When the date on the calendar matches the date printed on the beer in your hand, it’s going to be a good day. Maine Beer Company’s Dinner double IPA is the epitome of freshness. For those able to make the trip to Freeport, Maine on Dinner release day, you’re in for a treat.
The journey to acquiring a Dinner, though, is not simply a road trip to stand in line; it starts weeks prior. One must first acquire a ticket to secure the ability to purchase Dinner on release day. The current method MBC employs to sell their tickets is not unlike the one used for concert and event tickets.
The brewery uses their social media pages to link to a virtual waiting room where consumers will frantically refresh their browsers in the minutes prior to release of tickets. With any luck, when the time comes, you’re able to select a pick-up time on the day of the beer release. If you’ve dropped the ball for any amount of time, you’ve missed out. In less than a minute, they’re gone.
Much like the bartenders’ tips at their tasting room, the five dollar ticket price you pay to secure your spot at release day is donated. While the ticket price doesn’t actually pay for any of the beer you’re going to buy, it does make you feel kind of warm and fuzzy inside knowing that you’ve donated to a good cause regardless of your intentions. If you don’t care about that, you can feel good about the fact that your ticket guarantees your opportunity to purchase up to a case of Dinner – twelve sixteen ounce bottles.
Fast forward to release day. Thanks to the expansion project currently underway at the Maine Beer Company campus, pick-up for the highly coveted beer has become highly expedited. Sure, you had a stressful moment a few weeks ago but today, you’ll be in and out.
When you get home and are finally able to enjoy the fruits of your labor, you’ll first find yourself admiring the bottle. Touting an elegantly simplistic label, Dinner is printed in orange cursive lettering on the minimalist white backdrop.
You’ll always find yourself immediately ready for your next sip.”
The rest of the label reveals a lot about MBC as a brewery and a business. You will find the born on date in plain sight, as the brewery takes much pride in ensuring their beer is consumed the way it was intended to taste. Also proudly featured is the Brewer’s Association Independent Craft Brewery seal, indicating truly independent ownership. Additionally, as a display of their dedication to the environment, the 1% for the Planet logo is printed on their labels.
As beautiful as the bottle is, releasing the beer from its vessel is the only way to consume it. Once poured, Dinner reveals its golden-amber body topped with a reasonably short head. While it’s certainly not translucent, you won’t mistake Dinner for any of the orange-juice-looking single or double IPAs from some of the other breweries hailing from the region. Its aroma is an electric one; extremely bright, citrusy, and commensurate with what we’ve come to associate with New England style IPAs.
If you’re too anxious to enjoy your Dinner and your fridge is too cold like mine probably is, you’ll find yourself drinking the smoothest, most subtle double you’ve ever had. If that’s the case though, you’re missing out on much of what the beer has to offer. It really comes to life as it warms ever so slightly.
Pace yourself, savor it. No, it won’t punch you in the mouth with a hop bomb. Your salivary glands won’t well up from the overwhelming juiciness featured in many of the beers of the same style. Dinner balances these things exquisitely.
As the flavors come to life, it remains among the smoothest beers within the same range of alcohol by volume. I found that about two-thirds of the way through my first Dinner of the year, my head was bubbling a bit. I could’ve been giggling aloud, I’m not actually sure. It’s pretty rare for me to find a double that will sneak up on me like that. Easily distinguishable is the flavor of grapefruit among other traditional citrus flavors. MBC themselves list lemon as a featured flavor as well; not one I would’ve jumped to but certainly one I taste after very little consideration.
The finish features just the right amount of juiciness. You’ll always find yourself immediately ready for your next sip. The sad reality, though, is that you know you really should savor it. Unless you’ve got some really good friends, there’s a good chance your twelve Dinners is all you’ll have until the next release a few months down the road.
Although, your situation may have a remedy on the horizon. With Maine Beer Company’s brewery expansion, their production is expected to increase dramatically – potentially meaning more Dinner for everyone!
To answer any questions about the cost vs. benefit of Dinner, whether it’s really worth the hype and the work to attain or not – the answer is yes. Greatest meal on Earth.