted rye is an accent in Lux, spelt would serve to accent this beer. Spicier and nuttier than wheat, but not quite as impactful as rye, Spelt would add that top note to a base of Pilsner malt, a subtle but almost imperceptible twist to the malt character in this lower-strength double IPA that we were brew with Galaxy, Mosaic, and Simcoe.  When it came time to name the beer, Noah happened to be re-watching the beloved  Seinfeld  at the time, in fact the “Sniffing Accountant” episode. And as soon as Kramer uttered the salutation, “Here’s to Feeling Good All the Time,” he had the name.  With a name chosen, we turned to a long-time friend of the brewery and fellow Seinfeld superfan, Sam Dunning ( @itsfusilijerry ) to create the label for the can. In a work of artistic genius, Sam designed one of our favorite labels to-date: a mash-up, hybridization of  Where’s Waldo? , of  Seinfeld , and of Bissell Brothers, our collective selves as a brewery. Everytime you look at the artwork on the can, you discover something new and amazing. And everytime you sip this beer, you do exactly the same.   “Well, Here’s to Feeling Good All the Time.”   --mvs

Here’s to Feeling Good All the Time

It was late one quiet evening in the Old Port at the Thirsty Pig, and Noah was there by himself, wrapping up a shift behind the bar. Working as the bartender and line cook, Noah would occasionally choose to let the dirty glassware build up over the latter course of the night, saving that task instead for that blissful moment when the bar would empty out. In that time of peace after what might have sometimes been a chaotic shift, he’d put on a movie or a tv show, clean the pile of glasses and gaze up at the television in corner of the bar, illuminating in the onset darkness.

Noah had his favorites. Perhaps nothing more-so than the 1990s NBC sitcom, Seinfeld. Noah had the entire series on DVD, a prized possession that usually lived at the Pig, and he’d often times select a DVD from the boxed-set and turn on an episode. That night, it was the “Sniffing Accountant,” one of the all-time classics from the fifth season. In the episode, Jerry’s accountant is suffering from a case of pronounced “sniffing.” Jerry convinces himself that his accountant is addicted to cocaine, perhaps squandering Jerry’s hard earned money. And so, Kramer, Newman, and Jerry organize a sting to find out and get to the bottom of it all.

Kramer follows the accountant into a bar wearing his sunglasses indoors, orders a mug of beer, and lights up a smoke. In that scene, Kramer nods over to the sniffing accountant, raises his glass and slightly cocks his head, and says a cheer: “Here’s to Feeling Good All the Time.” He proceeds to slug down the beer, cigarette in mouth, submerged in the glass the entire time, and then exhales the drag after finishing the beer.

That night, as that scene was playing, Noah echoed the line back to himself as Kramer downed the beer and exhaled. As Kramer coughed, Noah chuckled. And then he went back to washing glassware.

When Noah and Peter first got the brewery open, it was a tough go to get hop contracts. No hop proved more difficult to secure than Galaxy. And that hop, possibly more than any other, was one that we knew we wanted to brew with. Yet, last summer, after over two years of patience, it was finally coming around to the point where we’d be getting the Galaxy contract coming in. We were all excited to design a big, hoppy beer around this unique, Southern Hemisphere hop.

Galaxy is unmistakable. A hugely aromatic, passionfruit-forward hop variety that is fantastic in singularly hopped IPAs. Although we knew we loved Galaxy on it’s own, we wanted to be able to make the most of the relatively limited supply we could get on contract, and so we would brew a beer that would utilize a blend of hops and not a single hop alone.

In support, we choose Mosaic, a hop with similar notes to Galaxy, but leaning more peachy than passionfruit-forward, and possessing a categorically American dankness. We also choose Simcoe, a hop with a relatively shifting profile based on crop-year and farm, but one that tends to present pine and notes of passionfruit as well. Together, these three hops create a rounded, delicious, but Galaxy-prominent, but not overbearing, soft and aromatic hop profile.

