I’ve often argued that Portland, Maine is the best beer city in America, and newcomer Lone Pine Brewing Company continues to prove that assertion. In a city filled with great beer (and, according to Bon Appétit, the best restaurants in the country), it’s hard to stand out. Lone Pine’s decidedly hop-forward operation manages to do just that with an exceptional American pale ale that is balanced and traditional, but with a unique twist.
In the era of the haze arms race, Portland Pale Ale has an anachronistic look to it: To wit, you can almost see through it. What’s more, it produces a good head of carbonation when it’s poured into a glass. Imagine that!
No surprises here. This smells like a traditional pale ale: citrus and pine notes, with an underbelly of dankness.
Portland Pale Ale brings you back to a time of clean, dank, resinous pale ales.”
Hop heads won’t love this description, but the star of the show is malt backbone. (Granted, any malt backbone in today’s hop-forward beer is noteworthy.) There’s a big wave of citrus and floral notes and a fluffy, medium body to Portland Pale Ale. The malt gives it just a bit of a dry cracker bite and leaves a resinous layer on your tongue. It’s like a pale ale of days past, and at 5.2% ABV, it falls directly where I want a pale ale to be.
Pale ales not only need to be assertive, they need to be easy to drink: low ABV and well-balanced so that one flavor doesn’t dominate the other. Lone Pine’s Portland Pale Ale brings you back to a time of clean, dank, resinous pale ales. It’s the body of the beer that combines the new world of brewing with the old. It’s a must-grab the next time you’re in my favorite beer city.