Ebenezer's Brewpub / Lively Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Ebenezer's Brewpub / Lively Brewing Co.Ebenezer's Brewpub / Lively Brewing Co.
BEER AVG
4.09/5
Based on:
29 Beers
193 Ratings
Place Score: 99
Ratings: 77
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 4.51
pDev: n/a
Taps: 35
Bottles: 700
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

112 Pleasant St
Brunswick, Maine, 04011-2207
United States
phone: (207) 373-1840

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: ToasterChef on 07-03-2009

No notes at this time.
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 77 | Reviews: 54
Reviews by ToasterChef:
Photo of ToasterChef
5/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

This review was written on July 1, as soon as I got home from the Lion's Pride. I think I may have just had the best beer experience of my life. I walked into the empty restaurant and was asked by a server if I wanted I table. I told him I wanted to sit at the bar and he said I was welcome to. As I walked to the beautiful copper topped bar, the woman behind the bar said "You're Nissa's [my wife] significant other...Josh..or something with a J." I told her it was Jim and sat down, amazed that I'm already known by name at a place I've never been to before. [I've been to Ebenezer's, so Jess already knew me]

This initial experience showed me that this place is just as inviting and friendly as Ebenezer's is. Every patron is a friend and is always welcome. Within ten minutes of sitting down I was introduced to Chris Lively (the owner) as a Beer Advocate, and he handed me a $600 bottle of 3 Fonteinen J & J Oude Gueuze that he was planning on uncorking for the official opening of the bar on July 3. You don't get an experience like that at just any bar.

The Lion's Pride is laid out in three sections. As you walk in the front door you enter the dining room. It's full of comfortable looking tables. To your left is a former sun room that provides the closest thing to outdoor seating you'll find here with its glass walls. To your right is the bar area, where I spent all of my time and which I will cover in my review.

As I mentioned, there is an L-shaped copper topped bar. Behind one side of it are the 35 taps, each topped with a custom made blown glass tap handle. There are no brewery labels on the taps, all you have to go by is the wall-length chalkboard listing all 35 draft selections. Continuing the no labels theme is the glassware section behind the other side of the bar. Here you'll find wine, pilsner, tulip and snifter glasses, all unadorned with any markings [No pint glasses! This is a bar with no pint glasses!]. Later on in the evening, they put up a selection of Allagash glasses; it was the only labeled barware in sight, save one random St. Bernadus chalice that looked out of place on it's shelf. I doubt that the Allagash glasses will last much longer than the kegs of Fedelta and White that are currently on offer, unless another Allagash keg is tapped.

Surrounding the glassware are the bottle coolers, although you could easily call them a beer museum. In my quick perusal I spied a bottle of Gargamel, numerous vintages of Cantillons, a selection of De Rankes, and some 3 Fonteinens (including the aforementioned 03 J & J Oude Gueuze), and that was jsut the labmic cooler. At the other end of the bar are a number of Trappist selections, abbey ales and other Belgian goodies.

Elsewhere in the barroom you'll find a flat screen television, a long upholstered bench on one wall, a number of tables with upholstered chairs that match the bench, and satellite blues music on the loudspeakers. On the walls are an assortment of bar signs. Even better than the bar signs are the large murals representing a number of different beer labels form around the country. The walls are either dark red, yellow or black, representing the three colors on the Belgian flag. There is a tin ceiling. I don't recall what the lighting was like, but it was bright enough to feel comfortable. There are a few windows that look onto Pleasant street. It was very cozy and comfortable without feeling forced.

The service was excellent, with everyone eager and willing to discuss beer. They were also quick to ask you if you wanted a refill once your glass got empty (for both beer and water). I forget all the names of the people I met, but each of them would be a perfect server; to have a team this prepared and competent on opening day is amazing.

