Lunch IPA from Maine Beer Company is a hot beer in the Northeast. It’s gone as soon as it hits shelves in my local MA store, so imagine my surprise (and delight) when I saw a few bottles on a shelf in NH. The dates were ok (less than a month old), so I bought two bottles to enjoy.
What’s not to love about Maine Beer Company? They’re a small company doing it right, recycling everything they can, donating spent grain to local farmers and giving 1% of sales to environmental non-profits. Their packaging is simple and elegant and their beer is much the same.
Lunch IPA is named after a Fin whale nicknamed Lunch that spends time off the coast of Maine. It pours a dark orange, darker than I’m used to seeing in a typical IPA. The smell is heavy on the malt and light on the citrus. Actually, I’m not sure I smell any citrus at all. It’s certainly not as hop forward as other beers in this category.
The first taste is surprising, if unremarkable. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it wasn’t what I tasted. Lunch is a subtle beer, not a “punch you in the face” hop bomb. There’s a bit of bitterness, but none of the citrus/stinky hop presence I’ve come to expect/enjoy with a good IPA.
But to cast away Lunch with this observation is to do it a disservice. It’s a better beer than that. It’s simple and elegant… and BALANCED. If there’s one word to describe what they’ve put in this bottle, it’s balance. It’s ok not hitting you over the head with hops, instead it just goes down easy.
Lunch is a great tasting beer. The hops and malt aren’t fighting for center stage, they occupy it in complete harmony. There’s no metallic aftertaste that’s so common in lesser IPAs. I want to love this beer (and company), but I’m not sure I understand what it’s trying to be. It’s more of a pale ale than IPA (IMHO). Maybe being a month old has killed the magic in this beer? I’d love to get my hands on a fresh bottle to see how it differs.
I’m also going to begin adding a new metric to my reviews… Value. As the cost of craft beer continues to rise, I think it’s important to identify good values. At $5.99 for 16.9oz, this is a pricey beer. That equates to ~$23 for a six pack. Yowsa!
Vitals: Served at 45F into my trusty tulip glass. 7% ABV.
Taste: B+. Nice taste. Nothing over the top, but good.
Drinkability: B+. Very smooth and surprisingly easy to drink for the ABV.
Packaging: B+. Minimalist, but it works.
Value: C. This is an expensive brew.