Over the last dozen years, Maine Beer Company built its reputation by doing two things: commiting to sustainability and the environment and brewing simple yet exquisite beer. (You’ve seen the labels, right? Minimalizm that could make Apple blush.) The brewery’s modern classic IPA Lunch, for instance, was named for a finback whale that has visited the Gulf of Maine for decades, and the beer itself has swum towards the top of virtually every online ranking since.
Maine Beer Company’s powers once again combine with Woods & Water, an IPA first released in 2016 and has been well-received ever since. It later earned a spot in the year-round menu and continues to grow a national footprint.
In a pint glass, this straw-gold beer has a charming, constant trickle of tiny bubbles heading up to a thin head. Woods & Waters then hits your nose with a load of freshness: lemon-led citrus, pine, and a hint of pepper and celery notes. Needless to say, the name fits.
When I hear about highly coveted, well-reviewed IPAs, at this point I assume that means heavy-handed hops, but Woods & Waters eschews my expectation. This beer reminds you how delightful a well done a basic IPA can be. No one flavor dominates each sip. It’s got pine, softly bitter orange peel, and a classic hoppiness—but it’s mild. Malt has a distinct presence, but I never felt like I was drinking a loaf of bread. Woods & Waters is a dry beer where flavors don’t linger, which means your pint won’t linger long, either.
Woods & Waters is ultimately more Another One IPA (an outstanding beer) than say, Lunch or Dinner (possibly perfect IPAs). But really, discussing your favorite Maine Beer Company creations at this point is like asking folks to pick a favorite Beatle. There are no wrong answers, only excellent personal preferences.