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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Getting Educated!

As this is a journey into the world of beer I decided to go to a Beer EDU class given at the Lion’s Pride in Brunswick. When Porter and I arrived there were only two tables of people and us. Shortly after our arrival the bar filled up with fellow Beer EDU students. I took up two stools, one for me and one for my foot. Sitting next to my foot was Jim, a fellow blogger. Jim told me that he had been blogging for over two years. Before the class could get started Chris, the owner of both the Lion’s Pride and Eb’s, showed up and started talking to Jim, Porter and I about the upcoming Belgian beerfest. (It's from March 5 to the 13th at the Lion's Pride) He then told us about his planned trip to Belgium and some very exciting news. We were sworn to secrecy so I can’t let you in just yet. During this time class had gotten started and I was having a hard time trying to put what I was tasting into words and holding a discussion at the same time. I devised a plan. I would use this opportunity as an even bigger learning experience. With Jim sitting right beside me taking notes on everything he was tasting, which was exactly the same as what I was tasting, I would go check out his blog and see how he reviewed them. Next Monday we will both be at the Kate the Great day launch. For Kate I will do a review and look to see how mine compares to Jim's. I asked him what he thought of my plan and he said it would be cool. So I would love for you all to learn with me. Check out his blog and his reviews. Next week we can see how much I have picked up. I enjoyed myself immensely sitting there trying my beer and taking everything in. The lineup was filled with Belgians, as they were preparing for the beerfest. Ryan, one of the bartenders, had so much information. It was crazy. He just kept telling us all of this great information about the breweries. I will definitely be going back for another Beer EDU class soon.
As Porter said it was one of the best classes he ever has taken. He thought perhaps USM should start giving samples of beer throughout class. I think class would be a lot more fun that way.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beer Buzz

The buzz around the beer world right now is about being diplomatic in our reviews and our interactions with others, not being harsh. We are being told to remember that beer is subjective not objective. There are specific terms in the BJCP guidelines (I don’t really know what those are but I will be sure to look into them) which are supposedly there to help review beers against each other. I want to remind you, my dear readers, that as I stated in my first blog my reviews are only based on what I like in beer. I find my tastes changing as we go, so a beer I reviewed in the beginning I could review completely different later on. Think of my reviews as something for entertainment purposes only. If you try something I tried and like it, great; if you try something I try and don’t, even better. Leave a comment to let others know what you think of it, just try not to be too harsh. Remember these beers are works of love for someone. Just like this blog and every other blog is a work of love. If you want to learn more be sure to check out my fellow bloggers posts. So with all of this said: On with the reviews!

For your consideration:
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Remember, don't be afraid to try something new. You might just like it.

Katy Too

Cantillon Gueze #44

Belgian Lambic

Cantillon Brewery

Appearance: Golden apple juice color and bubbly!

Aroma: Mix of Hard Cider and Apple Juice

Taste: Sour, crisp and light.

Mouth feel: Light and airy.

Overall: Not a style we try a lot. We had it with sweet chicken wings and it made it mouth pucker sour.


Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Appearance: It kind of looked like Pepsi. It had a brown bubbly head.

Aroma: Light smell, a slight chocolate aroma.

Taste: At first it has a dark heavy porter/ stout taste followed by a light alcohol taste.

Mouth feel: Just moderate.

Overall: Quite tasty.


I only had a small taste of this beer so I don’t have a full review but I wanted to comment on it. It was extremely dark, no light could get through. It had a light sour fruit smell to it. As for the taste: It was VERY sweet. You could taste the alcohol and a warm coco taste. It would be hard for me have a full pour of it. I think a small tasting would be nice for dessert.

Kasteel Cuvee

Cateau 10 yrs oak aged

Appearance: Dark but the light still can come through. Quite a thick head.

Aroma: (Note: It was hard to smell this as a strong perfume entered the room and kind of took over for a while.) What I could make out was a sweetness.

Taste: I could taste the alcohol in this one. There was a slight coffee taste and the oak rounds it out nicely without over powering it. There was also a very slight fruit taste at the end.

Mouth feel: Light to moderate.

Overall: Tasty.

Bier Du Boucanier Dark

Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Bier du Boucanier

Appearance: Cola shade of dark brown and bubbly.

Aroma: Chocolate and toffee (Nice start huh?)

Taste: Quite sweet up front. Slight alcohol at the end.

Mouth feel: It’s on the moderate side of light.

Overall: A nice dessert beer.

Orval Trappist Ale # 26

Belgian Pale Ale

Orval Trappist

Appearance: Dark golden color. Minimal head.

Aroma: Intense musty fruit smell with a slight floral aroma.

