The quaint ocean-side city of Portland, Maine has become a hotspot for emerging craft breweries. One of the developing stars in Portland is Rising Tide Brewing Company. Rising Tide was founded in 2010 by brewer/owner Nathan and his business partner Heather. Rising Tide brews a series of year-round and seasonal ales available on draft and in 22 oz bottles. They currently distribute to Maine and Massachusetts. Rising Tide’s winter seasonal beer is Ursa Minor, a weizen stout brewed September through April. Weizen stouts, or dark wheat beers, are an intriguing fusion of a German style wheat beer and a stout. Dark wheat beers can vary depending on the balance the brewer finds between the wheat malts and dark roasted barley malts, along with the selection of yeast. Ursa Minor is brewed with a German style yeast typical for Hefeweizens, along with several types of wheat and dark roasted barley.
Rising Tide Ursa Minor pours molasses brown with a substantial and sustained tan head. There are some dark malt smells present, but the stronger aroma comes from the wheat. It smells a lot like a hefeweizen, with some notes of clove from the German yeast strain. The weizen flavors lead the taste too, with notes of clove, bubblegum and whole wheat bread. The dark malts come in afterwards, with touches of coffee and roasted barley. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side for a dark beer, and the beer is solidly carbonated and easy to drink. At 6.7% ABV this is a solid beer, and the warming alcohol starts to come through as you get to the end of 22 oz bottle. This beer is very different and interesting. I’m typically not a huge fan of hefeweizens, but I really enjoyed the interplay with the subtle dark barley flavors here. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.