Search This Blog

Monday, August 22, 2011

Have baby, will travel!

I suppose I should have saved this title for later in September seeing we will be headed to Vermont but I just decided to go with it. This week Porter and I packed up the Little Buttercup (LBC) and headed over the bridge to Novare Res. They had a beer on that I wanted to try to we hit it up Thursday afternoon. Oxbow brewing is a new brewery out of New Castle, Maine. I had heard about it from the BBQ (Beer Belly BBQ) and was intrigued. The offering was a Farmhouse Pale. I was hoping for a bit of funk mixed in with some delicious pale brew. What I got was a pretty standard pale. It left me wanting more. I enjoyed it and would have it again but I just missed that funky-ness that the word Farmhouse evokes to me. I did notice that as it warmed a bit there were some more flavor notes that added depth to the beer. Out of 5 both Porter and I gave it a 3.5. Porter ordered a Victory Hop Devil. This is a beer I had had before but was somehow surprised by just how complex it tasted to me this time. Perhaps my pallet has matured so I can taste past the hops and taste the slightly sweet almost malty flavor. We both gave this beer a 4. LBC was drinking milk out of her glass bottle so we all cheersed and enjoyed our time. Novare is always a great place to head to.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Baby, Beer & BBQ

I have been missing! A lot has changed in my life over the past year. The last post I wrote was for my husband’s birthday. After that point I jumped head first into preparing for a job that didn't pan out followed quickly by getting pregnant. At this point I figured a beer blog was kind of useless to write. To be honest my original thought was to live through Porter and just post about his adventures but.... I got major sick for 5 months. Being pregnant just wasn't my thing. (Being a mom is! It has been wonderful ever since she vacated my body.) Both beers and bbq made me feel quite ill. I never drank beer but the smell of it was just nasty. Every time Porter would drink a beer I felt like it smelled like a run down dirty cheap beer drenched bar. BBQ made me feel ill just by saying the words. Anything related to it was cause to be ill. Looking back now it is quite humorous. There is a country song that says "Drink a little drink, smoke a little smoke" anytime the song came on I had to change the channel quickly so I wouldn't hear that line cause smoke was too closely related to bbq's. Everything changed as soon as our little buttercup was born. All of a sudden I could say bbq and I was ready for my first beer. (As a side note I am nursing but 1. It is recommended to have a beer a day while feeding and 2. if you have more than one you can work around it) My first beer was Baby Tree by Pretty Things. (I thought it was appropriate.) In the past two months our little girls has become quite the traveler. We have gone to New Hampshire (to Portsmouth Brewing for beer), we have gone to Massachusetts (to the Ale House and Red Stone for beer), we have gone to Novare Res (for a meet the baby outing which happened to coincide with Smuttfest) and we are planning a trip to Vermont for my birthday to visit a few breweries over there. My plan for my daughter is to have her visit all of New England before she turns 1. We will be doing things in each state that are appropriate for someone her age but if there happens to be good beer there at the same time who can blame us for checking it out?
The major kick off for the re-opening for this blog was the 1st annual Southern Maine Beer Drinkers Club (SMBDC) camping meeting, a little thing I refer to as Camp Beer. For those not in the know, SMBDC is a group that gets together once a month to try beers based on a theme. This month’s theme was canned beer. There were a few violations to the theme but total we tried 47 different beers between Saturday night and Sunday morning. We also had a smoker there. We got wood for it (wood is very hard to find I have discovered after a lot of looking and only a little finding) at Beer Belly BBQ in Freeport (they have a facebook page; they also have a selection of craft beers that include a few pleasant surprises). In the near future I will put up my "recipe" for smoked nuts. They were so tasty. For more information on SMBDC (we are always looking for new members) check out the forum on Beer Advocate. Search for "SMBDC"
P.S. I promise the next post will be a bunch shorter.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hoppy Birthday Porter!

Last Tuesday I went back in for surgery and had the left foot worked on. I am half way done at this point! Only 4 more months. So what are my plans a week and a half after major foot surgery? I am going camping with Porter and a bunch of our friends for his 30th birthday. Yeah the doctor didn't think it was that great of a plan either. Porter's birthday theme is beer. Imagine, huh? Before surgery I put together some sausage patties using some different beer reductions. For a breakfast sausage I used a mix of Bar Harbor Blueberry and Rouge Mocha Porter. For a dinner sausage I used Allagash White. We brewed a special beer just for Porter's birthday and we call it B to the (3-0). It stands for a Belgian triple with some number play to show that he is 30. I know it's pretty cheesy but I can't help it. Well the house is a buzz with Porter trying to pack and I feel like I should at least give a supporting role in this project. I will let you all know about the wonderful beers we try this weekend.

