Carla Jean Lauter

The Beer Babe

Brunswick, ME Beer Adventure – Lion’s Pride Brewery

I’ve taken a new job recently that takes a long time to drive to. It is a wonderful job, and I love what I’m doing , but sometimes the drive is tiring. So when I kept driving past a brewery I’d never heard of called the Lion’s Pride Brewery, I vowed that I’d stop in there sometime and check them out, if only as a respite on my long journey home.

So on a drizzly Thursday I made the stop in. I was hungry, tired and pretty mentally drained. I walked into the brewery and saw a few things that made me smile. There were painted copies of brewery logos on the wall – every thing from New Belgium to Stone to Dogfish Head. Some were labels, and there was a really nice one of Chateau Jihau, one of my favorite labels from DFH.
The brewery had two sections, one to the right that had tin ceilings and a long line of beautiful blown glass tap handles and cabinet full of bottled delights. I sat in there and was immediately greeted by a “beer tender” who handed me a beer menu that was the same size as their food menu.

I saw what was on the list and my eyes nearly jumped out of my head.
Belgian trappist ales (Roquefort, Chimay, Westmalle & more), Dogfish Head beers (120 Minute, Paolo Santo, Shelter Pale Ale), Brews from NH, Maine (Allagash, Smuttynose), from beyond and frankly beers that I’d never come across. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This was supposed to be a brewery, but it was like beer heaven – almost the perfect beer list. When I asked about it, they said that they’d only opened a week or two before I came in, and that they’d start brewing in a month or so.
After being flabbergasted by the beer menu alone, I decided to try a Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor, described as a “hoppy Belgian blonde ale.” (Doing a little research later I found it was actually a Belgian beer, and that it was bottle refermented and very hoppy, but coming in about 8% ABV). It arrived in the appropriate glass and was cloudy with a thin head. The aroma was very hoppy, and the taste didn’t disappoint there. The hops do fade into a warming Belgian yeast taste – smooth and dry but not too sharp. The after taste, though bitter, lingers and makes the brew refreshing. I liked it a lot.

On a later visit, I also had the chance to try a Kasteel Rouge – a ridiculously red beer (again from Belgium) that smelled of cherries and resembled red wine when glanced quickly. The
aroma was unbelievable, and the taste was out of this world. It tasted, I kid you not, like black cherry ice cream. It had a beautiful cherry taste, a little backbone of alcohol, and the taste lingered on your lips like lip gloss. A dessert beer certainly, but it was almost worthy of being served on top of a sundae (what I would have done for a pint of Cherry Garcia…). The waitress told me that it was described to her as tasting like chocolate cherry cheesecake.
In summary, as it stands right now, this is a Belgian (and other fine domestic) beer lover’s heaven. Their food is also outstanding – though dinner for two is not cheap, I recommend this for the serious beer fan. The taps are changed constantly, so you’ll never be able to try everything there. I can’t even begin to wonder about what they’ve got up their sleeve once they start brewing.

If you live in Boston, Brunswick Maine is about 3-4 hours away. I like this place so much that I would say that it’s worth the drive for the serious beer fan. There are places to stay in Brunswick, some great towns nearby (like Bath, Wiscasset, etc.) and plenty to do. But come for the beer, and the taste will linger in your mouth for hours.
Beer Babe Post Script : And this is one time I can say with full gusto that I completely agree with the reviews on Beer Advocate! Not that I usually disagree, but the fact that every reviewer gave it an A+ is kind of epic.

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5 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    I second what Anonymous said: 2.5 hour drive on average.

  2. Anonymous

    Boston is 3-4 hours away from Brunswick if you are driving Miss Daisy perhaps but normal people will be able to reach Brunswick from Boston in no more then 2.5 hours.

    That said this is an amazing bar and worth the drive for any serious beer and/or food lover.

  3. The Beer Chick

    This is a rad story! Can't wait to get myself up there and check it out for myself! So happy to have you as part of http://www.beerforchicks.com! Keep it up Suds Sister!

  4. Thom

    I live in Oregon and we just had the Brewer's Fest. Hope you can get out for it one of these years. It's a major event and a lot of fun. The brew flows! Best to you!

    Thom
    BBQing Tips From Deep In The Heart Of Oregon

  5. Anonymous

    If you find yourself up that way again, I recommend The Liberal Cup in Hallowell (about 30 minutes North of Brunswick, just outside of Augusta). They brew all their beer on spot. I would compare the atmosphere to The Tap/Haverhill Brewing Company in Haverhill, Mass.

    Here's some more information about The Liberal Cup:

    http://www.mainebrewersguild.org/liberal.php

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