Lunch Time

Posted by Jim on May 20th, 2011
May 20

Maine Beer Company Lunch IPA

look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Unlike some other reviewers, I was unable to try this beer at Sebago’s “End of an Era” party…but the time I went to try it, the keg was empty. Luckily, bottles were released the next day. My bottle has been in the fridge all afternoon. It was filled two days ago, on 5.18.11. I’m pouring it into my Maine Beer Company glass.

A very large off white foam head fills my glass, but it is quickly settling into liquid from the bottom up; the top of the head is remaining at the top of the glass. The liquid is a hazy translucent orange. A few streams of carbonation can be seen rising within. As the head is settling, good lacing is left behind. Swirling leaves a lot of film.

Lunch has an exceptional fresh hop aroma. It’s bitter and has some warm alcohol notes as well. An underlying sweetness is present; it adds an essence of maple syrup to the aroma.

The taste of this beer is a good mix of sweet and bitter. A malty base is tasted first (tastes like pale or crystal malts to me). Grass hops quickly come in. A stronger bitter flavor makes its way to the front as I swallow. Bitterness lingers on.

The beer is medium bodied and has average carbonation. It is slightly sticky and only leaves a little coat. It isn’t nearly as thick as I thought it would be. What is left behind isn’t overly flavorful; just enough to make you want another sip.

Lunch is another impressive beer from MBC. I’m sure that drinking this beer when it is just two days old helps, but I imagine it will hold its own for a number of weeks. I definitely see myself drinking a lot of this; I don’t think I’ll start packing a bottle as much lunch, but it will certainly pair well with many future meals.


In other news: who else is all jazzed up for tomorrow’s 3rd Anniversary party at Novare Res?

Getting a Beer Education

Posted by Jim on Feb 25th, 2010
Feb 25

I attended my first Beer.EDU session at Brunswick’s Lion’s Pride last night.  It was a very fun experience.  I got to trade tasting notes and beer stories with another local beer blogger, Katy Too.  I got to hear about some crazy plans Chris Lively has brewing (beer-world-shattering, I-wish-I-could-share-with-you-but-he-swore-me-to-secrecy plans that should be made public over the next few months).  I got to trade Kate the Great Day strategies with the staff and my fellow patrons.  Most importantly, I got to try five incredible Belgian beers, as guided by Ryan’s tasting and general beer knowledge, all in preparation for the Lion’s Pride’s Belgian Beer Fest, which is now just over a week away!  I got a sneak peek at the promotional poster and an updated draft list; both have gotten me very excited for this event.

I was served five 6 ounce pours.  I tried to take review worthy notes of each pour, but there was a lot of information coming at me quickly, so these reviews may not be as in-depth as I am used to writing.  Luckily for me, all five beers are worthy of revisiting, so I may get to  flesh out these reviews at some point.

Urthel Saisonnière

A- / 4.05
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4

Reviewed from my notes. I was served a 6oz pour in a small wine glass. The kegged version of this beer has been filtered, but the bottles are unfiltered. It possesses a light straw color with a head of white soapy foam. Some pretty lacework was left behind as I enjoyed my pour. It has a strong yeast aroma with a hint of citrus; typical of the style, but of a high quality. The flavor is slightly biscuit-like, but has some sweetness to it as well. There is a slight tartness in the finish that is rather interesting. I could taste some peppery spices as well, but they were subtle. The body is a bit heavier than I expected, based upon the transparent appearance. That’s not to say it’s a heavy beer–I still classify it as light bodied–but it is not as light as I thought it would be. It has a perfect level of mouthcoating. I find it to be quite drinkable. I don’t see myself sticking with this one particular beer for multiple rounds, but I will enjoy this glass very much.

Bink Blond

B+ / 3.95
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4.5

Reviewed from my notes based upon a 6oz pour served in a small wine glass. The beer sits in its glass like a yellow cloud with a thin cap of white bubbles. There is a slight yeast aroma to it, plus a hint of grass. I can’t smell much here, but that could be my fault, not the beer’s. It has a sweet and smooth flavor. I can pick out candy sugar as the source of the sweetness. The finish is dry with a slight peppery bite. The body of the beer is rather light, and I can feel plenty of carbonation tickling my tongue. There is very little in the way of a mouthcoat. I find ti to be very drinkable. The slight aftertaste may get old after a while, but I doubt it.

