I have a soft-spot for the state of Maine, and pretty much everything from Maine, it is where I was born, raised and went to college. Maine has had a small but strong stable of craft breweries for years now, and the explosion of interest in craft beer has definitely reached the state, leading to a new generation of quality craft breweries. One of the most well known and well respected brewers in this new generation is the Maine Beer company, head-quartered in Portland with a new tasting room in Freeport. One thing that sets Maine Beer Co. apart (aside from their delicious beer), is their labels. While many craft breweries have added loud and bright artwork to their labels in the hopes that they will stand out on the shelf, the Maine Beer Co. labels stand out for their simplicity, a stark white label with a simple and brief title and description. Labels only go so far, you need to back it up with a great product, and Maine Beer Co. consistently achieves that.
Maine Beer Companies Peeper Ale is an American pale ale. Pale ales are originally a British style, but they have evolved considerably in the hands of US brewers. Old British pale ales were “pale” compared to porters and stouts, but still very dark compared to the light American lagers that dominated American beer for decades. With the advent of the American craft beer movement micro-brewers have reinvented the style, typically making it a much lighter bodied and hop-forward brew. Some current pale ales are so hoppy that they would have beer labeled IPA’s even 10 years ago, and the line between the styles is a little blurry. When done correctly a great American Pale ale is bright, hop forward, easy to drink and refreshing.
Maine Beer Company Peeper Ale pours a golden yellow, slightly hazy with a sustained white head. The smell is all hops, citrus and tropical fruit, grass and pine. The first taste is crisp, clean and very hop-forward, lemon, mild fruit and earthy hop flavors. Despite all of the hop flavor it isn’t overly bitter, instead it is crisp and very easy to drink. At 5.5% ABV the beer isn’t overly alcoholic, perfect to have a couple in an evening while hanging out with friends or watching a game. It should also go great with food, enough hops to complement food with some citrus notes or acidity without overwhelming your palate. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.