Taste: Light and airy up front followed by a moderate hop flavor that sticks with you slightly.

Mouth feel: Very light.

Overall: It made Porter want to taste the rest of the Trappist beers!

Shipyard Old Thumper

Strong Bitter

Shipyard Brewing Company

Appearance: Golden sun kissed brown. No real bubbles and a thin head.

Aroma: A light bright smell.

Taste: Citrus with a slight sweet hint up front with hoppiness at the back. The hop taste sticks with you. There was minimal carbonation.

Mouth feel: Moderate

Overall: It was quite smooth.

St. Bernardus Pater 6


St. Bernardus

Appearance: Cloudy chocolate brown.

Aroma: It has a fruity limbic smell.

Taste: Porter described it that the dubbel of it brought a candyish flavor while there was a trappist funkyness to it. There was some coffee tones and it was quite smooth.

Mouth feel: Light

Overall: Porter is a huge fan.

Rogue Chocolate Stout

American Stout

Rouge Ales

Appearance: Jet Black!

Aroma: It smells just like a tootsie roll.

Taste: Up front it tastes like a tootsie roll in the back it tastes like burnt coffee. No carbonation.

Mouth feel: Light side of moderate.

Overall: At the time I thought it was probably a 3 but thinking again I am thinking a bit higher. This beer was part of a chocolate pairing. The chocolate took out all of the chocolate in the beer and just let you taste the coffee flavor. (Not the best pairing)

Marshall Warf Sexy Chaos

Russian Imperial Stout

Marshall Warf Brewing Company

Appearance: Jet black with no head.

Aroma: Light earthy smell.

Taste: Black currant and coffee taste. There is a hit of alcohol.

Mouth feel: Light.

Overall: It made me intrigued to taste more from Marshall Warf. I foresee a trip to Belfast in the near future. When it was paired with chocolate it takes the entire flavor out of it except the alcohol.

And a word from Pnut and Amber

While this is not an official review Pnut and Amber raved about the beers they were trying so I thought I would add their thoughts. Pnut had Smuttynose Old Brown Dog. He thought it had a good taste and was his standby beer. It is well priced and out of a 5 he gave it a 3.5. Amber had a Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. She thought it was creamy and smooth with a heavy chocolate flavor. Out of 5 she gave it a 5. I will have to give it another try. (I had it out of a can before but Amber assured me that out of the tap it was much better.)

End of the night beers.......

At the end of our evening there were five beers we tried but I feel like our reviews are not up to par. (Taste buds fried?) The below list is the beers and their overall score we gave them. We will come back to each again to re-review.

Duvell 3.5

Maine Beer Company Spring Peeper 2.5

Negra Modelo 3

Samuel Adams Noble Pils 3

Dogfish IPA (The last one we tried. We didn’t even give it a number. Maybe that was one too many.)

High & Might Beer Co. Two Headed Beast

American Stout

High and Mighty Beer Co.

Appearance: Black!

Aroma: Somewhere between coco powder and tootsie rolls.

Taste: Thick and rich. Chocolate up front with a burnt coffee taste in the back.

Mouth feel: Moderate

Overall: Not as chocolatey as I was hoping but the complexity of the burnt coffee adds some depth to it.

Samuel Smith Organic Strawberry Fruit Ale

Samuel Smith

Appearance: Golden and cloudy with a slightly rosey pink hint to it.

Aroma: Straight up ripe berries.

Taste: Sweet berries. Quite bubbly.

Mouth feel: On the lighter side.

Overall: This is one of those beers where I have been able to see that my tastes are changing. When I first had this beer I love, love, loved it now I think it is alright.

Beer Cocktail: Chocolate covered Strawberries

Made with Sam Smith Strawberry and High & Mighty Two Headed Beast

Appearance: Dark brown

Aroma: Light strawberry goodness.

Taste: Keeps the richness of the stout while it mellows the strawberry flavor.

Mouth feel: Light

Overall: Pretty awesome Valentine’s Day gift Porter. You are amazing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Number of Short Stories:

This post seems to be a long time coming. I was planning on writing at the end of last weekend, but I had multiple things that I wanted to add to this post. I was hoping that I would go into surgery and that I would come out being able to type and get them online shortly after. Needless to say, surgery was much harder than I expected. Between Monday and now, I have felt all kinds of horrible. So much so that I am dictating this post to Porter so that it comes off as at least somewhat coherent.

