I never heard the expression, “That’s the cat’s ass” until I lived with my Uncle Paul. Going into my senior year of college, I took an internship in Portland, Maine to learn the ins and outs of corporate tax and finance only to determine that it wasn’t the career path I was meant to take. However, living with my uncle and being around the gritty city of Portland made me appreciate the uniqueness of Maine. Whether it was the laid-back, yet sometimes irritable mood of Mainers or the beautiful scenes it had to offer, I really enjoyed my time there. But what really stuck out to me was the beer culture. My first ever six pack I bought (legally that is) was Gritty McDuff’s Pale Ale and one of my first brewery tours I ever took was Allagash’s. In fact, the beer that inspired me to create this blog was Geary’s Summer ale (brewed in Portland of course).
When I had the opportunity to add another Maine brew to the coffers of Beer Chatter, I of course jumped on it. It’s brewed by Maine Beer Company and it’s called Weez. However this brew culminates what Maine represents to me. Memories of Uncle Paul meeting up with a Maine Beer… adorned with whiskers. How could I not write about that? Will this beer fall flat on its face, or will it be the cat’s ass? Time to run them numbers…
Appearance: Black as night with a dark tan head. Pours like a porter and looks like one too.
Smell: Roasted, burnt, and toasty grains hit the nose like a football to Marsha’s face. Some piney hops shine through here but the grain really dominates the smell of this beer. Coffee, rye bread, and smoke also make their way in.
Taste: Initially, this beer reminds me a lot of Red Wheelbarrow… not in that the flavors are the same, but it has as similar tasting profile. The beer starts off thinner than I would expect (given the smell) and features a bitter hop taste up front, then immediately transitions to the darker, fuller malts. The hops have a refreshing charge to them like biting into a cool cucumber but maintain a slightly piney bitterness as well. The grains on the back end of Weez hit you with coffee, dark chocolate, and roasty characteristics. The roasted malt is definitely the lead singer of this brew as you’re left with a toasted grainstorm on the tongue after you finish your sip. The bitterness from the hops complements the grain nicely as dark malts (much like dark chocolate) give off their own unique bitterness – these two powers combined make for a result that’s more powerful than Captain Planet.
For being as dark and roasty as this brew is, the mouthfeel isn’t overly thick. It’s certainly fuller than a typical IPA, but not approaching the stout category. Carbonation is nice and the ABV is not detected in the taste, but like many Maine Beer Co. brews, it does get to the head after you finish your pint.
Overall: Maine Beer Co. does a great job of harmonizing two distinct flavors in this brew. In a lot of black IPAs, it’s as if the brewer forgot to put any aggressive malts in the brew making it drink like a black hop bomb. If anything this brewery from Freeport heads in the opposite direction and allows the burnt grain to take over the palate. That being said, bitterness still comes through from both the hop side and the grain side making this refreshing to drink, yet warming at the same time. I like this beer a lot and will give it an A-/A. I’m a fan of the assertiveness of the roasted malt. This beer is indeed, the cat’s ass.