Ebenezer's Restaurant & Pub
Taps: 35 / Bottles: 1,000
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 136 | Reviews: 120 | Display Reviews Only:
5/5 rDev +5.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
Recently my wife and I made our first trip up to this bastion of great beer for the annual Belgian Beer Fest, and though our expectations were sky high, they were exceeded in every way. It's safe to say we will be venturing up frequently now that we know that this place does indeed truly exist!
Set in the evergreens on the edge of the Lake Kezar Country Club, Ebenezer's is a beer oasis - only you travel through some stunning scenery that includes the Saco River and White Mountains, rather than cross a desert on a camel to reach your destination.
The first sense you get that you are in for something special and unique in this rural Maine environment is when you notice the Delerium Tremens umbrellas covering the outside tables and the St. Sixtus Banner hanging from the building.
Beer paraphernalia can be found throughout the cozy pub and the 10-12 seat bar is both inviting and a great place to take in all the action when things get hopping, as they did on the first Saturday of the fest when wall-to-wall beer lovers of all ages (ok, not under 21!) were enjoying the phenominal line-up and lively conversations.
Plastic checkered tablecloths cover the tables on the screened in porch and in the main dinning and drinking area, more seating can be found. It is certainly not an upscale joint but it seems perfect for the setting and the friendliness of the staff and owners, Chris and Jeni Lively. You're made to feel like family almost immediately and you can not help but relax and enjoy the fine beers and company.
Since this was the Belgian Beer Fest, the line-up of beers on tap was jaw dropping. Gouden Carolus Cuvee de Emperor, Gulden Draak, Unblended three-year-old Boon Gueuze, Stille Nacht, the only keg of Westmalle Tripel in the world! These were (are) just a few of the beers to be had on the new thirty-plus tap system. The bottle list is just as amazing and contains some truly rare gems including 1968 Thomas Hardy's, 1975 Gales Prized Old Ale and Westvleteren 12.
The food was excellent! Pomme frites were cooked to perfection with rosemary mayonaisse to dip them in. Flemish Carbonade, Witloof with ham, Waterzooi and a killer Belgian cheese plate were all outstanding.
But the thing that really sets Ebenezers apart from every other beer destination that I've been to is the passion of the people who run it on a day-to-day basis. Chris is truly a beer advocate of the highest order and he organized a fest the likes of which has never been seen. The lengths that he went to to bring together the beers and food for the fest is amazing and to top it all off he was busting his ass in the kitchen cooking, along with a belgian chef also brought in for the event, when he wasn't out entertaining his guests. His wife, Jeni, was tending bar for the multitudes and making sure everyone was happy with their beers.
Carlo and Urbain, two of the brewers from Struise (creators of Pannepot) who were in attendence throughout most of the week, were flown in just for the event and brought with them a beer (Black Albert) brewed just for the fest. They are true gentlemen and their knowledge of beer was humbling. I will never forget them blending 1977 George Gales Prized Ale, 27 and 26 year-old Westvleteren 12's along with fresh Westy 12 to make a drink that could only be considered revelatory -- a one-of-a kind treat that left all in attendence in awe.
In conclusion, I can not recommend Ebenezer's enough to anyone with an appreciation for fine beer, food and conversation in a comfortable, inviting setting.
Also, if you make the trip up to Lovell, make sure to stay at the Center Lovell Inn, located about three miles from the pub. It is a quaint old-fashioned B&B with great service and the best breakfast I have ever had. It's been featured in Bon Appetite, the New York Times and the Boston Globe. I also have to recommend golf at the Lake Kezar Country Club, with its Donald Ross designed front nine and new and exciting back layout. It's certainly a bargain at $66 for two with cart on a summer weekend!
08-21-2007 21:50:00 | More by Rochefort10nh
4.95/5 rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
Well, I hate to be a bandwagon jumper here, but damn, Ebenezer's is awesome. Stopped by on a Monday night in early June, which ended up being good timing since this place apparently gets packed during peak season. This place really is in the middle of nowhere. It's on the edge of a golf course outside a tiny town in the lake region of Maine. If you haven't been to this area, it's worth it even without Ebenezer's. Ebenezer's, though, can be a beer experience unlike any other.
