Tag Archives: Maine Beer Co

Maine Beer Company Beer V

I am way behind in my beer reviews, first there was the CBC blacklist issue, then end of the year posts and the holidays, and all of a sudden it’s 2017 and I have some beers from November that I still need to review (I’ve already drank these beers and took notes, no worries that I am reviewing old beer). I’ll try to get caught up over the next few weeks and then get some porter and stout reviews up while it’s still brutally cold. Part of our Thanksgiving tradition has been a stop at Gritty McDuff’s in Freeport Maine for lunch on the way to my parents, and then a trip right down the street to grab some beer at Maine Beer Company. In addition to favorites like Lunch, Another One, Mo and King Titus I usually try to grab whatever is new. This isn’t usually much, while some breweries release new beers every month Maine Beer Company tends to focus on their core brews. One exception is the Hop Program series, where they design a beer to showcase an interesting blend of hops. I think the initial idea was for these beers to be one-off brews, but many of the popular versions have been re-released. The most recent release in the hop program is a first for Maine Beer (I think), Beer V is a hoppy lager brewed with a mixture of German, American and New Zealand hops. It is available on a rotating basis on draft and in 500 mL bottles.

mbc-beer-vMaine Beer Company Beer V pours a clear straw yellow with a small white head. The scent is mildly hoppy, mostly floral and earthy. The hops are stronger in the flavor, notes of grass, herbs and lime along with a crisp bitterness. This is balanced by a light malt body, touches of crackers, white bread and hay. Beer V is light and refreshing with reasonably low alcohol at 5.2% ABV. It has the distinct crisp and clean lager finish with just a hint of lingering hop flavor. Beer V is very different from most of the other hoppy beers that Maine Beer Company brews, mixing in the old world hops, but it’s still very tasty. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Maine Beer Co. Reviews:

Maine Beer Co. Thank YouMaine Beer Co. MoMaine Beer Co. Mean Old TomMaine Beer Co. A Tiny Beautiful Something, Maine Beer Co. Beer II, BREWERY OVERVIEW: Maine Beer Co., Maine Beer Co. King TitusMaine Beer Co. Lunch, Maine Beer Co. Another One, Maine Beer Co./Allagash/In’finiti 2013 Ale, Maine Beer Co. Peeper

Maine Beer Co. Thank You

The last six weeks have been beyond crazy. First, my wife and I closed on a house in the suburbs, a sure sign that I am really getting old. Then, less than two weeks later, I found out I was losing my job (the real one that pays the bills, unfortunately Hoppy Boston is just a hobby). I work in R&D in the pharmaceutical industry, and my company had a drug underperform in the clinic leading to massive layoffs. It’s a tough business and these things happen, but it’s never fun. The amount of time and energy I needed for our move and my job search led to a hiatus for Hoppy Boston, I was hoping that I would still post occasionally, but it turned into a full break. In that time I managed to move, interview at a number of companies, and then get a very strong job offer that I happily accepted. Now we are mostly settled (few projects left, but there will always be as a homeowner), and I don’t start my new job until mid-August, so you can expect a flurry of posts and hopefully a number of visits to local breweries. I though an appropriate beer to review for my first article back was Thank You, a new American wheat ale from Maine Beer Company. Thank You was brewed in gratitude of all of the people that have helped make Maine Beer Co. a successful operation, and I want to use this as an opportunity to thank all of my readers who have been patient and supportive through this hiatus and who make Hoppy Boston so much fun to write. Maine Beer Co. Thank You is available for a limited time in 500 mL bottles.

