Burnside on Coffee and the Foreside Tavern & Side Bar

Burnside and CoffeeCOFFEE.  A quick look around shows how deeply coffee has sunk into our culture. First thing in the morning, you grab a coffee. Coffee is what you drink at work to keep you going. It is what you drink when you are meeting with an old friend when grabbing a beer is not an option. Okay, I’ll admit it, … we have a coffee problem, which is that we just ran out and need more!

It is no accident that the taste of Burnside has strong coffee notes. We created this beer by talking about the flavors we were looking for in the glass, and worked backwards. With Burnside, we wanted to highlight the roasted notes, coffee and chocolate, with enough malt and caramel sweetness to bind everything together. However, we decided that it would be fun to give it even more of a punch. So, Burnside on Coffee was born.

We cold-brewed locally roasted premium coffee beans, which highlights the natural flavors of the coffee, but does not extract the bitterness. We then blended that coffee extraction heavily with Burnside. The final result is a smooth, delicious, rounded beer with deep coffee aroma and flavor throughout.

We made a special keg of this beer for our Meet the Brewers event tonight at the Foreside Tavern, in which we nearly doubled the amount of coffee added to Burnside, sure to make it even more amazing than the blend we served last weekend at the brewery.  The event runs from 5:30-7 pm tonight, and we would love to share a pint with you!

John & Joel

Terroir – Local Harvest Saison

Wet-hopped Harvest AleTerroir is a French word that refers to the impact that the local geography, climate, and soil composition has on agricultural goods. This can produce marked variation among even genetically identical plants.  It is, in a word, the expression of place. When you can taste that in your food, that is terroir.

We live and work in an incredible place, and we want our beers to reflect that as much as we can.  To that end, we have been working with Maine farmers to help supply ingredients for our beers.  To welcome the harvest, we recently made a Maine wet hopped ale that will be featured at the brewery this weekend.  Made in a very limited amount, we encourage you to stop by and try it.

The hops in this beer are centennial hops, supplied by the great people at The Hop Yard and grown in Ft. Fairfield.  These are wet hops, picked right from the bine and used in the beer without being dried or otherwise processed.  The barley malt is all Maine grown and sourced, from our friends at Blue Ox Malthouse in Belfast, and the wheat is from Davy and the cool people at Maine Grains in Skowhegan.  I have used Maine Grains flour in the bread I bake for my family since they opened, and I am very excited that we are now using them to supply the raw grains for all of our beers.  Tied together with our local water and our house saison yeast, this beer is about letting these ingredients express themselves.

Come taste what Maine has to offer.

John and Joel

Infusion Series: White Peppercorns

whitepepperThis week, we are happy to introduce a new infusion, white pepper. Originating from India, and prized for its ability to enhance the flavor of food, pepper has been traded for millennia and has become an integral part of many cuisines. The pepper plant produces three different types of pepper. Black, the type most people are familiar with, are when the whole ripe fruits are allowed to dry with the outer cover still intact. Green peppercorns, common in Southeast Asian cuisines, are fruit that are picked before they are ripe, and are often dried or pickled. White peppercorns are when the black peppercorns have their outer covering removed before or after drying. White pepper has the classic distinct peppery bite, but is a bit milder and not as broad of a flavor as black pepper. Saisons often have a peppery bite, and this seemed like a natural pairing. To get the best effect, we ground the peppercorns just prior to adding them to the infusion.

We will also have two dry hopped saisons to offer this weekend. The first is hopped with Warrior. Warrior is a hop known for its bittering properties, but is sometimes used in late hop additions. Warrior has a pronounced resiny taste and aroma.

The second dry hopped saison is hopped with Perle. This German hop expresses a woody and spicy character often found in continental hops.

Of course, Eddy, Burnside and Blaze will also be available.  We hope you enjoy, and look forward to seeing you in the tasting room.


