It’s been about a month since I’ve been back on the Beer Trail. So this past Saturday being “blizzard”-free, I decided to take advantage and do a two-fer!!! My intention was to visit 2 breweries that are kind of isolated on the trail, yet 15 minutes from each other: Sheepscot Valley Brewing Company in Whitefield, and Oxbow Brewing Co. in Newcastle. What did we do before GPS??? Seriously? I went down so many backroads, I honestly can’t tell you where the hell in Maine I was. I was deep in the woods. I knew that. And I was in farm country. You know when you encounter a tractor crossing sign, you’re deep in farm country. Lots of hay. Lots of cows. And I got to experience this:
In case you can’t see it, that sign does in fact say, “Cowshit Corner”. I’m just thankful I experienced this delightful part of Maine land on a subzero February afternoon coated with about 5 feet of packed snow. I can only imagine this spot on a hot, humid July afternoon…. Anyway, Oxbow. I almost drove right past as the entrance is a driveway to a small farmhouse like all the other driveways you will drive by. Save for the, almost, snow-covered sign, it would be very easy to drive right by.
Oxbow’s slogan is “Loud Beer From a Quiet Place”. And this seems very fitting. The farmhouses that house the brewery and the tasting room are unassuming and quite intimate. I loved the barrel room atmosphere inside. Instead of traditional hightop tables, barrels are used to place your tasty Saisons on.
Oxbow Brewing specializes in Saisons. Taken from their Tasting Room Menu: “Saisons are a category of sessionable ales brewed seasonally in the farmhouses of Wallonia, the French-speaking area of southern Belgium. Inspired by these beers and breweries, Oxbow opened in 2011, utilizing this rustic location, mineral-rich well water and a unique, flavorful house yeast to put a Maine spin on the farmhouse brewing tradition. Enjoy.”
Enjoy I did! I like Saisons. They are easy drinking. Sometimes the citrus is overpowering to me, but Oxbow has got it right! All of these descriptions (save for my opinion) are taken from their tasting menu. And get ready for some “new-to-me” terms. There’s so much about beer left to learn!
Space Cowboy – Dry biere de garde. Bready, floral, well-balanced crusher. 4% ABV. To me, this reminded me of champagne. Very dry and light. If I were to get married (insert mocking laughter here), this would be the beer I would serve. This is the true champagne of beers, no disrespect to that OTHER “champagne of beers”.
Farmhouse Pale Ale – Our flagship farmhouse ale. Saison brewed with American hops. Dry, citrusy, spicy. 6% ABV. Pretty hoppy as I remember and quite citrusy. A pretty straightforward Saison I thought.
Grizacca – American grisette. Dry hopped for a citrusy, soft bitterness. 5% ABV. Now this little guy took me by surprise. Confession: I’ve never had a grisette before. This was lemony, yes. But I found it quite creamy. None of that overpowering, puckery, acidy, citrus punch you sometimes get overwhelmed with. Very light and easy drinking.
Super Deluxe – Super saison with an Old World hop profile. Soft, fruity, peppery. 9% ABV. I was really looking forward to this one. Berry flavors, a little spice and ALCOHOL! I don’t drink these to get drunk. And it’s not my intention to advocate getting drunk with this blog. I really do enjoy the flavor of these different beers. But sometimes it’s nice to have that one beer that says “Oh yeah, and I got alcohol in me too.” That bite of alcohol was so nice in this beer. And I was feeling quite relaxed after this one.
Freestyle 27 – A robust porter brewed with oats. Chocolatey, malty and creamy. 7% ABV. Definitely chocolate. It will be interesting to see if porters will taste as good as say on a mid-summer day. But for now, they’ll do nicely.
Saison Noel – Strong, dark, winter farmhouse ale. Rich warming and spicy. 9.5% ABV. This one was my favorite. I really wanted a growler to bring home, but at this point in the year, they are not doing growlers of this seasonal brew.
So I brought home the Space Cowboy. Some people call him the “Gangster of Love”. I call him “Maurice”. Since tonight is Oscar night, I will be indulging in this champagne of beers as I watch the beautiful people receive accolades whilst in my flexipants. Big thanks to Molly and Celeste who were the beeristas on duty that afternoon. They had a fun playlist going for the patrons and convinced me to get one of the sampler Oxbow glasses by suggesting they would be good to drink whiskey out of. It’s like they knew me.
SIDETRACK- Oxbow was not my first stop on this trek into parts unknown. My first stop was at Sheepscot Valley Brewing. However, this picture consists of my entire visit there.
I did e-mail the owner about a week prior, but I didn’t hear back. I’ll have to call and see what the deal is. By the looks of things, this brewery does not look very operational. At least right now. But for now, I have one more “stamp” to my Beer Trail.