[Posted August 29, 2012] After an intense schedule of beer evaluation and discussion on day 2, it was time to kick back, have a beer and reconnect with the art of enjoyment. The Whitehead Light Station’s Craft of Beer and Brewing course was not only about beer education but making sure we reflected on the enjoyment beer leads us to. Sleep in, read a book, explore the islands forest trails, shoot photos, go for a boat ride, take in the rising and falling tide and unwind from the coastal rocks.
Day 3 – Free Day; Intense Relaxation
An assortment of extra beers was offered during the day
Both red and white homemade pizzas for Lunch with Rogue Chipotle Ale, D’Achoufee Brown, Captain Lawrence Limone Lupulo.
Lasagna from scratch for Dinner with Southern Tier Iniquity Blackened Ale, Brewers Association Craft Brewers Conference Symposium Ale, Dogfish Immort Ale, Dogfish Tweason.
After dinner fresh made chocolate truffles along with Trappist Westmalle Dubbel, Westmalle Tripel, Rochefort 6, 8 and 10, Abbey beer St. Bernardus Abt 12 and Sound Brewery (Wash.) Monks Indiscretion. This seemed to be a reflection on the essence of now the wide variety of Belgian ales. The Trappist beers we tasted were not extreme beers by comparison to the depth and variety of today’s Belgian beer offerings. I reflect that perhaps the Trappist brewers were driven by their philosophy of maintaining tradition and not necessarily shifting to market trends or creation of innovative beers. Trappist beers are a throwback to where the Belgian traditions first originate from; neither extreme or trendy. Philosophically stable and remaining a benchmark. Trappist beers and chocolate truffles seem to inspire philosophic thinking.
Day 4 – Off island brewery tours
30 minutes to mainland and we’re off to visit Ben and father Andy Hazen at their farmhouse Andrews Brewery in the Lincolnville area. 20+ years of brewing English style pale ale, brown ale and porter along with their summer popular Golden Ale. They brew at capacity and are exploring options, but meanwhile quite content to supply the local area and neighboring states with their dependably brewed ales.
Late morning departure 45 more minutes by road to visit David and Sarah Carlson and their Marhsall Wharf Brewing Co. and Three Tides pub & restaurant. Their small 3-4 barrel brewhouse churns and ferments an amazing assortment of beer; so many beers, so little time. Their Little Moo “Brown” Ale at 4% is the fermented second runnings of Black Angus Belgian Royal Stout. Its flavor, aroma and all around character was reminiscent of the 30 years ago original bottle conditioned Guinness Stout. The roast malt and barley with a great hop nip inspires me to homebrew my next stout, my own Dusty Mud. There seems to be good reason for the 8 foot high pile of Pemaquid Oyster shells across from the jiving shuck palace below at 3Tides.
After a generous spread of tapas and beer samples for lunch we take 45 minutes to work off some of the alcohol, exploring main street Belfast and connect with our boat ride back to Whitehead between tides. Dinner emerges from Karin’s kitchen with local made German sausages and oven roast pork, locally made sauerkraut, Karin’s mom red cabbage (recipe), served with combo Allagash Black & Maine Beer Co Lawson Collaboration pork gravy. Stone’s Self Righteous Dark Ale, Grand Teton Anniversary Ale, Dogfish Head Palo Santo along with Mike and Tyler’s contributing beers brought along to share: Pliny the Elder from Russian River and several brews from Framingham Mass.’s Jack’s Abby Brewing Company (Ginger Juice IPLager and several other growler goodies).
Tonight is homebrew night. After dinner and a digestive rest we sample my homebrew: Elderberry Peach Mead, Elderberry Mead, Blueberry Mead, 12 year old Lefthand (Brett and Ale) Kriek and Juniper-Choke Cherry Return to Innocence.
Day 5 – Finale
Morning seminar, discussion and tasting: Beer & Food fundamentals of pairing and creating great tastes. We try Anchor Porter with aged Parmesan and aged Gouda, Six Point Bengali IPA with grilled sardines, Allagash Tripel with cured salami and parma ham, Bar Harbor Cadillac Mountain Stout with sea scallops and local oysters, Baxter Amber with grilled fresh Shitake mushrooms. Can you say Umami?
Remainder beer with a heap of taco salad for lunch and the afternoon off. To be followed by an evening lobster boil, corn, salad and beer: Lindemans Cuvee Rene, Jolly Pumpkin (Michigan) Maracaibo, Echt Kreiken, Allagash Tripel and Maine Beer Co. Peeper. The sun sets, we gather around the fire, watch the moon rise. Widmer Barrel Aged Bourbon 2010, Deschutes The Stoic and of course Sweetwater (Atlanta) Happy Ending awaits us for the evening’s nightcap.
Next year awaits. Course is limited to 12 participants, more info later. But if you’d like to reminisce more see the summaries of 2011, 2010 and 2009 excursions to the magic island of Whitehead, where beer ebbs and flows and the fog is real, when it visits.
See participant Mike Johnson’s video/slide show of the 2012 Whitehead Light Station experience,
See past year’s accounts of the Whitehead Light Station Craft Beer and Brewing Experiences:
- 88 beers 4 days 10 people 1 island
- Space Ship Beer lands in Maine – beerwarp-vortex created
- 80+ beers I handpicked for 5 day beer tasting journey in Maine
- Whitehead Light Station 2011 recap: Trappiste beers & Hurricanes
- Beer Lucky in Maine: Whitehead Island Beer Class
- In a fog, judging IPA and stouts at Maine’s Whitehead Light Station
- The Craft of Beer and Brewing: beer, pie, hurricane croquet and lobster