Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, Nothing Gold, Portland, ME
8.2% abv. Brewed with citra, amarillo, and equinox hops. This is the hoppiest beer made by Bissell Bros. Pours an opaque dirty orange color. Citrus aroma bursts out of the can with an amazing combination of pink grapefruit and sweet clementine notes. I really love the smell of this beer. Touches of caramel apple and oat flakes on the nose as well. First sip is grapefruit rind, spruce tips, and fresh cut grass with the slightest touch of peppery alcohol. I love the medium-to-full body mouthfeel on this one. Ridiculously drinkable and satisfying and the 8.2% abv in a 16oz can is downright dangerous in all the best ways. I have never tried Swish, but it blows my mind to think that it could be better than this beer. I am hoping that Bissell Bros. is still going strong when I retire to Maine in about 25 years!
Banded Horn Brewing Company, Daikaiju Double IPA, Biddeford, ME
8.7% abv. Can dated For Little Z, 3/9/17. Pours a semi-opaque gold with a thin white head. Pineapple, mango, papaya, and a touch of grapefruit on the nose. First sip is a great mix of tropical fruit, white pepper, and herbs.Medium bodied, yet thirst quenching. You would never, ever imagine that this beer has a high abv. Some mild warming of the belly toward the end, but super drinkable. Mango, orange zest, andoverripe cantaloupe at finish.Some dry cracker and fresh french bread maltiness, but mostly all hops. This beer is a monster and it just might be the most dangerous double IPA I have ever tasted. Kudos to the folks at Banded Horn. I am looking forward to stopping by the brewery this summer.
Banded Horn Brewing Company, Vertumnus Ale, Biddeford, ME
Ironically I am trying this beer, named after the god of seasons and change, a few days before we receive over a foot of snow in mid-March!
6% abv. Dry hopped ale aged on oak with brettanomyces yeast. This beer starts with their Veridian IPA. Pours a rich orange-gold color with a fluffy white head. Spiced apples, cloves, and banana bread aroma. First sip is both fruity and spicy. Mix of dried mango and papaya with white peppercorn and cloves and the slightest note of vanilla. Very drinkable, but dry at finish, perhaps from the oak. Tropical fruit flavors linger on the gums and tips of the tongue after sharp hop and spice bite. Hops become more dominant as you move through the beer. Refreshing and very flavorful. Another solid and enjoyable offering from Banded Horn.
Banded Horn Brewing Company, The Jolly Woodsman, Biddeford, ME
7.5% abv. 16oz tall boy can. A special blend of two of the breweries stouts, Norweald and Mountain. Steeped with Kenyan espresso from Speckled Ax.Pours jet black with a thin tan head. Rich espresso bean aroma jumps out of the can. Super thick, chewy, and viscous mouthfeel with absolutely no alcohol presence. Bittersweet dark chocolate, fresh roasted nuts, chocolate milk, and espresso flavors dominate, but there is a subtle citrus undertone that helps balance it off nicely. This goes high up on my list of dessert beers. Excessively drinkable even thought it is full bodied. Some mild astringency at the finish due to the heavy malt billing. Damn this is a delicious beer. Cocoa nibs and floral and bright citrus hop flavors combine at finish in the most interesting way. I love this one. I could not help but include the Pete Seeger book I am currently reading in the picture. The similarities in the color palate of the beer can and the book are pretty remarkable.
Bissell Brothers Brewing Company, Substance, Portland, ME
6.6% abv. At Empire Chinese Kitchen in Portland, ME. I tried this just before I headed to the brewery to pick up two 4-packs of it and some Lux Rye Ale (which is amazing – review forthcoming). Pours murky goldish-orange with a huge white head. Citrusy and flowery aroma. Grapefruit, pine, and maybe a flowery hibiscus flavor. Super smooth and drinkable. This is pretty well balanced, with a light caramel malt finish.I am surprised that the hop flavors don’t linger too long. Some orange zest, ripe mango, and apricot as well. Wonderful mouthfeel.These guys know what they are doing. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of their beers.