Foundation Brewing Company, Portland, ME

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We visited Foundation Brewing Company on our recent trip to Portland with Maureen and Jason. They too are located in the legendary 1 IndustriALE Way, in the same building as Bissel Brothers and Austin Street Brewing, right across the street from Allagash.

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They had been open for almost a year when when we visited. We have heard good things about them, they have been creating a bit of a buzz. Jason and Maureen tried some of their beer at a festival in Boston. When we visited, they had 4 beers on tap to try, samples were $1 each.

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Eddy – 5.7% Traditional saison, fairly light in body and flavor, not a
whole lot of flavor though.

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Infused Saison – 5.7% A brewery only option, infused with cardamom and orange. This had a much better taste, more interesting and complex, a lot of the orange flavor. Mark, Megan, Maureen and Jason all liked this.

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Burnside – 5.17% English brown ale, really good flavor, hint of caramel, one of the best brown ales we have had recently.

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Infused Burnside – 5.17% Infused with coffee, the smell of coffee is intense. The balance of coffee and brown ale flavor is good. Between this one and the Infused Saison, Megan didn’t know which to sample again! They did not have any Blaze available to taste, but we liked the beers we did taste so Mark figured it was worth a shot, and this was the only bottle available while we were there. IMG_1656

 

Blaze – 6.2% Comes in a 750 mL bottle, which is a little different for a beer. A farmhouse style ale, good taste, fairly hoppy flavor but light in body, good balance. We ‘tasted’ this at home.

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Jason and Mark enjoying their samples

 

They are in a pretty small place, we hung around the bar area. When they are open to the public you can take your samples into the back brewing area to spread out. Customer’s were playing cornhole in the back when we were there. This was one of Megan and Maureen’s favorites- because of the atmosphere and conversation. Two couples run the brewery together, and they started with
a love of Farmhouse beers.

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Growlers. glasses, and limited bottles for sale

 

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Merch for sale

 

Update August 2015:


Epiphany glass

 

Three important updates from when we visited about 6 months ago.

First is:

Epihany – Maine IPA 8%
This beer is described as a Maine IPA by Foundation, pictured above. It is a super hop-fruity IPA with little to no bitterness. Mark really likes it, and it is different than most other IPA’s, maybe that’s why they call it a Maine IPA. It was a little too fruity for Jason, and he tasted it because I actually got my hands on some cans.

 

Epiphany Cans

 

Update number 2. They can beers and distribute now! This is good news for us. Although we did just drive by Portland and stop in for a growler full of Epiphany, we don’t frequent Portland too often. They do have a small area roped off outside, for the nicer weather, which doubles the amount of people they can have tasting. Occasionally some cans make it down near the NH border, so hopefully we can get some. Which brings us to the 3rd update:

More capacity! They added a third 30 barrel fermentation tank somewhat recently. Then in the past week they added 2 more 45 barrel tanks. Hopefully that means we will see even more beer distributed and making it outside of the Portland area.

 

Want to Visit?

Thursday 3:00 – 6:00
Friday 12:00 – 7:00
Saturday 12:00 – 7:00

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Visit #90! Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME

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Our third stop on our most recent trip through Portland with Jason and Maureen was Allagash Brewing. They are right across the street from Bissel Brothers, Foundation, and Austin Street Brewing or should we say they all moved in right across the street from Allagash.

 

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If you want to go for a tour, you need to book it ahead of time. The tours book up quickly, and they try to keep them a fair size- so everyone can see and hear the tour guide. The tour is free, but you have to plan ahead. We booked our tour about two weeks in advance, and booked it for four people- not yet knowing who the other two people would be! We booked for the only time slot that had spots for four people, knowing we would have company. We didn’t want the others to not be able to go. The tour includes a private tasting as well.

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Cool bar in the tap room

 

If you find that you aren’t able to book a tour, you can go to their tasting room and try some there! We were unaware that they had a tap room prior to our visit, but now know we can go anytime we are in the area!

 

Our tour guide was Thadius, a local college student, which he reminded us of several times. His fun loving personality made the tour entertaining but he was also quite knowledgeable about the brewery and was able to answer questions people had.

