On the menu at the Great Lost Bear (for those not familiar, check out my earlier Beer Adventure at The Bear) this reads as “RUN OF THE MILL IMPACT PALE ALE” which sounds more like a jugdement on its merits than the name of the brewery it was from. So, I looked it up. The “Run of the Mill” is actually a brewpub in Saco, ME, which has just been added to my “must visit soon” list.

I received the Impact Pale Ale in a 20 oz glass because I forgot that Tuesday and Thursday nights are “order a normal beer and get a 20 oz one” nights. Its color impressed me though. A dark orange, a lazy and lacy head. The aroma is an assertive hop – but not quite to the fresh grass-clippings smell that some really strong IPAs have. I’d say that the smell is quite inviting, yet distinctly hoppy. I wish I knew what kind of hops this uses – because it smells very familiar.

The taste is something special, really. It is hoppy without being harsh, and the nutty maltiness is a welcome addition. I like this – a lot – and could probably drink these all night. Its like a dialed-down IPA, but not “weak” enough to fall into the category of pale ale. The malts are very likely giving this its distinctive color as well, which I can view as only a positive thing. The balance of the malts makes this one special. It definitely makes me want to take a trip out to Saco… even though I don’t really know where that is yet! I’m not sure if this is their flagship beer, either, but I do heartily recommend it to nearly any beer drinker. Cheers!

I must note, as a post-script, that in addition to being a great local beer bar, the Great Lost Bear has some amazing wings. I mean seriously awesome. Tonight I sampled the Cajun, BBQ and Jamacian Jerk wings… the Cajun – with a dry rub – is definitely my favorite, but all were perfectly cooked, succulent and tender. The BBQ sauce was awesome, the Jerk wings a nice balance of sweet and hot. I literally ate chicken wings for dinner… and I’m not at all ashamed 🙂