Thursday, August 7, 2014

Maine Beer Zoe

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1147) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 7, 2014
I poured a 500ml bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 7/22/14 and cost $6 ($0.36 per bottle).

Appearance: Beautiful mahogany/maroon shade. Fairly clear body. Pours to a huge, off-white, frothy head which laces and retains wonderfully.

Smell: Strong hoppy sensation of flowers and a hint of berry or other fruity scents.

Taste: I always say I’m not a fan of amber ales, but there are certain examples of the style that really impress me and Maine Beer Zoe is a great example of what I mean. As is typical of the brewery, the hops are prominent here, though the malt base is a bit more vital to the palette of this beer than of their IPAs. I’d prefer it to be more balanced, but what’s here is delectable indeed.

Assertive bitterness from beginning to end, with a taste of flowers, pine, and a hint of tea or herbal sensation (due to the Simcoe, Columbus and Centennial hops, respectively). The brewery’s website list seven different malts, though the actual palette is not quite as complex as you’d think. Marris Otter gives is a touch of English character, with slight cherry flavor. There’s a light confectionery sweetness hiding in the background that’s noticeable if you look for it. Otherwise, the hops carry the load and impart tasty bitterness and give it a slightly astringent, resin-like taste on the back end. What’s here is enjoyable to be sure, though a more truly balanced brew would be amazing I’ll bet.

Drinkability: “Zoe” would seem to be a hefty beer at 7.2% ABV, however, it drinks like something smaller and more mainstream. The mouthfeel itself is soft, smooth and creamy – not quite as crisp as most ambers. The hops do linger and leave a minor dry bitterness on the tongue, but it’s easily tolerable. I could see this being quite versatile when it comes to food pairings. 
Grade: 8/10

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