Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 153 | Reviews: 113 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by slander:
4.8/5 rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
I told them I can start not next week, but the week after that and then promptly gone gotten myself all Portland up (yes, past participle is the same as present tense). And now, I'm thinking one more and out. One more place, that is, not beer; 'cause what if I want more than anyway, maybe definitely that place 10 months newish I 'ent been. Easy, around the corner and up the block some from elsewhere, through the know what you're looking for alley way and what I saw there. Over there that-a-way in where everyone else is going just shortly after a late afternoon opening...
Basement of a bank gone bar, roomy, nicely low lit and dim some even with the windows, and cranking Stop Whispering from Pablo Honey to greet me. I'm so going to be late for dinner; I should probably call but I don't. Lots of brick play being a ground floor and all, and pillars as such. To the rear, a "Z" shaped bar seating about a dozen and a half with a cut through to somewhere.
2 dozen taps on a long cylinder tower over mirrored panels on center, with slight shelving holding glassware & booze to both sides, and some more glassware displayed shelved on one end and racked above the cut in the bar. An offensively large 6 litre bottle of La Fin Du Monde sits displayed at the end of the bar. I just spotted a pair of handpumps on the corner of the barback, only one of them up at this moment. Empty bottles lining the way above the bar and along the front windows, and there's a bit of brewery signage here and there, and meat & cheese selections shown on a small menu board.
Pressed tin ceiling, mounted spots and some strung holiday lighting. A single giant long beer hall table seats, like, a millon, and then a ½ dozen or so tables more that I can see, plus something going on through that cut through there, I was going to get to it then and now, the back room, and me not my first beer in hand esssplorin'. A pair of dart boards, some local art for sale, a little cushy couch action around a fireplace, and some bar counter action "L"ing the corner. And is it me or have they been playing like nonstop Johnny Cash for the last hour?
Back to the bar, and a lengthy but necessary review of the sick, sick, sick bottled list here; Frank from that other place well west of here, the other bar patrons and myself dissecting the beer menu with the precision of drunken 7 year olds playing that Operation board game with the loud buzzer. Very well done, I don't know but I'd say a hair over 300 bottles beers; Belgian & Belgian style including categories for Flemish Sour, Trappist, Strong, Sour/Wild/Funk, and Lambic (the dozen and a half entries made up entirely of beers from Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen & Hannsens), German & UK, a variety of all the lager & ale styles, plus vintage/limited, ciders, gluten free beers, N/A's, and then everything new lumped together too.
24 taps; some Maine goods (Marshall Wharf Cant Dog Imperial IPA & Chaos Chaos Imperial Stout, Allagash Dubbel), New Englanders (Smutty Star Island Single & IPA, High & Mighty Two-Headed Beast, Harpoon Cider), regionals (DogFishHead 60 Minute IPA, Fort & Chicory Stout), and away (Arcadia Cereal Killer Barleywine, Hop Rocket Double IPA & Sky High Rye, North Coast Red Seal, Rogue Younger's Special Bitter), and imports Belgian (De La Senne Equinox, Gouden Carolus Ambrio, Scaldis, Kwak) and not (Sinebrychoff Porter, Unibroue Maudite & Blanche De Chambly, Beamish, O'Hara's Stout).
Started with a bottle of Black Albert ('cause it's Maine and that's where Albert lives), and toyed with the cask Allagash Curieux but opted instead for a Smutty Star Island Single ('cause I ain't seen it down south yet). If I had known then what Marshall Wharf was about, it would've been a whole 'nother story. I could do some time around that tap list, uh huh. Prices are reasonable (Beamish costs $6 a pint, the O'Hara's Stout is $6.50, go figure). Service was good (enough to put up with me). Comfortable house. Tunes. Tunes! I'm so going to be late for dinner.
05-14-2009 23:55:43 | More by slander
More User Reviews:
4.95/5 rDev +10.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
When I pass from this life, I won't have to go far to get to Heaven. Novare Res is only about 15 minutes away.
It's tucked in an alley off Exchange Street and the elevation of the place makes you feel like you've walked into the catacombs of a Belgian abbey with the most beautiful beer selection you're likely to see in your lifetime.
These folks are the first to get Cantillon in the state. They get things on draft you never knew existed on draft on this side of the planet. Fou'Foune, anyone? De Struise, Tilquin, De La Senne? Sure!
There's a section of the menu specifically dedicated to rotating Maine drafts - and they're always amazing.
The bottle menu is a laminated spiral binder. There's a page dedicated to lambics. Am I dead yet? Somebody pinch me.
There's a room, under lock and key, inside which are housed huge chalices won by members of the Uprising after consuming beers representing every possible style from all over the world. These people are either wealthy, crazy, brilliant, or all three. The chalices may be used to consume any beer on the draft menu at the regular price. They've earned it.
Their annual tap takeovers are legendary. They're as nice and polite and helpful as can be. They have a classy outdoor deck with Cornhole. They have a back room with a fireplace surrounded by dozens of spent bottles of Lou Pepe and Lord knows what else. They have a daily sushi special, the best banh mi sandwich in Maine, and a killer hot dog. I've discovered more amazing music there than I know what to do with.
No fan of beer should enter the State of Maine without going to Novare Res. There's no excuse not to.
And now it's late and I have to go to bed before I change my mind and drive to Novare for a nightcap.
07-09-2014 01:58:36 | More by millionsuns
Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
99 out of 100 based on 153 ratings.