The Ember Story

Ember at the brewery

Ember supervising early construction

This coming weekend, we’ll be pouring the first batch we’ve brewed of Ember since opening in February. We’re excited to pour this beer for a lot of reasons — we’ve been planning this as our fall seasonal since before we opened, and it’s finally time to start brewing it. It was a favorite homebrew recipe of mine for years and one that friends always looked forward to. It also signifies something extremely personal for me as well — it was named for my dog Ember, a Red Bone Coon hound who passed away last November, just months before the brewery opened. She joined me on many trips to Portland while we were still living in Orono, and got to explore the brewery before she left us.

Ember was a shelter dog that my wife and I rescued almost 10 years ago, and like many shelter dogs who have had a less than stellar life prior to being rescued, she had her fair share of baggage. She taught us a lot about the rewards of perseverance, and to recognize progress, no matter how small or how long it takes to get there. She was a small dog with a huge personality, and we miss her presence every day.

Ember pint glass Our hoppy amber saison, Ember, is a recipe that I home brewed for years, and one that friends requested often. When we began working with our house saison yeast, and I brewed my hoppy amber ale with our yeast, it became something special. The fruit character from our house yeast gives a huge boost to the large dry-hop addition of Mosaic hops. The highly attenuative nature of our yeast also creates a beer that starts out slightly sweet from English crystal malt, but finishes dry and crisp. We decided to name this gorgeous amber colored beer Ember, after our Red Bone Coon hound, whose coat was the same color as the beer.

I hope that this beer brings you happiness, as she did for us, and raise your glass to lost friends.


Infusion Series: Anise & Orange Zest, Basil

Basil and Anise

A few weeks ago, my wife Tina had been down in the Old Port earlier in the day with our boys on a shopping trip. Usually the boys could think of nothing that would be less appealing, but she told them they were going to be in the neighborhood of Standard Baking Company and that perhaps they would stop in for a pastry.  That was all it took, and they were happy to make the trip. At the bakery, everyone got to pick out something delicious to bring home. Tina decided to surprise me with something she had never seen before, a pastry called a gibassier.  Later that day, as things settled down, I opened up the bag and pulled out my treat. It was this odd shaped pastry, made of a light, buttery dough. However, at the first bite, what jumped out at me was the anise flavor.

Anise can be a bit of a polarizing spice. It has the flavor that most people associate with licorice, and tends to be something you either like or you don’t. I have always enjoyed the taste, but Tina, not so much. However, she took one bite of the gibassier, and was impressed. As she turned to walk away with the rest of my treat, she mentioned how she had to find a recipe.

After looking it up, we learned it is a traditional pastry from the Provence region of France, flavored with orange blossom water, candied orange peel and anise. I was so impressed by this anise-orange flavor combination, I knew I had to try it in our infusion series.

farmersmarketThe other infusion we will have on this weekend is basil. We made this infusion a few weeks ago, and it was delicious. I was wandering through the farmer’s market this past Saturday, and the basil just looked so good, I knew I had to do it again while I can still get my hands on this herb at its peak.

We will be pouring these beers this weekend, in addition to Eddy, Blaze, Wanderlust, and Burnside. As we have only one line dedicated to the infusions this weekend, they will not be on at the same time. We are not sure which will be available on any given day, but we hope it is the one you wanted to try when you come by. We look forward to seeing you in the tasting room this weekend.

If you haven’t noticed the sign, we donate a portion of all tips received in the tasting room to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. We appreciate your generosity and the opportunity to visit the shelter every month to bring in the donation. Tina likes to get her kitty fix.  Hamp, our Golden Retriever, is not too fond of cats.


Burnside Brown Ale release

burnside brown aleAugust 7th was National IPA Day, so naturally, on August 8th, we are proud to announce that we will be pouring our English style brown ale – Burnside – in the tasting room. Yes, a brown ale.

