I reviewed this beer back in 2015 and felt like traveling back to Maine to sip some Stephen King juices and see if this west coast gem holds up in the age of haze.
It more than holds up, it is absolutely stellar and an absolutely top tier example of the style. Some nay sayers feel this isn’t resinous enough, that it is too sweet, or it somehow is an embodiment of Midwest IPAs from a time past. This aint your daddies Oberon Ok.
You would be hard pressed to see this classified as English or even just plain old American IPA. For me it hits all those zones of pith, zest, foliage, and the peaceful petricor of early spring.
Carl Jung had this idea of the collective unconscious. These west coast IPAs are linked together and their ancestry through a shared set of experiences. This collective consciousness of hops gives meaning to the IPA world.
Sure we see the word grapefruit in label copy and roll our eyes so hard we become investment property owners. If that is the broad brush of alpha acid dynamics, the nuanced details keep my thighs aching. Lactic with the recognition of a past that was imperfect, but idealized. Delayed onset of muscle soreness gives you this blast from workouts ago that rattles your core in the present.
I still romanticize chasing bombers of hoppy crystal malt gems like the current offerings aren’t just repeated occurences of these archetypes. You just keep drinking IPAs and your discrimination goes up. On a long enough dating timeline you swipe until you reflect more about yourself in who you reject, than you who accept.
But somehow Maine Beer Co embraces our collective flaws. The risky 2am heart eyes reaction. The failure of purpose and sitting in your car in the driveway, not going in. The fantastic waves of cuties, meyer lemon, intense sweetness to the body like Bit O Honey, and this chick o stick meets Davidoff Coolwater. These scents and tastes linger within us, just hops in a boil waiting to be awakened.
Maine Beer Company has made Manchurian candidates of us all, hoppy sleeper cell agents horned up for that bitter eroticism that shakes the dust off the eros of our daily lives.