Ebenezer’s Restaurant and Pub looms large in the collective psyche of craft beer lovers. When talking about the beer riches in Maine – and our coffers run deep in the Pine Tree State – the unassuming pub must be at the forefront of the conversation.
Boasting a renowned collection of Belgian beers on draft and in its beer cellar, Ebenezer’s is one of the best beer bars in the world.
And that’s not just my opinion. Ebenezer’s list of accolades is impressive: No. 1 Beer Bar in the World by Beer Advocate, Top Beer Destination in the World by ratebeer.com, Top Beer Destination in America by Travel + Leisure and Men’s Journal …
You get the picture. Hidden away in tiny Lovell is one of the best beer bars you will ever visit, according to some very credible sources.
I should also note that co-owner Chris Lively was knighted by the Belgian Brewers’ Guild in 2014 for all he’s done for Belgian beer.
Looking over what I’ve written, I suggest you stop reading, get in your car and make the drive to Ebenezer’s for your world-class Belgian beer experience.
Still reading? Your call. Here’s an overview of my latest visit to the world-renowned beer destination.
On a below-zero day in February, my wife, 8-month-old son and I set out for Ebenezer’s from Cape Elizabeth. About an hour into the trip, my wife said, “If this drive didn’t end in great beer, it wouldn’t be worth it.”
I nodded in agreement as I steered the car through the frost heave-laden Route 93.
After an hour and a half, we pulled into the parking lot. It was only my third trip to Ebenezer’s, and with each visit I’m surprised at how unpretentious this place appears. Located on the third hole of the Lake Kezar Country Club, it looks more like a western Maine dive bar than a world-class beer hub.
Above the front entrance, however, is a sign filled with the pub’s laurels, slapping that dive bar thought out of my head.
Inside the cozy pub, we settled into a high-top table and study the colossal draft list.
Warning: If you’re a hop-head seeking the IPAs and double IPAs that dominate the current beer scene in America, Ebenezer’s is not your mecca. This pub is beloved for its dedication to Belgian-style beers. In the Belgian tradition, the majority of the beer it offers gets the bulk of its flavor from yeast, not hops. Yeast-centric beers have flavors that are tart, earthy and spicy as opposed to the citrus and pine flavors of IPAs.
With that stated, let’s begin our foray into Ebenezer’s draft list. Of the 35 beers on draft, 10 are brewed at Lively Brewing Co., Ebenezer’s sister company in Brunswick. The other 25 are hard-to-find beers from around the world, ranging from saisons to sours to Belgian stouts. It’s these ever-changing beers that make Ebenezer’s a nerve center of Belgian beer in America.
On this trip, the standout beer for me was the Phi from Brouwerij Alvinne in Flanders, Belgium. This blonde sour ale was served in a wine glass and had a dark amber appearance and a big lemon bouquet. The flavor began with nuanced sour apple flavors, but instead of finishing with an overpowering tartness like lesser sours, it settled into beautiful notes of lemongrass.
This beer is a perfect example of why people travel from far away to visit Ebenezer’s. This humble bar in Lovell is one of the only bars in America serving this caliber of world-class Belgian beer.
Though it’s months away, the best way to experience Ebenezer’s is during its Belgian Beer Week celebrations in August. That’s when owner Chris Lively pulls out all the stops. Make the trip to Lovell and immerse yourself in Belgian beer euphoria.
WHERE: 44 Allen Road, Lovell
FUTURE BEER EVENT: Ebenezer’s Belgian Beer Week, August 2016
ON DRAFT: 35 ever-changing Belgian-style offerings from around the world, including over 700 bottled beers in their cellar
HIGHLIGHTED BEERS: Brouwerji Alvinne Phi (10% ABV), Brasserie Vapeur Saison di Pipaix (6% ABV) and Lively Brewing Turbillon Saison (5% ABV).
MORE INFORMATION: ebenezerspub.net
Mast Landing Brewing Company Opens Tasting Room
3 to 8 p.m., Friday, 920 Main St., Westbrook. mastlandingbrewing.com
It’s official, Westbrook now has a brewery. Located on Main Street, this small craft brewery will be pouring beer in their tasting room starting this Friday. The Mast Landing brewers began home brewing three years ago, and ever since they have been perfecting their recipes with the dream of opening a commercial brewery. Thanks to an IndieGoGo campaign (which is at 36% of their goal at the time of writing this column), Mast Landing is going to be able to get their beers out to the public. Expect a full column from me on the Westbrook brewery later this month profiling their lineup of beers.
Maine Brewers’ Guild ‘Beer School’ Is Back In Session
Classes Run from March until June. mainebrewersguild.org/beerschool
Last year I reported on the Maine Brewers’ Guild’s inaugural run of Beer School, and I’m pleased to report that after last year’s sessions were such a hit, they’re back with a new semester of classes. Beer School features local Maine brewers discussing an aspect of brewing they are highly knowledgeable on. For example, on March 7, Allagash Brewing will be hosting Sour Families: A Tasting of Sour Beers Aged in Barrels. This event is sold out, but there are many great classes with openings hosted by the likes of Banded Horn Brewing, Maine Beer Company, Oxbow Brewing, and Black Bear Brewing. Dust off your Trapper Keeper and get ready to be schooled in the art of brewing. Classes fill up quickly, so sign up now.