Happy Birthday Porter. I love you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Long Time Gone

A brief catch up: Beer vacation didn't happen due to lack of funds. I got a job that starts in August so now hopefully beer vacation will happen before the end of summer. I have been to two Southern Maine Beer Drinkers meetings. I got to talk to the brewer of the new Baxter Brewing. I have given up the crutches for the right foot but I am headed back into surgery tomorrow. I have had some really great beer and have plans for an additional page for this blog to put my ratings on. And finally what brought me back to blogging: A Friday night out at 3 Dollar Deweys.
Last Friday, Porter and I went to 3 Dollars for a tasting of the new to us St. John's Brewers' offerings. I say new to us because Shipyard has been brewing the Virgin Island beers and sending them out for years. Due to Maine distribution laws and such it took the brewers five years to decide to let us give it a try. But, now that it is here, it is a decent choice for summer time. Porter had the IPA and thought it was a solid one. Nothing too special or surprising, the hops don't give you that dryness in the back of your mouth but it was a good example of an entry level IPA. Their Tropical Mango scores a C- on but I thought it was much better than that. The first half of my first pint was a little plain. By the time I got into the second half I was hooked. I think it would be perfect for a hot day say sitting on St. Johns or perhaps at the lake here in Maine. After I had a chance to taste the beer I got to meet the brewers. They went to school in Vermont and are pretty cool. If you are ever down on St John's be sure to stop by and say hi. After meeting them I met Alan Pugsley.
After leaving 3 Dollar Deweys, we went up to Local Sprouts. I was so impressed by the place. The food was great, the beer selection is small but decent, the ambiance is nice. Porter and I went back Sunday morning for breakfast and while it was a whole lot less busy it was still going steady and the breakfast sandwiches were delicious. I recommend that you try it. Also give St. John Brewers a try too. Don't give up on it too quickly, sit relax and let it wash over you, then decide what you think.
Time to get some stuff done before my left foot gets all casted up.
Don't forget to try something new, you might just like it!
Katy Too

Friday, April 23, 2010


Beer is many things to different people. Last night while sitting around a camp fire I was talking about this with one of my friends. She said, “Beer is a vacation.” As vacations go beer is a relatively cheap one and you can go for the night or longer anytime of the year. For me my view of beer has changed throughout the years. In college beer was a cheap way to get drunk, not a very tasty way but pretty cheap none the less. Later on in college I would have one beer at the end of the night to offset all those juicy girly drinks I had consumed. When I met my husband beer was a drink I ordered on our first date because he did. We sat and talked for a couple of hours about sports, life and accounting. (We were both accounting interns.) It took me the whole two hours to drink the tall beer I had ordered but I didn’t mind. I have used beer as an escape before but try to not resort to it too often. I have used beer as a conversation starter. “Oh that looks good. I think I will try one too. Have you tried…?” I have used beer as a bit of a security blanket, one beer to hold on to all night so you don’t look too un-cool because you have to be the DD. Now beer is something totally different. Beer is a passion of mine.

I love beer. If you say this to some people they assume that you are an alcoholic and need help but that isn’t it at all. I love learning about beer. I love cooking with beer. I love making beer. Yes, I do love tasting beer. But what makes it all worthwhile is the fact that I get to go through all of this with my best friend. (Cheesy I know.) No matter what is going on in our lives we can stop and talk about something new we read about beer and we reconnect. We are currently planning a whole road trip around beer. While we haven't completely decided all the stops we will be making so far this is what we have. We will be departing Portland and heading to Dogfish Head in Delaware. Next we will head up to Flying Dog in Maryland. We are then going to go to Ommegang in New York and finish off in Vermont at Long Trail and Harpoon. We plan on sleeping in a couple hotels and a couple of camp grounds. We will also be stopping in at the Baseball Hall of Fame. At the end of summer we are planning on a Maine and northern Vermont or Montréal trip. Growing up my dad took us to Disneyworld over and over again. He loved Disney. I eventually got to see Paris and California too thanks to Mr. Disney. Beer is my Disney. (Ok Disney is my Disney too. I will always have a special place in my heart for Disney because of all those family trips.) What I mean is that because of beer I can go and see all different kinds of places. I know that I could just go to these places without tying it to beer but I love adventures and planning (I think it is the Virgo in me) and beer helps me with that.

