BrewReview: Lone Pine Brewing Company
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
By: Nick Nannicelli
Lone Pine Brewing Company - Portland, ME.
BeerSeeker on the Job: Nick Nannicelli
This adventure took us to one of the best cities in the entire country for craft brew: Portland, Maine. Lone Pine was opened in 2016 by two friends who wanted to make Maine beer for Mainers. It all started with a pale ale that took Portland by storm. From there, Lone Pine has come out with countless limited releases and a few staples as well.
Lone Pine has two locations, but its main Portland location can be found in the Munjoy Hill area of town. What was once considered an older neighborhood of Portland, Munjoy Hill has become a bit of a craft brewing hub. Along with Lone Pine, there is another brewery and winery on the same block, and there are five total breweries/fermentories/distilleries within a quarter mile of each other. So this is easily a place you could spend an entire day, as long as you pace yourself.
For the actual brewery, I was surprised how small it was. The building itself is relatively big, but the taproom takes up only about a third of it. Lone Pine makes good use of the space, however, and what it lacks in room inside it makes up for outside. In front of the brewery there’s a fenced-in patio with picnic tables and string lights covering the area. If that wasn't enough, the icing on the cake is a taco truck on site serving up good eats for all.
Lone Pine certainly doesn't lack variety with 14(!!) beers on tap to choose from covering the full spectrum - IPAs, stouts, lagers, and even sours. Now I will admit, I could not try all 14 because not only is that a ridiculous amount, but I had to meet my parents for dinner after and needed to be coherent… However, I was still able to try my fair share and have some surprising picks:
Party Party Party (Soured Pale Ale) 5% ABV
Portland Pale Ale base
Hermit’s house Lactobacillus strain
I typically don’t try sours if they’re on a menu because I rarely enjoy them, but the PPP is a new twist on a sour. Lone Pine has taken its classic pale ale and collaborated with a sour from Vermont’s Hermit Thrush Brewing to make this creative beer. Together you have a hoppy ale with a tangy finish. I think the best way to describe it is “light and crisp and a twist.” As I mentioned before, sours are a beer I usually avoid, but the PPP is definitely a sour for the non-sour drinker.
Chaga Stout with Vanilla (Imperial Stout) 8% ABV
Dry stout balanced with West-Coast hops
Through the years I have tried many a stout, and sometimes breweries try to do too much with them. The tastes can range from too sweet, to too much flavor, to too gimmicky, etc. More often than not, those stouts can be a swing and miss. The Chaga Stout with vanilla, on the other hand, is no gimmick.
Lone Pine takes its dry original Chaga Stout and ages it with vanilla beans, combining flavors from West Coast hops and Maine Chaga to give it a versatile taste. This adds a hint of sweetness without taking anything away or overpowering the beer. It’s hard to explain why I liked the stout so much, so the best way I can describe it is it’s like a finely cooked steak. Putting a slab of meat on the grill seasoned with salt and pepper doesn't take much creativity, but when cooked the right way nothing can beat it. That, my fellow beer seekers, is how I felt about the stout.
In conclusion, it was another successful brewery trip and one we would urge everyone to experience for themselves. Portland and the surrounding towns in Maine have a brewery scene that is borderline unrivaled, and if you have time to make your way around the craft beer scene there, we are confident you’ll find at least a few favorites. You can visit either of Lone Pine’s two locations, and be sure to check them out online as well.