Maine Beer is a favorite of mine in terms of New England craft beer, so when I heard that they were doing another batch of their American Pale Ale, MO, I jumped at the opportunity to grab a bottle. I'm pretty sure I drank a bottle of this brew earlier this year but I don't quite recall if it was great or not. This is fairly fresh, having only been bottled 4 and a half weeks ago, so I'm interested to see how it fares. The Kleban brothers are known for their hop wizardry (their portfolio currently contains more hoppy, light/medium colored beers than stouts/etc.) so if they can pull off some more magic with this I'll be happy.
The pour is a fairly nice looking orange-tinted yellow/gold with a mildly-hazy body and a spectacularly-retentive head of foam which dissipates very slowly leaving generous heaps of lacing. The foam seems to settle down after a few minutes but a large clump still remains in the center of the glass, unwavering and unmoving. The nose is fresh, that's for sure; floral notes, fresh-cut grass, mint, thyme, pine, graperuit, tangerine, ripe honeydew melon and orange peel are all noted in the scent. There's a tiny bit of pale malt character there but it's definitely eclipsed by a very fresh hop aroma. My first sip is a bit surprising; not much bitterness (it's not an "IPA", I suppose) and a very even malt approach that drinks pretty smooth and unassuming. Most of the hop oil flavor tends toward the pine-y and citric on the tongue, washing down with medium dryness and a little bit of stickyness in the finish. The minty, herbal characteristics are pretty much narrowly limited to the scent and the pale malt seems to come to the front of the palate with just the right amount of carbonation leading off the proceedings. Bright, crisp flavor leads to a hoppy but balanced bite in the middle of the tongue with some grainy malt switching things up and allowing the hops some breathing room. Lacing gets spottier as I drink, but the head is still a finger-and-a-half of pure white suds. As I pour the remain of the bottle in headfirst with a fairly agitating pour I get three more fingers of head and a much more opaque body; almost looks like a totally different beer! The addition of the thin layer of sedimentary yeast to my glass does a lot for the flavor, creating a richer, more dense palate of interesting tastes. More robust and nuttier with a bit more brightness to the hops, this is one bottle conditioned pale ale that deserves to be imbibed. The brightness to the scent and flavor are both impeccable and the dry-hopping is pretty strong and allows the beer to open up majorly in the nose, while the simple but effective maltiness makes the beer a drinkable and complex wonder.
Now, to the one thing about MBC that keeps me from getting their great beer more often: cost. This seems to be a major point of contention with beer drinkers when it comes to this brewery, and it does have some merit to it. At a price point of anywhere from $7 to $9 for 16.9 ounces of beer, I don't entirely fault people for blacklisting this brewery. I, for one, think that if they can get beer to sell at those prices and see consistent growth (and they continue making good beer, of course), good for them. I will continue to purchase MBC's beer because, on top of making consistently great products, they donate to environmental nonprofits, donate their spent grains/yeast and utilize renewable energy initiatives. These are definitely causes worthy of support, and I admire the guys behind MBC for their dedication to craft brewing. Their prices are indicative of their quality. Unfortunately, this also means I will repeat-buy their beers less often than more affordable brewing endeavors. Not sure whether I consider that a positive or negative, however. Until next time, craft beer lovers!
The official breakdown:
- Style: American Pale Ale
- ABV: 6%
- Appearance: Nice golden yellow that gets hazier as you pour the sediment out. Excellent retention and pretty great lace
- Scent: Complex hop notes including mint, herbs, citrus, pine and floral notes with some light malt. Yeast brings some nuttiness to the table as well
- Taste: Almost like a Lunch-lite if you've read that review of mine. Fairly malty and even with some citrusy hop freshness
- Mouthfeel: On the middling side of thin with a crispness and refreshing quality akin to most good APAs. Nice, even temperament to it
- Drinkability: Probably the easiest beer to drink that MBC makes. Peeper is its only rival in this category but this is higher quality overall