Sebago Brewing is another mainstay of the Maine craft beer scene. They have been in operation since 1998, and now operate 4 brewpubs in southern Maine (Portland, Gorham, Kennebunk and Scarborough). They also bottle their beer and distribute to most of New England. Sebago brews a number of year-round and seasonal beers, along with a limited edition single batch series of specialty brews. One of Sebago Brewing’s flagship beers is Frye’s Leap IPA, which they have brewed since their first days of operation. Frye’s Leap IPA is named for the ledges on Sebago Lake where daring swimmers can take a dive in. Frye’s Leap is brewed with pale, caramel, and a touch of chocolate malt along with Cascade and Centennial hops. Cascade and Centennial are quintessential American hop varieties, and Sebago uses them in the boil as well as to dry hop, promising a strong hop flavor and aroma. Frye’s Leap IPA was brewed before the hop-forward IPA style became such a staple of American craft beer, so I was interested to see how it measured up to many of the modern hop-driven examples of the style.
Sebago Brewing Frye’s Leap IPA pours a reddish gold, slightly cloudy with a mild white head. The smell is all the great aromas of the American hops, strong citrus fruit and resin. The taste is very also hop-forward with grapefruit at the forefront, almost like they added some fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice to the batch. Secondary hop flavors are floral, along with some touches of lemon and pine. There is a little malt in the backbone, but the hops dominate the flavor. The beer is crisp, clean and very easy to drink for a hoppy beer. The finish is nicely bitter, it leaves a very pleasant and mild tart flavor on your tongue. Many IPAs from earlier decades tend toward the British style, some hops but more malty than the hop-bomb IPA’s many American brewers have developed. That is not the case with Sebago Brewing Frye’s Leap, a hop forward and delicious beer worth grabbing on any trip to Maine. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.