Our deep love of Saisons is evident in the focus of our brewery. They have a special place in our hearts and are the focus of Foundation Brewing Company. Joel and I also have a great fondness for well-done traditional British style ales. I had a chance to travel through the UK a couple of times, and the pub culture was something that just felt so natural. Drinking true cask conditioned ales was an incredible experience. It was very different than what I was used to growing up in the US, but perfect for the setting and the cuisine. My wife, Tina, lived in London for a time, and as a result, developed a strong affinity for British ales as well. Back in my home brewing days, I was required to keep a keg of a British style ale on tap at all times.

As an avowed foodie, living in Portland is kind of like being a kid in a candy store. I love to chat food, and one of the great things about this place are all the fantastic chefs and restaurateurs who also call it home. In the course of running our brewery, Joel, Christie, Tina and I get to talk with them frequently. Naturally, we often end up discussing food and beer pairings. When this conversation comes up, one of the common themes is trying to find beers that pair really well with grilled, roasted, and caramelized flavors. This got us thinking, what would go well? Something that was not too bitter, with plenty of roasted notes that come across as coffee, burnt sugar, and chocolate to play off the grilled and caramelized flavors. The deeply roasted flavors have to be tempered a bit as they can come across as a bit bitter and acrid when they are too strong, and we wanted it balanced with a malty but dry finish. That sounded like the perfect pint of brown ale to us!

We partnered with Chris and Paige of Central Provisions for a beer dinner in May, and to add to the menu we made a small batch of Burnside. Then a few weeks ago, we made a second small batch that we served just in the tasting room. It flew out the door, and when it was all gone, we were asked, “When are you going to make it again?” So, here it is. We hope you enjoy.


Beer Camp weekend tasting room specials

Black Tea with LemonThis is gearing up to be a fun and exciting weekend with Sierra Nevada Beer Camp right around the corner. The New England edition has 119 brewers coming and tickets are still available. Notwithstanding the quantity of beer available on Friday night at Beer Camp, we know that our tasting room visitors are going to want to try some great beers too. We have extended hours on Thursday, 12-6p, will be closed Friday for Beer Camp, and then our normal hours on Saturday (12-6p) and Sunday (12-4p).

This weekend, we will have a new installment in our Infusion Series on tap for our friends, as well as several other specials. Before getting into that, I need to say a special THANK YOU to Cynthia from Middle Intervale Farm for providing us with the basil for last week’s infusion. It was a big hit.

This week, we decided to try something new. A few weeks ago, Joel and Christie had a chance to a try several ciders from Far From the Tree and were very impressed. However, the one that really piqued their interest was the tea and lemon infused cider.

Grandma loved her strong, black tea

Grandma loved her strong, black tea

Black tea is something I grew up drinking. My grandmother was a big fan of black tea, and that was a trait she passed on to her daughters and grandchildren. Under her roof, a proper family meal had not finished its appropriate arc without everyone clearing the plates, and big pots of strong black tea being shared at the dinner table. For me, it has always felt like the appropriate end to a great meal. Also, all summer, my mother kept big pitchers of strong iced tea dosed with handfuls of mint or several slices of lemon for good measure in the fridge for us to enjoy. As Joel was telling me about the flavors of the cider, those memories from my childhood crept up in my head, and it was clearly something we had to try for the infusion series. So with a tip of the cap to our neighbors in Mass, and a big thank you to my grandmother Florence and my mother Irene, we decided to give this a try. For this infusion we used loose leaf Irish Breakfast Tea combined with fresh lemon zest. We hope you enjoy.

Since we know this is going to be a very exciting weekend with the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp in town, we decided to also prepare some of our ginger infused saison as well. What can we say, the ginger with our house yeast just works, and remains a very heavily requested infusion from our regulars.

We also have two hops varieties that were asking to be tried as a single dry hop. The first is the classic Tettnanger hop. One of the “noble” hops, their spicy character was a natural for us to use. The second is an Australian hop called Topaz. So far, we have had great fun with the Australian hops, and decided we should give this beauty a try as well.

