So why would thirty, forty people be lining up at noon on a Saturday, inside a cinderblock building in Portland's Bayside neighborhood? The answer, as you may suspect, had everything to do with the bottled objects in the lower-left of the photo. Beer. Not just beer, but Rising Tide beer. Not just Rising Tide beer, but Rising Tide's Calvera beer, a "wheat stout fermented with American ale yeast, refermented on cherry puree and aged in neutral red wine barrels."
Wow! And Calvera is not something you can pick up by the six-pack at Hannaford. As the email from Rising Tide breathlessly announced, it's their "first brewery-only special release," and they ONLY had 30 cases available and it was ONLY available this specific Saturday and you could ONLY buy six bottles a person. At $8 for a $12.7-ounce bottle (including "cork and cage"), or about what you'd pay for a six-pack of many craft beers, Calvera is pricey, but worth it.
Determined to investigate Portland's tastier nooks and crannies, your faithful correspondent joined the crush of humanity on this particular Saturday, at Rising Tide. While there, he/I reluctantly agreed to have a sample of Calvera, so generously offered by the staff. And -- oh, what the heck -- he/I purchased a few bottles, too. All in the name of professional journalism, you understand. Yum.
At times, it feels as if Portland is starting to float out to sea (into Casco Bay?) on a -- pun intended -- rising tide of local brewers. Allagash. Peak Organic. Maine Beer Company. And Shipyard and Gritty's and Geary's and so on and on. That's the happy, liquid truth: we here in Portland are living in a Golden Age of unique, quality brewing. Years from now, we'll look back on the 'Teens and say, "Boy, we never had it so good."
Meanwhile, hop on down to Rising Tide, at 103 Fox Street, and have a chat with the owners while you sample their brews. Or, if you haven't visited them yet, view the extraordinary collection at the Bier Cellar, on Forest Avenue across from USM. Or tilt your elbow at Novare Res Bier Cafe, in the Old Port.