Make sure to get in touch with Chris before you go, and also make sure they won't be closed. Chris is about as interesting of a guy as you'll meet in the beer world. He's got all kinds of stories and opinions about beer and everything else. He's also extremely generous - he shared several awesome and rare beers with my fiance and me free of charge. We sat around for awhile after they closed just shooting the shit and drinking excellent beer. We also got to take a look at his cellar, which is absolutely mind-blowing.
Besides the "VIP treatment" however, the standard tap and bottle selections are excellent. Prices can seem a little high, but they're really not when you consider what you're getting. I had a Pannepot Wild, a Brooklyn Dark Matter, a Cantillon Vigneronne, and a couple others. Like Chris himself said, it may not be the absolute rarest draft list in the world, but if you can't find enough amazing beers to drink here, you need to check yourself into the mental institution. I got the impression that if super-rare is what you're looking for, Chris can definitely hook you up. In general though, it seems that he's not trying to cater to the "ticker" crowd.
Finally, the food is awesome. The lobster roll was one of the best I had in Maine, the Ruger burger, fries, and calamari special were all excellent. Chris also gave us a cheese and beer pairing that was incredible.
At best, Ebenezer's is going to be flat-out one of the greatest beer experiences you've ever had. At worst, you're going to sit in a bar in one of the most scenic parts of the country, eat great food, and drink world class beer. If that doesn't do it for you, just admit it, guy: you probably don't like beer.
06-16-2010 19:08:49 | More by nickd717
4.78/5 rDev +0.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
One of my favorite pubs (if not my favorite!). Tucked away in this small, sleepy town in Maine. Nice atmosphere, very cozy. Small bar though (only like 7 or 8 seats). Lots of quality taps (can't quite remember them all because the last time I was here was in February but off the top of my head: Ayinger Celebrator, Cantillon Kriek, De Ranke, Allagash Black and Curieux, Pizza Port, etc etc.) Not many American beers, this pub specializes in imports, particularly Belgians. A huge Fantome collection, plus some rarities including Chimay Doree and Westvleteren. Lots of Struise too, of course. The owner, Chris, is awesome and very generous, if you get the chance to talk with him. The food is superb too. Truly a must visit, even if you're 7+ hours away. Probably the best pub in America, at least on the East coast.
01-01-2009 17:56:02 | More by LilBeerDoctor
4.68/5 rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
A big thanks goes out to Sean (Truh) and Tiana for guiding us to this place...visited with this fantastic pair and of course my wife and daughter. In the middle of nowhere, but oddly enough, right next to a golf course, so accesible to locals and others looking to unwind after a round of golf.
Enter to a decent sized enclosed patio, with an entranceway into a handful of tables inside and the magnificent bar that is Ebenezer's.
Greeted upon arrival by Chris and escorted promptly to our table...service was very attentive and they certainly knew we were there for the beer first and foremost.
Excellent draft choices...all served in the proper glassware (duh)...a few non-belgian beers, but this was not what we came for.
I enjoyed a Boon Unblended Gueze, a Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic, and a few samples thanks to Chris.
Three huge coolers filled with some expected offerings, but also many of the rarest, and surprisingly affordable bottles available in the US.
The Coconut shrimp I had was top notch...fresh and served with an awesome sweet and sour sauce...my wife was very happy with her burger (mmmm...buttered roll) and the kids menu was typical.
Plenty of room outside for the kids to unwind, especially in the milder months.
Service was (as mentioned) quick and no glass was left unfilled.
A true beer destination for not only the location, but for the top notch selection of both draft, but bottled selection as well.
06-15-2008 23:18:21 | More by warriorsoul
4.88/5 rDev +3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
What can be said about Ebenezer's that hasn't been said before? Unlike many places that are overrated, this little establishment is worth the hype! My husband and I planned our entire wedding trip/honeymoon around traveling through New England for a "beercation", and Ebenezer's was a major motivating factor in heading up to Maine (where we got married). Unfortunately we hadn't checked in advance to make sure they were open, and it was the off-season so they were making their own hours at the time. Luckily, they opened the bar just for us. Yes...you heard right. We were the only two people there because they were good enough to open up the place so we could experience what we had traveled so far for. Not only that, but Chris gave us a tour of his AMAZING cellar and gave us some very rare Ebenezer's glassware as a souvenir.