So on to the short stories:

No Boogiemen Here

Most basements you go into are dark and scary and make strange noises. Ebenezer’s basement is more like a beer geek’s heaven. Chris (The owner) showed Porter and I, another couple, and what seemed to be a groupie his wonderful basement. He showed us beer specifically made for Princess Dianna and Prince Charles. We saw on bottle that cost over $1,800. There were numerous other rare and expensive bottles as well. Some aged over twenty years. After Chris showed us all of his treasures, he spent twenty minutes talking about his passion. If Porter and I hadn’t already loved beer, Chris would have made sure we did.

The Not-So Scary Cellar

From the first time I went to Novare Res I’ve called it the cave. In not so recent times, my taste in beer was minimal. I considered Novare Res as a place with a very nice porch, expensive beer, and hot , dark setting for their actual bar. I didn’t understand it. I Saturday some people convinced me to give it another try( I’m a sucker for chocolate pairings). Porter and I met up with Porter’s brother Peanut and Peanut’s girlfriend Amber. We had an easy time ordering despite the fact there was not an empty seat to be had. With my new appreciation for beer I truly enjoyed myself. While I’m still slightly scared of their frequent tasting program(Once you’ve drank a certain number of beers you get a key to open a locked room where they keep your chalice), I’m excited to go back again.

A Ride on the Eastern Wave

Okay, I know it’s a cheesy title, but remember I am on pain medicine. After hitting up Novare Res, Penaut, Amber, Porter and I walked down to Ri Ra’s Irish Pub to listen to local Reggae band East Wave Radio. I had never heard them played before, but Peanut and Porter spoke highly of them, so I was expecting some good times and I wasn’t disappointed. Being a chain, Ri Ra’s isn’t a place I would normally go, but EWR made it a great venue to spend my last night out on two feet. We were pleasantly surprised to find some local brews and a few nice regional craft beers as well. We have already planned on going to see East Wave Radio again (If you haven’t already heard them play, I recommend you do). We will also be keeping an eye out for upcoming bands playing at Ri-Ra’s.

(P.S.: To Brian from Nappi Distributors my email address is

And our final story: Valentines Fishes and Chocolate Kisses

I wanted to make a wonderful dinner for Porter for Valentine’s Day especially considering I would not be able to cook anything for quite some time. I borrowed a couple recipes from the Homebrew Chef. The IPA Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and the Stout Chocolate Truffles were AAmazzing! With the potatoes I prepared seared tuna and scallops and pepper-stuffed steak. We paired the whole meal with our own home brewed Sweetheart Red. The total effect was delicious. As for Valentines gifts I gave Porter some gallon jugs so he could cool the water for our home brews. He gave me chocolate covered strawberries in the form of beer. (Chocolate Stout and Strawberry Beer) I haven’t gotten to try it yet as I have been feeling so bad since I received it.

I will get my reviews up of everything shortly. I just wanted to make sure I got this post up so I didn’t keep you all waiting. Thanks for understanding. New post much sooner this time I promise.

As a side note: I am trying to make a name for myself as a blogger. I talked to The Beer Wench and she gave me some good advice. If anyone else has some advice I would love to hear it. Please besure to hit me up. You can find me on facebook under Katy Too or The Great Beer Adventure and on twitter too @KTBeerAdventure. Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I went into the hospital yesterday to have some surgery done on my foot. I thought I would be able to get my next blog done by now but things have been a bit harder than I expected. I will be sure to get it written by the end of the week. I have some reviews of some awesome beers, some bars and also a couple of recipes. I also was able to check out Ebenezer's basement and who can forget Valentines Day. Porter got me an awesome V-day present. More to come soon, I promise.

Katy Too

Sunday, February 7, 2010

I scream. You scream. We all scream for….. an ice bar?

Ok, picture this. It was one of the coldest nights of the year. Porter and I are standing on the sidewalk in downtown Portland along with another 50 people for FORTY minutes. We were all waiting to go through a hotel, back into the freezing cold courtyard. We have to pay $10 apiece in order to do this. Crazy, right? Well, not exactly. Every year the Portland Harbor Hotel hosts an Ice Bar. They have numerous sculptures and a number of bars all made out of ice. The event is three nights long.

Porter and I went on Saturday, the last night. We had hoped to go to both the ice bar and the downtown showdown. We underestimated how long it would take to get in to the ice bar and therefore never made it to the downtown showdown. (Hey there is always next year!) Though we weren’t able to keep to our original plans we did have a nice evening. After spending less the 30 minutes at the ice bar (We’ll get back to that in a minute) we went to Portland Pie. We love Portland Pie. We actually had our rehearsal dinner there. We finished the night off with a nice stroll through the Old Port back to our car.

