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The Team is Growing

We are uber excited to welcome two new Beer Geeks to our Beer Shop. A brief story about Amanda & Willis:

Amanda: 

Give us the Important Details

Hi! I’m Amanda! I like explanation marks and emojis. 🤷🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ I’ve lived in Maine my entire life except a few months that I am still working on forgetting. I am a cool mom and a goofy wife! I love my family, being outside and beer. But thats obvious, right?

What’s your claim to Beer Geekery fame?

Back in the days of yore, my husband and I courted each other by learning about all things beer and food. At one point we were sitting at the bar at Ebenezers up in Lovell and some random stranger told me to start a blog, I laughed at him and then realized he was right!!! Since then, the blog has morphed into a podcast where I have had amazing conversations with fabulous beer makers, drinkers and supporters about all things beer geekery! It’s been fab and I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes me next!

If you get to control the store’s music, what’s playing?

Seeing I would get quickly vetoed if I put on Disney music I always go straight to Johnny Cash!! I turn his songs into lullabies for my kiddos and even quoted him in my wedding vows!!

If you were a beer style what would you be and why?

If I were a beer style I would have to be some sort of salty, sweet stout with amazing label art probably done by Heidi Geist. Those exist, right?? I can be a bit salty, I’m from Maine after all. I am really good at being sweet but am dark on the inside. And I like to wear pretty things and supporting local folks!!

Tell us a haiku!

I like talking. Beer.

Smell the hops, grain and sea breeze.

Made in Maine is me.

-Cheers!

Amanda Doughty

Willis: 

 

Give us the Important Details
Heyo, Willis here! I’m a Brewer, Baker, Coffee Snob, Bike Enthusiast, & Obsessed with the Imbibe Culture. Grew up in the Midwest & moved to New England as soon as I could “legally” drink and never looked back. My better half, Emily, and our 7-year-old son live with our old-ass cat and dog and we also own a from-scratch bakery in Gray, ME called The Frisky Whisk.
What’s your claim to Beer Geekery fame?
 
Besides, taking it upon myself to try as many beers as my body and wallet can manage, I’ve been home brewing since 2011. I started my career in fermentation by volunteering at the Urban Farm Fermentory and quickly moved up to the Operations Manager position. After UFF, I moved over to Baxter Brewing Co. At Baxter, I was hired as the Packaging Manager, Studied and Graduated from The American Brewers Guild, and was promoted to Production Manager. As Production Manager, I worked directly under the Director of Brewing Operations, Ben Low. Now, I’m loving slinging tasty brews here at CBC.
If you get to control the store’s music, what’s playing?
 
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Dr. Dog, Kurt Vile, The National… Mostly the weird stuff that just barely passes as customer appropriate.
If you were a beer style what would you be and why?
 
A crazy/funky sour with lots of brett & lacto… preferably dry-hopped. Why?, because sours are the freakin’ best. Also, I’m a surly, old curmudgeon that leaves a sour taste in your mouth, but I’ve got a little funk in me.
Tell us a haiku!

We’ve shared some good times

The brew & I. Without doubt
There are more ahead.

Cheers,

Willis Croninger

Craft Beer Cellar

 

 

Top Ten

Top 10 Craft Beers of 2016

Or…What You Drank the Most of in 2016

Our customers are loco for local, and we love that!

Of the ten craft brews that you chose to take home the most in 2016, only one is “from away”, and let’s be honest…New Hampshire is still pretty local.

top_ten_list_funky_bow_brewing_so_folkin_hoppy10. SO FOLKIN’ HOPPY IPA | FUNKY BOW BREWING

top_ten_list_maine_beer_company_lunch9. LUNCH IPA | MAINE BEER COMPANY

top_ten_list_rising_tide_brewing_zephyr8. ZEPHYR | RISING TIDE BREWERY

top_ten_list_stoneface_brewing_ipa7. IPA | STONEFACE BREWING

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6. BRIGHTSIDE IPA | LONE PINE BREWING

top_ten_list_allagash_brewing_company_belgian_white5. WHITE | ALLAGASH BREWING COMPANY

top_ten_list_maine_beer_company_mo_pale_ale
4. MO PALE ALE | MAINE BEER COMPANY

top_ten_list_rising_tide_brewery_mita3. MAINE ISLAND TRAIL ALE | RISING TIDE BREWERY

top_ten_list_lone_pine_brewing_portland_pale_ale2. PORTLAND PALE ALE | LONE PINE BREWING COMPANY

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1. PEEPER ALE | MAINE BEER COMPANY

Factoids (and Observations) From the List

Pale ales and IPAs dominated, except on those occasions where a Belgian wheat beer is your palatable preference. Industri-ale Way Allagash Brewing was your choice for alternate flavor profile from the hop-centric pack.

