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Novare Res Bier Café

Not Rated.
Novare Res Bier CaféNovare Res Bier Café
BA SCORE
99
world-class

186 Ratings
Ratings: 186
Reviews: 117
rAvg: 4.49
pDev: 9.35%
Taps: 26
Bottles: 250
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

4 Canal Plz
Portland, Maine, 04101-4034
United States
phone: (207) 761-2437

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @novareresbiercf

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: indiapaleale on 05-28-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 186 | Reviews: 117 | Display Reviews Only:
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CATVDK, May 28, 2014
Photo of bluesplit63
5/5  rDev +11.4%

What a score...

A little hidden "Bier Cafe" that only took me and my girlfriend about 20 minutes to find. It is well hidden down an alley if you are not from the area.

A solid 10 page / draft lift. I would say they offered a strong 30 to 35 beers on draft including Dogfish 120 Minute and Pannepot Reserva 2009.

Prices were reasonable. 120 ranging about 12 dollars for an 8 oz pour. Pannepot about the same for a full 12 oz.

Overall a great experience and will definitely be going back.

Cheers!

bluesplit63, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of EnemyAnemone
5/5  rDev +11.4%

EnemyAnemone, Mar 18, 2014
Photo of BeerNinja007
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Stumbled upon Novare Res while wandering around Portland on June 26th 2010 and had to check it out. It turned out to be the highlight of my trip.

I was there mid-afternoon and there were just a handful of other customers, maybe 10 inside at the main bar and 6 or so outside on the patio. When I left a few hours later it was starting to fill up as dinnertime was approaching. Atmosphere is very chill, somewhat swanky, old-world style. Lots of brick, wood, a low tin ceiling, cool feeling like an airy beer cellar. Chill groovin' music playing at low volume.

I counted 24 taps and 1 cask, plus a ginormous assortment of bottles available to order. A heavy focus on belgians, maybe half the taps, with german and US brews making up the rest. All of them were primo quality lesser-known brews. Even with me being something of a learned beer snob, there were several breweries I hadn't heard of and I'd previously sampled only 3 or 4 of the brews on tap. Somebody there has spent a lot of time and effort to bring choice European beers to Portland that aren't well-known in the states. Beers on tap ranged from approx $4-10, were served in ideal glassware, and good attention was paid to pouring technique. Excellent presentation.

THERE WAS NO TOKEN MACRO BREW AVAILABLE. Novare Res is a shrine to good beer and I'm glad they've taken the purist stance to avoid contaminating it with sub-par brew. Awesome.

I had a turkey panini for $7 and it was excellent. The menu is small, limited to cheeses, a few appetizers, sandwiches, etc. The food is an accompaniment to the beer (rather than vice versa) and it serves that purpose well.

The staff and service were friendly and attentive, low-key and not overbearing. I took a table by myself where I could focus on the beer and take some notes. The waitress came over only when my glass was nearing empty. I asked for a glass of water and it came in a plain pint glass. I found this highly appropriate and amusing because every beer I ordered came in appropriate glassware with the brewer's logo on it. The water? It's just water, no logo. (Maybe it's one of those things where you'd just have to have been there at the time.)

BeerNinja007, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of sarita
5/5  rDev +11.4%

When Eric decided to leave Massachusetts and head to Portland with a plan to open his own beer bar, I knew the place would be top notch. I was not disappointed when I recently made the trek up there. Not only was it great to visit with Eric, someone who left a lasting impression on us Moan and Dove and Dirty Truth lovers, but it was a fantastic experience all around.
The bar itself is beautiful.. you can tell that a lot of hard work and love was put into that place with all the woodwork, brickwork and welding. The mugroom is breathtaking! Everything is super clean, comfy and nice to look at. The back room w/ the couch, fireplace and dart boards is a really sweet touch.
The menu is awesome. They don't have an oven, so no hot food, but what they do have to offer is lots of meat and cheese, olives, almonds, peppers, bread, salads. num! All high quality, tasty stuff that I love to eat. The beer selection is of course phenomenal.. both the tap and bottle lists. To top it off the prices were affordable.
With a party of 13 our server was great about splitting up everything for us in the end, even in the midst of us all picking out tshirts to purchase. We took up a lot of his time, as well as some of the bartender's time, but both of them kept smiles on their faces and were wicked helpful.
I can't wait for my next trip to Portland because I will definitely be hitting up Novare Res again. I only wish I could have made it for the German fest while I was there. I was a day too early, but the idea of grilled sausage and tasty German beer out on their deck was tempting me to stay longer.

sarita, Sep 08, 2008
Photo of Finnhammer
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Finnhammer, Mar 01, 2014
Photo of Roze
5/5  rDev +11.4%

Roze, Jul 13, 2014
Photo of millionsuns
4.95/5  rDev +10.2%

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.

millionsuns, Jul 09, 2014
Photo of SteveO1231
4.95/5  rDev +10.2%

REALLY!?

Seriously, this was my third and final stop of a beer tour of Portland and I'm glad that I left this one for last because it is the best beer bar I've ever been in.

Located in the basement of an alley downtown. I feel like I was entering a trappist monk's monastery. The place is a dark little bar with very plan decor some beer stuff, but mostly dark, brick walls. The outside patio was awesome! large picnic tables in a nice courtyard area surrounded by ivy laden brick walls.

Fucking ridiculous beer list a think is was like five pages long of perfectly chosen beers. Mostly Belgian or Belgian inspired ales. If it wasn't on tap it was definitely in bottle. The staff was very friendly and informative and provided samples to help make decisions.

I sat with my wife for the better part of the afternoon at Novare Res drinking excellent beers and sampling some really good cheeses and cured meats. The place had such a good vibe everyone was very nice.

