Watch out, Heady Topper, Maine Beer Company Shows Us It’s Time For Dinner

I’m on a journey to drink them all.  And on this journey, I’ve drank a lot of them.  HeadyPliny.  (The Elder, not the Younger.  Yet.)  Double SunshineHill Farmstead AbnerZombie Dust.  90 Minute.  60 Minute.  Smutty.  Lunch.

On this path to IPA enlightenment, I’ve tasted greatness.  So strap in tight and hold on to anything you can grab, because I’m about to make some bold statements about a new IPA.  Some of you will surely doubt me, but your doubt does not deter me.

Dinner LabelThis week, Maine Beer Company unleashed their version of a double IPA.  It’s called Dinner, no doubt a play off the name of their IPA, Lunch.  (By the way, I’ve already dubbed Lunch the best beer in Maine, making my claims here even bolder.)

Tim urged me to go to Freeport with him this week to get Dinner.  Tim is also on a quest for IPA nirvana.  When Tim sniffs out a good beer, I follow.

I’m no stranger to MBC’s tasting room.  I love just about every one of their beers.  On Tuesday, the place was packed.  I had to park my truck on their muddy lawn.  Just by looking at the parking lot, I knew something special was happening.

Inside, I see Tim.  He’s holding a glass of cloudy yellow liquid.  He cannot suppress his shit-eating grin.  If Tim’s giddy, then it’s on.

DinnerI order my Dinner from the ever-pleasant MBC pourer.  What happens next, happens in cinemagraphic slow motion.  I put the glass to my nose.  I say a slow motion, “Wwoooww!”  I nearly fall over from the aroma.  I take a sip.  Cue the chorus of angels singing, “Go Tell It On the Mountain.”  I repeat a few times before the angels fade and reality slips back into real time.

My first words to Tim, “This is as good as Heady Topper.”

“Yeah,” Tim says.  “When was the last time you had Heady?”

“I had three on Saturday, and this beer is as good as those three beers.”  We both laugh, then a pang of seriousness enters the room.  “How long are they going to have this beer?”

I know a beer is good if after my first swig, I wonder when it will run out of production.  Thus is the nature of desire: when we find what we’ve been seeking, instead of enjoying the moment, we immediately fear its loss.

How can I claim that Dinner is as good as the current #1 beer in the world (BeerAdvocate)?  Let’s get down to it.

This is the first time I’ve wished I wrote a scratch-and-sniff blog.  This beer is oozing with fresh hop resin.  Their Lunch has a beautiful fruity bouquet, but Dinner’s aroma is an all out banquet of citrus.  I’m guessing by the hazy appearance of this beer that the brewers use a shit-ton (to borrow a Maine measurement term) of knockout hops.  Meaning, they toss in buckets of hops after the boil, and as the wort cools, it releases the hop resins without breaking them down.  Oh, and they use Citra hops, and boy do they shine cleanly in this beer.  The aroma and the flavor unite to create one of the most brilliant tasting beers I’ve ever drank.  Ever.  It’s grapefruit and mango and passion fruit.  The finish is bitter, but subtle.  Everything about the experience of drinking this beer is world class.  Every.  Damn.  Thing.

I have no hesitation in saying that Maine Beer Company’s Dinner is the best Maine-made beer I’ve ever had, and that it is a direct rival of the best IPA’s in the world.  Dinner will run out soon, if it hasn’t already, but if you’ve ever thought about taking a road trip to Maine for a beer, this is your beer.  Get it, and take one more step towards IPA enlightenment.

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