My Maine Beer Co. experience

Discussion in 'New England' started by Bowdoinbeerboy, Feb 9, 2013.

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  1. Bowdoinbeerboy

    Bowdoinbeerboy Zealot (526) Sep 28, 2006 Maine

    Just wanted to post my experience as MBC comes up a lot on this site and I want to contribute my two-cents.

    Today, my GF and I stopped by Maine Beer Co. at the Riverside St. location (they are moving to Freeport Maine in about a month) and went on the tour. I want to emphasis that today was the 2013 Blizzard "Nemo." Despite my initial skepticism that MBC would be open today for tours due to inclement weather, they kept updating their twitter and did in fact conduct their normal tour.

    Once we arrived at the brewery (it is a very small space) we were greeted at the door by Dave Kleban (one of the founders of the brewery). We were a small group that braved the storm for the tour, six in total, but I can honestly say that it was one of the best tours I have ever been on.

    The brewery was in full operation (a batch of Mean ol' Tom I was told) and Dan was happy to have a very informal and fun conversation with us while we walked around and looked at all the equipment. We were treated to two free samples of pilot batches they were working on and a first-class look at how a small brewery operates.

    Throughout the entire tour, Dave answered every question that was asked and gave amusing anecdotes about how he and his brother (Dan Kleban) had grown the brewery from as he termed it "home-brewing" equipment. He was very open and was genuinely interested in making sure we saw everything and had all our questions answered.

    On top of everything, I picked up a Zoe (truly-tasty Amber Ale) and a totally bitchin' pint glass at the Merch shop for a reasonable price.

    Full disclosure: I am addicted to Peeper Ale, love Lunch, and think Mo is one of the tastiest things out there. Still, this was a great tour where I was made to feel totally welcome and really enjoyed myself.

    MBC beers may be a little higher price-point than many other offerings, but it truly is wonderful stuff that is consciously-crafted to be the best.

    End love-fest.
  2. RichD

    RichD Champion (806) Mar 18, 2012 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    Can't disagree with that. I have yet to go to the brewery, even though I intend to visit this summer. Lunch, Zoe, and MO are some of my favorite brews. Though a little pricy, most, if not all of their brews are worth it. I get the vibe that the brewers are some pretty cool, down to earth guys. This makes me a little more excited to visit the brewery and get the full Maine Beer Company experience!
  3. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Site Editor (6,113) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    These guys make great beers and hope to make it to the brewery next summer.
  4. Brez07

    Brez07 Initiate (0) Sep 29, 2009 Maine

    I have heard people complain about their tours, but the one I went on with Dave was just as good as you described
  5. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Aug 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    When Kiwi Rising from Jack's Abby is available, I can purchase it for $3.50/ bottle. It is better than any MBC beer I've had.

    I don't understand the point of your post. Head to Jack's Abby and tell everyone why the hell MBC beers are so expensive.
  6. Kjm13

    Kjm13 Initiate (0) Feb 8, 2013

    I love MBC. The beers from there are awesome. I agree they are a bit pricey, but seems like the prices are starting to come down a bit. I got a Zoe from whole foods the other day for 5.95. I've had the Kiwi Rising. It's a good beer. I like it. But it's not a Lunch or a Mo... Not even in the same class (being a lager and all...) as my dad always said... you get what you pay for!
  7. Horbar

    Horbar Zealot (560) Feb 24, 2012 Rhode Island

    Haters gotta hate.......
  8. beerinmaine

    beerinmaine Initiate (0) Jun 20, 2009 Maine

    As usual don't have to buy it.
    RonfromJersey and SenorHops like this.
  9. Rekrule

    Rekrule Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    I won't. If most others didn't equate price with quality, they wouldn't either....then the price point would drop. If a business plan doesn't work, it changes. People keep paying the prices so it doesn't. Morons be moroning.
  10. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (377) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    He enjoys Maine Beer Co.'s product line and found the brewery tour fun and informative.
  11. PackieMcHopHead

    PackieMcHopHead Initiate (155) Oct 1, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I'm very glad to hear about the tour experience. I had a completely different experience this summer. Many others backed me up. (Wrote about it here.) Sounds like they are listening and 'doing what's right,', so I give them big props for that. Particularly since I'm a big big fan of their beer. The minute the roads open, I'm heading out to find a Lil One bottle.
  12. Bowdoinbeerboy

    Bowdoinbeerboy Zealot (526) Sep 28, 2006 Maine

    You nailed it sir.

