Seven years ago, the craft beer scene in Maine looked vastly different than it looks today. If Maine’s current beer landscape is a lush, complex garden, in 2008, that beer-scape was a sparse open field, made up largely of seeds gaining strength to break through the surface.
More than twenty new breweries have opened in Maine over the last seven years. And in that time, many previously impossible-to-get beers have started distributing to the Pine Tree State’s bars and beverage stores. Thanks to dedicated and visionary brewers, pub owners and beer store owners, now is the greatest time ever to be a beer drinker in Maine.
At the forefront of this craft beer boom was a brick-lined cellar bar boasting thirty taps, hundreds of bottles of beer from around the world and a brilliant outdoor deck.
Since opening its doors in the Old Port in 2008, Novare Res Bier Café has been a leader in Maine’s craft beer renaissance. Historically, any lasting renaissance is incited by a revolution, and Novare Res roughly translates “to start a revolution” in Latin.
On Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., Novare Res will celebrate ‘7 Years of Slingin’ Biers’ in the only way they know how: with insane local and international beers, free BBQ (weather permitting) and plenty of low down beer merriment.
Novare Res general manager Shahin Khojastehzad explains, “This party is a love letter to our customers and we just want to say thank you for keeping the lights on for seven years!”
The love, my friends, will be shown on Thursday night through the diverse beer list. Partygoers can expect to drink from five collaboration kegs that the Novare team was directly involved with brewing. These include collaborations with Allagash Brewing, Maine Beer Company and Marshall Wharf. Novare Res has celebrated each anniversary with a new collaboration beer with the Belfast-based Marshall Wharf. This year’s collab is the 7 Year Itch IPA.
A collaboration beer that has me ever intrigued is a one that Khojastehzad helped brew himself at Sierra Nevada’s brewery in Chico, California. Jimmy’s Black Box, as it is affectionately called, is a German-style schwarzbock brewed with Azzaca, Saaz and Galaxy hops. This beer has the body of a porter with the hop finish of an American ale. It’s a gustatory representation of Novare Res itself: an old world European beer tradition with a modern American twist.
Though Novare Res poured some of the first pints of Maine Beer Company, Marshall Wharf Brewing and Oxbow Brewing in the state of Maine, they originally gained fame as a beer bar that served brews from around the world. So in addition to the wildly intriguing aforementioned collaboration kegs, revelers can expect fresh kegs directly from De La Senne. Acquiring kegs from this Belgium Brewery is no small feat.
When asked about the changes he’s witnessed in the beer scene since Novare Res opened, Khojastehzad muses, “When we first opened, the beer IQ of most of our customers was at algebraic levels with a small cult of knowledgeable beer geeks. Now the beer IQ is well past trigonometry and edging on Quantum Physics.”
Without the tutelage of Novare Res Bier Café over the past seven years, such staggering growth would not have been possible. The tucked away beer bar is an institution unto itself. On Thursday night, let’s raise our pint glasses in celebration of this craft beer conservatory.
WHEN: 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: 4 Canal Plaza, Portland
ON DRAFT: 5 Collaboration Kegs Including Jimmy’s Black Box Made at Sierra Nevada. Also Look for fresh pours of De La Senne from Belgium.
MORE INFO: novareresbiercafe.com
More Beer Happenings
STRONG BREWING COMPANY GRAND REOPENING
Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, $20, 7 Rope Ferry Road, Sedgwick
If you’re looking for a road trip this Memorial Day weekend, make the drive to Strong Brewing Company in Sedgwick and help them celebrate their grand reopening. The $20 entry fee covers a flight of beer and the pig roast. Look for other locally sourced food options and music from Not Too Far From The Tree.
EIGHT GREAT PLATES FUNDRAISER
6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, $55, Allagash Brewing Company, 50 Industrial Way, Portland
Here is another great fundraiser hosted by Allagash Brewing Company. Proceeds from this event support Preble Street, an organization whose aim is to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty. Eight Allagash beers will be paired with small plates from PB & Me, Slab, King’s Head, Black Birch, Mt Desert Ice Cream, Lakin’s Gorges Cheese, Eventide, and Rosemont Market. For tickets, go to: bit.ly/1c2LCRl