After visiting Novare Res, I want to pack up my shit and move to Portland. A MUST STOP!

Cheers!

SteveO1231, Jul 26, 2009
Photo of berley31
4.95/5  rDev +10.2%

Made a return trip to Portland and Novare Res last weekend with my wife and brother, and I felt I had to update my review, even though my last one rated it A+ as well.

I just can't emphasize the excellent experiences I've had at this beer bar. Overall, the place is fantastic. This weekend we spent a couple of hours there on Saturday, and then something like 5-6 hours on Sunday. Everything from the selection, quality, atmosphere is near-perfect, if NOT perfect. Great food options as well; I can't imagine eating wings or other deep-fried foods with a beer selection like this, so the sandwiches, meats and cheeses are really the best option.

But, as I mentioned last time, the real stand-out feature of this place is the service. Anytime I've been there, the bartender has really known their stuff about beer, are great for making recommendations, giving samples, etc. Our bartenders this time were Shahin and Michael (I think...?)... great guys, very friendly; made the experience all the better for us.

Ok, I'll stop gushing about the place. But if there was anything that would make me leave Canada for the U.S., it's this place. And the cheaper beer. And the lower taxes. Ok, three things.

berley31, Feb 05, 2010
Photo of Flounder57
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%

We stopped in here for the first time after hearing great things from many people. From the second we walked in, we knew by the atmosphere and vibe that this is a great place.

We then noticed the draft selection they had. 24 Rotating taps, extensive bottled beer list, and seasonal and rare beers to top things off.

This place is truly a beer connoisseur and the bartender was very knowledgeable about all the beers they had available.

This place is slightly off commercial street in a courtyard commons area behind Key Bank and a parking garage. Next time we go up to Portland, we will keep this place in mind.

Flounder57, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of cleeze
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%

Now this is how a beer bar should be!!!! I finally stopped in after waiting a long time to check this place out (pretty hard to find!) But well worth the journey.

Atmosphere is right up my alley! Very chill and low key with killer tunes! Some killer hip hop and some great classic rock! I love the long tables. and the bar is really cool.

Service was perfect. Me and my girlfriend reconazined our bartender from somewhere else. She was really chill and knew her shit about beer. I got brooklyn's chocolate stout on tap for only 5$! So tasty! our bartender picked out a really good brew for my girlfriend (can't remember and it's really bugging me!) She was very attentive even though it was kinda busy and we were hinding in the corner.

Selection is best I've seen. I was a huge fan and still am of the bear expecially when I lived in Portland. Hate to say it but this place blows it outta the water.

I didn't get a chance to try the food since I was so caught up in the beer. Some interesting stuff. My girlfriend liked it but nothing that really caught my eye (No WINGS!?!?) haha

Anyways I can't stress how cool this place is. Only if I lived in Portland still!

cleeze, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of ToasterChef
4.9/5  rDev +9.1%

In a town full of enjoyable bars, Novare Res quickly became my regular hang-out. The selection of beers is amazing; they only stock the finest beers (no BMC, ever). The bottle list spans numerous pages and is organized by country and style, with bottle size, price and ABV clearly listed. The draft list is constantly changing, and surprisingly often you can find a beer on tap that is extremely rare or unique (bourbon barrel aged Allagash brews, for example). The food menu is limited, but it works; a few hot sandwiches and a selection of meats and cheeses. Occasionally, they will over something special, such as grilled sausages cooked outside on their deck.

That atmosphere is fitting for a bar built in the basement of a former bank. The bottle room is in the old vault! The lights are generally kept low (and get dimmer as the night progresses) and the music is played loud (my only complaint about the place is that sometimes the music is so loud you can't converse, but that's rare). There are plenty of empty bottles on display, including all of the staff's KTG empties and a number of Black Alberts. The back room features some nice couches, a fireplace, and two dart boards (personally I don't play darts, but I've heard that the boards are terrible). Overall, it's a place that when you first walk in, you can imagine spending hours here.

My favorite aspect of Novare is their take on a mug club. Called the Uprising, entrants lay down $20 and get a list of 230 bottles they stock. As you drink each one of the list, it gets checked off by a staff member. Once you've had them all, you are officially a member of the Uprising. You get a key to the Chalice room, where you can store your personallized 24oz glass. From that point forward, any draft you order, no matter what size glass it should be poured in, is served in your Chalice--at the normal price. If you finish the list in a year, you even get your entry fee back. It's a fun way to learn a lot about beers, as every style and country represented on the menu is found on the list.

Lastly, the staff is top-notch. Each of them has tried every beer available and can provide suggestions to anyone who walks in. They are all friendly--to the customers and each other. It's as if they are all part of one big family. Make a few trips and soon they'll be greeting you by name when you walk in. Novare is truly a treasure and a beer bar that every BA should visit.

ToasterChef, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of mklatsky
4.88/5  rDev +8.7%

I visited for the first time on Saturday afternoon. While it is snuggled off the street, they have a sign out front and it is easy to find. Eric is a terrific host- made us (there were 13 of us!) feel extremely welcome, and happy to see us.

The atmosphere is perfect- exposed brick, tin ceilings, comfy couches and light colored wood tables and bar. While Novare res is itself below street level, the windows and the light wood keep it bright and airy.

We sampled a multitude of beers, including Mikkeler It's Alive, Lia Fail, Rogue Double Dead Guy, and Route des Epices. The food was great- absolutely enjoyed the meat & cheese platter, and had a terrific Spring sandwich. Filled the tummy, without feeling too full.

I will be back to Portland to enjoy Novare Res, and to visit with Eric again.

Mapu

mklatsky, Aug 27, 2008
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Novare Res Bier Café in Portland, ME
99 out of 100 based on 186 ratings.