If I could give 10/10 for service, I would. Not only was the service amazing, but the selection was out of this world. I have seen some more expansive selections in terms of number of tap handles/bottles, but in terms of quality Ebenezer's is really unparalleled. As an extra treat, Chris was giving us some free samples of beers that were not supposed to be available for sampling. Really wonderful experience...I only wish we could have stayed longer but we had to run off to make it to get our marriage license. Darn! Food was great...I had some brats and my husband had the buffalo chicken soup which was apparently "the best ever." I look forward to going back to Ebenezer's soon, and trying out The Lion's Pride next time as well!
10-24-2011 18:37:39 | More by MsRif
4.83/5 rDev +1.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Went there this past weekend from souht of Boston for my birthday. Got there first for lunch on Saturday. The place is filled with great beer paraphenalia, and loved that! Small but cozy bar with maybe 10 seats, a few tables in the bar area, and a larger room with more tables for larger parties, looking out on a Donald Ross course!
It was kind of slow, so my wife and I sat at the bar. Had very helpful and attentive service from the waitress/bartender upon arrival; she made us feel right at home. Chris, the owner was also around, and I had told him a week before I was coming, so he guessed correctly and we talked lots about his place, beer, and life. I drank a couple of Belgian ales and ate the Killer Chicken sandwich for lunch. Great sandwich, and great beer. I was extremely fortunate to also get a tour of Chri's cellar, which was a humbling and incredible experience. I can't imagine that there is anywhere in the world quite like it. All I can say is WOW!
Took a few hour break and returned for dinner, and more drinks. Drank a couple of bottles of Schneider Aventinus from 2007 and 2008 that were amazing, along with a couple of Belgians that were very good. I had the Sausage Fest for dinner and was very pleased. It was tasty and huge, a perfect coimbination. Later in the evening as the place thinned out a little and it was just the two waitresses/bartenders running the whole place, frankly it wasn't easy to get their attention at the bar seats, but I would go back in a heartbeat.
We drove 3.5 hours each way basically to go to a pub, and I am very, very happy that I did it. I honestly can't wait to do it again. I loved everything about the place; well the service toward the end could have been better, but it didn't spoil the experience.
I highly suggest getting to Ebenezer's, a must, must journey for any serious beer lover. We also stayed the night at the Old Saco Inn, which was lovely and also very pleasant. Thanks Chris!
04-08-2013 15:08:05 | More by BeTheBall
New Brunswick (Canada)
4.83/5 rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
A: Smaller than I expected, at least in terms of the bar. Lots of tables in back and outside, but the bar only seats about 7 or 8. Luckily, my wife and I were able to snag a couple of seats there, next to another BA couple who we ended up talking to quite a bit. Very homey, comfortable place... lots of regulars, everyone seemed very friendly. Soft, old music playing in the background. One TV, I think, sound turned off.
Q + Selection: As good as you've heard. The 35 taps lean heavily towards Belgian beers, of course, and they're great selections. The bottle coolers have a lot of great stuff too.
F: Awesome. We shared a quesdilla appetizer and I had the Chimay burger later... both were fantastic.
Service: What can I say that hasn't already been said? We briefly met Chris, who had to leave early to head to the OTHER awesome place (Lion's Pride), so we barely missed out on a cellar tour... but I wouldn't rate this place based on whether I got a cellar tour or not <cough>. However, the generosity from Chris and Jen, who luckily for us was there most of the evening, was just unbelievable. I'll keep it short: 3F Straffe Winter, Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek 2008, Russian River Beatification. 'Nuff said.
I don't know how Maine manages to have so many awesome beer bars, but I'm glad they do... and glad I don't live TOO far away. We'll be back. The place is awesome.
