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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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Three Pint Stance - Get the most from your toast

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Three Pint Stance - Get the most from your toast (AP file photo)

So - here we are in the height of wedding season in Maine. Every day, happy couples from the mountains to the coast are tying the knot in front of family and friends. All the while, beer drinkers like me are struggling through countless dry and bubbly champagne toasts. Sure, the speeches can drag on sometimes, but in my mind, nothing is worse than the champagne itself!

As far as I'm concerned, there are two types of people in this world: people who say they don't like champagne and dirty rotten liars! I'm sorry, but unless you are mixing in a heavy dose of some fresh squeezed OJ (ah, who am I kidding? Sunny D will be just fine), I have little to no interest in this glass of bubbly that is getting warmer by the second in my hand as the speech rolls on into minute 15. And what is my reward for holding this beverage and paying attention for so long? A face full of warm, now-flat, sour garbage-juice. Thanks but no thanks.

You might be thinking 'Well then, Mr. Three Pint Stance - what is the solution to this problem that you have clearly invented for this column?' Well, despite your suspicions, I actually have one.

Beer toasts!

Think about it. Beer is the ultimate toasting liquid. I dare you to drink a half-liter (or be a pro and drink a full liter!) from a traditional German mug; within minutes, you will be hunting for people to whom you might raise a glass and toast. It just makes perfect sense.

So what beer would make the best toasting beer? Well, since beer is a complex liquid made from a variety of malts, hops and yeast/bacteria, there is a beer for every taste and occasion! Allow me to present a few options:

Allagash Interlude

This beer makes a great beer for a toast for a number of reasons, the first of which is its taste. Interlude is a saison brewed in the Belgian style with a mixture of ale and wild yeasts to create a dry, fruity beer that is crisp and effervescent. A portion of each batch of Interlude is aged in red wine barrels to bring out a deeper fruity flavor and an even dryer finish.

The second reason Interlude is the perfect toast beer is that it comes in an impressive 3 liter corked-and-caged bottle that is perfect for sharing amongst a large group. Also, the giant bottle opens up an excellent opportunity to test out your sabering abilities. Sabering is the technique of opening a bottle with a large saber or sword. Its super cool and all of your friends will think you are awesome if you try it. (Please note: Three Pint Stance is not liable for any injuries, at all. Ever.)

(Editor's note: Neither is The Maine Edge.)

Saison Dupont

I chose Saison Dupont simply because it is delicious, traditional and pretty readily-available. If you were holding a large-scale wedding and needed to fill lots of glasses for the toast, a keg of Saison Dupont should be available as a special order through any specialty beer shop. It is crisp, dry and fruity with just a hint of the traditional farmhouse funk' of the Saison style. It's like what champagne wants to be, but will never be because champagne always tastes like lemon seltzer that has somehow gone rancid.

Ram Island Lavender Lemonade

This one isn't even a beer and it is still a million times better than any Champagne, I promise. Made by Maine Mead Works in Portland, Maine, this beverage is actually a mixture of honey mead and a house-made lemonade that is infused with lavender and mint. It is a carbonated beverage that is seven percent ABV; a bit sweet but is cut nicely with a citrusy flavor. The lavender and mint are present in the finish but not overwhelming. This is a drink that just about everyone on the planet can at least tolerate. It is literally gourmet, alcoholic lemonade. You'll love it. Pinkie swear.

There, now you have three perfectly good replacements for champagne at your next wedding toast. But, don't feel like you have to replace champagne, go ahead and substitute any beer that you enjoy. If people can force the bubbly toilet water that is champagne on you, why can't you force them to drink your favorite milk stout or perhaps even a Flanders red? The sky is the limit!

Long story short - I REALLY don't like champagne.


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