Tag Archives: Bissell Brothers

Bissell Brothers Seed

A couple weeks ago I took a trip with my family up to Maine to see my parents and some friends. The trip was a little quicker than I would have liked, we needed to squeeze it in between the end of our move and the start date for my new job. Fortunately I was still able to visit a couple breweries during the brief visit north. One must-stop on my list was the new Bissell Brother’s brewery on the South Portland waterfront. I loved the old Bissell location, especially with the proximity to other breweries, but I understand the need to expand given the popularity of their beers. We stopped on the drive up and at 1:45 on a Wednesday afternoon they were completely sold out of the day’s allotment of cans (they opened at noon). Fortunately this gave me an excuse to stop again on the way home on Saturday, which also happened to be the release day for Seed, a beer brewed with Maine grown strawberries and raspberries that is only released once a year. After a little wait in line I made it out with a few 4-packs of Seed along with some of the last cans of their standout flagship The Substance released that day. Totally worth the stop.

Bissell Brothers SeedBissell Brother Seed pours a hazy pink with a substantial off-white head. The scent is mostly fruit along with a little acidity. Seed is a great summer beer, light and refreshing but still complex and full flavored. The strawberry and raspberry flavors are well represented without overwhelming the beer. Unlike the older generation of fruit beers there is minimal residual sweetness, instead the fruity notes are complemented by a subtle tartness. A light malt backbone and minimal hops round out the beer. Seed is light bodied and extremely easy to drink, I couldn’t believe that it was 6% ABV. The finish is dry with a little lingering tartness, strawberry and raspberry. I really enjoyed Seed, it is no surprise that people lined the block in order to grab 4 packs of this year’s release! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Bissell Brothers Reviews:

Bissell Brothers The Substance

Bissell Brothers The Substance

I believe that the best way for a small brewery to stand out in the increasingly competitive beer market is to focus on one type of beer at the outset, and perfect that particular style. Usually this means one category, for example; hop-forward beers, Belgian ales, lagers, session beers, etc. Bissell Brothers Brewing in Portland, ME took this concept to a new level. At first their entire production was based around a single beer. Fortunately for them this one beer was a hop-bomb IPA called The Substance, and it quickly became one of the most sought after and highly regarded beers in Maine (and beyond). I visited Bissell Brothers during my trip to Portland last year, and I was able to sample The Substance in their tasting room. Unfortunately they were sold out of cans so I couldn’t do a formal review of the beer. This summer the brewery has done a much better job of keeping customers updated on the availability of their beers using their social media accounts. When I saw that they would have plenty of The Substance in stock on the weekend I would be in Maine I knew that their brewery on Industrial Way in Portland would be a must-stop. The Substance is brewed weekly with Falconer’s Flight, Centennial, Apollo, Summit and Chinook hops and distributed on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

Bissell Brothers The SubstanceBissell Brothers The Substance pours a hazy straw yellow with a mild white head. The scent is a huge burst of hoppy goodness, mostly citrus fruit and pine. The taste is also very hop forward, notes of lemon, resin, grapefruit, mango and grass along with a bitterness that bites you back a little. This hoppiness is balanced by some solid malt flavor, bready with a hint of caramel. The beer is medium bodied and despite the bitterness drinks very easy. At 6.6% ABV it is moderately alcoholic for the style. The finish is crisp and clean with some lingering hop flavor. Some beers get so hyped up that they inevitably disappoint, but that is not the case here. Nearly every brewery makes an IPA, and The Substance is one of the best. There are so many great beers available on Industrial Way, but the trip is worth it for this beer alone. Hoppy Boston score: 5.0/5.

HoppyBoston goes to Portland Part 2: Foundation Brewing and Bissell Bros.

Industrial Way in Portland might be slightly off the beaten path, but it is an embarrassment of riches for craft beer fans. I reviewed my stops at Allagash and Austin Street Brewing Company yesterday. Today I’ll cover the other two breweries on Industrial Way, Foundation Brewing Company and Bissell Brothers. Both breweries are located in One Industrial Way, the craft beer incubator that previously gave rise to Maine Beer Co. and Rising Tide.

Foundation BrewingFoundation Brewing Company consists of a moderate size warehouse with brewing equipment, fronted by a small tasting room where they pour samples and fill growlers. Their beers tend to be Belgian focused, with an in-house saison yeast strain that started as a commercial yeast used in a long-ago homebrew recipe and has evolved through many years and many batches of beer. I had a great chat with their brewer John about the importance of yeast in brewing, and how controlling the cultivation of the yeast and the resulting flavors it imparts on the beer is still underdeveloped. John is a fellow scientist, so we had plenty of nerdy things to talk about. Many of Foundation’s beers meld the tastes of their house Belgian yeast strain with liberal additions of hops, a flavor combination that regular readers of this blog know is right up my alley.

On our visit Foundation was pouring three beers in the tasting room. One of their flagship beers is Eddy, a light, drinkable saison with plenty of fruity and spicy ester flavors and a clean dry finish. Blaze is a Belgian IPA, combining the house yeast with a variety of popular American hops. My personal favorite was Wanderlust #1, their dry-hopped spring saison. The citrus and tropical fruit from the hops meld seamlessly with the esters from the yeast making a flavorful, complex and easy to drink beer. Overall I was very impressed with Foundation’s beers and the friendly and talkative brewery staff. I’ll be interested to taste some more of their creations on further trips to Portland (and hopefully their beers will make it south at some point in the relatively near future).

Bissell Brothers 1Next door to Foundation is Bissell Brothers Brewing. Bissell Brothers has a larger tap room and a small patio out front with seating. The decor is very unique, with spray-paint artwork and tables made from old oil barrels. Bissell Brothers is founded by the namesake brothers, Noah and Peter, along with their friend and GM Seth Vigue. They have generated an enormous amount of hype recently with their flagship beer The Substance, an American IPA. Tasting this hop-forward IPA is one of the main reasons I wanted to make the trip out to Industrial Way, a cornerstone of our weekend in Portland.

Bissell Brothers 2I have read many opinions on The Substance, and the vast majority are positive. Some have gone so far as to favorably compare The Substance to Heady Topper and other highly regarded/hard to find American IPAs, which is incredible praise. At some point I will get some cans and do a proper review of this beer. On the day I was there the brewery was sold out so I was only able to sample a little on draft. The beer is delicious, tons of the citrus, tropical fruit and pine hop flavors that you expect from a good American IPA but still very drinkable. I can understand why The Substance is so popular and why it sells so quickly. Hopefully Bissell Brothers will be able to expand production to catch up to demand (so they can at least keep the brewery stocked). It will also be interesting to see what they come up with next.

That concludes part two of Hoppy Boston’s trip to Portland. Tomorrow or Thursday I’ll post part three which will feature reviews of some of the beer bars we visited in the Old Port including Sebago Brewing Company, Novare Res Bier Café and The Thirsty Pig.