Friday, August 26, 2011

Ryan Does Portland, ME Pt 2: The Sebago Brewpub

Click here for Pt. 1: The Allagash Brewery.

As Brit and I left Allagash, we found we were in an odd place in terms of what to do next. It was 2 pm, we were a little buzzed and a little hungry. It was too late for lunch, too early for dinner, and there was no point in going back to the hotel, because we were in friggin’ Portland.

Therefore, we came to the conclusion that the best course of action would be to have a snack and a brew at another one of my predetermined beer destinations (Beerstinations?), the Sebago Brewpub.

This was taken from a moving car. Don't act like you're not impressed.
The Sebago Brewpub is located downstairs from a Hampton Inn, a couple blocks from the water in the heart of Portland’s Old Port. I couldn’t help but notice the prime location and lament that a similarly-themed restaurant in Stamford would never be afforded such choice real estate. Alas.

There were 10 Sebago beers on tap, and I ordered a Frye’s Leap IPA. My history with Frye’s Leap up to this point had been very up-and-down. I’d had it on tap 2 or 3 times and been very impressed, and I’d had it in a bottle and been…underwhelmed. The brewpub’s offering, as you may expect, was super fresh, with that great hop aroma and kick that must have faded as the bottle aged a bit. If you can find fresh Frye’s Leap on tap, it’s certainly worth a taste.

Pictured (Left to Right): my cell phone, Frye's Leap, a coaster, Bass Ackwards.

Brit ordered Sebago’s Bass Ackwards Blueberry Ale, which isn’t my cup of tea, but it was malty and well-balanced without a nauseating amount of blueberry taste (which is not uncommon in blueberry beers.)

The menu was standard American fare, burgers, sandwiches, wings and what not, and we ordered potato nachos; nachos with waffle fries where the tortilla chips would normally be. It was culinary mad science. The salsa, sour cream and jalapenos worked perfectly on the potato – it was sort of like a nacho and a potato skin’s delicious bastard child. Also, my taste buds and my arteries are no longer on speaking terms.

Anyone know a good cardiologist?

While we were munching away, we noticed on the menu that all Sebago drafts were $2 from 10PM to close. Did I come back at 10PM for 2 more beers? Of course I did! I had another Frye’s Leap, and then moved on to the Lake Trout Stout – a malty stout brewed with real fish. (Just kidding.) Lake Trout was your run of the mill stout, malty, roasty, and serviceable, but nothing to write home about. Then again, I can’t think of much that would inspire me to write my mom a letter.

‘Twas a good time getting to know Portland, ME, and its surprisingly rich beer culture. I shall be back.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stone Brewing Flight Night TONIGHT @ Coalhouse

Just in case you haven't heard the news, there was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that hit in Virginia. Tremors were felt up through New England - even in Stamford! Life is unpredictable, Coalhouse's tap list tonight is not. They've got just about every Stone Brewing beer out there.  Stop in for a couple delicious brews that will ROCK your world (double pun intended, oh man I'm good).  And don't forget, Beer Club Members get their first beer FREE!

Never been to Coalhouse? Check out our review.

The Taps:
Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
Stone Imperial Russian Stout
Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout
Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard
Drink up my friends!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stamford Summer Restaurant Week 2011

Stamford Summer Restaurant Week 2011 started today, Monday, August 22nd, and runs through Sunday, September 4, 2011. Eat up!

Click for menus…

$10.11 Lunch / $15.11 Dinner
Black Bear Saloon
Grand Burger *NEW*
Kujaku Japanese Restaurant
Lola’s Mexican Kitchen (excludes Fri and Sat)
Lucky’s Classic Burger & Malt Shop
SBC Downtown Restaurant & Brewery
Tiernan’s Bar & Restaurant
Volta Gelateria Creperie *NEW*

$12.11 Lunch / $20.11 Dinner
Butterfield 8 Restaurant & Lounge
Capriccio Cafe (lunch only)
Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant
Quattro Pazzi (excludes Fri and Sat)
Remo’s Brick Oven Pizza Company
Tengda Asian Bistro

$20.11 Lunch / $30.11 Dinner
Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar (Menu not available yet)
Bar Rosso *NEW* (excludes Fri and Sat)
Capital Grille
Chez Jean Pierre (excludes Sun)
Columbus Park Trattoria
Emme of Capri
EOS Greek Cuisine (excludes Fri and Sat)
Mitchell’s Fish Market
Morton’s The Steakhouse (dinner only)
Napa & Co. (lunch only)
Tappo Restaurant (excludes Fri and Sat)
ZAZA Italian Gastrobar *NEW* (excludes Fri and Sat)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ryan Does Portland, ME – Part 1: Allagash Brewery

I, Ryan Prescott, am a full-fledged beer geek. Sometimes, I don’t know how I got here. In 2009, I was in college drinking 30s of Busch and Keystone Light. Beer was nothing more than a mechanism for drunkenness - it didn’t matter what kind it was, just as long as it would provide buoyancy to a ping-pong ball.

