Archive for the 'Bar Harbor Brewing' category
I wanted to review Atlantic Brewing Company’s Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale and Bar Harbor Brewing’s Peach Ale for this post. Unfortunately I took my time getting to the beers, and I have suffered the consequence for such “dilly-dally”. Though the beers have been sitting in my beer fridge the whole entire time, my beer samples seem to have passed their prime.
First up was going to be Atlantic Brewing Company’s Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale, which fortunately has already been reviewed by Ben. I believe his review does the beer more justice. Compared to Ben’s review of a “deep golden” body, my beer’s body was a hazy dark amber. Though the smell of blueberry was still present, it was followed by a spice aroma. This spice aroma, which resembled allspice to me, was also present in the taste of the beer and was noted as “spice: I didn’t like”. I do not remember this spice presence in the beer before (I had a six-pack but did not take notes from the rest of the pack), and Ben does not mention it either, so it leads me to believe the beer has past its prime. Ironically enough the beer’s label has a “Best Enjoyed Before:” section, but it seems to have gone unused by the brewery.
The Bar Harbor Brewing Peach Ale was going to be my next fruit beer review. Unfortunately this beer seems to have suffered a similar fate as the above Blueberry Ale. This beer too was a hazy, dark amber that possessed a head that quickly dissipated. Though a faint aroma of peach was present, it was followed by ash, and smoke. The beer review just went downhill from there. I only had one bottle of this beer, and having never had it before, there is the possibility the brewer meant for their Peach Ale to be smoky. However, I am leaning more to the conclusion of a beer past its due.
If there is one thing to learn from this post, it is: Do not try to age (purposely or not) these beers.
Like Ben and Matt, I am not a big stout drinker. I do not avoid them, but I do not go out of my way for them either. I have to be in the right mood for them, and I am not even sure what that “mood” is. This is what makes Bar Harbor Brewing’s Cadillac Mtn. Stout so interesting. Looking at my notes, I see nothing that makes it stick out as “oh this is what is different about this stout compared to others”, but boy does it stick out.
It pours black with a tan head, which recedes to a thin but full covering. Towards the end of the session the head is only clinging to the glass walls, leaving a black void to stare into as I enjoy the last few sips of this delectable brew. The aromas remind me of lightly burnt, semi-sweet, dark chocolate, with a little ash thrown in if I inhale for too long. In the mouth the beer is smooth and its chocolate aromas come out in the taste. This is not a “chocolate stout” however, so the chocolate is not over-powering by any means. Just a good flavoring of chocolate malt and some sweetness. There is a subtle flavoring of smoke at the back of the throat, that is a nice contrast and finish to the chocolate malt. The beer’s tastes stick around for quite some time after the swallow.
Bar Harbor Brewing has a real winner with this beer. I would easily qualify this beer as one of the best, possibly even the best, beer I had from my travel beer reviews. I still do not know how they did it, but it is a great combination of sights, smells, and flavors with this beer. I enjoyed this beer so much, when I visited Bar Harbor a few weeks after my first trip (I was passing through to Nova Scotia), I cleared out the local supermarket of three six packs of this beer. I am sad to say those six packs are now gone… but I will always have those beer memories.
After a long interlude my travel beer reviews continue.
The rules for this fight were straight forward. Both beers were poured at the same time and into similar glasses (in this case pint glasses). I sniffed and sampled from one beer, and then did the same for the other. This was repeated until both beers were gone. The two contenders were Atlantic Brewing’s Mount Desert Island Ginger, and the other was Bar Harbor Brewing’s Bar Harbor Ginger Brew. Who triumphed in this battle royale? Lets find out.
The Mount Desert Island Ginger poured a slightly hazy golden with very lively carbonation. This carbonation gave the beer’s white head a nice thin, but complete, covering. The head even climbed the glass a little bit, but left no lacing. An enjoyable lemon essence, mixed with ginger and light malt provided an enticing aroma and made me dream of warmer days. In the mouth the beer was light and smooth. There was a nice ginger snap to the beer, a bit stronger then I was expecting when compared to the aroma, and a light lemon presence. The beer ended with a slight buttery taste.
The Bar Harbor Ginger Brew poured a clear light brown amber, which provided a very interesting contrast to the Mount Desert Island Ginger. Though less carbonation then the Mount Desert Island Ginger, it provided enough for a thin white head, which stayed around for the full session. The aromas are another contrast to the Island Ginger, with only a very faint hint of ginger, and the majority of aroma spent on lightly toasted and caramel malt. In the mouth the beer is a bit watery. There is also the continuation of the higher malt to ginger ratio in the taste. I found myself searching for the ginger and though a found a slight tweak of it, the majority of time I was tasting light-caramel malt with a slight tanginess. This tanginess reminded me of their Harbor Lighthouse Ale.
The “Ginger Belt” goes to… Atlantic Brewing’s Mount Desert Island Ginger. Though both beers were enjoyable and drinkable, the Mount Desert Island Ginger showcased the ginger aspect better, and that was its key to victory. For a food pairing with the “Ginger Belt” winner may I suggest chicken cooked with Trader Joe’s Thai Green Curry Simmer Sauce and a side of jasmine rice.
Continuing on with my travel beer reviews I move to another Bar Harbor Brewing release, True Blue. I am not a big blueberry beer drinker, so lets see if this one changes that.
The beer was a clear light brown in my pint glass, topped with a white head. Aromas of slightly sweet blueberry and malt tickled my nose. The mouth feel of the beer is medium and smooth. The aromas continue in the taste with a light-blueberry sweetness and a higher portion of malt.
Nothing wrong with this beer but nothing that makes it jump out at me. I guess I am still searching for my ideal blueberry beer. If you enjoy the subtle taste of blueberry in your beer, this could be right up your alley.
Moving from Nova Scotia to Mount Desert Island Maine, I continue my travel beer reviews. Mount Desert Island is an amazing place. Not only is Acadia National Park located there, with its fantastic trail network, but it also has two breweries (Bar Harbor Brewing Company and Atlantic Brewing Company), a brew pub (Jack Russel’s Brew Pub), and a winery (Bar Harbor Cellars Winery). Not bad for the “6th largest island in the continental United States“. I was able to pick-up quite a haul of beers from both breweries, so picking one to start off with was a bit tough. However we already have a few Atlantic Brewing Company beers reviewed, so lets start with a Bar Harbor Brewing beer.
Labeled brew #16, the Bar Harbor Pale Ale seemed to morph through its tasting session. The session was done with a twenty-two ounce bottle (I poured one glass, finished it, and then poured the remains into a second glass), so when first poured the beer had a slightly hazy, though easy to see through, body. On its second pour, the beer’s body was very hazy and opaque. I am not sure if I was supposed to decant this beer or not, so the different pouring results could have been my mistake.
With both pours, the white head provided a full, thin coverage with minimal stickage and aromas of dough and berry fruits permeating the air. The first pour had a light bread and caramel sweetness taste, while the second pour had a fruity note which then progressed to a light bread and caramel sweetness. Both pours were smooth and pleasant however, easily progressed through their associated tastes, and finished with a light bitterness.
Wish I had another bottle to try pouring this beer more consistently, but unfortunately I do not. Though not a stand-out, a respectable beer none-the-less.