I didn't try the food, but it looked great. The beef and pork come from the same farm that provides the meat for Ebenezer's Pub, and those selections are to die for. All of the fruit and vegetables are purchased fresh at the local farmer's market. I imagine the seafood is local as well. The cheeses are all artisanal, including some Trappist selections.

One aspect of the bar I cannot review yet is the brewery side. All of the brewing equipment is visible through large windows in the dining room. It will be a few months before anything drinkable is produced, but if it is even half the quality of the rest of this bar, then the beers will be something to go far out of your way for.

In summary, I can't say enough good things about the Lion's Pride. Previously, any beer fan would need to go to any of three places in Maine: Ebenezer's, Novare Res or the Great Lost Bear. We can now safely add a fourth location to that list, and it may very well enter the list at number 1. If God were a craft beer drinker, he's be a regular here. Do whatever you can to get to the Lion's Pride. You will not be disappointed. For me, it is brewpub perfection.

More User Reviews:
Photo of johnny6654
2.13/5  rDev -52.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2 | selection: 1.5 | food: 2.5

On vacation in maine, have been coming to maine from New York for 30 years
We were very excited with all the great reviews
6 beers on tap
All the rest were not working
I asked why there were so many taps and such a small selection
Not really a good answer
Goofed up our app no apology
Goofed up my meal no apology
No comparison to the black birch the night before
Very disappointed no reason to return

Photo of WunderLlama
4.55/5  rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

Great bottled Belgians . Even greater micro brews

Photo of Rifugium
4.04/5  rDev -10.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I only passed by this place when it was the Lions Pride, but on this particular trip to ME, I figured I'd make an effort to go now that it's a brewpub. It's a pretty standard restaurant vibe inside, with a good sized bar and plenty of seating.

There are lots of taps, but when I was there, it seemed they only had Lively beers on...or maybe I just didn't see the full taplist. But I was mainly there for the Lively brews anyway, so I went with a sampler. Mostly pretty standard stuff, but all solid and on point for the style. Several IPAs, and some Belgian styles. The stand out was the incredible Filthy Rich imperial stout, which I had had the night before at Lovell, but needed to sample again. There was also a bottle selection that was essentially comparable to that of the Lovell location.

Service was fine. I got there about at opening time, so it wasn't too busy, but it did start filling up fast. My bartender was friendly and seemed knowledgeable about the beers.

Food was good as well. Mostly general pub grub, burgers and such, with some pricier entrees. Overall a good experience, and worth checking out again.

Photo of WynnO
3.85/5  rDev -14.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Only 14 taps were pouring when I was there (8/31/13) so the number of selections was not as I had hoped. What was there though was fine, although it was tipped in Allagash's favor on this day (4 taps). I had Alvinne Wild Undressed. Mort Subite White Lambic. Oxbow Original Deluxe.

Service was little slow, but I landed on a day of cooler problems, so this slowed the pours down tremendously. Tim the beeroligist was exceptional though---lots of knowledge and friendly.

I chose a burger for food, with frites. My cohort selected a chicken sandwich. Both were very good. I suspect anything picked food-wise would be good.

Prices were a bit steep (8-9 bucks for the more rare entries, 7-ish for the others). What can you do though? You want good beer. You must pay.

If I were a local this would undoubtedly be my goto place.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.83/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I stopped in here last night for supper, I sat near the bar and stared at the tap list for most of the time I was there. 35 taps lots of bottles in a couple of coolers behind the bar. All quality stuff you won't see well almost anywhere else. I had steak tips and also frites to eat and I thought both were done really well and the potato ball thing is different and tasty. The staff was quite attentive to my needs in fact I think all three of them waited on me at one time or another. Great selection service and food. Pricing is a bit on the high side, I think there were only 3 draft lines with pours that were under 9 dollars, and one I paid 14 for. I guess the pricing is keeping in step with the rarity of the selection, just be prepared to drop some coin. I'd gladly go back when in the area.

