Winter is much warmer with a beverage and good company. So throughout the month of February we hosted intimate tours, talks, and tastes with some of Maine’s beverage producers (including a little something for everyone from tea to spirits, wine, and beer too!).
Our tour started at Dobra Tea where owner Ellen Kanner taught us about the six classes of tea, the importance of time and temperature when making tea, and how much more eco-friendly bulk tea is over tea bags. “I enjoyed her analogy of tea to wine and really appreciated that because it’s true. People here don’t usually understand how tea is cultivated and processed and equate tea to tea bags but when you understand what good tea tastes like, you won’t see it the same.” – Sarah C (check all the reviews!)
Next we had a sit down chat with Jeff Johnson of Stroudwater Distillery who introduced us to his vodka, bourbon, and Vespertino (tequila crema). He then gave us a private tour where Yelpers got to try aged rum and aged brandy directly from the barrel!“The quality and flavor of all spirits sampled was top notch. Each was a strong and balanced representation of the style. I really appreciated the counter trend of over scenting and flavoring. A quality drink stands on its inherent characteristics, not trendy adjuncts. The distiller’s philosophy reflects this. In summary, look here for leadership in local craft spirits. The bar is being raised! Strong work.” – Bruce D (check out all the reviews!)
Our tour then brought us to Chris Gamble of Blue Urban Lobster Winery. BLUW is creating a delicious chardonnay, rosé, red blend, and wild blueberry infused cabernet sauvignon. The kicker? It’s all in cans! #nocorkscrewneeded“SUCH a wonderful event! I really enjoyed the casual, laid-back feel of Blue Lobster. It is the opposite of pretentious. It is a place to relax and enjoy nice wines with good conversation. It is a welcoming, comfortable, and cozy space. It honestly felt like being at home in my living room. It’s so obvious when you walk in that the people who run it really, genuinely care about what they are doing.” – Melissa D (check out all the reviews!)
The next stop was at YES Brewing with brewer John “Bigs” Bigelow. YES Brewing is passionate about making experimental and funky beers: think a jalapeno pale ale, a fruited lactose sour with orange and vanilla, and a wild sour with fresh grapes acquired locally. “Legit – this really is my favorite. I like that the whole thing is not taken over by IPA’s. Sours are my favorite right now – and this place delivers for me. They are creative with their flavors and experimentation.” – Cookie T (check out all the reviews!)
Our final stop of Yelp’s Tour De Pour was at Three of Strong Spirits with owner Dave Mcconnell, master mixologist at Crystal Pomerleau, and distiller Graham Hamblett. The Mardi Gras themed party featured a cheese and rum pairing, all you could eat oysters from Mook Sea Farm, King Cake (of course!), but the star of the show was the incredible quad of rums Three of Strong Spirits is producing: Brightwater – a smooth silver rum, Stone Pier – a blend of their potstilled Brightwater and five-year old column-stilled Columbia run, Parchando – their 12-year-old world class sipping rum, and Merrymeeting – a spiced rum with a swirl of botanical flavors. “The rum was so different I was confused. None of the sweet and other sugary stuff I am used to drinking in fruit cups with umbrellas. Think whiskey like complexity with more assertive botanicals and flavor profiles. The straight rum from the heart if distilling was clean cut with some grassy notes. From there, the combination if molasses brought in earthy, toffee and banana notes. Some of the concoctions tasted like spice and herb digestifs from Europe.” – Lu-Shien T (check out all the reviews!)
Cheers to drinking local!