Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Urban Farm Fermentory Baby Jimmy

For this review, I'll be moving down the block to Urban Farm Fermentory. They're located just down the street from the producers of the previous two products I've reviewed. (Tandem Coffee Roasters & Rising Tide Brewery). Urban Farm makes many kombuchas, and I'm quite a fan of their ginger one. But I have their cask aged cider in front of me tonight.

It pours like a soda with a quickly rising fizz that sparkles so much that it could make you sneeze if you sip it too soon. But it settles quickly with no sort of 'head' like a beer. The Baby Jimmy's nose reminds me of a chardonnay because it consists of a crisp fruit and oak. Once on your tongue, the oak character becomes more of an oak-vanilla. This matches well to the apples chosen because it's tart, crisp, and slightly acidic like a fresh McIntosh apple. After swallowing a dry reminder of the oak is what's left in your mouth. The dryness and tartness harmonize well, and it's easy to drink unlike other things so dry.

Baby Jimmy is a sipping drink in my opinion, and I recommend pouring this in a wine glass or chalice instead of a pint glass to get a better sense of the smell. Urban Farm has done a fine job on it and I'm grading it a B (good) for bringing the sharply tart apple to the round and dry oak. If you enjoy a nice pinot gris or sauvignon blanc white wine, I'd seek this one out.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tandem Coffee Roasters Lake House Blend

I've brought my focus upon the local coffee roasting scene for this review. Tandem Coffee is the newest coffee roaster in Portland, ME, being only 2 months old from when this review was written. Even though Tandem Coffee mostly sells single origin beans, I'm sipping their Lake House Blend this morning and here are my thoughts:

The first thing my nose detects is an earthly-nutty tone, which comes back later on the tongue, but not in a dark way at all. Once past the lips things are very smooth and velvety with no acidic notes at all. Instead almond nuts are accompanied with a fruity (almost "cherry") note, and a bit of honey-like sweetness. Their is a slight floral after-tone as well. I found some of this palate comes out more with cream, which I usually never add.

Please don't think Tandem Coffee's house blend is a flavored coffee at all. They're just showing what can be in a coffee bean without making it too dark! This makes the Lake House Blend a great choice for Tandem's staple house blend, because here in Portland there's a lot of coffee going around. In my book it's a solid B (good) and will be a choice of mine when I want to add a variety to my typical darker choices of beans. I'm sure many will make it their everyday choice.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rising Tide Tempest

Beer and Coffee are Portland's biggest local drink interests, with brewers and roasters creating names that have traveled well beyond the Maine state. This review is about a porter that's from a correlation of Rising Tide Brewing Company, and Bard Coffee: The Tempest. Let's see what Rising Tide can do with a fine bean from Bard.

This beer poured impressively in my pint glass with a light foaming head, and a bit of carbonation seen on the walls. The aura given off of the head wasn't of brewed coffee, but of coffee beans. On the tongue the first thing noticed is the carbonation leaving a tingle of a texture, but the dark roast coffee comes right after and stays throughout the rest of the experience. Like the scent, it's more of beans but not a brewed coffee because this part is not bitter at all. Semi-sweet malts in a dark-chocolate way exist on the palate too, working their way through the initial coffee and carbonation elements after a few sips. It's mid-weight body makes the Tempest very easy to drink in comparison to other porters, even with the coffee and chocolate aspects.

The Tempest isn't the dark beer that will put hair on your chest, (despite the strong palate), because of how well the chords played by Rising Tide's Tempest play together. It's an A (excellent) in my book and will be a common choice of mine when I want something to sip at the end of the day. I hope it becomes a staple on the shelves of fine beer selections.