Photo of Grady546
3/5  rDev -33.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3

This place has gone seriously downhill! Such a bummer....used to be my favorite beer restaurant. The Lion’s Pride used to have a fantastic staff. Leigh, Ryan and Katie are greatly missed. I don’t know where the owners found their current staff or what happened with the previous staff, but the new staff is inattentive, doesn’t know much about the product, and clearly has no concept of how to run a restaurant. My wife and I used to go to the Lion’s Pride at least twice a week. We no longer do, after having multiple bad experiences with the new staff. Many of our friends have also stopped going. The last time my wife and I went to the Lion’s Pride, towards the end of February, we were both presented with completely different beers than we ordered! The food seems to have gone downhill as well. We used to love the burgers and fish & chips, but lately everything has been either overly greasy or way overdone. Again, such a bummer.

Photo of DocHoliday
5/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

One of the best, if not the very best, pub-restaurants I've been to. Ranks with the Hopleaf in Chicago (though a friendlier atmosphere--and that is not intended as a slight to the HL).

Ryan and Leigh are superb managers, knowledgeable, welcoming, and they remember their patrons.

The 35 beers on tap are complemented with a large selection of bottled beers. The emphasis is on Belgian and on Maine brews.

Do not be put off by the unassuming exterior of the place. It reeks of mini-mall, but once inside you realize you have entered a beer maven's heaven.

Oh, by the way, the food and service are out of sight as well.

Photo of angiesaysgobucks
4.78/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place, simply put, was awesome.

Service was excpetional. The manager (I am assuming) kept making awesome reccomendations throughout the night. He really took the time to understand what each of us was in the mood for, and then obviosuly knew what he was talking about when he made suggestions. My fiance and I really like the funk and there was some great selections of beer available. They also did not seem to mind that we ended up camping in a corner eating and drinking over about a five hour time span. (Yes our tab was astonomical but worth every penny)

Selection: Defeintly Belgian heavy, but had a nice variety of locals as well as American styles, including the Dogfish 120 on tap. There was also a nice, but limited assortment of other styles in the bottle (definetly check out those refridgerators) I also liked that they had a couple meads on tap as well.

Food: Appetizers were pretty tiny quantity wise, but both of our entrees were appropriatly portioned and very good. My fiance indicated that his steak tips were some of the best that he has ever had. I had a veggie pasta with fresh vegetables.

We stayed on the Knights Inn which was walking distance away...our room, despite being non-smoking, smelled like an ashtray but was otherwise clean and cheap.

Photo of rudzud
4.64/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Had to stop by the Lion's Pride during the beerventure through Maine

A - Sat down at the nice copper bar right at opening with friends. We were the only people that and were able to take in all the little quirks of the place. Beers were listed up on the chalkboard and then on fresh menu's with a little blurb about each.

Q - Top notch quality of the beer. Everything was served in appropriate glassware.

Svc - Excellent job behind the bar, as the gentleman went into great intricate detail about each and every beer, offer reccomendations to my friends, etc.

S - Very nice selection of beers on the board. Would have liked to see some stouts or porters on the days lineup though. Very nice bottle selection.

This was the place where we all got to try Oxbow beer, which led to an even more insanely epic journey to that brewery. A wonderful time here and would DEFINATELY hit up again when in Maine. Well worth the drive from Portland.

Photo of Kinsman
4.71/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Having been to Ebenezers a few times, I decided to give their other establishment a try while in the area.

As usual for me, I was there mid-afternoon mid-week so business was certainly slow. Nothing wrong with that, left plenty of time to chat with Ryan, the bartender. Very knowledgeable bartender and great guy to talk with. Selection was great, as expected. All sorts of unusual imports and a few locals mixed in. Service at such a slow hour of the day was great, as it should be when you're one of 3 people in the place! Skipped the food this time but it looked like they could keep one well fed.

Photo of Chincino
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I absolutely loved this place. I went to the Lion's Pride for the first time last month and it was a great experience.

