I am lodged in the hills of western Maine, not more than a few miles from the New Hampshire border. We have just enough elevation to be above the snow line, and I can see white pines and the ghostly white bark of denuded birch trees out the frosted window. (A palatte of many whites, some of them green.) The cabin is one of Sally's brother's, brand new, smelling of the pine beams that support it. Last night, a different brother arrived from Maryland bearing beers from across the east. I alert you to two.
Hook and Ladder Brown is a beer I wish Oregonians brewed. The humble brown, so tasty, so warming, is so often overlooked. In Rochester, they brew it with Cascade hops, resulting in a comforting but lively beer you'd be happy to drink all night (one of Sally's brothers did, in fact). If you're on the East Coast, consider having a bottle.
A more exotic beer comes from Clay Pipe Brewing--Backfin Pale. I cracked open a bottle and took a sniff--pilsner. I looked at the label, where it clearly says "pale ale." In fact, it's a pale hopped with Saaz, apparently late in the boil, because the aroma is pronounced, the flavor a little less so. Other, unidentifiable hops are used to bitter. I've often wondered why breweries don't use Saaz outside a fairly thin band of beers, and I was fascinated by the experiement. Slight cognitive dissonance, but one I enjoyed.
I also had a Dogfish 60-minute IPA and confirmed, again, that I'm just not a fan. The flavors are overly rich while simultaneously indistinct. Give me an Inversion or Terminal Gravity any day of the week.
(I still plan to do a major post on Allagash. No time to do it justice now, though.)
2014 Washington Brewers Guild Winter Beer Fest
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