I’m on the record as saying that Portland, Maine is my favorite beer city in the entire United States. San Diego is has the weather, but it’s huge so everything is spread out; Denver is magical, but there’s something about the altitude that makes sustained drinking difficult; Bend, Oregon is close beer-wise, but it’s missing what Portland has an abundance of: Lobster.
Portland is a small, walkable city with old-school cobblestone streets. Right on the Atlantic Ocean, it’s a quaint city with progressive ideas, a vibrant music scene, and even better beer. Oh, right, and lobster.
More than anything else, Portland's advantage in the beer scene comes from the diversity in styles offered in the city limits. There are highly-sought-after hop-forward beers amongst the top of most beer ranking lists; there are Belgian-inspired titans of the beer industry; there are beers both new and old. Truly, there’s room for everyone, so long as you’re making excellent beer. Anything less won’t survive.
In the summer, tourists hit Maine like a tidal wave. This is for many reasons. It’s a geographically diverse place. There are mountains and National Parks. There’s wooded wilderness and great beaches. For beer, aficionados line up outside popular breweries for a taste of rare-ish double IPA, or just a typical Saturday release. But in the fall, the area seems to thin out a bit. The lines are a little shorter, the restaurant wait-times recede.
And so it’s in late fall that I simply walk into an uncrowded Austin Street Brewery on the west side of Portland in search of their delicious Patina Pale Ale. The brewery just started canning earlier this year. Austin Street is a bit less-heralded than their companions on Industrial Way, one of the best beer streets in the world that houses Allagash, but once was home to Maine Beer Company and Bissell Brothers. There might be something, literally, in the water on Industrial Way.
This is a great beer because of its versatility. It's perfect to share with friends, your favorite band, and, of course, Maine lobster.”
I needed a beer to share with the band ...Of a Revolution ahead their show in downtown Portland. I decided that, if they were going to drink a beer before their show, it had better be a locally-crafted beer, one that it’s likely they have never had. I walked out of Austin Street on a Thursday around happy hour with a couple four-packs in tow.
Patina Pale Ale is a hop-forward pale ale that, when super fresh, tastes like drinking a brewery. It pours a golden haze with a light head. In the nose, there’s ton of citrus, lemon characteristics. It’s an easy 5.3% beer that’s light in the middle. In the end, there’s enough fruit character to blend in with the trend of sweeter hoppy beers, but there’s a slight bitterness in the backend to really separate Patina Pale Ale from other Maine hop-forward pales.
I typically balk at the 16 oz. packaging. By the time I hit the end of those 16 ounces, the beer is warm. There’s nothing worse than those last four ounces. That said, this is not the case with Patina Pale Ale. It’s such an easy drinker that by the end of the beer, it’s warmed a little bit, but only enough to let some of the additional depth in flavor shine.
On tap, this is a great go-to beer. To go in a four-pack, this is a great beer because of its versatility. It's perfect to share with friends, your favorite band, and, of course, Maine lobster.