Saturday, July 6, 2013

Maine Beer MO

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (920) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 6, 2013
I poured a 500ml bottle into a tulip glass. I bought it from a friend who got it on a road trip to Vermont (thanks, Jon!). It was bottled on 6/4/13 and cost $7 ($0.41 per ounce).

Appearance: Almost glowing hue of yellow/orange. Cloudy body, but translucent with fine carbonation visible. Forms a large, white frothy head which retains and laces extremely well.

Smell: Rich, sweet tropical fruit notes rather than citrus per se. A significant herbal scent as well.

Taste: If you’re a craft beer enthusiast, you’re probably familiar with the concept of a "San Diego IPA." I think it’s time to coin another term for IPAs from a region that taste similar, the "New England IPA." I’ve had several of them in the last few weeks and while they each have their own uniqueness, there’s a lot of similarities to them: tropical fruit aroma, intense, dry bitterness; hints of garlic and herbs; and bottle/can conditioning. That’s MO Pale Ale in a nutshell, and that’s why it works.

The beer starts off with significant bitterness immediately. It’s on the dry side, like a saison, though through the middle comes some sweetness akin to tropical fruit juice. Guava, passion fruit, kiwi and grapefruit flavors are noticeable, creating for a fruit cocktail-like sensation. As it begins its descent, a subtle garlic and/or onion flavor emerges. It’s not as strong as some of the bigger beers, though it is noticeable and definitely keeps in the tradition of the New England IPA. Though the brewery calls it a pale ale, MO could easily fit into the IPA style because of its intense bitterness and robust body.

Drinkability: Another reason you might consider Maine Beer’s "MO" an IPA is because it doesn’t have the higher drinkability of a standard pale ale. The beer is bottle conditioned, which accounts for the high carbonation, some of which gets stuck in the throat. It’s not challenging to drink, though the mouthfeel is rather intense, so it’s better enjoyed sipped than glugged. The aftertaste is dry but not cloying, however, the beer itself isn’t particularly refreshing. At 6% ABV, MO is a pretty strong for a pale ale, but would easily pair with a hearty meal, sharp cheeses, or work as a standalone beverage. 
Grade: 8/10

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