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.