Bear Brew – Orono ME

After a little morning shopping at L.L. Bean and L.L. Bean Outlet (temporarily located on the other side of Gritty McDuff’s), we headed north.   D suggested that we could stop for lunch at one of two places – Bangor for Sea Dog Brewing or Orono for Bear Brew. 

Since we’ve both been to both Sea Dog locations, we decided to try something new and go to Orono.

SIZES: 10 oz, 16 oz or 20 oz.

TASTED

Blueberry Weiss – a really excellent blueberry wheat beer.  Nice dark, golden color and strong maltiness.  In a 20 oz serving (as opposed to our original 10 oz), the aroma of blueberries was very strong, but it was absolutely not sticky, candy sweet in any way.

IPA – typical English-style IPA. Good, but not special (but isn’t a “good” IPA just what you want sometimes?) It didn’t overpower my lunch in any way.

Porter – Fine; lacking a strong roasty flavor.  Made me not interested in the brown.

FOOD

I can’t post about the pub without mentioning the food.  I read that the brick oven pizzas are awesome, and well suited for one, but since we had pizza yesterday, we made other choices.

For D it was the Homemade Sausage Platter, which as a delightful little dish of chorizo with seasoned rice and black beans.  For me it was a beautiful green falafel on foccocia bread with spinach, roasted red pepper, artichoke, feta cheese and balsamic vinegar.  I also had a cup of the Brown Ale & Onion soup, which wasn’t very rich or salty, but had nice herbal qualities.  Everything was very tasty, and a good value.

DIDN’T TRY
Pale Ale
Brown
Porter

GUEST TAPS
Guinness
Smithwicks
Brooklyn Lager
Long Trail Pale Ale
Stella
Leinienkugels Sunset Wheat
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Bud Light

Brü Rm. @ BAR – New Haven, CT

When D said we would be in CT by lunchtime and I should peruse the travel books for a lunch stop, I thought he was kidding.  Yes, there are brilliant restaurants in Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk. But we can’t ever pass by New Haven without stopping at Brü Rm. @ BAR!

BAR is the club. Areas within this brick, concrete, steel, stone and slate decor location include the Front Room, the Back Room and the Brü Rm.  It is on Crown St., facing two restaurants – Istanbul Café (a gracious little Turkish restaurant) and Louis’ Lunch (claims to be where the Hamburger was invented around 1900.).  We used to come here with Tim. before he moved back to KS, and as expected, the staff are not overly friendly or knowledgeable about the beer.

Brü Rm. @ BAR has a food menu that consists of one salad (made with pear, pecans and bleu cheese) and hand-made extra thin crust brick-oven pizza.  Choose your type (red, red w/ mozzarella, or white), choose a size, then pick out the toppings. We had a red with mozzarella, fresh tomatoes and anchovies.  It was perfect!

SIZES & PRICES

1/2-pints $2.75

Pints $4.50

Pitchers $15.

5-oz sampler of 5 beers for $7.00

ENJOYED

Watermelon Ale
5% ABV
Created with 4 malts, fresh and seeded watermelon (25 per batch!), German hops, this was not a light lawnmower beer.  It was a mild, lightly hopped ale with a subtle Jolly Rancher finish. Well balanced and great with pizza.

Hitting 70 IPA
~7% ABV, 70 IBUs, 7 hop additions

According to Yankee Brew News, this was brewed in honor of Terry Foster’s 70th birthday (Terry frequently assists head brewer Jeff Browning.) It had a lovely floral aroma and a hop flavor that lingered.

Damn Good Stout
Molasses-black, a perfect after-dinner beverage.  Strong espresso flavor (would overpower any pizza!)  Creamy 3/4-inch head (they attribute this to a special neutral carbonation process, but don’t explain)

DIDN’T TRY

Toasted Blonde (107 calories for 12 oz)

Updated version of the Blonde 30 lbs. of pizza-oven-roasted malt

AmBAR Ale
Pale Ale

Another Song of the Day

I’ve listened through June, and giggled at June 25th – Saint Gratus.  Of course, we always try to bring the beer and share it because it’s a good chance to educate people and expose them to new things.  But more importantly, with 16 cases in the cellar, we need to keep the inventory moving! 

Saint Gratus, please protect my beer…PA Legislators, please pass SB674 so I can have less beer / more space in my cellar (well, pass a budget first, but then let’s get this moving!)

Surprise of the Week

I was excited to find the delicious and refreshing CascaZilla (Ithaca Beer Company) on tap at The Brewhouse Grille in Camp Hill (where the dining area has gone non-smoking!)

From the IBC website: This red ale gets its distinctive color from a healthy portion of caramel malt, which also lends some body and sweetness to the beer. The predominant flavor and aroma of this beer, however, is brought to you by the fresh American hops.  6.5%; made with Amarillo, Cascade, Chinook, and Crystal hops

Song of the Day

My latest discovery, thanks to Charlie the Beer Guy, is the band Beatnik Turtle.  I enjoyed the song Beer, Beer, Beer – he used it in a podcast – and ended up listening to the band for hours from the SongoftheDay.com website. 

I discovered lots of great songs like: IT Department, Bagel Bagel, How Did I Google This?, How ‘Bout Never, I Don’t Want to Work Today, Her Imaginary Closet…  I’ll be listening to all 365, I’m sure!

Microbrasserie À l’abri de la Tempête

In the weeks ahead, there will be plenty of good beer, but this place will certainly be the most remote and likely the most unique brewpub of our vacation.  D fired off an email to the brewer, and we speculate that he either doesn’t speak English or he is so very busy, he just doesn’t have time to respond. 

Will it be as wonderful a find as the way-north Bushwakker (which I never did fully post…it was such a great visit it was almost beyond words!)? Or simple and quaint like the remote Mo’s Place (wow… it was a year ago today we were there!)?

Look for updates in the next couple of weeks.  The line-up of pubs is looking really sweet!