The atmosphere was very laid-back and it was fun to look at all the beer posters on the walls.

Our server was excellent-she explained about all our beer choices and gave some really good selections of beers to try.

We split a Cantillon and I also was able to try samples of several great beers including Wild Pannepot. The beer selection was great.

The Lion's place is great for trying good beers and good food in a relaxing atmosphere.

Photo of Burt
4.8/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Walking up to the front door they have empty beer bottles on the window sill. Walked straight to the bar that was covered in copper. About 12 seats at the bar and another 20 or so at tables in back of the bar. Big chalkboard with 35 beers that are tap. Awesome selection to choose from. Two coolers that are fill with and assortment of great beers. They separated by shelving, on the bottom with liquor and rack and hanging rack for glasses.

Top notch beer that was served fresh.

Service was top notch, bartender/manager/owner (not sure) was very informative and attentive.

Had the steak tips that were good.

Prices were high but worth it.

Took a 1 hour and half ride up from where we were vacationing and was happy we did. Prices were a little high but worth what we got. Reminds me a little of another great beer bar in Maine. If you are in the area a most visit.

Photo of beerfan99
4.68/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

While vacationing in Maine this summer, I decided to make a special trip to this place, after reading all the positive reviews. When I visited, they had 35 beers on draft, mostly belgians, and an extensive bottle list. The draft list had prices, while the bottle list did not. I decided that there was plenty on draft that I was interested in, so I didn't inquire about any of the bottle prices.

Since I was in Maine and hadn't had any Allagash yet, I was pretty much only drinking Maine Beer Company Zoe and Peeper, I decided to have a Victor, Victoria, and Black. For dinner, I ordered one of the chicken dishes, which was incredible and one of the best meals I had on the trip.

The service was great, did I mention the bar tender was wearing a Dissident shirt. The bar tender was very knowledgeable about all the beers and stopped by our table a couple times to talk about beer. The fact that I was wearing a Hop 15 shirt probably indicated that I like beer. By the way, the restaurant has a huge Hop 15 logo behind the bar which is really neat. Their decorations are pretty much all beer related. They have huge pictures of the Stone Gargoyle and Pliny the Elder hanging on the wall, not too mention hundreds of rare beer bottles lining window sills.

Overall, a very cool place that I look forward to going to next summer. Definitely worth seeking out, especially if you are in the neighborhood.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Came in here a couple nights before going to Eb's Belgian Feast for a few beers. I had a Pannepot Wild, Oxbow Farms Pale Ale (I was told it was the first keg of beer from that brewery anywhere!), and a Stillwater Debutante.

All the beers were fantastic and they had a ton of very solid Belgians on the list. They had quite a few good Belgian bottles as well including Cantillon, Drei Fontinen and Fantome.

There was a live band doing classic rock covers, I chatted with Ryan I believe and he was super friendly and knowledgable, the waitstaff had great recommendations and the bar itself had a ton of cool signs, bottles, etc.

Really this was one of the best bars I've been to period - if you're ever in the area be sure to check it out!

Photo of Cmack15
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I finally decided to review this place after my second visit, because my first visit was so close to the opening. I wanted to see how this place would develop and become. I really like all the posters and beer paraphernalia on the walls. The two hop vines growing outside were also a nice touch. the beer selection was simply amazing, over 30 quality beers on tap and not one let down. The food was great also, we had the cheese plate and some Belgian frites. Our server was awesome she knew the beers and was really cool about explaining the beers and showing us which bottles she had in the case. Definitely a beer destination. can't wait to go back for another visit.
Cheers
Cory

Photo of bkett01
4.35/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Decided to break up my week at a lake house in Maine with a visit to the Lions Pride. It was worth it.

