Brew Review

Beer Review – Maine Beer Company Collaboration Time 1

During my 2012 family vacation to Maine a few weeks ago, I learned my lesson from my two previous family vacations, i.e. there is no time for brewery tours or serious Craft Beer hunting when you have two small boys, and instead decided to focus on picking up some really good Craft Beers to bring home whenever I had the opportunity. My prime target was the Maine Beer Company, and I actually managed to sneak away for a couple hours so that I could take a ride up to Portland and pay a visit to the brewery.

If you visit Maine Beer Company’s website, the following message from the owners/brewers is at the bottom of the screen:

We are a small brewery with a very limited marketing budget. If you like our beer then please spread the word. Tell your friends. Ask your local stores, bars and restaurants to order it up. Thank you for drinking our beer!

Thanks again, David and Daniel

I know that they explicitly say that they are a small brewery, but until you pull up to the place and step inside, you don’t realize how small the brewery actually is. Just to reinforce how small they are, here is an interview with Dave Kleban (one of the owners and brewers) that I found on YouTube:

When I walked in to buy some beer, I was somewhat disappointed to see that they only had two available (Peeper and Collaboration Time), and also that they were only available from the refrigerator case (I was very concerned about the “cold to warm and back to cold” thing which I thought would ruin the beer). I was all ready to scrap my plans, but after a very brief conversation with Dave Kleban (he was outside hosing off the driveway when I first got there), he assured me that the beer would survive the temperature changes. Since Collaboration Time is a one time only beer, I decided to pick up five bottles to bring back home.

Collaboration Time was a joint venture between Maine Beer Company of Portland, ME and Lawson’s Finest Liquids of Warren, VT. Here is a bit more information from the brewer about this beer:

A hoppy American dark ale incorporating New England-grown barley, wheat, rye, and whole cone hops.  Special thanks to Valley Malt for malting up the special batch of local Chocolate Rye and Crystal Wheat.

ABV – 7.2%

Malt – American 2-Row, Chocolate Malt, Chocolate Rye, Crystal Wheat, Caramel 80L, Midnight Wheat, Flaked Oats

Hops – US Magnum, Centennial, Cascade, Columbus

Since this beer was a collaboration between two brewers, I felt that it should be reviewed by at least two Booze Dancers. Thankfully, Limpd was more than happy to help me out!

Let’s find out if this beer is any good…

Limpd’s Tasting Notes

  • Appearance: Black as coal. Healthy tan foam. A whole lot of lacing.
  • Aroma: Roasted malt and hops in a battle royal! A little bit of chocolate/coffee. A little herbal too.
  • Taste: Thick and creamy mouthfeel. Roasted malt with a hoppy tang finish. Also quite dry yet not particularly boozy.

Verdict: Although it doesn’t mention the style on the bottle, it reminds me of the 21st Amendment Back in Black and the Allagash Black. This is a very nice beer that I would love to try with some sharp cheese. I enjoyed it, but given its robust flavors, I wouldn’t consider this session worthy. I give it four stars!

G-LO’s Tasting Notes

  • Appearance:  Pitch black with a thick, slowly dissipating head that tops out at 2 inches and settles down to a 1/4 inch of fluffy foam.
  • Aroma: Oodles of hops and dark chocolate (Is that a chocolate covered pine cone I smell???). Very fragrant and earthy.
  • Taste: Medium bodied with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Loaded with bittersweet chocolate goodness but with a solid hoppy bitterness to keep things in check. A tiny bit of alcohol comes through in the finish, but otherwise, you would never guess this had an ABV of 7.2%. Also a bit astringent with an Italian roast coffee aftertaste.

Verdict: Delicious and highly drinkable! A notch or two above the 21st Amendment Back in Black IPA. I loved this beer and am very happy to report that I have one more bottle on hand. Whether I keep it for myself, or decide to share it with friends has yet to be determined.


So there you have it. A collaborative review of a delicious collaborative Craft Beer!

Have you had this beer? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

7 replies »

  1. We had considered stopping in at MBC on our drive back to Boston when we were out there last time, but since we were hungry also, Gritty’s won out. It’ll be on our short list when we go back to Maine (whenever that might be).

    I like how brewers are adding more hops to darker beers, the interaction between the dark malt and hops is a flavor ride. Avery has a porter out that tries to hop it up, but falls short in my opinion. I had some at a firkin fest that was everything I hoped for, but then when I had it in the bottle, complete disappointment.

    Thanks for the review, wish we could get it out here!


    • Yo Will!

      It’s a good thing you stopped at Gritty’s because MBC is essentially just a brewery, i.e., not a brew pub, so you would have been very very hungry. Same goes for Allagash which is right up the street. You can buy the beer, take the tour, and even sample a beer after the tour, but as far as food, you’re on your own.

      MBC beers are definitely worth a try. So far, the MO and Peeper are my favorites, followed closely by this beer, Lunch, and Mean Old Tom. Zoe is my least favorite (from what I can remember at least), but it’s still very good. If shipping beer wasn’t such a pain in the ass and a crap shoot as far as safe handling goes, I’d offer to send you a couple bottles. Good thing you’re in yet another beer-centric part of the country. It’s not like there’s a shortage of good beer in Colorado. Heh.

      Thanks for the comment!



  2. Hey, anytime I can help out; feel free to count me in. This was a really good beer. I would put it above the Back in Black from 21st Amendment and just a notch below the Allagash Black. As for the second bottle, I am around this evening…


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