Maine Beer Company gained early acclaim with its Spring Peeper pale ale back in 2011, and since then, it has expanded its distribution nationwide. Lunch, a regular-strength IPA, stands out as one of their flagship beers. However, with a hefty price tag of $8 plus tax for a single bottle, it faces the challenge of justifying its luxury-level cost in a market saturated with quality IPAs available at a fraction of the price. Let’s delve into whether Lunch lives up to the hype and expense.


Pouring from a 1 pint .9 oz bottle, Lunch presents itself as a hazy, deep golden brew with a medium-sized, short-lived head. The visual experience leaves much to be desired, as the foam collapses abruptly within a minute, lacking the lingering presence expected of a quality IPA.


The aroma is dominated by a persistent note of juicy Mandarin orange, a single-dimensional profile that fails to capture the complexity found in today’s competitive IPA landscape. Most disappointingly, this one-note citrus hop fragrance lacks the intrigue expected from a brewery with Maine Beer Company’s reputation.


Lunch’s flavor profile is marked by a pronounced bitterness, delivering a punch of spicy hops with an insufficient counterbalance of sweetness. The beer feels rough around the edges, lacking the smoothness expected from a top-tier IPA. The inclusion of caramel malt, Munich malt, and wheat fails to elevate the body, resulting in a taste that leans towards outdated and lacks the rich oiliness characteristic of superior IPAs. The finish, marked by a lingering grapefruit rind bite, further diminishes the overall appeal.


Contrary to expectations, Lunch falls short in the mouthfeel department. The body lacks the expected silky smoothness, and the overall impression suggests a flavor profile that is not only outdated but also fails to showcase the richness found in high-quality IPAs.


While Lunch caters well to those craving spicy, citrus hops, it falls short of delivering a nuanced and well-balanced experience. Given its steep price point and outdated single bottle format, this IPA fails to impress. For a beer hailed as a fresh and expensive offering, it disappoints, raising questions about its value proposition. On a positive note, other hoppy offerings from Maine Beer Co. may redeem the brand, and these will be explored in upcoming reviews.

In conclusion, Lunch does not warrant the premium price tag, and its shortcomings highlight the need for Maine Beer Company to reassess its flagship IPA to meet the evolving standards of the market.

Today, I want to reflect on the critical aspect of beer reviews. Having reviewed beers since 2008, I believe that a balanced, diagnostic review provides the most value to both consumers and businesses. While positive reviews are pleasant, critical evaluations prompt scrutiny and, ideally, improvements. It’s crucial for businesses to embrace critical feedback as an opportunity for quality control, rather than viewing it as sabotage.

Critical reviews offer valuable insights that can prevent a decline in sales, ensuring long-term success for businesses. In the realm of craft beer, instant feedback through online reviews has proven instrumental in establishing reputations for breweries like Hill Farmstead and Tree House. While producers may be resistant to criticism, recognizing it as constructive feedback is essential for continuous improvement.

As a reviewer, my aim is to strike a balance between honesty and respect. While preferences and biases exist, a critical review should focus on why a product falls short and suggest potential areas for improvement. This approach benefits both producers and consumers by fostering a culture of continuous enhancement.

In the end, critical reviews serve as a form of quality control, offering businesses a chance to rectify issues and enhance their products. It’s a symbiotic relationship that thrives on transparency, respect, and a shared goal of delivering the best possible experience to consumers.