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TGIF: Craft Beer Salute of the Week

Peak Organic Espresso Amber AleThis week, we travel to the nation’s Vacationland. No not Disney, we’re talking the great and beautiful state of Maine.  If you have never been to Maine you are missing one of this country’s most beautiful coastlines.  This weeks microbrewery, Peak Organic Brewing Company, resides in Portland. This is the largest and coolest city in Maine and where portions of Kevin Costner’s flop, Message in a Bottle, was filmed. One thing I promise not to bring you in a bottle this week is a flop.

Portland has become well known for it’s amazing food, having been named the “Foodiest Small Town in America” by  Bon Appétit magazine in 2009.  Having spent some time there, I highly recommend, Figa Restaurant and Bar Lola. Both of these are easy choices. Bar Lola was founded by two former architects and, although it lacks our beverage of choice, it is beautiful in every way. Also, Portland is home to lots of fun artisans and designers too. It’s a great place to spend a weekend–or even a week. You won’t be disappointed!

On the beverage side, it reminds me of what should be its west coast sister city, Portland, Oregon, with it’s 9 microbreweries. Hello, beercation! Peak Organic Brewing Company is a gem among the many breweries located throughout this historic port city.  Brewer Jon Cadoux started brewing in the 1990s and sources his ingredients from local organic farmers whenever possible, putting sustainability at the forefront of his business plan.

We cracked open their big bottle of Peak Espresso Amber Ale and immediately fell in love. This is the first Fair Trade Certified beer brewed in the United States.  This amber ale draws its organic espresso from right down the street where it is roasted at Coffee by Design.  The espresso is detected the minute you pop the cap. Below that, you smell the malts and light hops.  We poured this out in a pint glass and it has a really great appearance: rich dark amber color with a nice off white head that laces the entire way down the glass. Judging by the stronger, coffee aromas, I found the taste to be more balanced than I thought.  It still leans toward the coffee flavors, but the malts do a great job balancing the beer out.  For me, this beer has a high level of drinkability that I want to pair with a nice weekend brunch on a patio somewhere, or open this puppy up any summer evening after a long day at work. Speaking of which: drink up, it’s Memorial Day Weekend, and the summer bell is a ringing!!!

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