Tag Archives: reviews

Maine Beer Company Lunch IPA (Review)

Maine Beer Company's Lunch IPA

“Do what’s right.”

That’s Maine Beer Company‘s motto. It is printed on all of its bottles. And the company is following its own advice, doing what’s right for the New England craft beer scene by brewing some very special beers, including its Lunch India Pale Ale.

Maine Beer Company says Lunch is “our ‘east coast’ version of a West Coast-style IPA.” And I can say without any doubt that Lunch is one of the best east coast IPAs I’ve ever had, and it can hold its own with some of the best West Coast IPAs, too.

Whenever I drink any of Maine Beer’s ales, I’m struck by just how crisp and clean they are. They’re also always extremely fresh, but that probably has to do with the fact that the company’s beers are also always in high demand in and around Boston, so they never sit on store shelves for very long.

Lunch IPA is probably Maine Beer’s most sought-after ale. It’s extremely difficult to find, and many of the liquor stores I frequent never even put it on their shelves; the shops keep Lunch behind the counter or in their storerooms for local beer nerds like myself who will appreciate it.

I slowly poured my Lunch IPA into a medium-size Maine Beer Company goblet, and it gradually formed a nice, frothy head, which didn’t dissipate much before I finished the beer. The color is orange/beige. It’s extremely flavorful, and you immediately taste citrus, mild pine and, of course, lots of fresh hops. Lunch is brewed with Warrior, Amarillo, Centennial and Simcoe hops.

Lunch IPA comes in a 1 pint, 9 FL. OZ. bottle. It has a 7.0% ABV. I paid $8 for my bottle. Maine Beer Company brews are currently available in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York City, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

Put quite simply, I love Lunch IPA. Lunch is so good that I forgive Maine Beer Company for ditching its beautiful paper labels for cheap-looking plastic ones—though I’m still not happy about it; Maine Beer’s old labels were awesome and unique.  Maine Beer Company’s Lunch IPA gets a 9 out of 10 on the Urban Beer Nerd scale. (It has 95/100 score on BeerAdvocate.com based on 266 user ratings.)

Check out the video below for more information about Maine Beer Company.

UBN

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Lagunitas DayTime IPA is a ‘Light, Session’ IPA (Review)

Lagunitas DayTime Fractional IPA

When I think of Lagunitas Brewing Co., I think of big, hoppy, flavorful brews. So I was surprised and intrigued to see a new “light” or “session” IPA from Lagunitas at my local liquor store yesterday. I grabbed it immediately. Obviously.

The idea of a light IPA is an odd one. IPAs by definition are big brews with higher-than-average ABVs. And because the amount of alcohol in a beer directly influences its calorie content, IPAs generally aren’t considered low-calorie or light beers—quite the opposite really. I don’t think DayTime IPA is really supposed to be a low calorie brew; it’s meant to be a low ABV IPA that you can drink with lunch and not get too buzzed. And it’s meant to be a “session” beer that you drink one after another, which isn’t usually the case with big IPAs—unless of course you want become extremely inebriated.

IPAs are more about hops and bitterness than they are ABV, though, so I was anxious to see what Lagunitas had come up with for its first light IPA. (Lagunitas DayTime is one of the first ever light IPAs, as far as I know.)

DayTime IPA has an ABV of 4.65, OG 1.042 and 54.20 IBU. It has 140 calories per 12 ounces, according to Ratebeer.com, compared to 180 calories in Lagunitas’s standard IPA and 110 calories in a Bud Light.

I poured the brew into a tradition pint glass with some gusto, but its head didn’t foam up as much as I would have liked or as much as I expected it to. In fact the brew is less carbonated than most IPAs, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just caught my eye.

Lagunitas DayTime IPA has a nice, clean hoppy aroma. And when I swished the first sip around my mouth a bit before swallowing, I was pleasantly surprised with how potent the hop flavor was. It’s floral and fresh, crisp and clean, with a malty finish and clear faded-gold color. The brew tastes great, but it lacks something in body, like most light beers; the bitter taste doesn’t linger and after a minute or two, it’s gone.

Overall, I like this light, session IPA, but it is a bit off-putting. Maybe I’m just not used to light IPAs, but something is lacking with DayTime IPA. If I was counting calories and still wanted a hoppy beer, I might go with Lagunitas DayTime again. But when it comes to IPA, I don’t cut corners, and DayTime tastes to me like a compromised IPA.

The concept of light IPAs has me wondering if we’ll start to see light- or session-versions of other popular styles, such as stouts and porters, in the future…and whether or not that’s a good thing.

Lagunitas DayTime “Fractional” IPA gets a 6/10 on the Urban Beer Nerd scale. It is on store shelves now, and I paid $10.99 for a six pack. Visit Lagunitas’s website for additional information.

UBN

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