Friday, May 23, 2008

Quick Updates

This brilliant post captures the current draft options at Novare Res. It also helps explain why Beer, Maine & Me is higher rated than Beer Locavore.

I stopped in Happy Teriyaki for a quasi-Japanese meal the other day. I was thirsty and held my breath as the waitress recited the beer list. After she'd gone through the A-B product offerings, she mentioned Shipyard Export. I latched on to it. Under the circumstances I was grateful. It was good, as was the food, although it was not particularly authentic. I'll go back.

Speaking of Japanese food, Benkay has some wonderful lunch options, including a rotating bento box lunch that contains almost more food than I can eat, for eight bucks. Benkay is flawed by the lack of a local beer choice, however. I am forced to drink sake'.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My New Favorite Local Bar

Novare Res, the revolutionary new bar located in the plaza behind the Pavilion, is a great addition to Portland's already robust bar scene. Check their webpage here.

It was with great relief that I discovered they had multiple locavore options among their magnificent beer offerings. I sampled two, both drafts: Allagash Odyssey and the Smuttynose IPA.

After the relief I felt when I determined that they were locavore compliant, my emotion shifted to chagrin--if that's an emotion--then pure anger. Anger at myself. With marvelous beer offerings from all over the world my choices were limited to the local stock--because of my own stupid rules.

I looked around: the bar is beautiful and clearly a labor of love; people were laughing and enjoying one another; the space will include a wonderful beer garden; the specialty beers and matching glasses are unlike anything in Portland. Yes, as reader Jabroni indicates, there were beautiful people there. There were also young people, older folks (people my age), people in suits, carpenters, fishermen, lawyers, bankers, and, most importantly, beer lovers. The owner gave us a bit of a background on the place and then offered everyone a free beer. I yearned for the Belgium, the German, the French, the West Coast, and the Canadian. I panicked. I left. I will return.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Suspense is Building

Will Novare Res, the new Belgium Beer bar that opens in Portland tonight, include a local offering among its purported 25 draft beers? I will find out, and report back.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Local IPAs

Since I lamented the lack of an assertive IPA in my most recent post, I thought I'd scientifically explore the local IPA options. I should acknowledge that my reviews are fairly simlistic--I like the beer or I don't, or, maybe, I'll say it's okay. If you want to know the specific gravity, check another blog. I picked up a few bottles at the Whole Foods, and interspersed tasting samples (a typical sample is 12 ounces)with palate cleansers. Some palate cleansers include: tortilla chips and salsa; garlic infused kalamata olives; and salted cashews. As an aside, I wonder why I don't lose weight?

Shipyard: mediocre, barely disernable hops. What the Fuggles?
Frye's Leap: I like it. Nice hoppy nose and taste. Clean, crisp finish.
420 IPA: Kind of funky. There's a flavor there (and I like flavor) that is almost more malty than hoppy. It's a nice beer, but a little untrue to the genre.
Smuttynose IPA: Tasting notes (okay, that sounds a little more sophisticated than I'm comfortable with) similar to the Frye's Leap. It's a nice IPA, but I'll give the nod to Maine over New Hampshire every day of the week.
820 IIPA: This bottle is 22 ounces and for whatever reason, my taste buds are slightly less discerning than when I started this tasting session. Also, the Sox have won, and the Celtics are in a tussle. Okay, that's out of the way. I'd repeat my 420 tasting notes--on steroids (the beer, not me). This is a flavorful, full-bodied, balanced, malty,hoppy, big beer blend that I like. But, it's not what I'm looking for when I reach for an IPA.

The Beers of Summer

Maine's freeze is over
I have a new source of SADS
Good-by winter brews

The long Maine winter has come to an end. I should be happy, and generally, I am. But I pause here for a minor rant:

Why must we drink bad beer just because the weather is nice?

Dogfish Cafe' replaced the wonderful, hearty, malty Allagash Dubbel with the cliched Allagash White. Compounding the issue, there are no other potable local beers in the place. I drank the White. Margaritas is now devoid of any drinkable beer. Stumped, I ordered a margarita to wash down my mediocre Mexican meal. Chef Et Al, which should be the thursday night hangout of choice, has succumbed to the trend as well: gone is the Copperhook, replaced by a Shipyard Summer. Click on the ad for the summer posted here: they actually position it as a beer which is virtually devoid of flavor. Astonishing!

Here's my suggestion to all bar owners and tenders:

1. Keep the Allagash White, it's popular, refreshing and true to the genre.
2. If you must swap out beers with the season, backfill the Dubbel with the Tripel in the summer.
3. HSA is now brewed year round. Some are offended by this. I'm not, it's good. Offer it year round.
4. Have two IPA on offer: we don't have an aggressive IPA brewed locally so you'd need to offer something like the Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA. The second tap should be local--make it the Frye's Leap.
5. One tap should be a stout, one of the local options works fine.
6. The Shipyard Export tap would appeal to drinkers (using the term loosely) who enjoy flavorless brew.
7. Never pour anything labelled "light". Keep water handy for patrons who request a light beer.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Quick Hits

1. Granny Burrito has added Allagash Dubbel on tap!
2. GLB has cask conditioned Allagash Four!
3. I stayed local--despite a tempting array of out-of-local beers--at Local 188 and had a fabulous meal, the House Paella (staying on theme, I drank Rioja).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Shameless Pandering

It is with disappointment that I report that Beer Locavore is the single lowest rated beer blog in Portland (for details click here). We have an opportunity to do something about that. I ask that you review the other blogs, and, if you feel as I do, that Beer Locavore is at least middle-of-the-pack, send the rating agencies an email at:

Don't bash the other blogs, and be sure to compliment Portland Food Map (which is a wonderful resource). But a quick note that includes something like:

"While Locavore occasionally gets bogged down bashing Dubya or the Yankees, his quick hitting beer reviews and recommendations are always spot on".

Or, "Give Lovavore the respect he deserves. The man bleeds Mead and sweats Dubbel. When he's forced to drink a bad beer (Shipyard Summer, for example) those are real tears he's crying".

"His pasty pallor is hard earned as he explores the bad taverns so we don't have to."

You get the picture. Let's make sure Portland Food Map does too.

Wierd News Item, Bad Beer Related

Longtime Yankee Roger Clemens was in the news this week. A close personal friend of Dubya's, Clemens, who currently faces overwhelming evidence of long term illegal drug abuse, was this week forced to deny published allegations of extra-marital affairs that included sex with at least one child. The women involved, Mindy McCready, a country singer and convicted Methamphetamine user, and Paula Daly, the ex-wife of professional athlete John Daly, both acknowledged having had sex with the former fireballer. Ms. McCready was fifteen years old when the relationship began. Clemens, the accused pedophile and close personal friend of Dubya, claims that the one-on-one meetings with the child in his hotel room were a result of friendship and there was no statutory rape. The alleged pedophile and close personal friend of Dubya who retains ties with the Yankees also claims that the time spent one-on-one in his hotel room with Ms. Daly was strictly platonic.

The tie-in with bad beer? Both Clemens and Daly admit to extensive use of Miller Lite (pictured here with Clemens' other drug paraphernalia) before moving on to harder drugs. Neither of the women involved deny using the beer-like substance.

Stay away from bad beer!

25 point trivia question: can you match the photos with the celebrities described above?