Monday, March 28, 2011

Best Beer Bar in the world?!

According to Beer Advocate, a beer related publication that I consider to be top notch, Ebeneezer's Pub in Lovell, Maine is considered the absolute best beer bar in the world.  Not just in Maine, New England or even the United States, they say it's the best in the world.  Well, shit, we had to go check it out.  My buddy Eric decided that was where he wanted to go to for his birthday, so it was decided, we would check out this world renowned locale.  Saturday was the big day, and despite being on a pretty strict diet, we decided to break it for a chance to check out greatness.  The following is the story of our adventure to Lovell, and I do mean adventure.

We met up with the Flynn's in Windham, where we planned on caravaning up to Lovell, which is about 40 minutes out of Windham, just a short distance from Fryeburg.  Off we went, with thoughts of tasty beer and some fatty foods dancing in our heads (it had been a long week of fruits and veggies!).  We followed the Flynns, who had accidentally put in the wrong address, so we were sent a little of track in Bridgton.  No worries, we were able to figure out the error of our ways and got ourselves turned around before too long.  However, the road we took may have been the most dangerous road in the history of earth.  I'm pretty sure my knuckles are still bright white from gripping the steering wheel as hard as humanly possible, and our tires swore at me for a solid two hours when we got home.  There were curves in the road that were more than ninety degrees, and I'm not kidding.  That would normally be fine, but they sneak up you and the turns are completely covered in sand.  There was a brief moment where I thought the pucker brush was about to be our best friends, or our permanent resting place.  Once far enough away from the twisting and turning, we hit the road that led us into the big town of Lovell.  I think I have been on logging roads in the middle of the North Maine Woods that were smoother.  Picture yourself driving down a road that was haphazardly paved.  A little pavement here, some rocks there, a three foot wide washout over there, and another random strip of pavement.  There was absolutely no way to avoid the never ending trail of potholes. 

Once we found the hidden gem, we were extremely happy!  We survived the drive!  The pub is located on Kezar Falls Golf Course, hidden down a side street in the country.  From the outside, it was pretty unassuming, but had a cool screened in seating area when you enter the main entrance.  You enter to a small area, with maybe 6 tables, overlooking the golf course.  Behind a half way there is the bar, with 35 Belgian beers on tap, ranging from Allagash White, a local favorite, to a wide variety of hard to find beers from Europe.  The menu was almost identical to that of The Lion's Pride, its sister restaurant in Brunswick (and #4 on the list of best beer bars in the world).  The walls were adorned with lots of beeraphenalia from all over the world.  Even with all of this, something was missing to me.  It felt to much like a club house at a golf course.  It had that sort of feel to it.  Menu was good, both for beer and food, but I couldn't shake that feeling.  It reminded me too much of the place I frequented in high school and college for grilled cheese and Alexander Keith's Red Ale after a round of 18 with the buddies.  It was all I could think about. 

We had a good lunch and a couple of good, strong beers and made our way over the border to North Conway, New Hampshire for a little shopping with the kiddo.  Was it a good experience, sure, we had fun.  Was it worth the insane drive, maybe.  Is it the best beer bar in the world, I don't think so.  I'm not even sure it is the best beer bar in Maine.  I'd put The Lion's Pride, Novare Res and even the Great Lost Bear well ahead of it.  To me, it goes beyond the beer and food, and the feel of the place just didn't match what I imagine being the best of anything.  It was absolutely worth checking out, but in my opinion, if you want the same food and a better selection of beer, go to The Lion's Pride in Brunswick.  I'm just saying...