At least a half dozen hop vines grow along the otherwise unimpressive exterior of the building. We stepped inside and were seated at a table near the bar with nice views of the 35 tap lines, bottle refrigerators & glassware collection. A quick glance at the ceiling confirms that this was at one time a Chinese restaurant. The walls are painted in bright colors with a nice array of beer art (from paintings to tin signs) and the karaoke stage rotated through 5 or 6 musicians of varied talent taking advantage of open mic night.

Not surprisingly there were many good choices on tap and I enjoyed a Big A IPA & De Ranke XX Bitter. The waitress/bartender was very knowledgeable and helpful in recommending bottles and explaining any questions we had. She was a bit overworked though and could’ve used some help despite the fact that it was only a Tuesday night. Others reviewers have done more justice to the beer selection, but suffice it to say there is plenty of beer menu to be studied.

I had the fish & chips and the wife had moules frites. Both were good (not great).

Prices were in line with what you’d expect for beers of this quality. So the tab added up quickly but we had a great time. If you’re traveling anywhere near the area it is worth a stop. Nice to see a place as successful as Ebenezer’s begin to expand into new beer bars. I hope to see them open even more in the future.

Photo of MacQ32
4.83/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

We stopped here on my annual trip back home after hearing that it was part owned by the owners of Ebeneezer's (In Lovell). The Lion's Pride boasted 35 taps of both foreign and domestic craft brews (probably 70% foreign). The bartender (Ryan, I think) was of course extremely knowledgeable and very friendly. Aside from the awesome service and beer, the food was nearly equally as good and was reasonably priced for the quality. We arrived at after lunch but before dinner so there were only a few parties other than ours. I would definitely recommend this to any one seeking some rare and delicious beer and a friendly bartender who is willing to guide you to a beer that you might like if unfamiliar. Awesome!

Photo of syrupjoe
4.94/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Per the recommendations of many awesome BA's, I made this place a high priority on my short visit to Maine. I went with a large group of people - beer geeks and non-beer geeks - and everyone had a blast. Ryan (our server and the manager) gave interesting but brief explanations of brews to the people who didn't know/care about beer and was more than willing to geek out with the geeks. We didn't get any food so I can't comment on that. Not cheap by any means, but there was a "Bowdoin Special" beer for those who wanted to drink for cheaper and didn't necessarily care what they drank. I had never heard of most of the beers on their tap list (apparently they often get keg quantities of one), but really liked a lot of what I tried. Great selection, cool environment, and great service. The most unique beer I tried - the "Silly Saison" - tasted like delicious raisin bread.

Photo of higgsmax
4.95/5  rDev +9.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I live in the New York City area, so my standards for beer bars are pretty high, and I have to say, this might be one of the most exceptional beer bars I've ever been to.

Let's start with the selection: It's truly amazing. At least half (or more) of the taps are beers that you will have a hard time finding anywhere else - rare Belgians, an amazing selection of sours, and really special small batch American craft brews. While they have a handful of standby's that are nearly always on tap, there's plenty of variety to keep things interesting. There's never been a time when I've been to the pub and not had at least a handful of beers that I regretted not being able to try.

Second of all, the service: The couple that runs this place don't just know beer, they are truly educated and passionate about it. They handpick all the drafts, and have good reasons for each of their choices (which they'll tell you about). If you want to really learn something, ask them about sours sometime! Everyone that works there is efficient and pleasant without being saccharine.

The environment is pretty great for the most part. The music is usually good - at the very least, they never play terrible cheesy pop songs. The food is excellent, and the bartenders/waitstaff can suggest pairings. Try the mussels and frites. It's a great place for a nice dinner date, but also functions fine as a casual hang-out. It's not super cheap, but you pay for what you get. You're going to pay a little more for some of the really exceptional beers.

This place has elevated my whole experience and appreciation for beer in ways I'll always be thankful for. In short, Brunswick is seriously lucky to have this place: Lion's Pride ROCKS!

