I love the creativity and risk-taking of craft beer brewers. Without it, this thing we call craft beer would not be as important or as vital. However, I think sometimes brewers (as with all creative types) get too caught up in recreating the wheel and pushing the creative envelope and they forget to just make a quality product. No bells and whistles, just something good, consistent and tasty.
I like NE-style IPAs and big sugary stouts and hibiscus, rosehip, honey goses. I love to taste the crazy things brewers try to come up with to set themselves apart. Yet, there are times when all I want is a good well-balanced beer. A well made Irish Stout has become my go-to beer. Something dry and easy drinking. One of the original session beers.
Another well-balanced sometimes forgotten style that I’ve found myself coming back to again is the pale ale. One of the best made today is the Maine Beer MO.
This is a beer that immediately looks beautiful in the glass. It has a nice light golden color and a thin white head. The head doesn’t last long but it does leave a good lacing on the side of the glass as you drink.
The aroma is equally as beguiling with citrusy hop aroma and a bready malt backbone.
It is the taste, however, that really highlights MO’s balance. As it should. You get the characteristic American Pale Ale hop flavor: bright and citrusy. However, there is little to no hop bitterness. Just enough to give it a nice dry finish that begs you to take another sip, but not something overwhelming. You also get a bready malt sweetness with, to my palate, a hint of apple/apricot. MO is soft and medium on the palate with good carbonation and finishes dry and clean.
A good pairing for this beer would be an “adult” grilled cheese sandwich with a nice sharp cheddar on sourdough or rye bread. If you are looking for a more meat-focused pairing you could also go with a lean pork dish. (Don’t worry the meat recommendation comes from a very close friend who eats meat. Not me.) You can also drink it with a fig based dessert where the crisp hoppiness cuts through the natural sweetness of the fruit.
I am recommending Maine Brewery’s MO even though I know a lot of beer geeks who may read this, already love it.