10-26-2010 20:11:36 | More by berley31
4.94/5 rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$$
"Well, I've been in the business my whole life, and coming up here the same amount of time, and they do it right," the bear of a man said sitting two seats away from me with the Tip O'Neil nose. The mini-me version of Sonny Barger sitting between us nodded in agreement, and tipped back his Bud that he had poured into a pilsener glass.
"Yep, we've been coming up here for years, mostly for snowmobiling, and Ann here always takes care of us," he said and winked at the bartender leaning against the back of the bar under a large Guinness mirror. She laughed and noticed that Kumar was in need of another libation.
"I'll have a Scotch Silly, please," and with that we were off.
Lovell, Maine, was in the middle of nowhere. But we happened to be up in the area for a bachelor's party and had heard about this hidden gem and decided to check it out for ourselves. The bachelor, Little John, couldn't join us, but we made our way over from Bridgton and Rt. 302, only a fifteen minute drive. After a spirited round of golf at the Kezar Lake Country Club during which time Jim "lost" his 7-iron in a pond, and Kumar quit on the 14th hole while lining up a shot from a sand trap due to yet another disparaging remark about his heritage from Jim concerning Bedouins, we walked through the covered patio area of the restaurant and went around the corner to the bar. We considered sitting at one of the tables in the covered area with pristine views of the golf course, but I steered us in to the bar knowing that if we set up shop within view of the holes, Jim would have made a new game out of tormenting those still on the course, and this would only grow in direct proportion to the amount of excellent Belgian ale that we would be consuming.
The bar area was made up of a small, copper-topped jagged bar top with seven high stools, two high tables pinioned into the floor space in front of the bar proper. There were a number of other chairs lined up against the wall, likely for use when things got hopping on late evenings. All in all, pretty small, and yet, also decidedly cozy with some metal brewery signs up and about, some interesting empty bottles above the swinging doors into the kitchen, and the pastiche of tap handles alone would have made the place. We sat down next to the two locals up from Smithfield, RI, and surveyed the taps. Never had I seen such a Belgian draught line-up in Vacationland:
Cherish Raspberry Lambic
Duchesse Du Bourgogne
Gritty's Halloween Ale
So, out of sixteen tap lines, only four were not Belgian. And many of the Belgian lines were things I had never seen on draught. And not only that, but everything was being served in proper glassware, a wonderful rack of which hung over us at the bar, a tremendous sight. They even had the Kwak and Leute glasses with stands. To the left of the bar was a cooler on full display with over ninety bottles to choose from, including a good selection of 750ml, as well as magnums of Piraat, Gulden Drak, and Leute Bok at $45/apiece. Truly amazing. Prices were a tad stiff at $6.50 for all of the Belgian pours, but well worth it considering where we were. I mean, this was like finding Shangri-la. We didn't even glance at the food menu, but the guys next to us swore by their meat dishes. As we sat and enjoyed our second or third ales, an elderly couple walked in and, without skipping a beat, the gentleman asked for a Kwak. As Ann was bringing it over to him in its stand, Jim swiveled with ferocity and stared bug-eyed at the contraption.
"What in living hell is that," he stammered. "Jesus, give me one of those," and Ann did not disappoint.
The hours went on and I looked over at Kumar with a huge grin who was starting to dip his nose in to his Karmeliet, a quiet whisper of some tune slipping out of his foam covered lips. Jim pushed back from the bar and stuck his head down between Kumar and I, now holding a Gritty's in almost full tilt.
"So, Kumar, are you going to be next? I mean, the way my sister's been talking about you and that night of our Mass. Ave. crawl, you two are pretty much picking out the silverware pattern, right?"
Kumar turned as if his neck were caught in a vice, and quietly said, "Jim, I don't know what you're talking about," as steely a look in his eyes as he could muster. Jim stared back, his ale coming precipitously close to the edge of his glass, and then like a balloon losing it's air, Jim sloughed backwards and yelled, "Fucking cheers," to which our two compatriots on our right, in Pavlovian response, raised their glasses and gave cheers. Disaster averted, and there was no question we'd be coming back here.
06-01-2008 16:34:50 | More by Truh
Ebenezer's Restaurant & Pub in Lovell, ME
100 out of 100 based on 136 ratings.