Photo of 1100
4.78/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Read about the place here on B.A. and was up that way over Christmas holiday and gave it a try. The Lion's Pride is in Brunswick Maine, a small town not far above Portland. The building is nice but nothing too fancy. The beer selection is awesome. 35 beers on tap plus 100's of bottles. The bartender, I think her name was Leigh, was very knowledgeable and helpful in guiding a couple of relative newbies into the world of quality Belgian beers. Although we didn't try the food the menu was way above the typical bar offerings, and the offerings we saw looked great. This place is a SERIOUS beer bar that is also a restaurant.

My brother and I had a wonderful time there and will definitely return when possible. The bartender Leigh from Richmond was a bonus.

You will like The Lion's Pride if you like good beer and a good place to enjoy it.

Photo of bishopdc0
4.53/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I have been to the Lion's Pride a few times and every time it has been exceptional. On my most recent excursion I along with a few buddies of my spent a good amount of time and money exploring the large and unusual selection. Unlike Ebenezer's and its large Belgium selection the Pride has a variety of beers including a Norwegian IPA, a Japanese Stout and some rares from breweries around the country.

The service was top notch, the two bar tenders were very helpful, at each new round we described a beer we wanted based on taste and we the 4 of us all got 3 rounds, 12 different beers and each was perfectly suited from what we wanted.

The food well not at the same at the beer was very good. A modest selection of food but each item we received was well executed and tasted great.

I would highly suggested this place and I am pleased to see another beer bar in maine with such a high caliber.

Photo of twelvsies
4.14/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Been to the Lion's Pride up in Brunswick several times now. Kind of tucked away amidst other random shops on Pleasant St - look for the baby blue house-like building. Cool interior - a couple dining rooms and a nice L shaped bar. As others have mentioned, tap handles are made of blown glass, rather than traditional brewery tap handles, and the beers are listed on the chalkboard above. Looking around, you see lots of emptied bottles up on the wall and as flower vases on tables - many of uberbeergeek caliber, such as J&J, Kate, Darkness, etc.

Unfortunately, I didn't see too much out of the ordinary that was actually for sale. In fact, they didn't have a beer list at all. Don't get me wrong, there's a good selection - just no list. There are two glass coolers behind the bar and "what you see is what you get". Some Cantillon, Fantome, Struise, but nothing outrageous. I asked if there was anything off-menu of interest, but no dice... Maybe you have to be in when the owner is there, or know somebody. They do have some nice draughts though. Nice Belgians, decent selection of American brews and a couple aged things, which is cool. The only problem is I've been in several times in the course of 4-5 months and I see very few changes in the draught list, which kind of surprises me. It's cool that they have Wild Pannepot on tap - but I'm not going to order a $14 beer everytime I go in. Would like to see more variety. I hear they have events - maybe I will try to head up and catch one of those to see what else they have to offer.

The bartenders are great - once they find out you are into beer they are very willing to shoot the shit and give you tastes n such. Actually, I don't know why I said "they", because it's been the same guy every time I'm in. Anyway, looks like they hire people who are way into beer.

Is this a cool beer bar? Most definitely. Some interesting draughts and a good overall vibe. But is it a world class beer bar as advertised? Not really. A great spot for sure, but I can't help but feel a "that's it?" sort of feeling, after having visited several times. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe it's the fact that they touted this place as "the #2 beer bar in America" and got everyone's hope's up for an on-site Struise brewery, which did not happen. I haven't been to Ebenezer's, and I'm sure it's all that and a bag of chips, but it seems like people are lumping the Lion's Pride in with it by association, and I just don't see it. Nevertheless, great to have another quality beer bar not too far away. I will try to make it up some time when they are having a beer event so I can see the place in it's element.

Photo of slander
4.9/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Still hiding from work not far enough away and running out of days to play. Bunk, Saco, Portland and points north from Freeport, this is oh, so stupidly convenient to where I'm playing this side of the state of Maine. Making my way slowly up the coast to Belfast, but I think I can work two beers and out into my day. Hunting for the pride, a standaloney streetside that used to being something else before the this. Low key and not calling out at me, deserving of the passing by I gave it before turning around to come back...

