Sunday, March 25, 2012

Maine Weekend, Part 2

Our beer sampling trip to Maine didn't end Saturday night at Lion's Pride. The next morning we went to the Sea Dog Brewing brewpub in Topsham, Maine. Located in a historic mill building on the river, the brewpub has built quite a reputation for its Sunday brunch. An all you can eat buffet, this smorgasbord has everything from eggs benedict to shrimp cocktail to cheesecake. Sadly, the food is a little more memorable than the fruity-bending beers. A very worthwhile take nevertheless.

Of the sampler tray, I had only tried two before: Blue Paw Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale (5) and Riverdriver Hazelnut Porter (4). The others are as follows:

Sea Dog Cabin Fever Winter Stock Ale, 6
Rich, toffee malt flavor. Refreshing after a bunch of watery options. The best of the bunch.

Sea Dog Old East India Pale Ale, 4
Hoppiness level more typical of a pale ale.

Sea Dog Old Gollywobbler Brown Ale, 4

Dull. Bland.

Sea Dog Owl's Head Light Ale, 1
Watery... go figure at only 3.25% abv!

Sea Dog Stout, 3
Charred flavor, one-dimensional.

Sea Dog Topsham Pale Ale, 3

Floral hops but very weak.

Sea Dog Windjammer Blonde Ale, 2

Dull wheat flavor but easy drinking.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The world's new #1 beer bar?

Regular readers know that once a year a round up a few friends to soak up the Maine beer scene for a weekend. Two years ago this trip took us to remote Lovell, ME and the world's number one rated beer bar: Ebenezer's. This Belgian bar has been so successful they recently opened a sister restaurant called Lion's Pride in Brunswick, ME. This Belgian bar has been so successful that it is actually rated higher than Ebenezer's on

While this wasn't my first trip (, it was the first chance I had ever had to sit down and spend some time with the impressive beer menu. Over the course of four hours our group of worked through many of the 36 taps and some of the rare bottles as well. To top it off, the food is very good, the beer memorabilia very impressive, and the service excellent and knowledgeable. I am not sure Lion's Pride can match the experience of Ebenezer's just yet (they will let you pitch a tent in the back yard!) this unquestionably belongs in the discussion of the greatest best beer bars in the world.

Here come the tasting notes. And I'll be coming back for the Drie Fontein Oude Guese and Lindemans Cuvee Rene.

Bahnhof Brettanomyces Lambicus Berliner Style Weisse, 6
Puckering, incredibly sour, wine-like qualities. Not as drinkable as I look for in the Berliner Weisse style.

La Rulles Triple, 8
Citrus hops (apple, pineapple), hint of medicine, with funk in back. Incredibly unique flavors.

De Dolle Dulle Teve, 8
Hoppy, yeasty concoction. Better known as "Mad Bitch".

Oude Beersel Framboise, 7
The tap kicked so this was just a sample. I found the flavor to be more musty and dry than other fruit lambics.

RepoTerrior, 2
Collaborative brew from Dogfish Head, Allagash, Sierra Nevada, Lost Abbey, and Avery. After that list of brewers would you believe that this was terrible? They opted to brew a light cucumber beer for some reason. Cucumber flavor seemed closest to watermelon to me. Poor either way you cut it.

Fantome Biere Artisinale Sur Lie, 9
I loved Strange Ghost enough to give this one a try. Sour nose, lively, citrusy, yeasty. Very fun beer.

Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, 10
I first wrote about this beer in a column for The Providence Phoenix about beer oddities. This is about as odd as it gets too: the beer uses coffee beans made from the droppings of a civet cat — a Vietnamese weasel! Weird, I know, but man was this good. Rich, beautiful flavor that demands to be sipped. The highlight of the night -- high praise.

Birra Del Borgo Duchessic Ale, 8
Recommended by a knowledgeable stranger at the bar. Dry and fruity. The first good Italian beer I have ever had.