Now, I can’t plan a vacation without my mind wandering to beer. What beer does (insert vacation locale) have that I can’t get here? What breweries are in the area? Any brewpubs or beer bars worth checking out? I just can’t help myself.

So, it’s hardly a surprise that when I decided to visit Portland, Maine for the first time with my girlfriend, I had to make a few stops; the first of which was a tour of the Allagash Brewery.

Yes, I'd like to solve the puzzle? Is it, "Allagash Brewing Co.?"

The Allagash Brewery is located 10 minutes or so from the heart of Portland, on the same road as two other breweries (Maine Beer Co. and Rising Tide Beer Co. – both closed to the public on the Tuesday we were visiting). We arrived at 1 pm for a guided tour, and were happy to learn that the first part of the tour was the beer tasting.
The (quite generous, in my opinion) tasting consisted of four different brews:

1. Allagash White – Allagash’s flagship beer, which, according to our tour guide, comprises 80% of the brewery’s sales. That’s kind of a lot. This beer is clean tasting, citrusy, crisp, and just perfect for a hot summer day. I may start substituting it for Gatorade in the near future.

2. Allagash Tripel - Spicy, even more citrusy than the white, with a little alcohol bite. Delicious. Had to buy a 4-pack.

3. Allagash Curieux – This beer is nothing more than the Tripel, aged in Jim Beam Bourbon Barrels. It pours a darker color, with a stronger, smokier taste to it, and the Bourbon aging bumps up the ABV to 11%.

4. Allagash Victor – This beer was brewed with wine grapes, which gave it a nice sweetness compared to the previous brews.
From there, we put on our sweet protective goggles and began the tour of their facilities, checking out the impressive brewing equipment, going over the brewing process (which Kyle and I know all about because we homebrew like bosses), and staring at the bottling line for a while, because it’s mesmerizing and I can’t help it.

Watching the bottling line > Counting sheep

From there, we went into the barrel aging room, a room filled from floor to ceiling with experimental brews that have never seen the light of day. It’s always nice to see a successful operation like Allagash continue to push the envelope and try wacky new things with their beer, so it was interesting to think of the possibilities that lay within those barrels.

Brittney tried drinking one before it was ready, and she turned into a blueberry.

All in all, it was a good time that I’d recommend to anyone. The tour is fun and informative, the samples are free and plentiful, and it’s always cool to see what goes into putting those tasty brews in those pretty bottles.

Check back soon for Part 2: The Sebago Brewpub.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's National IPA Day!

According to no less of an authority than the Internet, today, August 4, is National IPA Day.  What is National IPA Day? Who started it? Why is it August 4?  I didn’t really know, so I did some investigating, hoping to find an official IPA Day website. No dice. This was the best I could find:

“International #IPADay is a grassroots movement to unite the voices of craft beer enthusiasts, bloggers, and brewers worldwide through social media. On Thursday August 4th, craft beer drinkers across the social sphere and across the globe will raise pints in a collective toast to one of craft beer’s most iconic styles: the India Pale Ale. This celebrated style represents the pinnacle of brewing innovation with its broad spectrum of diverse brands, subcategories, and regional flavor variations – making it the perfect style to galvanize craft beer’s social voice.

#IPADay is opportunity for breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer. Getting involved is easy; the only requirements are an appreciation for great beer and the will to spread the word. Anyone can participate by enjoying IPA with friends, making some noise online with the #IPADay hashtag, and showing the world that craft beer is more than a trend!”

So, there you have it – IPA day is nothing more than a celebration of a classic style of beer. You remember your IPA history, don’t you? In the 1700s, Britain had many soldiers and colonists living in India. Due to malts and other raw ingredients spoiling on the long journey overseas, these poor souls were left without any of their good homeland ale. As a result, brewers created a higher alcohol beer with lots of hops (a natural preservative) that could handle the trek to India. Just like that, the IPA was born.

If you’re a fan of IPAs, crack one open tonight and throw a tweet or status update up about it. Here’s what I’ve got in the ol’ inventory:

Dogfish 60 Minute IPA
New England Sea Hag IPA
Sebago Full Throttle Double IPA
Ryan’s Homebrewed IPA (Secret ingredient: love)

Kyle’s Fridge:

Sebago Full Throttle Double IPA
Dogfish Head Burton Baton Imperial IPA
Breckenridge Lucky U IPA
Kyle’s Homebrewed IPA (Secret ingredient: hate)

Happy IPA Day!