De Ranke Guldenberg

A- / 4.25
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | drink: 4.5

Reviewed from my notes, as based upon a 6oz bottle pour. The beer has a cloudy, dirty straw color, making it rather opaque. There is a thick head of white foam. There is a musty, slightly floral aroma; it’s a good balance of yeast and hops. The taste is crisp and dry. I can taste white grapes and a hint of alcohol. There is a musty and bitter finish that echoes the aromas picked up as a swallowed. It has a light body and an appropriate amount of carbonation for a tripel. There is a very slight coat left after each swallow. Swishing the beer around in my mouth produces a bit more of a coating, but nothing significant. It is a very drinkable tripel. This exagerated taster pour goes down very easily, and I could certainly continue and finish off the entire bottle. This is a beer worth seeking out.

Caracole Nostradamus

A- / 4.2
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | drink: 4

Reviewed from my notes. I was served a 6oz pour from a chilled, freshly opened bottle. The beer has a dark copper color. t is translucent and has a thin tan head that dissipated quickly. After a few minutes there was hardly any head left. There is a robust caramel aroma. I am also picking up on some slight pine tones as well. The beer has a sweet flavor, but nothing overwhelming or indicative of the higher ABV. I found this up front malt quality to be very good, but was incredibly impressed with the finish. There is a slightly sour taste in the finish and after taste. It is reminiscent of a Flemish Brown. I found it to be totally unexpected and very tasty. For a strong dark ale, there is a rather light body to this beer. It also has a lot of carbonation, but not enough to distract from the flavor. There are some welcome estery alcohol vapors in my mouth after I swallow. As I seem to find many Belgian beers, this one is very drinkable. I can see the sour aspects being a limiting factor for some drinkers, but personally, I could go for multiple rounds.

t’ Smisje Great Reserva

A- / 4.2
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | drink: 4

Reviewed from my notes. The notes are based upon a 6oz pour from one of a trio of bottles shared among the patrons of the Lion’s Pride last night. The Great Reserva is a version of the Catherine the Great aged for six months on cognac barrels. It has a dark brown color and a single finger of light brown foam. It is translucent, with a very dark center, but I can see some light sneaking in around the edges. It is most important to note that this does not look at all like I expected a big barrel-aged stout to look. Smisje can make a world class stout that doesn’t look anything like it’s American counterparts. There is a slightly funky, sweet smell. I didn’t pick up on as much of the cognac as I thought I would. The flavor has some sweet toffee malts. I can taste some of the cognac, but again, it’s not excessive. The amout of alcohol is very good and doesn’t overwhelm or distract. It has a medium body (again, not like most big stouts I’m familiar with) and medium carbonation. There is plenty of alcohol and carbonation in each swallow to tickle my tongue. It doesn’t have much mouthcoating; it is more of a cloud of estery vapors that I can feel after I swallow. I certainly wouldn’t call this a session beer, but for a high ABV Belgian stout aged in cognac barrels, it is remarkably drinkable. If you are lucky enough to see a bottle of this beer, buy it!

In other news, I’ll find myself back at the Lion’s Pride again tonight, for Gank the Goblet night featuring Maine Beer Company‘s Spring Peeper Ale.  I think I may also have to order myself a glass of the Kasteel Cuvée Du Chateau, this Belgian brewery’s take on the English barleywine.  This is one of the rare draft selections advertised as part of the Belgian Beer Fest, but since it’s available now, I want to get a glass.  Also worthy of your attention are two beer events taking place in Portland tonight.  Novare will be hosting folks from Unibroue and pouring some rare selections (check out the list, posted at Beer Bloggers) and the Great Lost Bear will have special pricing on Brooklyn Beers, including the Manhattan Project, one of my favorite new beers.

Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale

Posted by Jim on Feb 10th, 2010
Feb 10

Tröegs Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale

B- / 3.35
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drink: 4

Poured from a cellar temperature bottle into a pint glass. There is no freshness date on the bottle, but I’ve had it for a number of months, so it may be past its prime. The beer is a very dark brown; not as dark as dark chocolate, but close to that. There was a modest head of tan bubbles that quickly settled to something that’s less than a skim of foam, just a few small bubbles and a little foam lacing, but I can see bare spots as well. Swirling the beer around gives a minimal amount of lacing. There’s a little sweet malt in the nose; maybe some raisin; and some warm, toasted grain. All of the aromas are very slight though. The beer has some sweet malt flavor up from to compliment the aroma. This gives way to a nutty, biting flavor. At first I thought it was an off taste; but after taking a few more sips, I like it. The flavor is a bit watery for my tastes, and I’m the first to say that I’m not a big fan of brown ales, but I like this one. This beer has a light body, but it is also complex. The watery flavor makes it feel light at first, but the robust, nuttiness in the finish gives the beer some punch as you swallow. Very little mouthcoating, just a hint of sweetness can be found if you go looking for it. This beer drinks very easy. I can’t think of any real objections, other than it’s not a challenging beer. The Rugged Trail will never command your full attention, but would be great to drink whilst engaged in other activities.

In other news: 500th post! Woo!

Slightly off-season reviews

Posted by Jim on Nov 16th, 2009
Nov 16

I reviewed two beers over the weekend, a winter ESB and an Irish Red.

Clipper City Heavy Seas Winter Storm ‘Category 5’ Ale

B+ / 3.95
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | drink: 4

Served from a cellar temperature bottle into a pint glass. The beer has a dark copper color, almost brown. There was about a finger of tan bubbles when first poured that quickly dissipated. There is a strong hop presence in the aroma; it evokes grass and caramel. It’s quite pleasant. When you first taste the beer you’re greeted by a smooth maltiness. This quickly gives way to bitter hops. The bitterness lingers on after you swallow and evolves to a slightly burnt flavor. It’s complex and interesting. The beer has a fuller body than I expected; it really coats your mouth. There’s also more carbonation than I thought there would be. I find the Winter Storm to be very drinkable. It isn’t a beer I’d want to drink quickly, but it has some great characteristics that make me think I could slowly enjoy a number of bottles over the course of an evening.

Saranac Irish Red

B / 3.75
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drink: 4

Poured from a cellar temperature bottle into a glass mug. The beer is a brown/ruby color and has a significant amount of head, made of small tan bubbles. The aroma is a good mixture of pine and herbal hops and toffee malts. The flavor seems to taste strongly of toast; I imagine the yeast ued to brew the beer has imparted itself to the flavor. There is also a hint of bitterness form the hops. It has a medium body and noticeable carbonation. It can be felt on your tongue as you swallow. This is a pretty drinkable beer. It isn’t exceptional, so I would be tempted to order something else after the first round, but I certainly wouldn’t complain if I was faced with a six pack.

In other beer and Jim related news, I have a few purchases I’m planning on making.  RSVP has two beers available that I didn’t pick up on Saturday that I’m going back for this afternoon: Fantome Hiver and Long Trail Brewmaster’s Reserve Robust Porter.  I’ve never had either, but I’m a fan of Fantome beers and the DIPA that was part of the Brewmaster’s Reserve series was the best Long Trail I’ve ever tried, so I have high hopes for these two.  Also, next Saturday is the Ohio State vs. Michigan game.  Being good friends with die hard Buckeyes fans has made Nissa and I de facto Ohio State supporters.  In celebration of the game, I want to get us some tasty beers from Ohio.  I spotted a six pack of Thirsty Dog Hoppus Maximus at RSVP that I’ll probably procure for the game.  We also have a few Great Lakes singles left over from our road trip this summer; this seems like a perfect opportunity to enjoy them.

