Maine Beer Company Weez


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.

IMG_0741Smell:  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.



Firestone Walker Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA


Jack Black.  Musician.  Actor.  Comedian.  And now, to pay respect to his humdrum career on the silver screen, he has a beer named after him.  Why else would the the great people at Firestone choose to have his name adorned on a beer.  I’m just not sure why a tire company would get into the brewing business…  And what exactly does Chuck Norris have to do with this?  Why isn’t Chewbacca on the label?  I’m so confused.  I’m equally as confused as to what I shall expect entering this beer.  Will it be a porter?  Will it be hop heaven?  Enough with the questions – there’s only one way to find out… time to run them numbers!

Appearance: As the name suggests, it pours blacker than the soul of Satan himself (but Jack Black is white… I don’t understand).  It leaves a pretty thick head that’s the same color as everybody’s favorite Wookiee, and the head retains itself nicely as the brew slowly makes it way from the glass.  It also left behind a nice lacing as pretty as grandma’s doily.

IMG_8175Smell: Earthy hops, a little chocolate, roasted malt, slight citrus (oranges/lemon grass) and resin coming from the hops.  A really unique smelling brew.  My eyes tell me porter, my nose tells me IPA.

Taste:  Up front, the first sip gives us a big hop kick to the face as ferocious as a Texas Ranger roundhouse, circa 1995.  A lot of earthy, piney notes coming from the hops, then, like sucking on an everlasting gobstopper, this brew switches over a totally different profile with some roasty, dark malts.  The bitterness of the hops creeps along the journey from sip to swallow, however the most pronounced element of the finish to me is the spiciness of the rye.  It definitely lingers all the way down to the stomach and adds a unique element to the brew.  The roasted malts in Wookey Jack were definitely more pronounced when I began drinking; as I finished the bottle, the pungent hop flavor knocked out many of those chocolaty, toasty characteristics.  They are mostly seen at the very end of the sip right before the rye spiciness kicks in.

IMG_8172IMG_8171The ABV on this guy is 8.3%.  By the time you finish the bottle, you may find yourself poking at the lion and bear on the label, antagonizing them to fight in a manner similar to a drunken Situation in any Jersey Shore episode you’ve ever seen.  It definitely creeps up on you and is well hidden.  It’s not a super big ABV, but it does pack a punch (just look at those animals).  Oh yeah, mouthfeel and carbonation are spot on, and it has a big malty body (as expected… it is a black IPA).

Overall:  I enjoyed drinking Wookey Jack and when it’s all said and done, I’ll give this beer a solid B+.  I enjoyed it from start to finish, however, when you combine an aggressive hop profile, with charred malts, with rye – you are bound to loose some of the complexities you are searching for.  All three of those flavors are very assertive, and in this brew, the hops and rye win out hands down.  I wish it was slightly more balanced, but it’s still a wonderful beer to pick up.  It drinks nicely while watching School of Rock.