Maine Beer Thank YouMaine Beer Co. Thank You pours a clear bright yellow with a solid white head. The scent is classic MBC hops, a huge burst of citrus and tropical fruit. The taste is very hop forward, notes of melon, lime, guava and tangerine along with a crisp bitterness. The malts round out the flavor, hints of crackers and wheat bread. Maine Beer Co. Thank You is light in body, super drinkable and not too boozy at 5.3% ABV. The finish is crisp and clean with a bit of lingering hop flavor. Thank You is a perfect beer for summer, easy to drink but still full flavored. A great beer to review as a welcome back for Hoppy Boston! Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Maine Beer Co. Reviews:

Maine Beer Co. MoMaine Beer Co. Mean Old TomMaine Beer Co. A Tiny Beautiful Something, Maine Beer Co. Beer II, BREWERY OVERVIEW: Maine Beer Co., Maine Beer Co. King TitusMaine Beer Co. Lunch, Maine Beer Co. Another One, Maine Beer Co./Allagash/In’finiti 2013 Ale, Maine Beer Co. Peeper

Maine Beer Co. Mo

Hoppy Boston pale ale month continues with a review of Mo from Maine Beer Company. Mo is a great example of a beer that gets lost a little due to the success of other beers produced by the brewery. Popular IPAs Lunch and Another One typically fly off the shelves, and people sleep in their cars for an opportunity to buy rarely brewed DIPA Dinner. These beers have a lot going for them, they’re delicious hop bombs, they’re well-reviewed and hyped on social media, and they all contain the three magic letters for beer sales success (I-P-A). Mo is kind of a little brother to the IPAs, a little less booze, a little less bitterness, but still a delicious beer in it’s own right with the bright hop flavors and aromas that you expect from Maine Beer Company. One other advantage to Mo is that it’s usually much easier to find, it still sells quickly but it doesn’t disappear in a matter of hours like the IPAs. Maine Beer Company Mo is brewed with Falconer’s Flight and Simcoe hops, you can find it year round on draft and in 16.9 oz. bottles.

Maine Beer Co  MoMaine Beer Co. Mo pours golden yellow with a solid white head. The scent is a big burst of new world hops dominated by tropical and citrus fruit aromas. The flavor is also very hop forward, notes of grapefruit, orange, mango and peach along with a crisp but mild bitterness. There is just enough malt to add some balance, touches of white bread and biscuits. Mo is very light and drinkable while being moderately boozy at 6.0%. The finish is dry and clean with just a hint of lingering hop flavor. Maine Beer Co. Mo is a great APA that routinely gets overlooked, I highly recommend seeking it out. Hoppy Boston score: 4.75/5.

Previous Maine Beer Co. Reviews:

Maine Beer Co. Mean Old TomMaine Beer Co. A Tiny Beautiful Something, Maine Beer Co. Beer II, BREWERY OVERVIEW: Maine Beer Co., Maine Beer Co. King TitusMaine Beer Co. Lunch, Maine Beer Co. Another One, Maine Beer Co./Allagash/In’finiti 2013 Ale, Maine Beer Co. Peeper

Maine Beer Co. Mean Old Tom

Paste magazine has been running a series of articles where they have a panel of drinkers blind-taste test a number of beers in a particular style and then rate them. I love that the tastings are all blind, it eliminates any preconceptions about what “should be” good so the beers are rated by their flavor not by their label. It should come as no surprise that Maine Beer Company was well received in the tasting of 116 IPAs, with Lunch and Another One both placing in the top 5. Maine Beer Company has made it’s mark with hop-forward beers, and these IPAs tend to sell quickly. The big surprise (even to the judges) was in the ranking of 51 American stouts, where MBC’s Mean Old Tom placed #1 overall. Mean Old Tom doesn’t have the qualities that typically drive hype for stouts, it wasn’t aged in any type of liquor barrel and it’s ABV is in the single digits. I would personally love to see more gimmick-free, dry, milk and oatmeal stouts on the market, and this is one I have enjoyed in the past. Mean Old Tom is named after the founder’s uncle, it is an oatmeal stout aged on vanilla beans. The beer is available year round on draft and in 16.9 oz. bottles.

Maine Beer Co Mean Old TomMaine Beer Co. Mean Old Tom pours pitch black with a mild tan head. The scent is a m mixture of roasted malt and a little vanilla. The flavor is very malt forward, as you would expect from a stout, notes of milk chocolate, toast, coffee, and toffee. The vanilla is noticeable but not too strong, providing a solid complement to the malt flavors. There are minimal hops, just enough to crisp up the finish a little. Mean Old Tom is full bodied and drinks very smooth at 6.5% ABV. The finish is clean with just a hint of lingering malt flavor. Too many brewers focus on bigger, bolder and boozier when they brew stouts, this beer is evidence that you can brew a great stout with full malt flavor but without a double-digit ABV. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.