For the grist, we selected Spelt, a grain that we’d not really used in many applications. Where malted wheat is an accent in Reciprocal, and malted rye is an accent in Lux, spelt would serve to accent this beer. Spicier and nuttier than wheat, but not quite as impactful as rye, Spelt would add that top note to a base of Pilsner malt, a subtle but almost imperceptible twist to the malt character in this lower-strength double IPA that we were brew with Galaxy, Mosaic, and Simcoe.

When it came time to name the beer, Noah happened to be re-watching the beloved Seinfeld at the time, in fact the “Sniffing Accountant” episode. And as soon as Kramer uttered the salutation, “Here’s to Feeling Good All the Time,” he had the name.

With a name chosen, we turned to a long-time friend of the brewery and fellow Seinfeld superfan, Sam Dunning (@itsfusilijerry) to create the label for the can. In a work of artistic genius, Sam designed one of our favorite labels to-date: a mash-up, hybridization of Where’s Waldo?, of Seinfeld, and of Bissell Brothers, our collective selves as a brewery. Everytime you look at the artwork on the can, you discover something new and amazing. And everytime you sip this beer, you do exactly the same.

“Well, Here’s to Feeling Good All the Time.”

--mvs

  Dangol   There is absolutely no denying it, delivering beer is hard, physical work. A ½ bbl keg of beer, the typical size keg you might remember seeing at a college tailgate, weighs just about 160 lbs. Imagine hauling these oddly shaped masses of stainless all around Maine, from our brewery at the Industrial Park, into the back of a van, out of the van, and then finally through a crowded kitchen or a bar. Imagine doing that in the middle of a hot, humid, Maine summer scorcher. It’s hard, hot work. You get thirsty.  It was the first summer we were open in 2014, and our second employee, Josh (affectionately known to most as “Sniff”) was the man usually tasked with this sweaty, relatively thankless exercise that summer. He did the job, and he did it well and with a smile. But he got thirsty. You would too.  That Memorial Day weekend, Sniff was enjoying some much-needed and well-earned time off with friends, a venture down to the beach to relax and share some drinks. Finding himself with a Bud Light Lime in his hand, on an 80 degree, humid afternoon, that beverage was the definition of thirst-quenching. Undeniable refreshment. Sniff would look down at that silver and green can, a flashy-macro gimmick of a beer in most every sense, and he would think to himself in his typical, sardonically honest way, “this is the best drink ever.”  That next Monday, Sniff arrived at the brewery with a 12-pack of “Limes” in hand and introduced the beer to Noah. There was skepticism at first, after all it seems like such a silly, simple beer. But surely, Noah was sensible enough of a “craft” brewer to come to the eventual realization, and accepted the fact, that Bud Light Lime is straight-up delicious and awesome. Noah approached Sniff, mostly in homage to one of the hardest working guys in the industry, and said “I’m going to brew the Bissell Brothers version of this beer for you.”  The first time we brewed the beer that would become “Dangol,” we went down to the homebrew store on Forest Avenue and bought them out of flaked corn. Brewing the beer on our small pilot system, we did the best we could to replicate the true showcase of Lime that is a can of Bud Light Lime. Fermenting the beer with our house yeast at a cold temperature, and then putting the beer through a mini-lagering phase—there were constraints on what we were hoping to do, but we were trying. A slight creative twist that we would add to our beer would be to feature Motueka as the hop, a pungent New Zealand varietal, hoping to enhance the lemony, limey, spritzy character.  Tasting Dangol the first year, we were, frankly, stoked. Light, refreshing, drinkable, full of those flavors we love. Just right for what it is. We celebrated—Sniff brought in his grill and we threw a party at the brewery, with Josh cooking up and serving burgers and with the Dangol flowing. Pure Maine-summer refreshment at its finest. We knew then that this beer would be one that we’d brew every summer, first and foremost for Sniff, but for everyone who worked (and who would come to work) at the brewery. And, of course, also for Maine, itself.  Now in our fifth “Dangol season,” this year’s release represents the full actualization of what we might have hoped to set out to do to recreate Bud Light Lime. The beer still uses Motueka as the showcase hop, and it is still brewed (in part) for Sniff, although he’s since started his own company, Sleek Machine Distribution. He’s still slinging kegs for us (and a few other breweries, from time to time), and he still gets thirsty—this is summertime in Southern Maine, after all.  However, this year we have the time,  most  of the equipment, and the resources to do it right. We are proud to use all Maine grown corn in this year’s recipe, with the grist made up of nearly 20% corn. All that corn isn’t already primed for enzymatic activity in a mash tun, like say a barley malt already is, so we needed to “cereal mash” the corn in our brew kettle, essentially cooking it prior to use. And given the fact that we don’t have the true equipment needed to do this process, that undertaking is a lot of (you guessed it) hard, hot work.  Each 40-barrel batch gets a solid dose of lime, equating to roughly 8 lbs. of zest, all told. We’re talking 900 limes, each one zested by hand, more hard work. An absolute labor of love. We fermented this year’s batch with our lager yeast and then put it to rest at near freezing temperatures for five weeks in one of our horizontal tanks. The result is a beer that is perfect for this Maine summer, perfect for BBQs, perfect for the pool, perfect for drinking by the four-pack. Undeniable refreshment after a day of hard, hot work.  The name is drawn from Noah and Sniff’s time working at The Thirsty Pig, where two regulars (one of whom had a thick Southern accent) would come in almost daily—Dangol Craig and David. So, it was “Dangol this” or “Dangol that” around the brewery, becoming a joke we would ride (in all likelihood) way too hard at the time. And thus, Dangol is our adjunct lager brewed with lime. It’s a beer we brew for summer. It’s a beer we brew for Sniff. It’s a beer we brew for Maine, and it’s a beer we brew because, honestly, we love it. We hope you do too.  --mvs