    I would love to travel to Jack's Abby and sample their beer; I have no doubt I would thoroughly enjoy that experience as well. I had a good experience and wanted to share that with others and maybe, encourage others to experience it as well. If you dislike MBC thats fine, but the tour was absolutely wonderful.
  13. WassailWilly

    WassailWilly Initiate (0) Sep 8, 2007 New York

    Have managed to try a few of their offerings and must say Lunch ranks right up there at the top in my book !!!
  14. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    Is it so bad to ask why their beer is priced higher than most others of equal quality? Look I love Zoe, Lunch, Peeper, MO, King Titus etc, but I rarely buy them since they are between $7-$8 for a 500ml bottle here.
  15. LiquidCourage

    LiquidCourage Initiate (156) Nov 1, 2012 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    How much does the beer go for directly from the brewery?

    I had Lunch once and it was excellent. However, I'm in the same boat as others, $7.49 for a 16 ounce bottle of Peeper is tough to justify. So I just don't buy it
  16. HevvyMetalHippie

    HevvyMetalHippie Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Nice and a positive thread no less, thank you!
  17. shlauncha

    shlauncha Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2009 Massachusetts

    Where are you buying it for $3.50/bottle? It was $6 everywhere around me.
  18. Robtobfest

    Robtobfest Disciple (365) Oct 21, 2009 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    MBC makes awesome beers. Fresh peeper is one of my favorites. I hope they come to CT. Price can be an issue BUT this is craft beer and its up to us to police our own budget. I all know we all spend too much as it is. Whats a few more dollars for a beer u truly love. If tou are looking to save money
    Delete you BA account, buy bmc ! Stop shitting on a positive thread. This guy is trying to give propa to a great, enviornmentally concious brewery and we gotta turn it into a negative! Fuck!
    Horbar and smutty33 like this.
  19. ChickenSandwichCarl

    ChickenSandwichCarl Initiate (146) Aug 29, 2012 Maine
    Beer Trader

    No its not.

    Asking why product A, that is similar to product B, is priced so much higher, isn’t anything but good consumer behavior.

    MBC’s pricing is like the gas station on the highway that is 50 cents more a gallon than the one off the exit. They do it because they can. Hoppy beers in northern New England are hard to come by. If they were Oregon/California/Washington Beer Co. they wouldn’t be able to charge these prices, because hoppy beers are a dime a dozen out there.

    Now I love their beers. Anytime Zoe or MO are fresh they're in my rotation. I just bought a case of Lil One and I buy a case of Lunch every time it comes out. I’m a hop junkie and MBC is the best, freshest stuff I can get my hands on.

    I’m willing to pay the premium, but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.

    All that being said, having their prices mentioned on EVERY thread does get tedious
    smutty33 likes this.
  20. Robtobfest

    Robtobfest Disciple (365) Oct 21, 2009 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

  21. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    I can agree with that. Same goes for any time Mikkeller or Evil Twin are mentioned, or any barrel aged release from FFF, there are certain stigmas that will be brought up continually. Until it is explained I don't think people will stop saying anything. The brewer from Evil Twin came on here and defended his pricing, seemed to help a bit.
  22. dasenebler

    dasenebler Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2008 Maine

    I've had fresh bottles of Kiwi Rising, Hoponious, Jabby Brau and Smoke & Dagger, and the only one that might match the quality of MBC beers is Smoke & Dagger, which I thought was an excellent lager. Jack's Abby is an up and coming brewery and I think that their beers will continue to improve, but they are nowhere near as hoppy and delicious as Zoe, Lunch or MO from MBC. There is no question that JA beers represent a better value than MBC, but value does not equal overall quality.
  23. Fujii13

    Fujii13 Aspirant (206) Apr 27, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    At least you got to go in the brewery itself. We were limited to the front room with about 25 other people like we were at some brewery museum exhibit. If you know how small that room is, you can see why I was underwhelmed with the tour as well. That said, I enjoy their beers and plan on keeping on drinking them.
  24. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    Where are you paying 7.49? MBC beers hover at or just over 6 bucks here in the backwoods of VT. I love everything these guys make; slightly pricey but I have some at least a couple times a month. Our view of the big picture is a little altered here in New England because we can buy so many fantastic beers for much less than we'd pay for comparable beer in, say, CA.
  25. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Aug 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    In my experience beer is cheaper in CA.
  26. dasenebler

    dasenebler Initiate (0) Jan 26, 2008 Maine

    Read your blog post, sorry you had a bad tour. I know the MBC brewers and they are good people, they were probably just overwhelmed by your group, and your tour guide was probably trying to get back to work (brewing, cellaring, cleaning, etc.). Having talked to a lot of different brewers over the past couple of years, most of them DO consider brewery tours a nuisance. It's like having a bunch of people squeeze into your office for twenty minutes while you are trying to work. It's not that fun if you're trying to get your job done. You feel like an animal in a zoo. Large-group brewery tours during production hours are not a good idea in my opinion. At least the quality of the beer made up for what the tour may have lacked!
  27. beerinmaine

    beerinmaine Initiate (0) Jun 20, 2009 Maine

    Also, tours at any of the Portland breweries during the summer are just a circus. Too many people, not enough space, even in the biggest places (Allagash), and it's the busiest season for the brewers too, given higher summer demand.

