Also lovingly known as the “The Hoppolicious Hoppy Smackdown @LFK” this event was a great way to celebrate the second annual IPA day on August 2nd. For those who aren’t familiar, IPA Day was started by a few beer bloggers to celebrate the awesomeness of IPAs and the diversity and prevalence of the style. Bars and breweries put on special events to celebrate the style, and this year the celebration was huge.
I was thrilled to find that I could attend an event at a new bar around the corner from where I live, featuring several different IPAs from one of my favorite Maine Breweries, Sebago Brewing Company.
LFK is a brand new bar on Longfellow square, and I have been waiting to try them out. I walked inside to find a crowd of people talking in a dimly lit, yet fascinating atmosphere. Old typewriter keys spelled out an Emily Dickenson quote (don’t ask me which, I only got to see the last word of it) along the length of the wooden bar curving around the space. Old (not retro, but actually old) ceiling lights provided minimal light, but the front windows let in the streetlights outside, creating a unique feeling of being a writer in the 1900s, squirreling away in the corner of a dim bar to think about that next novel.
Patrons of the bar were very friendly, also, and I actually talked to four or five people while I was sitting, writing notes at the bar, which is slightly unusual for me. I think a place like that could really spark an interesting neighborhood vibe.
The first thing I saw in terms of beer when I arrived was a Sebago cask, sitting on a wooden stand with the bar’s logo burned into it. I ordered one. Just after I got the beer in hand, Kai Adams of Sebago Brewing comes over and asks me what I’m drinking. He told me that I should try the Hoppy Hoppy Nano Nano (their small batch exclusive) before it’s gone, and also that Sebago made the cask stand just for LFK. Now that’s yet another bit of evidence that we have a cool beer community brewing here.
The casked beer was Frye’s Leap IPA dry Hopped With Citra and it was my favorite of the night. Cloudy, pale, and aromatic, the dry hopping gave it a very citrusy twinge, and a freshness. The casking mellowed the hops, even though I would have to say that it is a very well-balanced beer to begin with. Not usually a gigantic fan of casked beer, I was won over completely by this one.
Taking Kai’s advice, I then switched to the Hoppy Hoppy Nano Nano. A tulip glass with a dark orange brew appeared swiftly, and I stopped to inhale it deeply. This is honestly the first time i can say that the overwhelming smell I got was pineapple… really cool. A pilot batch of their double IPA, this one had a completely different (I assume) hop profile than citra’s subtletes. My first impressions from my first sips was that it was slightly drying. It wasn’t a sticky hop bomb but rather one that hits you up front and then makes you wonder what happened. After several sips, though, I was more of a fan, and I can’t wait to see where this beer goes from here. Definitely different than most IPAs around here, this one just comes at you in a different way. I liked it, but realized that my taste buds might be a little shot if I were to try something a little more subtle right after it.
I ended my evening with a Hop Swap, one of Sebago’s single-batch series. Brewed yearly, this ones’s name comes from the idea that they brew an American Ale where the hops are changed each year. This year has Centennial, Cascade and Citra. In between the other two, this one was very drinkable. It had a slight sweetness to it, though I’d like to try it again as my first beer of the evening next time.
All and all, drinking Maine IPAs and hanging out in a bar that Longfellow himself probably would be happy to haunt, was a great way to spend a summer evening. Cheers all.
IPA Day Official Website: www.ipaday.org
LFK, Portland ME: www.lfkportland.com
Sebago Brewing Company: www.sebagobrewing.com