The first I'll mention is Narrow Gauge out of the St. Louis area. Thanks to Lisa and Rick (my profession beer mules) for bringing me a few crowlers back with you. http://www.narrowgaugestl.com/home
These guys have quickly made a name for themselves in just one year, even being named the best new brewery in Missouri. After having this IPA, I can see why. I know a lot of people are jumping either on or off the NE IPA craze, but I love it (when done correctly.) This is done to perfection. Some haze from the massive amount of hops used, huge citrus aroma and flavor, balanced nicely with the right amount of bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Honestly, it reminds me of Pulpit Rock IPA, and that is a very good thing. I have another in the fridge that I will be enjoying very soon.
The scenery was absolutely incredible, unlike anything I've seen before. The rocky shores were stunning, and it's always great to be by the ocean. Of course fresh Lobster, crab, and haddock was on the menu daily while we were there.
However, I wasn't impressed with the local beer scene. These NE breweries are getting a lot of hype, but I'll take our Iowa beers over most of what I could find in the Bar Harbor area. Since I'm a nice guy, I won't list the so so breweries I encountered.
Instead, I will list a few notables. I have to start with Maine Beer Company. https://www.mainebeercompany.com/ This is a very hyped brewery so I really wanted to try them. While I was there, I had 2 of their beer and brought back a 3rd. The guy at the store told me "Lunch" was the best beer he ever had, so of course I had to try it. Well, it wasn't close to the best beer I've ever had, but it was a very good beer. A nice, clean IPA, that was well balanced and brewed with skill. I would certainly buy this beer again and again, but to say it's even in the realm of best beer I ever had, would be a big stretch.
Peak Organic Brewery was the other highlight for me, with The Juice and Crush being the beers I'll remember. Both solid IPA's with loads of citrus aroma and flavor, and more bitterness than I expected. That also made them very easy to drink, and the few I brought home will be great to enjoy on a hot Iowa night. http://peakbrewing.com/
This is a brewery that I will seek out whenever I travel. I was immediately hit with loads of citrus, mango, and orange aroma when I opened the can. The flavor matched perfectly with the aroma, and was dare I say "juicy." It was also extremely well balanced both with the malt profile and the perfect amount of bitterness. This beer was fantastic. I also recently drank IPA #2 from them and it was nearly as good.
I'll even give an honorable mention to Hose Krusher APA from Strange Men Brewing. Unfortunately the bottle I had was flat, but it was another well balanced beer with great aroma. Hopefully I can join these guys in the future to brew (and drink) some beer with them.
I have a few more random NE beers to try that I've brought back with me and a few crowlers of Pulpit Rock's Loopy Lynn (possibly my favorite DIPA of all time) that I'll be enjoying soon and while they are fresh. I plan on enjoying them even more on my new backyard patio while the dogs run around our big yard. Until next time. Follow me on Twitter: @Crinkletalk
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