The Substance Ale

Review Date 9/17/2000   Last Updated 9/16/2015  By John Staradumsky

So there I was, browsing through the crowler offerings at Stout’s Growlers here in Canton, ready to place an order for curbside pickup. What’s this, I wondered, upon seeing Bissell Brothers The Substance listed on offer. I clicked upon the logo and saw the following description:

Our flagship; a brightly dank ale that threads many needles. Apollo, Centennial, Chinook, Falconer's Flight, & Simcoe Hops.

What REALLY got my attention, though, was the brewery location: Portland, Maine (they’ve opened a second location in Three Rivers as well). Boom! That went right into my virtual shopping cart.

Bissell Brothers gets its name from brothers Pete and Noah Bissell, who founded the brewery and started selling their beer in 2013. The Substance was the first beer they produced. Now that I think back on it, I almost went to their Portland location when I was last in Maine in 2015.

Malts they list for this beer are:





Bissell Brothers The Substance has al alcohol content of 6.6% by volume and I paid $11 for a 32-ounce crowler at Stout’s. This is a hazy New England style IPA that is actually from New England.

Bissell Brothers The Substance pours to a hazy orange-yellow color with a thick rocky head of foam and a citrus and pineapple nose. Taking a sip, the beer is medium in body, perhaps more so than in many for the style, full of grapefruit pith and bitter peel and a hint of tropical pineapple, too. It finishes pleasantly bitter, a little more than balancing, but not long and lingering.

I like Bissell Brothers The Substance very much, and when I return to Portland, I will to be frank hit Geary’s, Gritty’s, and Allagash first, but Bissell Brothers will not be missed, most assuredly.

Breweriana note: The glass I used for this beer is, as far as I know, Maine's first craft beer. It was contracted brewed by FX Matt (think Saranac) in Utica, New York for Maine Coast Brewing in the mid to late 80s. Geary's opened the first craft brewery in Maine around that time as well. You can read more about Portland Traditional Lager if you like.

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.