Re-posted from my blog: Malted Musings.
After trying some of the great beer lineup at the Sebago tap takeover at Eli Cannon's Tap Room (which included a casked Frye's Leap, Lake Trout Stout, Runabout Red, Slick Nick Winter, Patersbier, Bump Black Ale, and others), I had the opportunity to chat with Jim Lalumiere all about this well-established Maine brewery.
The biggest news is that Sebago is in the midst of a re-branding process. Jim tells me that this has, so far, helped immensely with sales and people becoming aware of the brewery. The process includes new, sharper-looking labels, and brand-new tap handles that stand out distinctly over the bar top. Along the lines of the brand standing out, Jim shared an anecdote with me. Sebago's owner was in a package store one day and couldn't find his own beer in the entire crowded beer aisle. Initially upset, calls were made, and after some deliberation the beer ended up being on the shelf the whole time! This was the moment that helped spark the re-branding. After all, as Jim laughed, if the owner can't find his own beer on the shelf, then no one else would be able to either!
Sebago is making changes to their beer lineup too. They have a very limited (200 cases) of labels for their Full Throttle Double IPA, so they're making it into a special sales event. As Jim tells me, basically the Full Throttle will be brew to order this year, with only specific clients getting a very limited amount. So far this program has been wildly popular, and Jim has had no problem enticing beer bars and package stores to get in on this rather potent IPA. The meaning for you, the reader? Wherever you see Sebago Full Throttle this year: buy it! There will be only a very small amount available this year and once it's gone: it's gone (for at least another year).
Besides Full Throttle, Sebago is coming out with a new summer beer. Called the Simmer Down Summer, this will be a lighter beer infused with passion fruit that should prove to bring relief to the summer heat. Along with that Jim tells me that Sebago has a new batch of Hop Swap coming. The unique thing about Hop Swap is that every year the brewers swap out the hops (go figure) from the recipe to make a familiar, yet altogether different tasting beer. The hops used last year included Cascade, Citra, and a few others. Jim tells me the hops to be swapped this year are a state secret, but that will secret will be out come late summer. The other exciting beer to be released much later this year is a bourbon barrel-aged Lake Trout Stout. The interesting aspect of this particular beer is that (though it's barrel-aged) it stands at around 5 or 6%! Definitely one to keep an eye open for.
This Maine brewery has been making great strides to refine their product and I certainly think the effort is paying off. But don't just take my word for it: get out there and try some Sebago for yourself! Then follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ for more tasting notes and beer tasting notes.