Welcome to our new website and video blog. You could always start by catching up on who we are and why we are doing this, but there is no need to read if you don’t want to – its all basically covered in the beginning of this video.
Our first video trip is to Ebenezers Pub in Lovell Maine. This bar was recently rated the “#1 beer bar on the planet” by Beer Advocate. So naturally, we decided to take the road trip up from our Vermont Inn to check it out!
The first thing you need to know is that there is not a lot of lodging in the area, so book a room in advance (especially in the off season). We stayed at the Oxford House Inn in Fryeburg, ME. The second thing you need to know is that you should throw away your GPS and Google Map directions. Not only were they both inaccurate, but our GPS swore we were in Maine when we were still in New Hampshire. (Useful directions can be found at the end of this post).
Once you have found Ebenezers it’s all uphill from there. We have been to many beer bars and to be frank from the outside, this one did not strike us as very impressive. Even an initial glance around the inside leaves you wondering – after all, its a small pub with about 36 taps and 4 bottle coolers. There were about 5 seats at the bar and 2 high top tables. The dining room only had about 5 tables. We were there in December so their large deck was closed, but when its open it probably adds another 10 tables. Pretty much the run of the mill beer bar. Of course, then we sat down and the party began.
A totally friendly server named Hannah brought over some menus. She made us feel very comfortable and welcome. We ordered up some food and then studied the beer menu. That is when it hit us HARD that this is not your average beer bar. The beer menu is beyond impressive with several beers we had never even heard of. To top that off, they were all in stock. Even better than that Hannah was really knowledgeable about beer (she chalks it up to lots of practice) and was able to point us to some great choices from the taps. Of course, we started with a Black Albert (their signature beer, brewed by De Struise Brewers specially for Ebenezers). After we finished eating the owner Chris stopped by our table to say hello. He was upbeat, fun and gracious. Chris introduced us to several great beers at the bar (Amy tried the Mikkeller Stateside IPA and I had a bottle of this years Pannepot). Chris then offered us a tour of his cellar, which we jumped on without hesitation. (Be sure to check out our video of our trip to the Beer Cellar at Ebenezers to see all of the great beer we sampled.)
By the time we left Ebenezers it was clear to see that what had been the biggest challenge of this pub, was also their greatest advantage. The fact that they are a small pub in “middle of no where” Maine is what helps make this place so phenomenal. The personal service, great in stock selection and friendly atmosphere all added to an amazing selection of beers and an incredible host truly do make this the best beer bar we have ever been to.
Being innkeepers of a small Bed and Breakfast in New England we have come to discover that it is the personal connections with our guests and the personal touches to our B&B that make the biggest impact on their return business. We found the same to be true at Ebenezers. We will definitely be back.
If you are headed to Ebenezers, they are located at 44 Allen Road in Lovell Maine. To get there, take route 302 until it branches off onto Route 5. Take Route 5 up to the golf course and pay attention to the small tourist signs on the side of the road. There are signs for Ebenezers on both sides (both directions, don’t ask why we know that…) that will send you onto the very small and unpaved Allen Road. Ebenezers is just up this road on the left, in the dark wooden house. Enter through the covered deck area. Tell them Tim and Amy sent you! (and beer advocate of course!).Ebenezer’s Restaurant & Pub
44 Allen Rd
Lovell, ME 04051
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I have been to Ebenezer’s on number of occasions.
I will admit that they have great selection of Beers. It ends there. The menu is very limited and what is featured on the menu is typically not one is served. I found that the wait staff was not very knowledgeable about the beer selection, let alone if they could pronounce the brew correctly.
At one visit, which was suppose to be a beer tasting, Chris walked around with his beer and not once did he offer any. I asked where are the beers to be tasted? No reasonable response.
To find out, from people I know who stayed much later than closing time, thats when the beers came out for the tasting. It was well after 1:00AM.
Just a great beer selection, does not equate to a great pub. I was also surprised that the Beer Advocate selected them as the “Best Pub on the Planet”.
My, goodness the Cambridge Common has 30 taps, Red Bones has as many too. Much better at atmosphere. The publick House in Brookline has a superb selection of Belgian beers, and quite the menu.
I spend a lot of time in the Bridgton, ME area. I’ll drive the 15 miles to Naples, ME to Bray’s , who brews their own, a modest selection, and a pretty good menu too. Or I’ll even go the North Conway to, Moat Mt.again they brew their own beer too.
I’ve been to lots of pubs around the country, too many to list. Hoe Ebenezer’s ever got the plug from the Beer Advocate, is beyond me.
Most likely, I’ll never return to Ebenezer’s Pub.
By the way, I am a brewer too.
Thanks for the other suggestions Mike, we will certainly check them out when we are back that way. We have to say, our experience there was excellent – but certainly there are going to be different experiences for different folks. In our many pub visits, we stand by our statement that Ebenezers really stood out as exceptional. But we will definitely keep doing our research ;) and looking to find other great beer bars out there. Where do you brew?
Love the idea for your video blog and the idea of road-tripping to different beer bars. Ebenezer’s “middle of nowhere” location is definitely ideally suited to that. ;-)
The weekend my family went to Ebenezer’s was during what Chris was calling his Belgian Beer Festival. Having attended many such events in the Boston area (such as the Beer Summit), we went in expecting something akin to a beer tasting, where perhaps we could pay a cover and get a bunch of 4-oz. samples, or maybe get a flight of beer for a fixed price. It turned out that “beer festival” simply meant that Chris had lots of Belgians on tap — and at much higher prices than I was used to paying at Redbones (which has since gone up in cost).
Like my dad said, it was a good beer selection (although our waitress could not pronounce, let alone, describe the beers), but the food menu was kind of bizarre (including things like crab rangoon alongside quintessentially Maine red hot dogs). Maybe I’m just spoiled by the number of places in the Boston area with good beer selections, but it didn’t stand out to me as better than any of them. It leaves me honestly curious what you — like the Beer Advocate — think makes it head and shoulders above other beer bars. What is it we seem to have missed, because obviously everybody else is seeing something we aren’t?
Oh, until he and my mom decide to be as generous as Chris’s parents and buy me my own bar, Mike and I do our brewing in his kitchen. ;-)
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Found your blog site through Digg. You know I will be signing up to your feed.
Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the
images on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.
who doesn’t love a good beer. and good beer there is to be found. dark, nutty, whatever your poison. unfortunately meeting the blowhard and overly flamboyant owner chris lively, the atmosphere is just ruined. only about half of his beer facts appear true. also he is very arrogant. i big turn off for such a nice place. try the onion soup