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99 Bottles

A summer sipper and a ‘super saison’

Photos by Gary Dzen/Globe Staff

Rising Tide Brewing is a 15-barrel brewhouse in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood. You may have seen the beers around Boston, in places like the Kenmore Square bar The Lower Depths. Rising Tide was established in October 2010.

You may have noticed that I have a little Maine thing, and because of that I’ve been meaning to review one of Rising Tide’s beers. Ishmael, a copper ale, Zephyr, an IPA, and Daymark, a rye pale ale, are some of the brewery’s flagships. So is Spinnaker, a Hefeweizen that is perfect for summer.

Continue reading below

Briefly, a Hefeweizen, or German weissbier, is the classic wheat beer of Bavaria. For a beer to be called as such in that country, it must be made with at least 50 percent malted wheat (as opposed to barley). The origins of wheat beer date back some 6,000 years.

Today, these beers are synonymous with summer. They’re light and refreshing, with a high carbonation and protein level producing voluminous foam (Garret Oliver’s wonderful “Oxford Companion to Beer” is helping me through this description).

Rising Tide’s Spinnaker pours energetically into a tulip glass. I smell grass and lemon peel. Nicely bubbly, the first sip of this beer is smooth. No flavors overwhelm, but there’s fresh orange and a hint of spice. This is not a complex beer, but it’s a good one. At 4.5 percent alcohol by volume it screams (OK maybe whispers) patio.

What readers are saying:

dc_mcneil on boston.com: I’ve been largely underwhelmed by Rising Tide’s offering. Have tried them all over the years with Zephyr being the biggest disappointment. I tend to lump these guys into the category of if it came down to them and Coors Light I would have no problem choosing them. They’re not on my mind when I walk into a decent craft beer store, however, were someone to offer me one at say a bbq I’d be more than happy to engage. Beer purgatory I guess. My biggest issue with them is the overall blandness that seems constant in all their beers.

paytheman on boston.com: Main Beer Company has some fantastic offerings, Mo, Zoe, Peeper and Lunch among the standouts. Some of the freshest, most delicious beer you can get in this area.

TRILLIUM’S SUNSHOWER

Since 1986, Boston proper has been home to only three breweries. Harpoon Brewery is still on the South Boston waterfront and Samuel Adams has a development brewery in Jamaica Plain, and there was Tremont Brewery in Charlestown which has long since closed.

Boston’s newest brewery, Trillium Brewing, opened in March in the Fort Point neighborhood. Jean-Claude Tetreault and his wife, Esther, shoehorned a 10-barrel brewery into an industrial space on Congress Street. The brewery’s vibe, like that of neighboring businesses and residences, is edgy and modern. Trillium’s simple flower logo stands out amid the grit.

Trillium markets itself as a farmhouse brewery in the middle of the city. The beers are unique, with yeast, hop, and barrel-aging treatments towing the line of traditional. Trillium can brew a mean pale ale (Fort Point Pale Ale), but it isn’t their focus.

Sunshower, a recent release, is a “super saison” dry-hopped with Amarillo and Falconer’s Flight. By name this beer should be citrusy in aroma and spicy in flavor. “Super” references the beer’s 8.5 percent alcohol by volume.

Sunshower pours the color of watered-down iced tea. There’s a steady grapefruit present in the nose along with whiffs of dandelion.

The first sip produces lemon peel and white pepper. There’s an initial IPA quality from the hops, but spicy Belgian yeast reminds you that this is a saison. The mouthfeel is light while the flavor is complex (more and more this is the sign of a great beer). The beer is dry, offering a crisp finish. The alcohol content is hidden well. This feels like a summer sipper, but it would be dangerous to treat it as such.

Trillium is open Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for growler fills. You can find their beer on tap at the Publick House, Local 149, and Lord Hobo, among other local bars.

Gary Dzen can be reached at gdzen@boston.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeGaryDzen.
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