We will be rotating these four beers through the tasting room this weekend in conjunction with Eddy, Blaze, and Wanderlust. We hope you get a chance to come in and give them a try, and have a great weekend!

Cheers, John

Infusion Series: Basil

Basil for Weekly Infusion

I have always loved the sciences, and will totally own I am a geek through and through. In college, I ended up studying chemistry and biochemistry. It is what indirectly got me into homebrewing, and eventually into opening a brewery of my own. However, in working on a project for one class, I started doing research on flavor chemistry. This led me to discover Harold McGee’s books: On Food and Cooking and The Curious Cook. These books let me look behind the curtain of what was going on in the kitchen, and come to the realization that every day, in how we select, prepare, and cook our food, we perform this incredible science experiment balanced by a healthy dose of art. From that moment on, I became a foodie.

A few months ago, Joel and I were tasting Eddy, our saison, and we started talking about what foods would pair well with it. Eddy is not a spiced saison, but there is a long tradition of using spices to make saisons. Thinking about different flavors, we decided to pilot some different spices and herbs to see how the flavors would interplay with our beer. We sampled. We took notes. We sampled some more. We took more notes. By the end of the extensive sampling sessions we usually hatch grandiose schemes, but we reign those in, and start talking about what other flavors we want to try. Partially we do this to help us develop a better understanding of what works, and what does not work, with the flavors of our house saison yeast strain. Mostly, however, we do this because it is fun. We love throwing the kegs on in the tasting room, and seeing what our friends think of them.

Every weekend, when the tasting room opens, we have a group of regulars who pop in, and right after saying hello ask, “What is this week’s infusion?” It has become clear that this series of beers have taken on a life of their own.

So, we thought you’d like to know what’s coming up this week  Does freshly picked basil sound interesting? We received some beautiful Italian Basil from Middle Intervale Farm in Bethel, ME in our farm CSA two weeks ago. My family sources our meat, eggs and veggies from Middle Intervale Farm and we feel lucky to have such farm bounty so close to home. Cynthia was kind enough to drop off a big bag of freshly picked basil for us to use with our latest CSA pickup. We are very excited to see how this turns out, and Joel and I hope you get a chance to come in and enjoy this beer with us this weekend.


Expanded Summer Hours and Upcoming Events

Summer signage

Summer has kicked into high gear here in Portland, and as a result Foundation is expanding our Tasting Room hours to include Thursday afternoons from 3-6pm. In the Tasting Room we have all of our beers that you will find on tap throughout Maine, as well as some special brews that are only available in the brewery. Check back on our website before each weekend to see what we’ll be pouring. We offer both 32oz Howlers and 64oz Growlers, as well as glassware and soft goods.

Saturday night we’re taking over taps at Mama’s Crowbar with Austin Street Brewery (our One Industrial Way neighbor) on Munjoy Hill — always a fun place to be on a Saturday night. The next morning, we’ll be featured at the Second Sunday Beer Brunch at Sonny’s Restaurant in the Old Port from noon to 3pm. Beer, brunch and live music from Jerks of Grass. Forecast is for a beautiful Maine July weekend. We hope to see you out and around town!

Foundation joins the b.good local draft lineup

portland-bgoodLike a good burger? Like a good beer? Yup, we do too! That is why we are excited to invite you to b.good on Friday June 13th from 6-8pm to celebrate the addition of Blaze to their draft list. Locally sourced meat and veggies paired with local craft beer makes for a great combination. Blaze will be pouring, we will be hanging, and Monique Barrett will be performing! Stop in, say hello, and grab a bite. b.good will be giving away t-shirts as well as some of our coveted pint glasses for folks coming in to enjoy a fresh pint of Blaze, our Farmhouse IPA. b.good is at 15 Exchange St in the Old Port. We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Joel and John