B Double E Double R U N

Posted by Jim on Aug 17th, 2009
Aug 17

Although not quite a beerrun, the road trip Nissa and I took allowed me to buy a number of beers that I cannot get in Maine.  Below is the full list of what I returned with.  Some will be aged, others will be enjoyed soon.  Almost all are beers I’ve never tried before; many Beer Advocate reviews will be written.

Great Divide

  • 3 12oz Denver Pale Ale
  • 3 12oz Titan IPA
  • 3 12oz Saint Bridget’s Porter
  • 3 12oz Wild Raspberry Ale

River Horse

  • 3 12oz Special Ale ESB
  • 3 12oz Hop Hazard American Pale Ale
  • 3 12oz Tripel Horse Belgain Style Ale
  • 3 12oz Lager
  • 6 12oz Brewers Reserve Imperial Cherry Amber
  • 6 12oz Dry Hopped Hop Hazard Pale Ale


  • 3 12oz Pale Ale
  • 3 12oz Dream Weaver Wheat Beer
  • 3 12oz Hop Back Amber Ale
  • 3 12oz Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ale
  • 6 12oz Scratch Beer Series #22
  • 1 22oz Troegenator Doublebock


  • 3 12oz Lager House Helles
  • 3 12oz Barbarossa Double Dark Lager
  • 3 12oz Other the Rhine Ale
  • 3 12oz Friend of an Irishman Brewers Stout

Flying Fish

  • 6 12oz Belgian Style Dubbel

Lexington Brewing Company

  • 6 12oz Kentucky Ale

Bluegrass Brewing Company

  • 4 12oz Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

Oskar Blues Brewery

  • 6 12oz cans Old Chub Scottish Style Ale

Spanish Peaks

  • 1 12oz Black Dog Ale

Left Coast

  • 1 22oz McGarvey’s Scottish Ale
  • 1 22oz Hop Juice Double IPA


  • 1 22oz Lucky 13
  • 1 22oz Ruben & the Jets

Southern Tier

  • 1 22oz Big Red Imperial Red Ale


  • 1 22oz Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A.

Heather Ale Ltd.

  • 1 500ml Kelpie Seaweed Ale

Great Lakes

  • 6 12oz Grassroots Ale
  • 1 12oz Oktoberfest
  • 1 12oz Commodore Perry IPA

Lost Coast

  • 1 12oz 8-ball Stout

Goose Island

  • 1 12oz Oatmeal Stout

Atwater Block Brewery

  • 1 12oz Vanilla Java Porter

Erie Brewing Co.

  • 6 12oz Presque Isle Pilsner

Bear Republic

  • 1 22oz Racer 5 IPA

The Bruery

  • 1 750ml Saison Rue

Sierra Nevada

  • 1 24oz 2008 Harvest Wet Hop Ale


  • 1 22oz Fifteen
  • 1 22oz Collaboration not Litigation Ale (Batch #2)

Hoppin’ Frog

  • 1 22oz B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout

De Glazen Toren

  • 1 750ml Canaster Winterscotch-style Ale


  • 1 22oz Vertical Epic Ale 08.08.08

Jolly Pumpkin

  • 1 22oz Bam Noire Dark Farmhouse Ale

In other beer news, tonight Nissa and I will bottle our 301 IPA, which has been fermenting with oak chips for 2 weeks.

Riding out this rainstorm with a Squall

Posted by Jim on Jul 2nd, 2009
Jul 2

Dogfish Head Squall

B+ / 3.9
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4

Served from the Rogue’s Gallery designed 750 ml bottle split into two standard pint glasses. Pours a translucent, partly cloudy amber. The cloudiness is due to us pouring out the bottle and mixing in the sediment. There is a thin white head of large bubbles. Some lacing, but nothing too impressive. Hoppy aroma, with some grassy scents and some pine. Hops up front in the taste, which last through until the bitter hop finish that lingers. There is a sweetness at first, but not a malty sweetness, more like a natural sweetness, such as honey or a simple syrup. There is a healthy amount of carbonation that tickles your tongue while you drink. It has a medium body; it goes from feeling thin to syrupy as you move the beer around your mouth. All in all, I find the Squall to be an enjoyable beer. I don’t think I would buy it over the 60 or 90 minute if all I wanted was an IPA, but if your a fan of Dogfish Head’s IPAs, I recommend you try it at least once, especially if you live in one of the lucky areas where it is sold. If I somehow had access to a number of bottles of it, I would certainly be able to drink it all night.