    I much prefer the Allagash tour at 11 AM on a Tuesday in February. Snowing if possible.
    jtdolla911 and LostTraveler like this.
  28. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    I should have probably added, "except for Boston".:slight_frown:
    Patrick likes this.
  29. LiquidCourage

    LiquidCourage Initiate (156) Nov 1, 2012 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    On the MA/RI line.

    I thought Lunch was great. However, I just usually walk by it and go with something else at $7.49 for a 16 ounce bottle. Hoponious Union, as others have mentioned, is $3.50 a bottle for the same size. While Lunch is fantastic, it's not twice as good a HU.

    I can understand how Mikkeller can charge a lot per bottle, since it has to be imported. MBC is 2 hours away. If Alchemist and Jack's Abby can put out great DIPA's for half the price, then MBC deserves to have their prices questioned in every thread. For comparison, Pliny the Elder usually sells for $5.99 in California and a bomber of Hop Stoopid sells for $6.99 here in RI.

    For the record, I am not complaining about their prices. Brewers can charge what they want. If the market is willing to pay over $7 a pint, then they are doing something right.
  30. Stormfield

    Stormfield Initiate (171) Feb 21, 2011 Massachusetts

    MBC is great stuff, but...I rarely get it. I LOVE Zoe. But it goes for about 7 bucks down here (Foxboro, Mansfield, Easton). I could, however, easily justify that price in a 22 oz. bottle.
  31. MaineBeerCo

    MaineBeerCo Initiate (0) Feb 2, 2013 Maine

    Thanks so much for the kind words! We are glad you enjoyed the tour. Cheers!
    jtdolla911 likes this.
  32. smutty33

    smutty33 Zealot (585) Jun 12, 2009 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    OP:Glad you had a good time at MBC.I hope to visit the new digs in the very near future.

    Word is MBC is on its way to CT. and I am looking 4ward big time.Yeah,the beer is a little pricey but its damn good and I enjoy their stuff.Why does every thread have to turn into a boo-hoo-athon about prices?MBC has expanded and continue to pump out the brew regardless,so they must be doing something right.

    RMoeNay likes this.
  33. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    MBC is a small operation (for now:slight_smile:) and their cost per bottle is higher. But I think Lunch in ME costs about the same as Pliny in CA (RR, though small is much bigger than MBC, and their startup days are far behind them). What I really don't understand is how Heady can be so cheap at the brewery. You'd think the hop bill would make it a pricey beer.
  34. WeymouthMike

    WeymouthMike Devotee (455) Jun 22, 2004 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    $3-4 when available on the south shore
  35. tehzachatak

    tehzachatak Initiate (0) Sep 19, 2010 Massachusetts

    I think Kiwi was $4 for me, but with the exception of Brett Biere de Garde, which was $6, I have never seen a Jack's Abby brew for more than $4, most at about $2.70. I live in Boston metro.
    Jnorton00 likes this.
  36. LostTraveler

    LostTraveler Initiate (0) Oct 28, 2011 Maine

    I cant say a bad thing about MBC. Every time Ive spoke with them(Dave/Dan) they alway come across as genuine and social. Is their beer priced more than average, yes. Is their beer taste better than average, yes. Im ok with that. I dont see them closing or going under because they are so "expensive". Maybe they will drop when they move, I dont know. I do know I wish I could by 4 packs of 12oz bottles.
  37. shlauncha

    shlauncha Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2009 Massachusetts

    Damn, sounds like I've been geting gouged. $6 at Marty's. I guess I can't remember what I paid at Gordon's(Watertown) but I thought it was comparable.
  38. emannths

    emannths Initiate (192) Sep 21, 2007 Massachusetts

    FWIW, Jack's Abby and MBC have tracked each other pretty closely in terms of capacity for most of JA's existence. JA's prices have always been substantially lower than MBC's--even that first hand-bottled batch of Kiwi Rising was only in the $8 neighborhood IIRC. Unless MBC is throwing dollar bills into their mash tun or something, their costs shouldn't necessitate the prices we see. I find it hard to believe the explanation for their prices is anything other than "because we can."
  39. RMoeNay

    RMoeNay Initiate (0) Sep 22, 2010 Connecticut

    Don't forget that we pay an extra 1% for every MBC bottle, to give an extra tax break to MBC so they can save the planet.... :stuck_out_tongue:
  40. geocool

    geocool Initiate (175) Jun 21, 2006 Massachusetts

    Their stuff used to fly off the shelves, but now (except for Lunch) it lingers for months and months. No hate at all, I just want their beer to be more affordable, and I am curious to see what happens when the MBC fad winds down. Will they be able to lower prices and stay profitable, or will they go under? I'm really rooting for the former.
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