Novare Res Bier Café
Taps: 26 / Bottles: 250
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 145 | Reviews: 113 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by sprucetip:
4.58/5 rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$$
I can't believe I haven't reviewed this place! Been there enough times to do it from memory though.
Atmosphere is very subjective. It's kind of dark and cavernous. At times it has a Goth or Euro vibe, depending on who is there and how busy it is. But even in that context, there are spaces within where most folks should be able to be comfortable. There are some elements I like, such as couches and low tables that sometimes get shared by more than one party when it's busy. My non-beer geek friends were able to be comfortable here. It's very beer-centric, so if that is your focus, you can work with the atmosphere if it doesn't trip your trigger.
Service has been anywhere from good to extraordinary. I shall not reveal the details of the extraordinary, to protect the perhaps not completely innocent who went above and beyond to hook me up with some hard to get and out of print Allagash special release.
Selection is amazing. The taps are very thoroughly thoughtfully selected, and the bottle list as well. The bottle list includes a vintage section if you feel like splurging on something special. There are special events like "total tap takeovers" by awesome breweries like Marshall Wharf (one I remember), and surely others.
I haven't eaten there, but I think it's artsy-fartsy tapas type stuff, which is probably good, but will likely disappoint some who would prefer a burger.
Personally, I think it's a little bit pricey, but not ridiculous. I think I remember paying $10 for a bottle of Peche Mortel, which is 100% markup over retail. So understandable, but still kinda pricey to me, especially for Maine. Maybe compared to Boston and Manhattan it's not? Whatever, how can you not go there if you are a beer geek visiting Portland? If you like (good) bar (and other standard American) food, go to Great Lost Bear first, have some precious specialty Allagash on tap for less than you can get it in the bottle at the shop, and then go to Novare Res until you've had your fill take a taxi home.
01-11-2012 06:15:29 | More by sprucetip
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 145 ratings.