Brewery: Maine Brewing Co.
Style: Double IPA
Cost: ???? (12oz)
Glassware: Tulip, Snifter
Availability: Various Times
Purchased@: Beer Trade
Quick Take: Out of the numerous Maine beers I’ve sampled, Dinner is hands down my favorite and one of the best IPAs I’ve had. This is a great example of a rich, full-bodied, finely hopped IPA similar to those Vermont IPAs you hear so much about. The dank deliciousness of Dinner makes this a beer worth seeking out, even if the availability appears limited right now. I gotta say that Maine Brewing knocked this one out of the state.
Brew Facts: Dinner is the first DIPA from Maine Brewing and one that they double dry hop with 6 lbs of hops. This beer is heavy on the hops and all about fresh. With that in mind, I drank this 07/31/14 brewed beer on the very day I received it in trade on 09/10/14 down at the Bulls Head Pub because this needs to be shared.
Appearance: Dinner pours a bubbly white head that dies off quickly. In the wake of the collapsing wall of suds are slashes of lacing, running across the glass like ragged cracks of soapy foam. The beer might not have much retention, but the bubbles floating on the surface aren’t quick to pop. The color gives off a soft orange and amber glow that gives it a warming aspect. Haze is high and clarity is low, which suggests an IPA that hopefully has a protein filled body and rich mouth feel without needing to rely on a high ABV. This cloudy IPA hits a visual mark that just begs to be sampled and chewed on.
Aroma: One sniff let’s you know this is a Maine Brewing beer. The aroma of a dank, toasted grain body is typical to Maine’s pale ales, but leads into creamy/lactose, grapefruit/mango, orange zest and Falconer’s Flight hops that rounds it out, making for a smell that is musty, toasty, tropical fruit and sweet at the same time without the grassy, tea like bitterness that can come from aggressive hopping. The sweetness could be from the dextrose used in the brewing process or the caramel malt, but it helps balances out the danker hop aromas. Regardless, just know that the smell is as delectable as the appearance.
Taste/Mouth Feel: A sip has a full body rolling through my mouth, showing off a nice grain bill. There is a lactose richness to it that isn’t full on creamy, but has some weight even though it stays drinkable. The carbonation is there but negligible. I drink again and let it swirl around my tongue. The sweetness combined with the malt and the hops gives this a resiny grapefruit quality that blends well and doesn’t reveal in bitterness. That isn’t to say bitterness has no home here, but that’s not what this beer is about. It’s a balanced mixture of dank farmhouse, toasted sesame, mango/orange and a citrus pine hop finish that hangs beautifully. That touch of sweetness blends well with the protein heavy body making for a delicious combination. There may be some breadiness, but hardly worth mentioning. Beers like Dinner, with its subtle complexity and luscious flavor, are why I love hops.
Final Thoughts: While Maine is a well-regarded brewer that concocts some fantastic beer, my personal experience is a bit mixed. Malt and hops sometimes take a back seat to the yeast and grain bill. There is a grain emphasis to Peeper and Weez that didn’t excite my palate, however MO and Lunch showed some spark. I only mention them to give context to my feelings about Dinner. Out of these numerous Maine beers I’ve sampled, Dinner is hands down my favorite and one of the best IPAs I’ve had.
I say one of the best in the same way that most of the Academy Award nominated films are one of the best pictures for the year. Dinner should be included in the conversation of the best of the best Imperial IPAs even if it isn’t likely to come out on top once the votes are counted. What I’m clumsily saying is that Dinner is a great example of a rich, full-bodied, finely hopped IPA similar to those Vermont IPAs you hear so much about. For me, it is on the same level as a Wings of Armageddon or Racer X (one of my absolute favorites), but not quite at the level of the expertly hopped Heady Topper or Pliny the Younger. Depending on your palate, you may even find Dinner to exceed those beers, but it’s good company to be in either way. The dank deliciousness of Dinner makes this a beer worth seeking out, even if the availability appears limited right now. I gotta say that Maine Brewing knocked this one out of the state.