 

We learned a lot about Allagash while on the tour. They told us what makes them special and different, not just the typical story on how beer is made, so we liked that. We learned that 80% of what they produce is Allagash White. They are the 32nd largest brewery in the US, and still a craft brewery. Their biggest markets are LA, then Chicago and Boston.

 

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They operate a 70 barrel system right now. They expanded 2 years ago, and now they are planning to add more fermenters.

This is inside of the newest part of the brewery. This was the old exterior wall, and they left the old Allagash Brewing Company sign up.

They have a custom BrauKon system for producing as much White and Saison as they can.

 

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This newer system is more computerized, but you still need the brewer to check on things and know how to work the system. They brew 5 days a week, 24 hours a day. They have 15 brewers and over 80 employees.
How are they working to be even more eco-friendly?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
*Their spent grain goes to a local farmer, Norm, to feed to his cows.
*They also use steam energy.
*Just last year, they added a beehive on premise to use the honey in the beer. They are using the most local honey they can, and are helping the honey bee population! Another cool fact about the honey- their Accountant is the bee keeper!
*They have the least water usage of breweries, and use local water coming from Sebago Lake (just over 10miles away)

 

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Old system with Thadius

 

They still use an old 15 barrel system that Rob Tod started with back in 1995. They use this older system for their more experimental brews.

 

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They use Microstar kegs, a co-op program so when they ship full kegs to somewhere like LA, a local brewery reuses instead of shipping empty kegs back to Maine, which not only makes it easier for them, but also is more eco-friendly.

Fun fact- about 60% of their production is put into kegs. This is a lot for a brewery of this size.

 

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barrels in their barrel room. Each has the beer’s name or a code name on it.

 

An interesting sounding beer we heard about in the barrel room was the Koelschip series. The Koelschip series are sour and/or funky beers. They use wild yeast to get the sour flavor, and it takes 3-4 years to actively ferment. Megan really likes sour beers, so we will be on the lookout for any Koelschip series releases!

 

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The oldest barrel we saw.

 

These barrels were in a separate temperature controlled building to age.

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large barrels and fermenting beer

 

Allagash has a pilot system in which employees can submit recipes for brewing. Like their Saison? You can thank an employee for that! The Saison is not their first new year round beer in just about twelve years.

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a little view into how large they actually are…

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empty barrels, ready to be filled

 

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the private tasting area in the barrel room

 

Our tasting:

White – 5.2%
The first Allagash beer. We have all had this before and we have liked it. Maureen thought it was light, Megan and Mark order it out at the bar sometimes.

 

Saison – 6.1%
Recommended to have with spicy food. Light and citrusy with orange and coriander taste. Maureen said it was a titch spicy on the back of the tongue. We all liked this as well.

 

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the Saison mmmmmm

 

 

Four – Quad – 10%
Takes four months to make, uses 4 yeast and is complicated to make. Smooth and very flavorful, we all liked it. Jason liked it so much he bought a bottle there, and has bought 2 more since then.

 

Tripel – 9%
Aged in Jim Beam barrels. Light for being aged in Jim barrels. Maureen said she tasted fruit right on the tongue. Good balance of beer, flavor and fruit. Mark bought a bottle of this.

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Cooler full of brewery only beers as well as beers you will find elsewhere!

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Special Release! Midnight Brett Ale

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Midnight Brett Ale:
Megan opted to purchase this one, despite having not tried it. She understood that Brett Ales can be on the tart side, and loves trying beers like that. It had the flavor and aroma of berries and sour cherries. She was very happy to have bought two bottles. Mark had hoped for a bit more tartness.

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the tap room bar, inside the retail store

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t-shirts galore!

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have a kegerator at home?

 

We enjoyed our visit to Allagash, and liked how the tour was- it wasn’t just the “here’s how we make beer,” but what actually makes them who they are. We will certainly be back, especially to see what special releases they have!

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Want to visit?
HOURS: Monday – Saturday: 10am-5pm.
Last tour at 4pm, taps close at 4:45pm

Check their website or their facebook for any changes.

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In the area? Besides going across the street to Bissel Brothers,
Foundation and Austin Street, take the drive to:
Urban Farm Fermentory
Shipyard Brewing Co.