This is another beer I brought home from my early December trip to Boston. A few months back my friend Chris brought me another Maine Beer Company offering, their IPA Mo, which was delicious. So I’m looking forward to this beer. Amber Ale’s span a wide spectrum in the hop/malt balance so one never knows what to expect, but from this brewery I’m expecting a beer where the hops shine through. This beer was bottled on 10/8/13 and I’m drinking it on Christmas day, so it is 2.5 months old, which is not as fresh as I would like. However, it does say on the label to drink within 90 days and I am at least in that window.
- Brewery: Maine Beer Company (Freeport, ME)
- Style: Amber Ale
- ABV: 7.2%
- Price: $6.99 for a 17 oz bottle
The brewer describes Zoe this way on their website:
“Our take on an American amber ale. Complex malt bill delivers notes of dark raisin, chocolate and biscuit. Copious additions of American hops yield notes of pine and citrus.”
They use Simcoe, Centennial and Columbus hops and seven different varieties of malts including English Marris Otter, Caramel, Munich and Chocolate malts.
As you can see from the photo it is a dark golden brown color, a little darker than I would expect for an amber ale, nice clarity, with a big creamy slightly-beige head. The nose on this beer is a bouquet of enticing fresh green floral hops. Coming to the taste the fresh, floral hops that dominate the nose come first, but then the malts enter the picture bringing toasty flavors with subtle chocolate overtones. The malts and hops are pretty evenly matched by the end of the drink, which gives it a slightly medicinal flavor. The finish is dry and the toasted malts linger softly on your palate. The bitterness is pretty tame.
On the plus side, I love the fresh hop aroma of this beer. The hops and malts are individually pleasant and well balanced. On the down side, I’m not sure that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. While I find the combination of darker malts and fresh hops unusual and interesting, I’d have to rate the the overall experience as pretty average.
Rating Scale: 10 = perfection, 9 = excellent, one of the top beers in the world, 8 = very good, one of the top beers in its style category, 7 = good, a solid beer I’m happy to be drinking, 6 = average, not bad but not something I’m likely to buy again, 5 = below average, 3-4 = poor, should be avoided, 1-2 drainpour.