Tag Archives: De Struise

The Lion’s Pride

After our Sunday River trip, we  headed down to Brunswick, ME for the night to visit The Lion’s Pride, the newest restaurant owned by Chris and Jen Lively of Ebenezer’s fame. If you like beer and you live in New England (or anywhere really) and you haven’t been to Ebenezer’s, you need to get there… NOW. Of course their hours during the winter are funny, being only open on the weekend, likely due to their seriously remote location. This is why we decided to go to The Lion’s Pride. They’re open every night of the week.

While Ebenezer’s has a small middle of nowhere pub feel to it, The Lion’s Pride has a more urbane feel. Aside from that difference, they’re very much the same. The staff at both restaurants are fantastic. The food is to die for. And the beer… it’s world class. They’re both known for their steak tips, using the same recipe at each and getting their beef from the same local farm. This is what I ordered. And, as expected, they were absolutely amazing. Whatever they use as a marinade is just mouth watering. Susan got the seafood scampi, which said it came with lobster, mussels, shrimp, and scallops. We weren’t expecting much in the way of big hunks of seafood, but on top of the huge mount of pasta was a huge mound of seafood,  including a ton of lobster. I ate my whole meal, but Susan brought hers home. It fed both of us that second night. Prior to our meals, we were brought a small loaf of bread, which was amazing. I think it was a molasses oatmeal bread or something like that. I honestly don’t remember, but it was darker and very tasty.

Now the beer… being indecisive, we ordered a couple flights. They had a taplist of something like 25 different beers, all amazing. This made the choice difficult and the option of getting a flight much more attractive. Our first flight of six beers consisted of the following.

  • Smuttynose G-Bock
  • De Struise Pannepot
  • Cuvee de Jacobins
  • Dogfish Head Olde School Barleywine
  • Biere de Boucanier
  • Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted

The Smutty was a great beer, classified as a doppelbock. It was sweeter and quite tasty. Cuvee de Jacobins is a Flanders red ale (or a sour red). The difference is that it’s far more tart than most in the style. In fact, it bordered on being a lambic, in my opinion. Pannepot is a spiced Belgian ale, similar to a spiced quadrupel. It’s tasty, but not my favorite (though I’ve heard it’s excellent aged). The Olde School wasn’t as good as I had hoped. It was hoppier, but not hoppy. The malt profile seemed lacking. I expected more depth to the beer. Bitter and Twisted is a traditional English IPA. It was nice and malty with a touch of hops. It’s very easy drinking. Finally, Biere de Boucanier is a Belgian strong pale ale. I wasn’t overly impressed by it, but it was still good (I’m not the biggest Belgian pale ale fan).

Because there was still so much beer left on the list that I had to try, I ordered a partial flight when we finished the first. That one consisted of:

  • Smuttynose Oak Aged Maibock
  • Allagash Interlude
  • Koningshoeven Quad
  • Bayrischer Berlinerweiss

The Berlinerweiss was ordered straight up. In Germany, they’ll add a shot of flavor to it, like raspberry or apple. We wanted the pure unadulterated beer. It’s a very light, easy drinking wheat beer with a tart finish. It’s a very refreshing beer. I wasn’t impressed with the Quad, which was surprising as I enjoy it from the bottle. Perhaps the difference was being on tap. I actually have  bottle of that in my basement from 2006 that I need to drink. I’ve heard that those bottles had something wrong with them, but I guess we’ll find out when I open it. Interlude is a different type of beer. I think Allagash was going for a saison, but ended up infecting it by accident the first time they made it. It gave the beer a slight hint of funky tartness. It’s an excellent beer as always. My favorite beer of the night, however, was the Oak Aged Maibock. I don’t know what kind of oak barrels Smuttynose used, but I was expecting a big bourbon flavor as with many oak aged beers. This one, however, was very different. The oak gave the beer a nutty maple flavor that I was not expecting. It tasted almost like maple walnut ice cream. It was a superb beer, and, as a big fan of everything maple, easily my favorite.

The waiter we had, Jon, was excellent. He brought us a complimentary glass of the Cuvee de Jacobins as dessert. He knew his beer, as did the other two people working there that night. I was very impressed by their beer expertise, though I shouldn’t have expected anything less. We chatted with them all for a bit before we left. Even though they closed up right after we left (at 9:30 pm), they weren’t in a rush to get us out of there.

Finally, I want to comment on the pricing. Our bill came out to almost $90 for our two meals and the two flights of beer. The way they do the flights is give you basically a half pour for half the price. They fill up large tasting glasses, which are probably about 5 or 6 ounces each. Our beer came out to just about $40, not including tip or the complimentary beer. My meal was the cheaper (I didn’t have lobster in it). Susan’s meal cost $27, but for the amount of food, especially the amount of high quality seafood, it was well worth the price. I am not one to enjoy spending a large amount of money going out to dinner. The food and beer at this place is well worth every penny. In fact, I would dare you to compare the quality of the food with any top quality restaurants in a major metropolitan area. The food matches the quality of some of the best restaurants here in Providence – a city known for it’s culinary masters.

Beering It Up… Maine Style!

No vacation would be worthwhile without beer involved.  So, since we had 4 beer geeks in the car, there were a few stops.

