Tag Archives: Foundation

Foundation Forge

Today I am going to attempt to coin a new beer term, Blue Chip beer styles. Blue Chip Beer styles are the few styles of beer that are most sought out by beer geeks, and making an amazing version of a Blue Chip beer can put a newer or less renowned brewery on the map, locally or even nationally. It would be great if making a top notch beer of any style would attract this attention, but when was the last time you saw a line form for a brown ale or ESB release? In my opinion there are two beer styles that are definitively Blue Chip, double IPAs and imperial stouts. If you look at the highest rated beers on any crowd-sourced beer cite the list is usually dominated by DIPAs and boozy stouts, and many of the most sought after beer releases revolve around these styles. Other types of beer including standard or New England style IPA and sour/wild ales are also in consideration for Blue Chip status, but I am going to start with two definitive styles (since I just made up the term I feel like I have that power, feel free to disagree). A good example of the power of a quality Blue Chip beer is Foundation Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. When Foundation first opened they focused on saisons and other Belgian inspired styles. These beers were very good but the brewery didn’t really take off until they released Epiphany, their stellar DIPA. Now Foundation is a sought out destination in the crowded Portland brewery scene. Foundation also brews another Blue Chip style in the winter, an imperial stout named Forge. My visits to Maine are much more regular in the summer, so I hadn’t sampled Forge until recently, but Foundation now distributes to Massachusetts, so it’s much easier to drink their beers on a regular basis. Foundation Forge is available in the colder months on draft and in 16 oz cans.

Foundation ForgeFoundation Forge pours pitch black with a small tan head. The aroma is full of rich roasted malts, make you want to dive right in. The beer is malt forward, notes of black coffee, dark chocolate, raisin and just a faint hint of booze. There is also some noticeable hop flavor, hints of pine and herbs along with a little bitterness. Forge is a full bodied sipper but goes down pretty easy for a beer with 10% ABV. The finish is full and rich with lingering malty goodness. This is a top-notch imperial stout, an absolutely delicious beer. If DIPA and imperial stout are truly the Blue Chip beer styles Foundation is in very good shape with Epiphany and Forge! Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Previous Foundation Reviews:

Foundation Cosmic BloomFoundation VentureFoundation Afterglow, Foundation WanderlustFoundation Epiphany



Foundation Cosmic Bloom

When you ask a beer nerd to name the best breweries in Maine there are a few that will inevitably come up. Hopheads will immediately cite Maine Beer Company and Bissell Brothers, while fans of Belgian styles would point to Allagash and Oxbow. There are many others that would also be mentioned, it’s an incredibly vibrant scene is my home state. One brewery that as crept up my list of favorite Maine breweries in recent visits is Foundation Brewing Company in Portland. Their expanded brewery in Portland is a must visit, especially on a nice day when the fun spills out onto their expansive patio. Unlike some other popular breweries, Foundation also distributes their beer, mostly in Maine but it has now made appearances in Massachusetts too. Foundation’s most popular beer is definitely their stellar DIPA Epiphany, but they feature a strong lineup of diverse offerings. I recently sampled a relatively new addition to their lineup, an American pale ale named Cosmic Bloom. Foundation Cosmic Bloom is brewed with five types of hops and is available on draft and in 16 oz cans.

Foundation Cosmic BloomFoundation Cosmic Bloom pours hazy light yellow with a solid white head. The scent is a big burst of fruity hops, tropical, citrus and berries. The flavor is also very hop forward with a unique new-age flavor profile that includes notes of melon, strawberry and tangerine. There is a little bitter bite, not bracing but this isn’t a straight jooce-bomb NEIPA either. The hops are complimented by a mild malt backbone, hints of white bread and cereal. Cosmic Bloom is light and easy to drink, not too boozy at 5.8% ABV.  The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor. This beer is delicious, well crafted with tons of flavor and a little different than other hoppy beers. Cosmic Bloom is now neck-in-neck with Epiphany for my favorite Foundation beer. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Previous Foundation Reviews:

Foundation VentureFoundation Afterglow, Foundation WanderlustFoundation Epiphany


Foundation Venture

When you travel with a group you always need to make compromises when it comes to an itinerary. I recently took a trip to Portland with a group of 10 friends from college, we had guys travel from 5 different states to attend, and a number of us contributed to the plan for the weekend. A few of the other guys are into beer, a few dabble and a couple couldn’t care at all, so it wouldn’t have been fair to make the whole trip beer-centric. Fortunately I was able to steer the group out to Industrial Way to tour Allagash and check out the other breweries in that area. One brewery that has really grown over the last few years is Foundation Brewing. My first visit to Foundation was soon after they opened and I enjoyed their initial offerings and thought they had some serious potential. Since then they have introduced a number of extremely popular beers, including Epiphany, a Double IPA that has been consistently ranked amongst the best in the state. My recent visit was the first time I’d been back since their expansion, the brewery is beautiful, especially on a nice spring day when you can sit outside and sample some delicious beers. I grabbed some to go too, Epiphany (of course) and their “other” DIPA called Venture, which was new to me. I completely forgot to grab a Foundation glass for my glassware collection, I’ll need to do that next time I am in town. Foundation Venture is brewed with five varieties of New World hops and is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

Fundation VentureFoundation Venture pours a hazy orange with a massive white head. The scent is a big burst of hops, mostly citrus and tropical fruit. Venture drinks like a hybrid of the New England and West Coast IPA styles. There is a ton of hop flavor, notes of grapefruit, orange, mango and pine along with a solid bitter bite. This is balanced by some malt, touches of bread crust and honey. Venture has a medium body and drinks very easy for 8% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor and bitterness. Venture is another very good Foundation beer, this is quickly becoming a must visit brewery for anyone checking out the Portland area. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Foundation Reviews:

