Eco-Living Magazine

Peak Organic Brewing Company

Posted on the 24 February 2013 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

As you begin to examine the history of brewing, you cannot underestimate the importance breweries had on their communities. In the early eras of American brewing, the brewery (which would be more like the equivalent of a brew-pub today) was a focal point in a neighborhood, acting as a meeting place and general community center. As brewing capabilities increased, many times, the lead breweries took on a more significant role. For instance, in the early 20th century in Washington, DC, Christian Heurich, owner of the Christian Heurich Brewing Company, was the largest employer in the District aside from the federal government. In Cincinnati, one of the original brewing centers of the United States, the robust brewing industry supported not only brewers and those associated with the brewery but also a number of smaller industries such as local coopers and malt and hop merchants/farmers. Although a lot has changed over the last 100 years in brewing, including technology, bottling, and distribution, the brewer retains an important position in the community. A good example of that is Peak Organic Brewing Company in Portland, Maine. As most current craft breweries, Peak began in the home brewing scene in in the early 90′s, when Brewer Jon Cadoux set out to “combine his love for beer with an ethic for sustainability” and where possible seek out local ingredients for his beers. As popularity for the brew rose, so did the company, and the extent of its relationships in the community among many of its suppliers. The company promotes many of these relationships, including Elm Hill Farm for hops, Valley Malt, Coffee By Design, and Taza Chocolate. To a degree this truly culminated when in 2009, Peak assisted Maine farmers cultivate commercial hops, the first such batch since 1880. All of Peak’s brews are certified organic, and one beer, their espresso amber ale is actually certified Fair Trade. Recently, they started a local series line of beers from Vermont, New York, Maine, and Massachusetts, whereby they cook up one recipe using ingredients using a similar recipe but with ingredients found in the respective states.

The featured beer is Peak’s Oak Aged Mocha Stout, a complex beer brewed in partnership with Coffee By Design, and Taza Chocolate. The beer has a big nose, and as soon as I cracked open the bottle the roasted malts and coffee hit me right in the face. The oak was also very prevalent, giving the beer a tannic wine presence as well. Upon first pour, the stout came out like used motor oil, and formed a rich creamy head. The chocolate scent was a bit stronger out of the bottle. The first sip, the stout had a slightly creamy mouthfeel, although there was still a decent amount of carbonation present. The taste of the beer is truly complex. Initially, the flavor was very strong on coffee, and the oak. There was definitely some tannic residue from the oak that lingered on the aftertaste. As the beer warmed, the chocolate became much more prevalent and the oaky aftertaste started to wan. It took me some time to finish this one with the Organic Beer Gal, although both of us were very big fans. In the past, I’ve also had the Peak Pale Ale, IPA, Nut Brown, Espresso Amber Ale. All were definitely solid, although I will admit that at the time, there was something about the IPA that made it seem too hoppy, and at the time of tasting, I will admit to “not getting” the Esresso Amber Ale. So, I might have to revisit those at a later date.

BeerAdvocate: 3.75/5

RateBeer: 3.5/5

Peak Organic Brewing Company:

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