Previous Maine Beer Company Reviews:

Maine Beer Co. A Tiny Beautiful Something, Maine Beer Co. Beer II, BREWERY OVERVIEW: Maine Beer Co., Maine Beer Co. King TitusMaine Beer Co. Lunch, Maine Beer Co. Another One, Maine Beer Co./Allagash/In’finiti 2013 Ale, Maine Beer Co. Peeper

Maine Beer Co. A Tiny Beautiful Something

When my wife and I make trips up to Maine to visit my family we have developed a few traditions. We are trying to stick to some of these traditions even with the recent addition to our family. One is lunch at Gritty McDuff’s, the classic Maine brewpub with a solid lineup of beers and high quality food. The little man did great at the restaurant on our Thanksgiving trip, just hung out in a high chair, ate some food and enjoyed the extra attention he attracted. Gritty’s has two locations, but we usually hit the Freeport stop for a few reasons, it’s right off the highway with good parking, and it’s right down the road from Maine Beer Company. I always stop at MBC and buy a number of their delicious beers, and try to restrain myself enough that a few even make it back to Massachusetts. While it would be easy to focus my purchase on their sought after IPAs like Lunch and Another One, I always try to branch out and get a selection of offerings, I have yet to try a Maine Beer Company brew that I didn’t enjoy. One of the beers I picked up on the most recent stop was A Tiny Beautiful Something, an American Pale Ale that showcases the El Dorado hop variety. Maine Beer Company A Tiny Beautiful Something is available year round on draft and in 16.9 oz. bottles.

Maine Beer Co A Tiny Beautiful SomethingMaine Beer Co. A Tiny Beautiful Something pours a clear straw yellow with a solid white head. The scent is the pungent mixture of hop aromas that has made Maine Beer Co. beers so popular. The hops also lead the flavor, notes of orange, grapefruit, mango and papaya along with a crisp but soft bitterness. The malt backbone is very mild, just a hint of white bread and honey. At 5.5% ABV this isn’t quite a session beer, but it is very light bodied and easy to drink. The finish is very clean with a touch of lingering hop flavor on the tongue. This is a very nice new-era American pale ale, tons of hop flavor without the bitterness or booze that comes with IPAs. Everyone chases the MBC IPAs (which are delicious), but it is worth your time to try their full lineup. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Maine Beer Co. Reviews:

Maine Beer Co. Beer II, BREWERY OVERVIEW: Maine Beer Co., Maine Beer Co. King TitusMaine Beer Co. Lunch, Maine Beer Co. Another One, Maine Beer Co./Allagash/In’finiti 2013 Ale, Maine Beer Co. Peeper

Maine Beer Co. Beer II

Every summer I make at least one trip up to Maine to visit family and friends. Ideally I make multiple trips, but with the new addition to the family it looks like my recent 4th of July weekend trek to the north could be it for this summer. With that in mind I felt the need to maximize this trip, and I think I accomplished that. In all I managed to visit five breweries over the long weekend, tasting and purchasing some delicious beer along the way. My wife and I have developed a bit of a tradition on these trips, every year we try to stop at Gritty McDuff’s Brewpub in Freeport for either lunch or dinner. We’ve eaten at some pretty strange times to make this work, but it is completely worth it to hold up the tradition. This stop has multiple advantages, it’s right off of 295, the food is good and the beer is solid, and the pub is right down the street from Maine Beer Company, so it would be foolish not to stop there too. The Maine Beer Company stop is always a treat, their incredible IPAs Lunch and Another One might be hard to find in Boston but the brewery typically has them in stock and they are incredibly fresh. They also have a great selection of their other beers, including some limited releases. One of the beers I grabbed on this trip was Beer II, the second release in MBC’s hop program. Beer II is a session IPA brewed with Amarillo, Citra, Simcoe and Hallertau Blanc hops. It is available for a limited time on draft and in 500 mL bottles.

maine beer co beer 2Maine Beer Company Beer II pours a clear straw yellow with a mild white head. The scent is a huge burst of fruity hops, dominated by tropical and citrus. The taste is also very hop forward, notes of grapefruit, passion fruit, lemon and tangerine. The hops also add some bitterness, but it is on the lighter/crisper side. The malts are muted, with just a touch of biscuit and honey. Beer II drinks very easy, with a clean finish, and is very sessionable at 4.7% ABV. This is a well done session IPA, tons of hop flavor without being one-note. I still personally prefer some of their “traditional” IPAs like Lunch and Another One, but this is a very nice lower alcohol alternative. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.