Dangol

There is absolutely no denying it, delivering beer is hard, physical work. A ½ bbl keg of beer, the typical size keg you might remember seeing at a college tailgate, weighs just about 160 lbs. Imagine hauling these oddly shaped masses of stainless all around Maine, from our brewery at the Industrial Park, into the back of a van, out of the van, and then finally through a crowded kitchen or a bar. Imagine doing that in the middle of a hot, humid, Maine summer scorcher. It’s hard, hot work. You get thirsty.

It was the first summer we were open in 2014, and our second employee, Josh (affectionately known to most as “Sniff”) was the man usually tasked with this sweaty, relatively thankless exercise that summer. He did the job, and he did it well and with a smile. But he got thirsty. You would too.

That Memorial Day weekend, Sniff was enjoying some much-needed and well-earned time off with friends, a venture down to the beach to relax and share some drinks. Finding himself with a Bud Light Lime in his hand, on an 80 degree, humid afternoon, that beverage was the definition of thirst-quenching. Undeniable refreshment. Sniff would look down at that silver and green can, a flashy-macro gimmick of a beer in most every sense, and he would think to himself in his typical, sardonically honest way, “this is the best drink ever.”

That next Monday, Sniff arrived at the brewery with a 12-pack of “Limes” in hand and introduced the beer to Noah. There was skepticism at first, after all it seems like such a silly, simple beer. But surely, Noah was sensible enough of a “craft” brewer to come to the eventual realization, and accepted the fact, that Bud Light Lime is straight-up delicious and awesome. Noah approached Sniff, mostly in homage to one of the hardest working guys in the industry, and said “I’m going to brew the Bissell Brothers version of this beer for you.”

The first time we brewed the beer that would become “Dangol,” we went down to the homebrew store on Forest Avenue and bought them out of flaked corn. Brewing the beer on our small pilot system, we did the best we could to replicate the true showcase of Lime that is a can of Bud Light Lime. Fermenting the beer with our house yeast at a cold temperature, and then putting the beer through a mini-lagering phase—there were constraints on what we were hoping to do, but we were trying. A slight creative twist that we would add to our beer would be to feature Motueka as the hop, a pungent New Zealand varietal, hoping to enhance the lemony, limey, spritzy character.