Gritty McDuff’s Brewpub, Freeport, ME

On our ride up to Sunday River, we stopped in Freeport to visit the flagship LL Bean retail store(s).  Since it was lunchtime, we decided to stop into Gritty’s Brewpub just down the street.  The place is big and pretty open.  There are 2 halves, one with a bigger bar than the other (it’s got the casks).  The side we sat in had the smaller bar with just some taps and regular drinks.  The tables were mostly picnic style tables, kind of like a German bar.  The food was excellent.  I had a burger that was fantastic.  The others in our group also really enjoyed their food.  They had their IPA and Scottish Ale on cask.  I got the IPA, Susan got the Scottish.  The IPA was awesome, but the Scottish was way off.  They also had the Black Fly Stout on nitro, which was also excellent.  We stopped by the gift shop, picked up a mini-keg of the stout and got some t-shirts.

Sunday River Brewing Co., Bethel, ME

At the end (or beginning, depending on which way you’re going) of Sunday River Rd. is the Sunday River Brewing Co.  This brewpub used to be owned by Stone Coast, before they went out of business.  It’s now the only place you can still get fresh Stone Coast beer, and what good beer it is.  I had the Alt and the IPA (still the good old 420 IPA).  Others in the group got the Red, which was also very good.  Their food is excellent.  They do a great BBQ and their house-made pastrami is awesome.  It’s also really cheap.  Pints are normally $3.50, but on Wednesdays from 3-7, they’re just $1.50.  If you’re in the area, SRBC is a “don’t miss”.

Shipyard Brewhaus, Whitecap Lodge, Sunday River Resort, Newry, ME

While this isn’t an actual brewpub or brewery, Shipyard has a bar at the Sunday River resort.  It serves beers other than Shipyard.  It’s a little on the pricey side with regards to the food, which is pretty good, but nothing special.  However, they have pretty much every Shipyard beer available (with the exception of the Pugsley’s Signature Series).  The beer is good, and pretty cheap.  Pitchers were just $15.  They had the Brown Ale, which is a special one, and it’s a good one.  They also had their Bluefin Stout, which was also excellent.  If you’re at Sunday River, you should stop by the Shipyard Brewhaus at Whitecap Lodge for some beer (though you can skip the food here).

And now… last but most certainly not least… (in fact, I saved the best for last)…

Ebenezer’s Pub, Lovell, ME

Note: I’m going to include a review of an inn here as well, because it’s necessary to spend a night if you plan on visiting Ebenezer’s.

The last night of our trip, we stayed at the Olde Saco Inn in Fryeburg, ME.  The inn is off Rt. 5, but way back in the woods.  In fact, the street wasn’t found on my GPS, probably because it’s really just a driveway for the inn.  The inn is gorgeous and the innkeepers are super nice and friendly.  They were very welcoming and accommodating.  The rooms were nice.  There was a huge fireplace in the middle of the first floor, which kept the whole place nice and warm and smelled fantastic.  They were baking cookies when we arrived.  The morning after, we woke up to the great smell of maple and bacon.  Since breakfast was included, we also got a huge meal.  It was well worth the cost.  It should also be noted that they run a shuttle service in conjunction with Ebenezer’s.  You drive to Ebenezer’s, drink a lot of great beer, someone from Ebenezer’s will drive you back to the inn, the next morning, the innkeeper will bring you back to get your car.

Now onto the stuff you wanted to know… Ebenezer’s!

Ebenezer’s Pub is a small restaurant and bar also set back in the woods (apparently, it’s on a golf course, but in the middle of the winter, you can’t see anything but white).  A lot of their business was snowmobilers, for whom they kept the heat down (my only complaint as it was quite chilly in there).  It was packed when we arrived, so we ordered some beer and waited for a table (Susan wasn’t able to sit at a bar height table because of her knee).  The tap list looks like you’re at a bar in Belgium that also serves a few American craft beers.  It ranged from the common Stella Artois (which I doubt he carries often) to the rare Black Albert and Cantillon St. Lamvinus.  In fact, the only non-craft beer on the list was Stella.  He did have bottles of Bud and Corona, probably to keep him in business.  Most of the people in there were drinking something other than the great draft beers they had.  After we ordered food, one of the waitresses started talking to us and bringing us samples of some of the great beers on tap, including Black Albert and a couple Cantillon lambics.  We drank a lot of beer, more from samples than actual orders.  They had Samichlaus Helles on draft as well as a 2004 Stone Old Guardian Barleywine.  Both were excellent.  The 4 Cantillons I had (2006 Framboise, 2006 Kriek, Rose Gambrinus, and St. Lamvinus) were excellent, though not quite as sour as they are from the bottle.  The Black Albert was simply amazing.  It was a little light in body, but the flavor was awesome.  The bartender had also brought us a bunch of samples.  The staff couldn’t have been better.

Ebenezer’s is a must visit for anyone who loves beer.  While they may not have the most taps or the biggest bottle list, they make up for it 10 times over with their staff.  We didn’t even get to meet the owner, Chris.

This doesn’t include all the beer we drank at the condo (Shipyard Export Ale, Geary’s Pale Ale, Geary’s HSA, Sebago Frye’s Leap IPA, Schlafly Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, and more…).  It also doesn’t include the stop we made for lunch at the Portsmouth Brewery on our drive home.  I’ll write more about that next as it’ll include a bit more than just that lunch stop.