Did you happen to notice two of the top spots on our list are from a new comer to the Maine craft beer scene? Lone Pine Brewing opened their doors in the spring of 2016 and it was love at sip. Their Portland Pale raced to our best seller list and once their Brightside IPA came on the scene it was quick to follow.

Rising Tide’s Maine Island Trail Ale is only seasonally available, from appx. May – September. Luckily this y’East Bayside brewery keeps the cases coming to ensure MITA lovers cups runneth over. MITA isn’t just another tasty beverage. A portion of the proceeds go towards the stewardship of the Maine Island Trails. So, the next time you’re imbibing one of these brews remember, you’re also supporting the care and maintenance of Maine’s island trail system.

Another part of the creative culture of the craft beer industry is the witty and whimsical names for the beers themselves. Lyman, Maine brewery Funky Bow made it to the 10th slot on our list because their So Folkin’ Hoppy is a great tasting beer, but the first thing our customers notice is the quirky name. We recommend a visit to their locale on a weekend for their spent beer grain pizza, live music and of course craft brews.

It’s no surprise that Maine Beer Company tastes so nice it’s on our list thrice. We actually put together a tally sheet on occasion which includes how many times folks stop in the shop during a day to ask, “Do you have any Lunch available?”

What Will 2017 Bring?

One prediction from Tasting Table is that Lagers are trending in 2017. This is great news for New England breweries like Jack’s Abby and Von Trapp who specialize in these styles, from Baltic Porters to Dunkels.

Availability was a hiccup for Foundation’s Epiphany otherwise it would have undoubtedly made it on our list because we seriously get asked every day if it’s in. With their recent expansion, they’re going to be giving this years top listers a run for their money. Vermont brewery Otter Creek canned their Free Flow IPA and it has been a hot (cold) seller ever since. Another new kid on the block in 2016, Fore River Brewing has steadily been climbing our ranks of favorites and who knows what other newbies will emerge as front runners in the coming months.

We’re stoked for what 2017 will bring in the form of both familiar, and deliciously new frothy beverages, how about you?

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CBC on Tour in Barcelona

Barcelona – where soccer is religion and Cava (aka Spanish Champagne) has ruled the local palettes for centuries, another craft beer revolution is not only “brewing”, but exploding into this beautiful historic city, perfectly perched in the heart of Europe as a central hub for international beer festivals. With an eerily similar beer climate as the U.S., with bland and boring, mass produced beer still dominating the taps in major restaurants and bars, there’s a combination of a British/Nordic invasion, coupled with homegrown brew pubs, tap houses, and bona fide breweries cooking up delicious stuff that even the most ardent American Beer Geek would relish.

While the Brew Dog and Mikkeler tap houses are must-visits by default, Garage Beer, Ale & Hop, and Kælderkold will round-out your beer tour with both their own brews as well as guest beers from across Europe. Europe’s rock stars, like Sweden’s Omnipollo , are converting Estrella (the Budweiser of Spain) drinkers pint by pint, and you’re no longer met with a “que quieres?”  when asking for a Farmhouse or Belgian style Tripel. And sure, Garage Beer won’t yet cause massive waiting lines like a Foundation Epiphany or Maine Beer Co’s Dinner release, but their new “No/Use” hoppy wheat Pale Ale for example is simply f…ng delicious.

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This one is front and center at Garage Beer, and a tribute to the Iberian father of the craft beer revolution, Steve Huxley.

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Garage Beer owner James Welsh drops some knowledge about brewing in Europe.

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Our bottle shop compadre Andres @bierCab has a small but fantastic selection of beers. And how the f…k was he able to get hard to find brews like Prairie and Crooked Stave on his shelves?

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Eh, Ok??

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Neat idea from the guys at Brewdog.

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Maybe the ultimate form of flattery – getting “copy catted” 4,000 miles from home…..

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Ok, the beer in Barcelona is goooood!!

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Beer Geek Julia

 

Julia originally hails from the Arizona desert, but since coming to Maine for college she has made the coast her home. After spending two summers working for Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor, Julia moved to Portland, which she thinks is the best little city in America.  When Julia isn’t working at her day job as a paralegal or at Craft Beer Cellar, you can find her drinking a beer somewhere–in one of Portland’s awesome restaurants, on top of a mountain, on a boat, or in her kitchen while she cooks and bakes. Julia likes strong beer, red wine, and black coffee, and is on a one-woman mission to prove that there is no such thing as “chick beer.”

julia

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Local Brews Taking Over!