Foundation Afterglow, Foundation WanderlustFoundation Epiphany



Foundation Afterglow

When I make my semi-annual trips up to Maine I try to grab some Maine beers that aren’t distributed in Massachusetts yet. One of the breweries I find myself consistently gravitating towards is Foundation Brewing Company out of Portland. When I first visited Foundation a couple years ago they were just getting started and benefitting from being sandwiched between Maine beer icon Allagash and buzz-worthy startup Bissell Brothers. Now that Bissell Brothers has moved, Foundation has expanded and are attracting a crowd on their own merits. This expansion has allowed for the distribution of some of their cans, and you can find their beer at local bars and in beer-centric bottle shops. I tried a couple new-to-me Foundation beers on my last trip including Afterglow, one of the IPA’s they brew. Foundation Afterglow is brewed with many of the “C” hops that were popularized in the West Coast IPA boom, including Cascade, Columbus, Centennial and Chinook. It is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 16 oz. tallboy cans.

foundation-afterglowFoundation Afterglow pours clear bright orange with a solid white head. The scent is a big hit of hops, mostly citrus and resin. The beer is clearly more of a West Coast IPA than the fruitier New England style, notes of pine, grapefruit, orange and grass along with a solid bitter kick. This is balanced by a noticeable malt backbone, hints of whole grain bread and honey. Afterglow is medium bodied and drinks smooth but packs a little punch at 7.0% ABV. The finish is crisp with some lingering hop flavor and bitter bite. This is a high quality West Coast style IPA, while I love the smooth drinking New England styles it’s nice to mix in some bitterness here and there. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Foundation Reviews:

Foundation WanderlustFoundation Epiphany

Foundation Wanderlust

There is a gas station/convenience store in the center of the small town where I grew up. It was a place where I pumped my first tank of gas after passing my driver’s test, where I would stop to grab a soda or a candy bar in high school and where I bought scratch tickets and Swisher Sweets on my 18th birthday. They always sold beer (this is Maine, where pretty much every grocery and convenience store sells beer), but I would have never guessed that it would become a draw for craft beer fans. When I was up in Maine last month I stopped to grab a 6 pack on the way to visit some friends, hoping the store would have something decent and I was blown away by their selection. They had the full line of Maine Beer Company beers and many other high end and hard to find local brews. One of my buddies who lives in the area said the owner had become a big beer geek and kept track of the most popular local brews to stock in the store. I grabbed a few things including a 4-pack of Wanderlust from Foundation Brewing Company in Portland. When I first visited Foundation a couple years ago, before they created a craze with Epiphany, I was very impressed by the beers I tried and one of my favorites was a hoppy saison named Wanderlust. I was excited to give the beer another try, and a proper review.

foundation-wanderlustFoundation Epiphany pours a clear golden yellow with a moderate white head. The scent is a mixture of fruitiness from the expressive Belgian style yeast strain and citrus aroma from the hops. The yeast leads the flavor, notes of green apple, apricot and peppercorn. This is complemented by touches of lemon, mango, cut grass and tangerine from the hops. It’s not a hop-bomb beer, but there is significantly more hop flavor than the average saison. The beer is rounded out by a light malt backbone which contributes hints of whole grain bread and crackers. Wanderlust is light bodied and very easy to drink, sessionable at 4.5% ABV. The finish is dry and crisp with some lingering hop and yeast flavors. It was great to revisit Wanderlust, it was no surprise that the first time I tried this beer I left impressed by the growing potential of Foundation Brewing. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Foundation Reviews:

Foundation Epiphany

Foundation Epiphany

During my recent trip to Maine I was able to visit an array of breweries, but there were a few I was disappointed to miss. The sheer number of breweries that line the Maine coastline is impressive, and it is hard to balance visits to old favorites along with checking out new spots. One favorite that I was sad to miss was Foundation Brewing Company in Portland. I stopped by Foundation last spring and had a great time, the crew at the brewery were welcoming and engaging and the beer was delicious. In the last year Foundation has started canning some of their offerings and their IPA Epiphany in particular has started to build significant buzz. I had hoped to grab some on my way north, I was already visiting their neighbors Allagash and Bissell Brothers, but they didn’t open until a couple hours later and I couldn’t wait around (the trials and tribulations of traveling with an infant). I ended up getting lucky though! I visited my good friend Russell during the trip and he’s a beer enthusiast. Russell had one beer he really wanted me to try and write up, none other than a tall boy can of Foundation Epiphany. Foundation Epiphany is brewed with Columbus, Cascade, Citra, Ella and Mosaic hops and is available year-round, but the 16 oz. cans are only produced once a month and they sell out quickly.

Foundation EpiphanyFoundation Epiphany pours a hazy deep orange with a moderate white head. The scent is a monstrous burst of hops, citrus fruit and resin. The taste is also very hop forward, notes of grapefruit, mango, pine and orange along with solid but not overwhelming bitterness. This is balanced by a noticeable malt backbone, touches of whole grain bread and caramel. The beer finishes clean with just a hint of lingering hop flavor, and drinks incredibly smooth for 8% ABV. Foundation Epiphany is an incredibly good IPA, it easily earns a place in the conversation for the best IPA in Maine, a field that is becoming more and more crowded. It is no wonder that Epiphany has become one of the beers people seek out when they travel to Vacationland. I’m really glad I got a chance to try it! Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

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.