Previous Maine Beer Co Reviews:

BREWERY OVERVIEW: Maine Beer Co., Maine Beer Co. King TitusMaine Beer Company Lunch, Maine Beer Co. Another One, Maine Beer Co./Allagash/In’finiti 2013 Ale, Maine Beer Co. Peeper

 

Brewery Overview: Maine Beer Company

Maine Beer Co Lineup

Location: 525 US Route 1 Freeport, Maine. A very easy stop off of I-295 if you are in the area. Their tasting room offers flights and full pours of 8 selections, plus bottles to go. It is a welcoming place to sit and hang out, especially if you need to take a break from shopping at the outlets in downtown Freeport.

Website: http://www.mainebeercompany.com

Leadoff: Even though Boston is my home now I am a Mainer. I was born, raised and educated in the great state of Maine, so a brewery with the audacity to name itself after my home state needs to meet an extremely high standard in my mind. With their wide variety of well-made hop-focused beers, the Maine Beer Company in Freeport lives up to these high expectations.

Maine Beer Co Peeper

My Favorite Maine Beer Company Beers:

Mo Pale Ale: While many hold out for MBC’s IPAs, you should really try Mo, a widely available and delicious pale ale. Mo has more malt body than Peeper, without the aggressive bitterness of an IPA.

Lunch IPA: One of the most sought after and respected IPAs in New England, and for a good reason. Tons of hop flavor and aroma balanced by just enough malt body, a must try for any hop-head.

Another One is a fitting name for MBC’s “other” IPA, and holds up to the very high standard established by Lunch.

Maine Beer Co Another OneOther Beers you should Try: Peeper Pale Ale is the first beer Maine Beer Company released, a light bodied, hoppy pale ale. I love hoppy amber ales, especially in the fall and spring, and Zoe is one of my favorites.  Weez is Another One’s sister beer, a black IPA brewed with the same hop profile but very different malts. While MBC is mostly known for their hop-forward beers, you also need to try their dark and malty King Titus porter and Mean Old Tom stout. Don’t take the name of Lil One literally, this bold strong ale is a tasty mix of an American IPA and a boozy barleywine.

Unicorn Beers: Due to their popularity and relative scarcity you could list Lunch (or even Another One) in this category, but the big unicorn is Dinner, MBC’s occasionally brewed and highly sought after double IPA. A Dinner release results in lines at the brewery and people bragging about sleeping in their cars in the parking lot the night before. I have yet to try Dinner, but I’ve heard very good things.  

Beers I’d Still Like to Try: I’ve done a decent job tasting what this brewery offers, but haven’t tried Red Wheelbarrow or A Tiny Beautiful Something yet. They are both on my short list, along with Dinner. Maine Beer Company isn’t the type of brewery that releases 10 new beers a year, it is clear that each release is well thought out and tested.

Maine Beer Co 2013Collaborations: Maine Beer Company does occasional collaboration beers, usually with other Maine brewers like Allagash and Rising Tide. Keep an eye out for these, the releases I’ve tried have been spectacular.  

Charity Work: Maine Beer Company prints “Do What’s Right” on every bottle, and they put their money where their mouth is. 1% of gross sales go to environmental non-profits and they support a variety of local and national charities. They also take extra effort to use energy efficient and environmentally friendly products in all parts of the brewing process.

Final Thoughts: Maine Beer Company has established themselves as one of the premier craft brewers in all of New England. Their IPAs are considered some of the best in the region, and they do not disappoint. While they are proficient with the big hop flavors, you should really try the whole variety of beers they brew. I hope you enjoyed the first in my Brewery Overview Series, let me know what you think and I’ll keep working on the details!