So, why 30 minutes at the ice bar? Well, after waiting for forty minutes outside we were finally allowed in. (They let one in for every one out. People didn’t exactly want to leave after waiting so long to get in.) We went up the stairs, bought drink tickets and headed back outside. As soon as we opened the door my body started to thump from the sound and volume of the music. We had to push through a mob of people to get close to the bar. We were standing in one line looking for a beer when we realized it was the martini line. If we weren’t such beer lovers it would have been nice to get a martini although it would have taken us probably 30 minutes to even get close to the bar. They had these really cool ice luges that they put your martini in to make them extra cold. Once the sea of people parted slightly we could see that there was a bar just for beer. (Remember all of these bars are made from ice!) They only had Shipyard as they were one of the sponsors. It was so cold and so crowded and so loud we grabbed our beers and went inside. Inside they had free food (if you don’t count the entrance fee) but it was quite minimal. We didn’t find out until later (I don’t know why they didn’t publicize this more) that all the money raised goes to area charities. After eating a little something we decided we were going to need something more substantial so we turned to our favorite standby, Portland Pie.

I must admit, I have a bias towards Portland Pie. They have the most amazing buffalo chicken pizza. It has become such a part of our life we knew we had to make it part of our wedding. Even though it isn’t exactly a new thing for us I wrote a review for all of you to enjoy. Surprisingly all the beers I have reviewed (which are all from local breweries and Porter and I drink these brewers regularly) are ones I haven’t tried until now.

Shipyard Brown Ale

Shipyard Brewing Company

Appearance: Through the plastic cup it appeared to be a coal color. The light was able to flow through it and it seemed quite clear.

Aroma: While it is possible this beer could be quite rich in smells neither Porter nor I were able to find anything distinct. It could have been due to our noses being so very cold.

Taste: It was quite spritzy, a solid brown with no extra bells and whistles.

Mouth feel: There was a moderate mouth feel.

Overall: While it isn’t anything overly special, I would consider it a very solid brown. A good standby beer.

Shipyard Fuggles IPA

Appearance: It is a light gold and very clear.

Aroma: Our frigid noses were unable to detect any distinct smells.

Taste: I am just starting to be able to drink IPAs but I enjoyed this one. It was not overly hoppy and had a slightly dry aftertaste.

Mouth feel: It has quite a full mouth feel.

Overall: It is a good starter IPA. I am sure I will try it again.

Geary's HSA

Hampshire Special Ale

Appearance: It is a nice dark caramel color, quite clear.

Aroma: There wasn’t much of a smell that Porter or I could detect. Our noses were quite cold from the walk to Portland Pie so we may just not have been able to smell anything.

Taste: It was served a bit too cold and had minimal carbonation. While there was some hoppiness it wasn’t an overly dry taste. It has a flavor that sticks with you.

Mouth feel: It has a nice fullness to it.

Overall: Geary’s was a beer that I had stayed away from, their HSA has made me want to try more of their beers.

Ice Bar

Beer Selection: As Shipyard was a sponsor of the event it was the only beer being served outside at the ice bars. There could have been different beers being served inside at the full bar but I can’t be certain of this as I didn’t visit it.

Atmosphere: We had a forty minute wait before we were allowed to get in. Once inside we discovered it to be quite crowded and the music was playing extremely loudly.

Service: The staff seemed to be nice enough. There was no one in the beer line so that was nice. The martini line was ridiculous; it would have probably taken over a half hour just to get to the front of the line. One gripe I have would be that the security guard, who was nice, let extra people jump in line instead of making them stand in line like all of the rest of us.

Food Quality: While there was food provided for “free” (there was a $10 entrance fee) it was extremely limited. The only food that was of quality was provided by a local restaurant called Denny Mikes.

Price: The prices were about what you would expect for a bar, possibly a bit more. For a novelty type event it was reasonable.

Overall: As a novelty bar goes it was pretty good. I enjoyed the experience but will not be going again next year. I didn't give it a bar stool rating as I felt it wouldn't be exactly fair to rate a novelty bar.

Portland Pie

Beer Selection: They have the normal round up for Maine restaurants, local brews and the fake watery crap. They do have 9 wines on tap which is something that you don’t get to see all that often.

Atmosphere: While I do have a bias towards Portland Pie, I think that anyone would find it warm and inviting. The bar is covered in copper and there is a fireplace in one of the rooms. I don’t remember exactly how many televisions they have but there are quite a few.

Service: The bar tender seemed quite nice and she was attentive.

Food Quality: The food is amazing if you are looking for pizza. I have never ventured very far away from their pizza because it is just so good. I would highly recomend the buffalo chicken pizza.
Price: They cost more than your neighborhood pizza joint but you are also paying for a much higher quality pizza.

Overall: I love Portland Pie. If you haven’t tried it yet, next time your in town make sure you do.