Tasting Dangol the first year, we were, frankly, stoked. Light, refreshing, drinkable, full of those flavors we love. Just right for what it is. We celebrated—Sniff brought in his grill and we threw a party at the brewery, with Josh cooking up and serving burgers and with the Dangol flowing. Pure Maine-summer refreshment at its finest. We knew then that this beer would be one that we’d brew every summer, first and foremost for Sniff, but for everyone who worked (and who would come to work) at the brewery. And, of course, also for Maine, itself.

Now in our fifth “Dangol season,” this year’s release represents the full actualization of what we might have hoped to set out to do to recreate Bud Light Lime. The beer still uses Motueka as the showcase hop, and it is still brewed (in part) for Sniff, although he’s since started his own company, Sleek Machine Distribution. He’s still slinging kegs for us (and a few other breweries, from time to time), and he still gets thirsty—this is summertime in Southern Maine, after all.

However, this year we have the time, most of the equipment, and the resources to do it right. We are proud to use all Maine grown corn in this year’s recipe, with the grist made up of nearly 20% corn. All that corn isn’t already primed for enzymatic activity in a mash tun, like say a barley malt already is, so we needed to “cereal mash” the corn in our brew kettle, essentially cooking it prior to use. And given the fact that we don’t have the true equipment needed to do this process, that undertaking is a lot of (you guessed it) hard, hot work.

Each 40-barrel batch gets a solid dose of lime, equating to roughly 8 lbs. of zest, all told. We’re talking 900 limes, each one zested by hand, more hard work. An absolute labor of love. We fermented this year’s batch with our lager yeast and then put it to rest at near freezing temperatures for five weeks in one of our horizontal tanks. The result is a beer that is perfect for this Maine summer, perfect for BBQs, perfect for the pool, perfect for drinking by the four-pack. Undeniable refreshment after a day of hard, hot work.

The name is drawn from Noah and Sniff’s time working at The Thirsty Pig, where two regulars (one of whom had a thick Southern accent) would come in almost daily—Dangol Craig and David. So, it was “Dangol this” or “Dangol that” around the brewery, becoming a joke we would ride (in all likelihood) way too hard at the time. And thus, Dangol is our adjunct lager brewed with lime. It’s a beer we brew for summer. It’s a beer we brew for Sniff. It’s a beer we brew for Maine, and it’s a beer we brew because, honestly, we love it. We hope you do too.

