Maine Beer Company is a relatively new brewery from the fertile craft beer landscape of New England. Having started modestly in a garage as homebrewers, brothers Dan and David Kleban only started brewing for production purposes within the past couple of years, in a slightly larger space in Portland, ME. As every bottle states, Maine Beer Company’s mission is to make “the best beer we possibly can,” while utilizing green credits to offset energy usage. The company also donates all its proceeds to environmental non-profits. For this review I tried the seasonally released Lunch, a fresh, hoppy IPA.
Poured from a tall, slender, 16.9-oz. bottle into an oversized wine glass, Lunch has a clean, clear orange hue with a nice white head that quickly retreats after a few sips. The aroma is distinctly characterized by East Coast hop varieties and a slightly sweet malt scent. Unlike many IPAs in this range of alcohol ( 7% ABV), this beer is light-bodied and refreshing and never dominated by overbearing bitter flavors.
Lunch is reminiscent of many truly great IPAs — it’s not a malt bomb trying to balance an unruly profile of hops. The brewers call it their “East Coast version of a West Coast-style IPA.” Each sip is balanced and refreshing, and showcases hops as a flavor instead of burying them beneath a swath of tacky malt character. The beer is named after a female fin whale spotted and tracked by Allied Whale, a marine mammal laboratory that is one of the nonprofits that receives MBC's donations; the whale had a chunk taken out of her fin that looked like a bite, hence the name, according to Brewbound.
Main Beer Company is currently working on a new, larger brewing facility in Freeport, ME, due to open in the first half of 2013. Though distribution is currently limited to New England and the Mid-Atlantic (stretching as far sounth as Virginia), Maine Beer Company’s beers are worth checking out next time you see one on tap or in your local bottle shop. If in bottle, check the spine to find the bottling date. As stated on the labels, hoppy beers are best enjoyed fresh, and as with Lunch, the reward is worth the search.
Top photo via Flickr user walknboston
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