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Winter is a special time of year in Maine. Sure, it’s cold and snowy and we spend most of our waking day digging out our cars and shoveling our driveways. But it’s also the time of year when we come together as Mainers, free from the usual throngs of tourists. Don’t get us wrong, out-of-towners–we love you guys! But we also love getting our trails and frozen lakes back to ourselves for a while, and we REALLY love getting together over beers to lovingly complain about the weather. Summer in Maine is without a doubt the best Vacationland there is, but winter? Winter is what sets us apart as rugged, hearty, slightly off-our-rocker Mainers.

So it’s no surprise that this week, Maine beers are taking over here at CBC! And what an awesome group of beers we have, from all over our favorite state. We’ve got three new beers from Portland’s own Banded Horn–Daikaiju, an absolutely killer IPA, Luminaire, a lager you can drink all day long, and their limited-run Barrel Aged Mountain Russian Imperial Stout, which will warm you up very quickly (trust me). From nearby in Freeport, we have two cases of Maine Beer Company’s ever-popular Lunch IPA, which is bound to be gone in a flash even with our one bottle limit.

From the slightly farther reaches of the state, there’s the Red Stone Ale from Sunday River Brewing Company, which comes in giant 1 quart cans (that’s 32oz for the less mathematically inclined. I think you’re supposed to share these, but they’re more fun if you drink them all yourself). And finally, from up in Brewer, we’ve got Geaghan Brother’s awesome Smiling Irish Bastard American Pale Ale. The guys and gals at Geaghan’s are doing great things up in northern Maine, so it’s great to have them on the shelves here in Portland!

Tourists, we miss you, we really do, and we’re excited to see you all this summer. But in the meantime, we’re pretty happy to hunker around our wood stoves and raise our pint glasses to our frozen home state. And if any of you find your way up here before the snow thaws, we promise to let you join. We’ll have plenty of Maine beer in the fridge to go around.

Cheers,

-Julia

 

 

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Weekend Beer Pick

Our New Beer Geek Julia picks her favorite brew of the week.

The weather is snowy and slushy today, which in my book means one thing–stay inside and drink stout. And there is literally no better stout on this earth than Mean Old Tom, which happens to be made 15 minutes away from Portland at Freeport’s Maine Beer Company. Despite usually focusing almost exclusively on hoppy beer, MBC knocked it out of the park with Mean Old Tom–it’s creamy and dark, with deep roasted notes balanced perfectly with the sweetness of vanilla beans. At 6.5% ABV, it’s heavy enough to keep you warm, but just light enough that after a couple you can still get up and take advantage of Sunday’s fresh snow and sunny forecast. And when you get back from the ski slopes and snowshoe trails, I guarantee you’ll be ready to start drinking Mean Old Tom all over again.

-Julia

 

mean old tom
Mean Old Tom
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 Beer guide to the Holidays 2015!!!

 

Ridgeway

Hey beer people,

The big fat guy with the beard drove his sleigh down Manhattan again on turkey day, so I guess holiday 2105 is officially upon us! We’ve decorated the store all nice and fancy like for you folks,  and have added a few new faces to the store to help out. Stop by and terrify, I mean say hi to our new goons,  won’t you?

As you’re getting ready for your holiday shopping, you might ask yourself, “self, I need to get something for uncle Bob, but besides the new Jane Fonda workout dvd, I’m not sure what to get him.”  Well, you’re in luck, as we have some perfect gift Ideas! (bet you didn’t see that coming, did ya?)

Ridgeway Brewing.

Every year we get a nice haul of Christmas themed beers from Ridgeway Brewing from across the pond. The lineup this year is:

Bad Elf, A English IPA. 6%

Very Bad Elf. A English Pale Ale. 7.50%

Seriously Bad Elf. A English Strong Ale.  9%

Criminally Bad Elf. A English Barleywine Ale.  10.50%

Insanely Bad Elf. A Imperial Red Ale. 11.20%

Reindeer’s Revolt. A English Winter Warmer. 6%

Santa’s Butt. An English Porter. 6%

Lump of Coal. 8%

Silly? Yes. Tasty? Most definitely . Any of these would make a good xmas gift for your beer geek that has funny bone for Christmas humor.

We also have some other great Christmas beers, Like St, Bernardus’ Christmas Ale, a great Quad. Or Anchor’s Christmas Ale, which always changes year to year. Come on in and see what we have!

Craft Beer Cellar Gift Packs.

These gift packs are handpicked by us at the store, ready for you to put under your Christmas tree. Or for your shrine to Ninkasi, however you celebrate the holidays.

CBC Gift Cards.

It’s a gift card. I don’t know how to be funny about a gift card. It’s a card, that makes a great gift. Easy.

 

That’s our Beer Guide to the Holidays(copy right pending), hopefully that will make your shopping a little easier this year. See you next time,

 

Your friendly neighborhood Goons at CBC Portland.