3/16/20: Maine Beer Company's Peeper

4:25 PM

This is weird. I know that different parts of the world are in different places right now. Hell, different parts of the US are in different places right now. Ohio, as you may have heard, is in rapid shutdown mode: Bars and restaurants now close at 9 each night and are only open for carryout/delivery; bowling alleys, gyms, and theaters won't be allowed to open after today; places of employment that are still open in some capacity and haven't been ordered to close by the governor are racing to figure out how to deal with what's coming next. The rest of the world (at least those parts still in the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic) will most likely be mirroring my state's actions in the coming weeks. I literally have no idea what tomorrow'll bring. We're in uncharted waters. Wash your hands.

Okay, I guess that was a bit of a lie. See, I do know something that tomorrow'll bring: peepers, the harbingers of springtime. I know that peepers are pretty divisive critters, much like summer's cicadas. But, much like with cicadas, I really enjoy the peepers' music--it's a nice, nightly reminder that winter's on its way out and warmer, brighter days are ahead.

When I saw that Maine Beer Company had a beer called Peeper, I knew it'd be my post to shepard in spring. Today, while Michelle and I were out provision hunting (to little avail--what a time to actually need toilet paper), we swung into the bottleshop where, less than a week ago, they had plenty of Peeper bottles. To my dismay (and luck) there was just one left today. I bought and, well, here we are.

Maine Beer Company (that link takes you to their "Our Story" page, where you'll have to click through the slides to see everything--something I really recommend that you do) operates out of Freeport, ME. They weren't always there, though. Back when brothers David and Daniel Kleban opened the place on a one-barrel system in Portland, ME, they didn't think they'd need to move. They were two guys who loved beer and wanted to avoid falling into careers they weren't too passionate about. They originally set out to brew one beer super well. That beer became Spring Peeper Ale, which, over time, became Peeper. In 2013, they expanded into Freeport and, as of at least 2019 (which is when I started noticing their product around) their distribution range has reached Ohio. Beyond that, they donate a percentage of their profits to environmental charities, which is admirable.

Peeper, as detailed on it's official page, is a 5.5% ABV pale ale with a big flavor profile (some highlights are lemon, freshly-cut grass, pine, raspberry, strawberry, and a touch of bread). Brewed with three hop varietals and four different kinds of malt, Peeper seems to be a perfect springtime (or anytime, since it's available year-round) ale.

Whoo, this bouquet is something. Let me see if I can unpack it. I'm finding: pineapple, pine, hibiscus, lemon, strawberry and raspberry, and a touch of grapefruit. I'm not picking up on neither the bread nor the grass, although they may be lying in wait in the ale's flavor profile. Regardless, Peeper's nose lives up to what I'd expected! Purrl, who wouldn't bring herself to put her nose anywhere near my bottle, probably isn't in agreement.

I get the grass prominently in the flavor profile. There's big wheat here, too. The piney hops nibble away at the back of the throat while luscious berry flavors (the strawberry and raspberry are back) softly coat my palate and linger with the pine in the finish. Sharp citrus coats my cheeks at the end of each swig. This is, first and foremost, a spring ale that's available year-round. But, it'd also be one hell of a summertime sipper; a great porch beer after an exhausting day of sun-soaked yard work.

Peeper has a nice effervescent mouthfeel. I know I described it's flavors as "sharp" or "nibbly" immediately above, but it's mouthfeel isn't. Carbonated, yes, but subdued and pleasant. Exactly what I want from an ale that tastes and smells like this one does.

If I take a pull from my bottle and close my eyes, I imagine I'm outside at night. It's a little warmer than it is currently (so, like, in the 50's after the sun sets). My jacket's on but I haven't zipped it up. The stars are out and shining. There's a certain warmth to the breeze. And, from the edge of the wood just beyond my property, peepers are singing.

I'll cut to the chase here at the end of the post: I'm floored by Maine Beer Company's Peeper. I can't recall a pale ale I've liked this much. It's a simple 10/10 from me. Head out to your local beer place, buy a bottle, come back, wash your hands, and drink it. Preferably on your porch while the peepers sing.

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