Porter says I have gotten all philosophical (I think the word he actually used was retrospective) because I haven't been able to move around that much. It’s true. I haven’t been able to experience a lot of new things lately so I have gone into my head a bit and started thinking about more and more things. It is nice though to have something to use the internet for other than gaming. (I have been addicted to escape games lately. Do you think there is a connection between not being able to move around a lot and escape games?) With beer I have something to research, a community to be part of. I know lately I haven’t had a lot to say but it has been a nice source of entertainment. So I guess for me, Beer is a catalyst, a catalyst for many things. What is beer to you?

Monday, March 22, 2010

A tale of two towns


For all of you who live here in Maine, I am sure if I say Naples to you, you may think, “Oh that is such a nice place to visit during the summer.” Or perhaps, “I drive through there all the time when I head up to the mountains.” One thing I bet you don’t think is, “I love stopping through there any time of the year.” Well I am here to tell you that perhaps you should. A couple of weeks ago right in the middle of Lion’s Pride Belgian Festival (I will get back to that in the second half of this post) Porter and I went up to Shawnee Peak. It was a rather nice day and Porter really wanted to snowboard. I hauled my cast covered foot up many, many stairs and sat in the bar while he was out. I was able to do some studying and a bunch of people watching so it was pretty easy to keep my mind off the fact that I wasn’t able to board myself. Once Porter was done we headed back towards home but had two places we knew we just had to stop at. The first is a place called Heroes. The owner, Mike, is one of my readers and knew just how much I love Portland Pie Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Shortly after I posted my write up on them he messaged me on facebook and told me I had to try his. He was right. It was very tasty. It definitely gives Portland Pie a run for their money. Heroes’ version is quite mild and all the flavors are balanced. The crust is amazing! They put some garlic deliciousness on it that adds something really amazing. The thickness is perfect too. For people who may have been afraid to try buffalo chicken pizzas because of the heat should try this one. I put a little extra hot sauce on mine and it was perfect. While we were waiting for our pizza Mike came over to our table and told us all about his business. Things haven’t been all that easy for him because winters are slow (go, have wonderful pizza and support a great business!) Mike also donates a lot to various things in the area. His children are big into sports and he is a big supporter. I know that if you stop by you will first want to go back for the pizza but you will then want to go back for the conversation. (Heroes Pizzeria, Route 302 Naples, where the batting cages used to be.)

After leaving Heroes, Porter and I went down the road to Bray’s Brew Pub. Bray’s has a great beer garden that I have visited in the past. Seeing it was winter we didn’t venture out there but we will be going back once the weather gets a bit nicer. (They allow dogs in the beer garden.) Bray’s is in an old house. Once inside you can’t really tell until you go to some of the dining rooms. They are each in different rooms of the house. The bar and main dining area are in an open area. We were there just for beer so we cozied up to the bar. They have a number of their own brews and had a Sheepscott on draft as well. Porter and I had just started our second when Mike came in. He ordered a Bud (Mike you have got to give some of Bray’s a chance, they are very tasty!) and we continued talking like we were old friends. This time we talked about education reform. Attention Maine Education: Talk to this man he has some great ideas. Once we finished our second beers we left for home. The next time we go through Naples, which will be sooner rather than later, we will be stopping at both Bray’s and Heroes. They are both well priced and delicious.


As I was saying earlier, Lion’s Pride was having their Belgian Beer Festival two weeks ago. In addition to the kick off that Porter and I went to, we also went to two additional evenings. On Tuesday night, Allagash Brewing was there. Jason, the head brewer, brought in some of the Cool Ship beer for us to try. It was very yummy. Jason and Naomi, (another Allagash employee) were both so friendly and talked to us about some of their processes. I asked about their greenness and I was very impressed by the answers I received. They recycle, compost (employee food scraps), upcycle. SO much. It is great to see companies who really care about the environment. In addition to the Cool Ship there were a number of other Allagash beers on tap that we tried. It was a great evening.

We also went on Thursday. Thursday the owner returned from Belgium and had brought back some gifts for some of his friends. He brought me a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin. Each person got such different types that we all decided to share them right then and there. Porter and I got to try some very delicious beers that night. Thank you Chris and thank you everyone for sharing. I am sure I have said this before but for all beer lovers you need to check out Lion’s Pride.

Let me start a checklist for all of you:

Go to Naples.

Eat pizza at Heroes.

Drink beer at Bray’s.

Go to Brunswick.

Drink beer at Lion’s Pride.