--mvs

  Precept   Ron’s Market off of Franklin Avenue in Farmington, Maine isn’t really all that well-known. Hell, you probably have never heard of the small grocery store situated near the University of Maine campus. But when Noah and Geoff were living in the town, roommates and friends, they’d certainly had heard about Ron’s. They actually frequented the market–from what all outside appearances was just a modest establishment–quite often.  But in reality, Ron’s is so much more than the dime-a-dozen, pizza-by-the-slice, tobacco, and snacks store it might appear to be. It’s also one of the best beer stores in Western, Maine, while remaining totally unpretentious. It is a place to get a discounted keg of Natural Light or to pick-up that six-pack of enlightened craft beer. And speaking of enlightenment, that was where Noah went to buy the Prima Pils.   Victory Brewing Company’s Prima Pils –best enjoyed fresh, by the half liter, and with good friends–would serve, in part, as the beer inspiration for our lager program here at Bissell Brothers on the commercial level. It certainly provided inspiration for what would become our Pilsner. The combination of depth in the beer, dryness, with a floral and hoppy character. The sensation of entering a greenhouse, almost humid. A mouthfeel that isn’t full in the traditional sense, but an airy, pillowy roundness to the beer. The definition of refreshment and drinkability.  Drinking beers like Prima Pils, and other classic German beers Noah would discover at Ron’s, beers like Rothaus Pils and Weihenstephaner Pilsner, would inspire him to want to brew a German-style Pilsner of our own. But it was two trips, one trip to drink Prima Pils at the source at Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, the other trip to drink lager in Germany, itself, that would truly get us there. The first trip solidified the fact that Prima is one of our favorite beers, ever, period. And that’s just as true for Noah as it is for most of us working here today. The other trip informed us of the German yeast that we would brew with in our lager program.  Noah and Pete and their father landed in Germany early one morning in February of last year. They drove southwest, outside of Munich to  the Andechs Brewery and Monastery , a journey to visit “The Sacred Hill.” They arrived just around 11:00 am, still early on a grey, dreary Sunday morning, and hiked up towards the picturesque mountaintop Benedictine Abbey. When they stepped into the Bierhall, the place was absolutely jam packed, hundreds of people already there–and every person was drinking lager (the sole exception were those folks there sipping the frothy delight that is Andechs’ Weissbier).  That moment of drinking lagers at Andechs is forever burned into Noah’s head, and why wouldn’t it be. You see, the brothers were there with their father to escape a bit, a respite from the daily grind in Maine. A break from the culmination of life’s occurrences that takes a toll on us all. The Sacred Hill was the first stop of the trip for the trio, the first time that any of them had been in Germany. The flight was long, the journey to that moment in time was simply exhausting, mentally and physically. But that first sip of that Andechs lager was so deeply satisfying and fulfilling. Clean, full, and delicious. Exciting, celestial, every bit awesome and every bit an inspiration.  And after that trip to Germany and the experiences there, Noah knew we wanted to brew with that Andechs lager yeast strain. In part, to try to recreate in a small way his experience sipping lager in Germany. But also in part to brew lagers of that certain disposition that we all wanted to drink. Fermenting with Andechs on the cold side results in a low gravity beer that is not quite as dry in the perception, but imparts an indescribable fullness. A true lager fermentation character. The foundation of a delicious, clean, compelling and drinkable beer.  Precept starts with a solid base of German Pilsner malt, along with a kiss of German Wheat. Although our brewhouse system in Maine is not built for a traditional decoction, the beer undergoes a three-step mash temperature schedule to enhance that Pilsner mouthfeel we love and to ensure a dry, fermentable beer. The beer is hopped generously on the hot-side with Czech Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops, grassy low-alpha acid hops that yield a biting, definitively German Pilsner (as opposed to Czech Pilsner), hoppy character.  We ferment the beer for two weeks in a conical fermenter, much like we would any other beer, albeit at much colder fermentation temperatures suitable for lagers. Perhaps, our one new-school “American” twist is to finish the beer with a delicately light dry-hop of Motueka, a Saaz-derived New Zealand varietal that imparts a zesty crispness and just a slight bit of hop haze. Motueka does not overwhelm, but provides a slight subtle hoppy accent.  We then transfer the beer into a horizontal conditioning tank where it will undergo a long conditioning period at near freezing temperatures, maturing for up to 8 weeks. The beer drops nearly bright, a beautifully bracing yellow color. The 8-week conditioning and lagering period ensures a crispy, succinct finish. A large measure of patience for a beer that is so simple to drink.  Much like the beloved Prima Pils, our German-Style Pilsner, Precept, is best enjoyed fresh, in a large glass, and with good friends. Much like the name of the beer may hope to imply, it is our dictum of Pilsner, and of pure refreshment and drinkability.  --mvs

Precept

Ron’s Market off of Franklin Avenue in Farmington, Maine isn’t really all that well-known. Hell, you probably have never heard of the small grocery store situated near the University of Maine campus. But when Noah and Geoff were living in the town, roommates and friends, they’d certainly had heard about Ron’s. They actually frequented the market–from what all outside appearances was just a modest establishment–quite often.

But in reality, Ron’s is so much more than the dime-a-dozen, pizza-by-the-slice, tobacco, and snacks store it might appear to be. It’s also one of the best beer stores in Western, Maine, while remaining totally unpretentious. It is a place to get a discounted keg of Natural Light or to pick-up that six-pack of enlightened craft beer. And speaking of enlightenment, that was where Noah went to buy the Prima Pils.

