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SAVOR 2014 Brewery Profile: Baxter Brewing Company (@baxterbrewing)

Name: Baxter Brewing Co.

Location: Lewiston, ME

Website: http://www.baxterbrewing.com/

Type: Production brewery

Available in DC Market: No

What you need to know: “Located in Bates Mill in the up-and-coming community of Lewiston/Auburn, ME, Baxter Brewing Co. currently distributes its flavorful and unique craft beers in ME, MA, NH & VT both in six-pack and on draught.” While Baxter doesn’t distribute outside of these few select states, DC Brau Brewing Co. was lucky enough to have a Baxter brewer visit a few months ago. He brought some spectacular dark beers, as well as some pleasant hoppy offerings. Rumor has it that Brau and Baxter have a forthcoming collaboration in the works…will it be dark? Hoppy? The world will find out! If you see the brewers at the event, feel free to  ask them!

Beer #1:  Summer Swelter Ale (American wheat ale 4.7%)

In Their Own Words: "Our first unfiltered offering, Summer Swelter Ale is the perfect warm weather beer! Summer Swelter Ale is light and refreshing while still keeping your taste buds interested. The malt base features a hefty dose of wheat for a big, fluffy head and a soft, round body, yet keeps the beer drinkable even during the dog days. The light malt character is more than balanced by a blend of citrusy American hops, giving Swelter a crisp bitterness without being overpowering. The hoppy citrus aroma complements the ingredients that make this beer so unique: lemon and lime peel, Kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass provide an subtle yet unmistakeable floral nose and just a touch of bracing tartness, taking the refreshment of Swelter to the next level."

Food Pairing: Duo of Compressed Melon with Yuzu (Honeydew and cantaloupe melon pressed sous vide with yuzu and lemongrass)

Our Thoughts: I’ve yet to try either of the beers Baxter is bringing to swampy DC. I did get a chance to try some of their beers when one of their brewers visited DC Brau a few months ago. Unafraid to experiment but eager to please on traditional styles, Baxter has many cards in its wheelhouse. Consider “On The Count of Three” an Imperial Hefeweizen which was a single batch that only distributed once. Modeled after a traditional Hefeweizen, “On the Count of Three” used Bavarian yeast but was became hybrid with an American twist, this beer finished at 7% and was dangerously crushable. If they can do Imperial wheats this well a Wheat Ale with an interesting spice and fruit blend should be interesting. No watermelon in here but plenty of citrus rinds and leaves.

Beer #2:Tarnation California Style Lager (California Common / 5.3% ABV)

In Their Own Words: Brewed in the style of “steam” beers born in 19th-century California, Tarnation is Baxter Brewing’s first lager. American crystal malts provide light toast and caramel notes along with the beer’s rich amber hue, while Munich malt supplies Tarnation’s malty body. The complex malt notes balance the ample bitterness of American Northern Brewer hops (the signature hop for this style) giving the beer great balance. An authentic San Francisco lager yeast ferments the brew, yielding a clean, crisp and satisfying beer. This lager requires several weeks of cold conditioning (“lagering”), but we think it’s worth the wait.

Food Pairing: Hamachi crudo (Thin slices of Hamachi with finely diced cucumber, radish and bok choy. Finished with a black pepper vinaigrette)

Our Thoughts: Baxter makes many solid dark beers, some of which are true to historical style. I am quite eager to see them down here especially because this style of beer is steeped in American history. The California Common should be a go-to on your first pass of Pilsner, Lager, Kolsch, and Helles. Save the stouts, barrel-aged and blended ales for lap two.

This profile is a part of the DCBeer.com SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2014 SAVOR participants.

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