Was somewhat hoppy this Tuesday evening past and now empty on a Thursday afternoon revisit at opening, still sure to cut the day short. "L" shaped bar, copper sheet topped with a brass foot rail, with seating for a dozen on backed chairs, at the far end of the far room. The barback is a center wood unit with slotted stemware hanging of configs; flutes, tulips, snifters, oh my. A Chouffe figurine sits below baby logoed snifters to both sides along with bottles random tucked, and random glassware, booze, sampler racks, etc. Lion statues above and a nice framed piece. Bottles and bottles housed in a 3 door glass front cooler on one end, and a single to the other. On the side wall, a looong row of 35 taps with blown glass handles all swirly colorful on a long wood box, copper sheet panel atop and drain. Long horizontal split blackboards above list tap selections, and glassware housed below in boxed framings.

7 square tables away from the bar, with fabric chairs and matched shared benchings on 3 tables to one side. Red walls with a single flatscreen mounted, and brewery tins, trays & signs mostly Belgian, but an American micro piece here or there. Through to the front room, a space with 15 round & square tables sporting dry flowers in bottles and a corner brewroom for someday collaborations or guestings. Plank wood floorings and drop pressed tinesque ceiling tiles painted gold with a painting on center of a sprawling dragon holding an Ebeneezer's chalice. A collection of large mixed shaped plank brewery logo paintings (Fantome, New Belgium, DogFishHead, Cantillon, Port Brewing, Surly, Stone, Allagash, Boskeun, Orval, Brooklyn, Mikkeller, Pliny, Bieken, and the Pannepot people, too) between the 2 rooms. And out the other side to a small rear sun room holding another 9 tables. Its space done in walls painted red & yellow, adorned with brewery banners. Spots throughout except for the sunroom wherest drop buttercup lamps be.

Foodings this afternoon, I started with a wish it could have been a bowl but was only a cup of the French onion soup, with cheese 'o goo and a chunk of bread so crunchy. And then the duck, herb roasted,crispy crispy, oooh, sprinkled with sea salt, all herbed up. Ducked the potato and doubled down on the vegetable medley of zuc, carrot, and beans green & yellow. It was real damn good.

35 taps, a real damn nice mix if I may type so. Roughly a 5:1 import to US craft ratio on my visit. A dozen + Belgians, a good few of them your unusual suspects (De Struise Pannepot Wild, Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge, Straffe Hendrik Brugse Tripel, Glazen Toren Saison D'Erpe-Mere, 't Smisje Kerst, Alvinne Caper Fumatis, Houblon Chouffe, St Feuillien Saison, Urthel Hop-It & Saissonniere, Caracole Saxo, Podge Belgian Imperial Stout, Van Honsebrouck St. Louis Framboise). What else? Oh, 10 offerings from Mikkeller; 9 single hop varietals (Nelson Sauvin, East Kent Golding, Chinook, Cascade, Simcoe, Amarillo, Centennial, Nugget, Warrior) and the Green Gold. And another ½ dozen mix & match; a pair from BFM (La Madragore & La Meule), a few Germs (Bahnhof Berliner Weisse, Reissdorf Kolsch, Schneider Weisse) and a lone Scotsman (Brewdog Paradox). The remainder a mix of craft near (Allagash White) and not (Sierra Nevada Bigfoot & Pale Ale, Stone Ruination & Sublimely Self Righteous, Eel River Amber). I drank the Pannepot Wild, Mikkeller Nelson & Cuvee Des Jacobins the 1st time out, and the BFM La Mandragore, Mikkeller Green Gold & Bahnhof Berliner Weisse the 2nd time out. The Pannepot Wild & Cuvee Des Jacobins were stellar. I felt so bad for you not being me at that moment. It passed quickly.