Don’t be afraid to try something new. You just might like it.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Things I am thinking and things I have thought

It is amazing to me just how much I have learned in such a small amount of time. (I know I still have SOOOO much more to learn.) I have learned a lot about Belgian beers lately, about lambics and guezes and instantaneous fermentation and so much more. Upon entering a beer store I feel like I have a slight idea what I am looking at. My biggest teachers in this piece of my journey have been Chris, the owner of both Ebenezer’s and Lion’s Pride, Leigh and Ryan, some of the lovely bar tenders at Lion’s Pride and my fellow blogger Jim Flanagan. Porter has also been a huge help. We have gone through this adventure together and his love of research has really helped me out. (I am impulsive while he likes to take his time to look things up.)

Speaking of Porter I must admit to you all that this blog and what it stands for has brought us closer together. I have heard people talk about taking classes together and how it strengthens your bond. Porter and I aren’t traditionalists so we are finding our own “classrooms” to help teach us beer. I highly recommend to all of you that you and your partner find something you both like and really learn more about it together. I was looking through my camera the other night and got that warm fuzzy feeling thinking about all of the good times we have had so far and how many more we have already planned.

Another person I care a good deal for has a website that helps with finding good bar deals in Boston. The website, is moving into the Portland area mighty soon and I suggest you all jump on the wagon now so you can say you were in the know before anyone else.

It seems that there is so much I want to tell you all then I get on here and get so excited I forget nearly everything. Let’s see…..oh I need to tell you about the Belgian Beer Fest at Lion’s Pride. We are currently in the middle. It lasts for 9 days, Friday through Saturday. When Porter and I saw the schedule we had to decide which events we wanted to go to the most as everyday was sure to bring something new and wonderful. There were three days we knew that we HAD to go to: the first night, Allagash night and the night Chris came back from Belgium with special little goodies. We figured three trips to Brunswick were probably enough. Allagash night and Chris night have not occurred yet but the first night has and it was awesome. We tried so many wonderful things. We even got to try Kabert. It is this really rare beer that was made from a combination of Kate the Great (remember her?) and Black Albert (a special beer brewed especially for Eb’s). This is what I wrote in my handy little note book:

“Some people are strong and powerful on their own but become much better when the right person comes into their lives.”

Ok, cheese fest I know but I was feeling in a very loving, romantic mood.

Porter and I decided that we would only give point values to the beers we tried so that we could also enjoy that atmosphere and not get lost in our beers. I think I should get tape recorder because I talk about my beers as I try them but taking the time to write everything down sometimes ruins the flow of an evening. Here they are: (all out of 5)

Katy:                                                       Porter:

‘t Smisje Kerst              3.5                      La Rulles Triple                 4

Cantillon Lou Pepe       4                         St. Bernardus Abt 12         4
07 Kriek

DeGlazen Torren          3.5                     ‘t Smisje Plus                     3.5
Jan de Litche                                            Double IPA

BFM Bon-Chien          3.5

The BFM beer has quite a funny tale. Based on my little French knowledge I see chien and think dog but somehow it translates to something to do with a good cat. (I can’t remember exactly.)

I have a couple of final thoughts and I think the best way to address these are bulleted as they don’t really have anything to do with much except that they are important to me:

• Porter and I went to Novare Res and had a few very delicious beers. I enjoyed a vanilla bean stout by Maine Beer Company. It was poured out of a trash can. I had called to see if they had it but they said they were out but within 20 mins they called me and told me the MBC guys had just rolled in some more. (Thanks for the call back guys!) I also tried a Brooklyn Brewmasters Cookie Jar. OMG you guys. It was crazy good. (Please excuse my teenage outburst but it was that good!) It tasted like a spicy oatmeal raisin cookie made with apple sauce. The very nice lady sitting next to me helped me figure out some of the aromas I was smelling. (Thank you.) Our bartender, Shahin was great. He even put up with some of my over top trading requests. I am now officially a HUGE fan of Novare.

• I have been in contact with the Three Guys Brewing guys. I hope to have their story for you in the near future. I am really starting to love knowing the back story of all the beers I am drinking. I have yet to try any Three Guys beers but I am one of their facebook friends and quite intrigued.

• And finally: I need to better with my reviews. I need to put them on more often but I love the free-flowing-ness that I can write in and reviews are soooo much more structured. Perhaps I have to fix that. I need to come up with a system that works well for me so I can use this as a resource. I will work on it and get back to you.

Don’t forget to try something new, you might just like it!

Katy Too