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.