And a sick bottled list, too, maybe 250 entries. Very Belgian heavy (Cantillon, Fantome, Fonteinen, Dupont, De Proef, De Ranke, Hanssens, the available trappists with the benchmark Orval running a reasonable $10, Panil vintages, big bottle 1.5L magnums, 3L Jeroboams, the 6L Methuselah & 9L Salmanazar, and other wonders of crazy), and some US, UK & beyond for effect.

Caught Zac the other night, and Ryan today, with his new bride, Leigh (congrats, kids). Nice folks, and a good educated staff overall. We've been talking beer for hours now (Really? You dig the Fou Foune? It's okay I suppose but it's no Iris, is all I'm sayin'). Beer selection was excellent, as was the care & the know, and I caught a great meal. Went for lunch and stayed 4 hours. All the Eb without everything that makes you feel dirty.

Photo of sogrady
4.8/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

When your only complaint about a venue is the building's exterior, it's doing more than a few things right.

The Lion's Pride is situated on Brunswick's strip just off of 295, in what was formerly a Chinese food restaurant as far as we can remember. The building shoots for something akin to a Tudor style, but ends up nondescript. Which is probably why I drove past it time after time after time. It was only after a trip to the incomparable Ebenezer's, while lamenting the remoteness of that location, that we discovered its sister bar was none other than the building I'd driven by so many times I'd forgotten it was there.

Since then, I've been making up for lost time, because the Lion's Pride is my favorite restaurant, no qualifier. Once you get beyond the exterior, the interior of the space is dark wood accented by a healthy selection of classic beer related posters, bottles and signs. The bar area, off to the right, is spacious and comfortable, and the copper top bar is a classic. While I've never sat in it, the restaurant area is large but open; good news since they regularly host larger groups down from Bowdoin.

The worst thing I can say about the food is that it doesn't live up to the beer. Which means only that it isn't world class. What it is is several notches above your typical pub fare, both in variety and preparation. They have staples like burgers, true, but you'll find a much wider variety on the menu from mussels and frites to Indian eggrolls to a big caesar to brie wontons. Everything that I've had in there has been very good, and I've been there enough to have half a dozen entrees at varying times. So the food is great.

The beer, however, is excellent. As the other reviewers note, the 35 kegs are all mounted into custom glass tap handles below a big board listing the drafts. The selection is tremendous on one visit, but what's more impressive is how dynamic it is. I've been in almost weekly, at times, and I never have to have the same beer twice: the turnover on their kegs is outstanding. The range of styles is apparent; at any given times they'll have on IPAs, Imperial Stouts, Dubbels, Tripels and Quads, strong ales, barleywines, saisons, brown ales and porters. For the less than adventurous in your party, they always have at least one tap with something basic. This week it's Stella, next week it's Anchor Liberty.

In short, then, it's a beer lover's paradise. One of my favorite things to do is to walk in and have the staff pick the beers for me. I've sent wine drinkers in here, and they walked away happy, having been pointed towards beers they didn't know existed.

Like all pubs, though, the Lion's Pride is a reflection of their staff. My first visit, I have to admit, my expectations were low. How could a small college town thirty miles north of Portland realistically expect to attract people who really knew their beer? They managed, as you'll find out if you're lucky enough to visit. They don't just know the beers they carry, they know beer period. They're beer geeks of the highest order, and they're only to happy to educate. Even better, they are to a person fun and friendly, whether you're new to beer or a BA regular.

Most restaurants I've frequented in the past had something wrong. The beer was good, the food not so much. The food was excellent, the service poor. And so on.

I can't find a similar flaw with the Lion's Pride, which is probably why I'm there a lot. Which in turn why I've been able to drink so many of the amazing beers on here.

If you're in or around Brunswick then - anywhere within driving distance, really - you owe it to yourself a visit. I'm just sad it took me so long.

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Ebenezer's Brewpub / Lively Brewing Co. in Brunswick, ME
99 out of 100 based on 77 ratings.