The second stop of my Maine beer weekend took me about 20 minutes north of Portland to Freeport, ME. When planning my tri,p I knew that Maine Beer Company had to be one of my stops, as I’ve been lucky to try many of their beers that are distributed throughout NY. However, I’ve only been able to snag their famous IPA “Lunch” one or two times, and I was anxious to get my hands on it once again.
The tasting room was crowded on the day my friend and I visited, so we stood at the bar and shared a sampler of all 8 beers on tap. The samples are quite sizeable, so splitting the flight worked well for us, but full pours are also available at the bar.
While the taproom does not fill growlers, they did have to-go bottles available for all eight beers on tap that day. Also available were some delicious looking soft pretzels, with mustard for snacking. Posted on the walls of the taproom (and even in the bathroom) is information about Maine Beer Company’s 1% for the Planet program, where they donate 1% of their sales to environmental programs.
The featured charity when we were visiting was the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, a nonprofit that works to protect Gorillas and their habitat. Interestingly enough, one of Maine Beer Co.’s brews, called “King Titus”, is named after one such gorilla. This 1% for the Planet program is part of how the brewery fulfills its slogan “Do What’s Right”, enabling the drinker to not only enjoy a delicious brew, but feel like a humanitarian too.
The beer that started it all! The first beer produced by the brothers behind Maine Beer Company, “Peeper” is a light lemony pale ale that is crisp and clean. The beer pours a very pale yellow, and with Amarillo, Cascade, and Centennial hops, the taste is mostly citrus, with just a touch of pine. I would enjoy this beer for light easy drinking on a hot summer day, but this was the least impressive beer of the bunch.
Another pale ale offering by Maine Beer Company, “Mo” really packs in the flavor. The beer pours a light, clear, orange with a fluffy white head. Falconers Flight, and Simcoe hops give this pale ale the taste of citrus, a hint of tropical passion fruit, with a piney, bitter finish. This beer really impressed me with its complexity and will definitely be one I seek out in the future.
Woods and Waters:
Using Maine-grown barley and wheat, “Woods and Waters” IPA was brewed in honor of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Using Magnum, Simcoe, Mosaic, Columbus, and Idaho 7 hops, this clear, straw-yellow IPA was bitter, with tangerine and pine flavors dominating. This was one of my favorite beers of the flight, and even though its available to me locally in NY, I picked up a fresh bottle from the brewery.
“Another One” is another IPA featured by Maine Beer Company, with similar “west coast” style flavors. This beer is very light compared to “Woods and Waters” but the Cascade, Citra, and Simcoe hops lend a grapefruit flavor, and a hint of piney resin to this very clean tasting IPA. This beer has a smooth mouthfeel for an IPA and hides the 7% ABV well.
The IPA that made me a Maine Beer Company fan, “Lunch” is a rare find in NY, and worth seeking out fresh from the brewery. This hazy golden IPA features Amarillo, Centennial (a personal favorite of mine) and Simcoe hops for a juicy tropical taste, balanced with some piney bitterness. The malt is quite present here for an IPA, and makes this beer a little sweet, but in a pleasant way! I was delighted to get to taste this beer again and, of course, brought home a bottle for future enjoyment.
Not your ordinary amber ale, “Zoe” pours a deep mahogany and has layers of flavor. The traditional flavors of an amber ale are there with plenty of roasted malts, caramel, and a hint of biscuit. The sweet maltiness is balanced with tons of Simcoe hops, giving this beer an unexpected, but pleasant, piney bitterness.
“King Titus” is a porter that pours a dark chocolate brown with a thick tan head. The taste is full of roasted malts and a hint of chocolate with a medium mouthfeel. Porters are not typically my preferred beer, but this is a nice representation of the style, with a robust taste worth seeking out.
Mean Old Tom:
Offered on nitro in the taproom, “Mean Old Tom” is an American stout that pours pitch black with a light brown head. Flaked oats in the malt bill grant this beer a smooth, silky mouthfeel, which is even further accentuated thanks to the nitro. This beer is aged on vanilla beans, and while there are hints of this subtle flavor, the predominate taste in this beer is bold roasted coffee. I was truly blown away by this beer and brought home a bottle to enjoy. I also look forward to trying this on Nitro again if the opportunity presents itself.
This trip to Maine Beer Company allowed me to savor some old favorites fresh from the brewery, while exposing me to some new favorites as well. The big brother to “Lunch”, a DIPA called “Dinner” still eludes me, but someday I hope to get my hands on this rare offering, as well as other new Maine Beer Company creations.