Monday, November 29, 2010

Ebenezer's sister

My experience at the world's number one beer bar - Ebenezer's in Lovell, ME - has been well-documented on this blog. Not surprisingly then, the recently opened sister bar of Ebenezer's, The Lion's Pride in Brunswick, has ranked high on my to-do list. Last week on our way home for Thanksgiving, Kelly and I got the chance.

For starters, this was a sizeable place with a pretty big bar and even bigger eating area. Much like at Ebenezer's, beer paraphanalia lines the walls, albeit with more representation from American brewers. But what really caught my eye were the apparently hand-blown, illuminated, glass tap handles. I've never seen that before!

The tap list was as great as expected. Lots of great Belgian beers that I have never seen on tap anywhere else. I will say, however, it wasn't close to the quality of the taps in Lovell - I didn't see anything vintage on tap. My biggest problem with this place is the fact they don't have a single written list of their abundant supply of bottles. Get your act together guys!

The food was good and reasonably priced. I got a lobster roll and Belgian frites for $14. The beers are substantially more pricey, but worth it. I ordered the Sinebrychoff Porter (9) from Sweden. Much like the menu promised, this is one of the best porter's I've had with tasty charred coffee making up the backbone of this beer. My wife went for the BFM Tarry Suchong (3) sold to us as a sour beer with tea as an ingredient, but labeled as a smoked beer by BeerAdvocate. I didn't enjoy this beer for the note of antisceptic within.

This was a quick trip but there will definitely be a return visit. Of particular interest, other beers on tap included: Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge a Flanders Red Ale, Jan de Lichte a 7% Witbier, De Glazen Toren Onkineke Oilsjtersen Tripel, Van Steenberge Biere du Boucanier Golden a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, and De La Senne Stouterik an Irish Dry Stout. Talk about a to-do list!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekend in Portland

A weekend in Portland saw a lot of the normal haunts: Novare Res, Great Lost Bear, and Sebago Brewing. What was new was Mama's Crowbar, an awesome neighborhood bar on Munjoy Hill that I discovered thanks to Beer Advocate. Only four taps, but the bottle selection was stellar and it had a great relaxed vibe that many brewpubs lack. Add it to your list of must-stops in this craft beer destination.

Bavik Petrus Aged Pale, 5
all sour white grapes, not exactly delicately balanced.

Maine Beer Company Zoe, 8
my second offering from maine beer company and it was a fascinating amber. very hoppy, but with a heavy caramel malt backbone. try this beer.

North Coast Brother Thelonious, 4
a belgian strong dark ale. very dense with lots of dark fruit. reminded me of a red wine, or port even.

Run of the Mill What's Hoppenin' IPA, 6
bitter, with a slightly raw note.

Sebago Saddleback Ale, 3
i was expecting a simple light lager, but for some reason there was a fair amount of spice. not for me.

Sierra Nevada Blackbird Black IPA, 8
surely the style of cascadian dark ale (or black ipa) has arrived when sierra nevada's version makes it to the east coast. true to style with a sharp bitterness.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recent ratings

Ratings dump! A lot of these are coming from the Beervana Fest in Cranston back in October. It was a great festival with a lot of new beers. So some good stuff in here, check it out!

Berkshire Lost Sailor IPA Aged in Cab Barrels, Score: 7
aging in wine barrels is hardly unusual at this point, but haven't tried an ipa like this. sour grapes take over the beer. fascinating.

Brahma, Score: 2

Brooklyn Local 1 (2006), Score: 7

Cisco Cherry Woods, Score: 7

Cisco Lady of Woods, Score: 8

Cisco Pumple Drumkin Spiced Ale, Score: 3

Clown Shoes Clementine Wit, Score: 7

Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA, Score: 9
my first beer from this michigan brewer -- i would love to see more midwest brewers make it this way in the future. great aroma and a very clean ipa.

Dogfish Head Fort (2006), Score: 3

Dogfish Head Old School, Score: 4

Dubuisson Peche Mel, Score: 10
all peach flavor with a fluffy mouthfeel. a great digestief.

Dupont Lambucha, Score: 8
green tea and spearimint make this feel fresh and quenching. worked pretty well.

Founders Porter, Score: 8

Frosty Knuckle Ale, Score: 4

Goose Island Bourbon City Stout, Score: 7

Harpoon Wood Aged Belgian Pale Ale, Score: 6

Heavy Seas The Great Pumpkin, Score: 7

Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Brew, Score: 7
most ginger beers are all spice, but a forward hop presence and a lot of darker belgian qualities makes this a must try.

Ithaca Brute, Score: 8
a wild ale that is very lively, lemony.

Kasteel Rouge, Score: 10
all cherry, all the time. smooth and delicious.

Meantime London Porter, Score: 9

Newport Cyclone Neo, Score: 7
fresh hops, sticky sweet -- this felt more like a double ipa than an american pale ale.

Offshore Great Pumpkin, Score: 5

Ommegang BPA (Belgian-style Pale Ale), Score: 9

Ommegang Cup o Kyndnes, Score: 5

Portsmouth Bottle Rocket IPA, Score: 9

Portsmouth Hefeweizen, Score: 5

Portsmouth Octoberfest, Score: 8

Rogue Hazelnut Brown, Score: 8

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary - Fritz and Ken's Ale, Score: 8

Smuttynose Chai Porter, Score: 6
kelly and i were excited to try this. the chai gave it a very coarse, cloroseptic-like feel. enjoyable but i wouldn't drink much of it.

Southern Tier Creme Brulee Milk Stout, Score: 9

St. Feullien Saison, Score: 8

Traquair House Ale, Score: 7

Trinity Decadence IPA in a Cask, Score: 5

Upright Four, Score: 7
a new brewer across from the rose garden in portland, or. as their "table beer," this saison is very light in body, with a refreshing grassy nature.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Breaking news: Full Sail in Massachusetts!

I had a hunch this was coming and today I found out for sure: Full Sail brewery of Hood River, Oregon is now available in Massachusetts!

This is a big deal. I have been clamoring for years to get some of those fine Oregon brews (beyond Rogue and Widmer) out to New England, and now it has happened! All we have to do now is get Deschutes and Hopworks...

Full Sail is an excellent brewer. Their Session, Amber, and Pale Ale are all top-notch, balanced, drinkable beers. The IPA is nice and flavorful, if not quite a full tilt West Coast IPA. Their Chris's Summer D-Lite is still the best Berliner Weisse I have ever had (but I don't expect to see it out this way any time soon...) Regardless, Full Sail has a great track record and really knows what they are doing.

For more details, check out the writeup from one of my favorite Massachusetts beer bloggers, Beer Nut:

So keep an eye out for Full Sail so you can enjoy a Pale Ale along with me!