In other beer review news, I’ll post the reviews of the beers I had yesterday at the Lion’s Pride after tomorrow, when I go back for my second visit.  I hope I stay sober enough to review the special beers Chirs has reserved for the BA‘s.

Novare Anniversary

Posted by Jim on May 21st, 2009
May 21

Today marks one year that Novare Res has been open, and what a year it’s been!  I was there on opening day and have been in nearly every week since.  I’ve certainly learned a lot about beer there, and made a few new friends.  I thought I’d share with you some number from the past year based on my Movie + a Beer notes:

  • 90 visits
  • 328 beers ordered
  • 1.73 visits/week
  • 3.64 beers/visit
  • I went to Novare, on average, once every 4 days
  • I drank a beer there every 0.9 days
  • With a conservative estimate of $7 per beer, I spent $2296 there

Since I finished the Uprising Chalice, I’ve been going less regularly (economic factos are partially responsible for this), but I still stop in at least once every two weeks.  A statistic I wish I could clculate would be how many ounces of beer I’ve consumered there, as the numbers don’t really reflect my consumption.  The chalice is about 24oz I believe, and I know I had a liter of beer during the Ocktoberfest celebration that only counted as one beer ordered.

Any way you look at it, I’ve had a lot of fun at Novare this past year.  I hope the next year is evern better!

In other beer news, I’ve started posting reviews of most of the beers I try.  You can find them all on Beer Advocate. I hope to review some Black Albert and Primus Tumultus tonight.

Cellar Time

Posted by Jim on Mar 25th, 2009
Mar 25

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gathered myself quite a tasty beer collection to cellar.  It’s small right now, but I’ve got ambitions of eeping a good supply of quiality beers on hand.  My dream is to one day never need to go to the store when Nissa and I feel like having a good beer, we can just go downstairs and select something.  Here’s what I have on hand now (links go to the Beer Advocate pages for each beer):

Also, in our fridge we have a second bottle of Black Albert and a 750ml of Ommegang Abbey Ale, both of which will be consumed soon.  I’ve never had the Black Albert before, so I’m quite excited to try it.

I’m hoping to add a few more bottles to the collection in the next few days (maybe after payday).  Downeast Beverage has bottles of Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA and Raison d’Extra, and a J. W. Lees Harvest Ale brewed in 2002.  Yum!  I also think my collection needs some Cadillac Mountain Stout 22oz bottles; you can’t have too much of that beer.

In other beer news, Jeff should be finishing his Novare Uprising card sometime Friday ro Saturday.  Good work Jeff!

Drunky McJim

Posted by Jim on Nov 17th, 2008
Nov 17

I finished Novare’s Uprising challenge tonight.  Eric gave me a recomendation for my final beer, which followed, it was quite excellent.  Overall, it was a rewarding and fun experience to fullfill the Uprising.  If you are a beer fan I recommend you take a shot at it.  It may be expensive, but it’s worth your while.

In other news, this is my 300th Post.

Plate Pals

Posted by Jim on Oct 7th, 2008
Oct 7

There’s a little game I play while driving: I am constantly on the lookout for license plates that are numerically similar to mine.  Whenever I find one that is within a few digits of my plates, I get unnecessarily excited.  Yesterday afternoon I found a plate that is closer to mine than I’ve ever seen before (and will make it very hard to ever find a more similar plate).  I drive a car tagged 3305 PC.  As I pulled up to a stoplight yesterday, in front of me was 3307 PC!  I bet the two of us had similarly close numbers that day we both registered our cards at the BMV.  I think it’s going to be a long while before I find 3309 PC or 3304 PC.

In other news: It’s my brithday.  I’m celebrating at Novare Res tonight.  I’ll pass 150 beers in the uprising.

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