State of the art, brand new, the first of its kind… all meaningless cliches strung together by a car salesman thirsty for a commission. Gimmicks like this happen all of the time and some people will do anything to sell a crappy product. Can anybody be able to identify the hops in the “triple hops” brewed Miller Light? Does the world’s most refreshing packaging make Coors Light any more tolerable? No and no. However, some breweries have a little fun with what’s inside their bottles, and that’s certainly the case with this never seen before brew from Maine Beer Company, aptly called Beer 1. What will be a continual rotating hopped series, Beer 1 is yet another IPA from the Northeast. Unlike the bow-tie can or cold active indication, Maine Beer only cares about the liquid contained within the glass, evident by their plain Jane packaging. Hopefully this beer will be anything but – time for the numbers…
Smell: Tropical, grapefruit, mango, peach, kiwi, but really heavy on the grapefruit. Some sweetness, but mainly the hops are shining… to be expected from the first beer of a hop program series of ales.
Taste: First thing that I notice about the beer really contradicts itself. On first sip, I thought that this was over carbed – the bubbles slashed your tongue and really did their best Thomas’ English Muffins impression by getting into all the nooks and crannies of your palate. The second thing I noticed was just how easy this brew was to drink. Typically carbonation and drinkability align for me, however in this instance I’m not really quite sure what to think. Its ease of going down comes less from the carbonation, and more from the body of the beer, or should I say lack thereof. I notice it to be very watery which is unlike many of Maine’s other hop forward brews like Another One, Lunch, and Dinner. There is not much of a malt impact in the beer. There is a little, itty-bitty presence of the grain, which I am able to pick up some sweetness at the finish but mostly I get minerality of the water used in here. I like my hop centric IPAs, but prefer them to be a bit more balanced than Beer 1.
With the lack of grain in this brew, I suspected that the ABV on Beer 1 would be in the 5%ish range… but I was wrong again. It measures up to be 6.5% which is respectable for a single IPA and quite big for a beer that tastes this thin.
Now with the technical mumbo jumbo out of the way, let’s talk about flavor. The taste really follows the nose and I’m detecting a lot of light citrus and tropical flavors from the hops used in here. Again, grapefruit seems to be the biggest component but tangy orange citrus and just a touch of pineyness present themselves through the tangled tropical vines. The hop flavor is on point, I just wish the body and malt were bolstered to even out what would have been an unbelievable IPA.
Overall: Even though Beer I doesn’t break into legendary IPA status, it’s still probably better than 90% of the IPAs sitting on your local package store shelves. Tropical, easy drinking, and a smidge of sweetness make this one fine beer – on the other hand a think body, lack of a grain profile, and little too much carbonation bring it back down to earth. When push comes to shove, I’m going to give this a B+. I would gladly drink this again, but the exclusiveness of this beer makes that a problem and takes away slightly from the rating. Adding flaked oats and a half a bag of malt to this beer would make a positive impact. Luckily, Maine Beer Company is hard at work on Beer II – the upgrade Apple will be quick to sell you.