Victory Brewing Company’s Prima Pils–best enjoyed fresh, by the half liter, and with good friends–would serve, in part, as the beer inspiration for our lager program here at Bissell Brothers on the commercial level. It certainly provided inspiration for what would become our Pilsner. The combination of depth in the beer, dryness, with a floral and hoppy character. The sensation of entering a greenhouse, almost humid. A mouthfeel that isn’t full in the traditional sense, but an airy, pillowy roundness to the beer. The definition of refreshment and drinkability.

Drinking beers like Prima Pils, and other classic German beers Noah would discover at Ron’s, beers like Rothaus Pils and Weihenstephaner Pilsner, would inspire him to want to brew a German-style Pilsner of our own. But it was two trips, one trip to drink Prima Pils at the source at Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, the other trip to drink lager in Germany, itself, that would truly get us there. The first trip solidified the fact that Prima is one of our favorite beers, ever, period. And that’s just as true for Noah as it is for most of us working here today. The other trip informed us of the German yeast that we would brew with in our lager program.

Noah and Pete and their father landed in Germany early one morning in February of last year. They drove southwest, outside of Munich to the Andechs Brewery and Monastery, a journey to visit “The Sacred Hill.” They arrived just around 11:00 am, still early on a grey, dreary Sunday morning, and hiked up towards the picturesque mountaintop Benedictine Abbey. When they stepped into the Bierhall, the place was absolutely jam packed, hundreds of people already there–and every person was drinking lager (the sole exception were those folks there sipping the frothy delight that is Andechs’ Weissbier).

That moment of drinking lagers at Andechs is forever burned into Noah’s head, and why wouldn’t it be. You see, the brothers were there with their father to escape a bit, a respite from the daily grind in Maine. A break from the culmination of life’s occurrences that takes a toll on us all. The Sacred Hill was the first stop of the trip for the trio, the first time that any of them had been in Germany. The flight was long, the journey to that moment in time was simply exhausting, mentally and physically. But that first sip of that Andechs lager was so deeply satisfying and fulfilling. Clean, full, and delicious. Exciting, celestial, every bit awesome and every bit an inspiration.

And after that trip to Germany and the experiences there, Noah knew we wanted to brew with that Andechs lager yeast strain. In part, to try to recreate in a small way his experience sipping lager in Germany. But also in part to brew lagers of that certain disposition that we all wanted to drink. Fermenting with Andechs on the cold side results in a low gravity beer that is not quite as dry in the perception, but imparts an indescribable fullness. A true lager fermentation character. The foundation of a delicious, clean, compelling and drinkable beer.

Precept starts with a solid base of German Pilsner malt, along with a kiss of German Wheat. Although our brewhouse system in Maine is not built for a traditional decoction, the beer undergoes a three-step mash temperature schedule to enhance that Pilsner mouthfeel we love and to ensure a dry, fermentable beer. The beer is hopped generously on the hot-side with Czech Saaz and Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops, grassy low-alpha acid hops that yield a biting, definitively German Pilsner (as opposed to Czech Pilsner), hoppy character.

We ferment the beer for two weeks in a conical fermenter, much like we would any other beer, albeit at much colder fermentation temperatures suitable for lagers. Perhaps, our one new-school “American” twist is to finish the beer with a delicately light dry-hop of Motueka, a Saaz-derived New Zealand varietal that imparts a zesty crispness and just a slight bit of hop haze. Motueka does not overwhelm, but provides a slight subtle hoppy accent.

We then transfer the beer into a horizontal conditioning tank where it will undergo a long conditioning period at near freezing temperatures, maturing for up to 8 weeks. The beer drops nearly bright, a beautifully bracing yellow color. The 8-week conditioning and lagering period ensures a crispy, succinct finish. A large measure of patience for a beer that is so simple to drink.

Much like the beloved Prima Pils, our German-Style Pilsner, Precept, is best enjoyed fresh, in a large glass, and with good friends. Much like the name of the beer may hope to imply, it is our dictum of Pilsner, and of pure refreshment and drinkability.

--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

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.