A Visit to Maine Beer Company

Maine Beer Company is located is an unassuming industrial park in Portland, ME. The interesting thing about this place is that I have no idea how anyone leaves it without getting shitfaced. MBC, New England Distilling, Allagash, and Bull Jagger Brewing company all occupy this one highly alcoholic hot bed. If you’re visiting Portland, make sure to add these to your itinerary.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t that big of a fan of the tour they do at Maine Beer Company. Sure, if you’ve seen one brewery tour, you’ve seen them all, but even still I enjoy getting in there, checking out the equipment, seeing if I can spot any new stuff they might be working on, and getting up close and personal with the brewers. The tour at MBC wasn’t as much of a tour as it was you crammed in a little front room with 20-25 people looking through a tiny little window with the staff standing on the other side doing their thing while someone fields questions and another person occasionally (twice) comes out, fills tasting glasses, then leaves. If a visit to Tree House Brewing Co. feels like you’re being welcomed into someone’s home, then a visit to Main Beer Company feels like you are at some weird brewer’s zoo where you stand firmly on one side and they on the other.

Beyond the tour, I consider myself a fan of Maine Beer Company. Save for Thank You Allan, I’m pretty sure I’ve had and enjoyed all of their beers, including their Collaboration with Sean Lawson, Collaboration Time I. During our visit there we were able to sample both Peeper and Mean Old Tom on nitro, which was a treat. I generally find that I enjoy the creamy mouthfeel of nitro beer more so than it’s carbonated brethren. See Left Hand Milk Stout and Oskar Blue G’Knight, among others.
Lunch was of course asked about during the “tour” since it hasn’t been brewed or released in a while. At the time of our visit, David said that drafts were going to available at the beginning of this year, but bottles were not currently scheduled for the 2013 calendar. He mentioned that getting the hops to make Lunch is difficult and doesn’t always make sense when you can make so much more of their less hoppy, but just as flavorful beers with less ingredients and keep tap accounts happy and the hands of so many fans from being empty.
So I didn’t love my experience at Maine Beer Co. No big deal, I’m not saying you shouldn’t make a visit, especially if you’re going to be in the area to check out the other great brewery and distillery tours in the area. Keep in mind, tours are only at 2PM on Fridays, but it’s a good opportunity to pick up some of your favorite MBC beers and swag while you’re there.

Which beer did you have at Maine Beer Company? What are your thoughts on the Lunch IPA?

I had both the Peeper and the Mean Old Tom (on nitro) while at MBC this weekend. Both are solid and I’m particularly a fan of stouts on nitro.

As for Lunch, it’s great and probably my favorite of their beers. During the tour they explained that the beer was basically a one off test batch when they first brewed it and received some blow back when they couldn’t produce it regularly, with people accusing them of artificially creating demand for it. What it boils down to is the lack of hops needed to brew it, and while they could use X amount to brew Lunch, they could do two or three batches of their less hoppier beer, so it only makes sense to brew Lunch less often. Lunch was recently kegged however, and you should see it on draft soon, but they have not set a date for when the next time it is being bottled.

Totally Normal Amount of Craft Beer to Bring “Car Camping”…

What we took to Lincoln Pond this weekend. (More on that later). This isn’t including the shitty beer and the hard alcohol. The run down:

  • Maine Beer Co. – Mean Old Tom
  • Keegan Ales – Joe Mama’s Milk
  • Adirondack Pub and Brewery – Cocoa-llaboration (Barrel-Aged Chocolate Smoked Porter collab with Crossroads Brewing)
  • Adirondack Pub and Brewery – Barrel Aged Fat Scotsman (Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy aged in Jack Daniels Barrels)
  • Adirondack Pub and Brewery – Whiskey Sour (Belgian Black Ale aged in Apple Jack Whiskey Oak Barrels with Lactobacillus added)
  • Adirondack Pub and Brewery – Adirondack Double Mocha Stout (on nitro, in Ruck growler)
  • Troegs – Nugget Nectar
  • The Alchemist – Heady Topper
  • Pre-Ban Four Loko – Cellar-aged two years

Yeah, I still have some old illegal Four Loko, what of it? Doesn’t everyone craft beer drinker out there age caffeinated Four Loko like they cellar limited-release barrel-aged stouts? No?

Manchester, VT: More Heady Topper Has Been Acquired [Crisis Averted]

After Merc cleared my house of Heady Topper Monday night, the withdrawal symptoms started to set in. Sleeplessness, anxiety, nausea, shakiness, grinding of teeth… I knew something had to be done.

The closest place that I knew who had HT was Manchester Discount Beverage (it turns out that Bennington Beverage Outlet has it, too, but I didn’t find out about that until I got home last night and their inventory isn’t online like MDB, either). I sent them a quick FB message to make sure they had it in stock, and they assured me that they just picked up fresh Heady Topper on Thursday, and they even had some Celia Saison I’ve been meaning to give a shot.

Obviously I can’t go to a bottle shop and not grab some shit I haven’t had yet. So Me and The Mule set out after work yesterday to go stock up on whatever the hell else was worth picking up. The score:

  • The Alchemist Heady Topper x infinity – obv
  • The Alchemist Celia Saison x 2 – I think most gluten-free beers taste like assholes so maybe this one will change my mind
  • Founders Old Curmudgeon x 2 – never had, but it’s Founders. C’mon.
  • Founders Imperial Stout x 4 – both this and FOC will go well when I break open my CBS and do a Founders tasting night
  • Maine Moe – haven’t had yet but all of Maine’s beers are phenom
  • Maine Mean Old Tom – Elise should love this stout aged with vanilla beans
  • Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10 – I have 11.11.11 so when 12.12.12 comes out I’ll at least have a three year vertical. Not much but better than nothin’, right?
  • Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon – Solid RIS that I just haven’t had yet
  • Allagash FOUR – I could have swore I picked this up but maybe I shelved it because it didn’t fit budget. I don’t see it in the pic, I’ll have to check back later. After drinking that Allagash Curieux I’m pretty much full-mast any time I see Allagash as long as it doesn’t have brettanomyces added, which make beers taste like full-blown AIDS.

The rest not listed here was Merc’s. After we were accosted by a stereotypical dirty Vermont Hippie (“Camping? You must mean car camping. That’s almost like real camping.”) we left there and headed to Madison Brewing Company for some pretty uneventful beers and pretty uneventful venison and bison burgers. Took a few pics there, maybe I’ll post them later. Maybe not.