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The Lion's Pride
Taps: 35 / Bottles: 700
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
112 Pleasant St
phone: (207) 373-1840
(Place added by: ToasterChef on 07-03-2009)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 51 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
When your only complaint about a venue is the building's exterior, it's doing more than a few things right.
The Lion's Pride is situated on Brunswick's strip just off of 295, in what was formerly a Chinese food restaurant as far as we can remember. The building shoots for something akin to a Tudor style, but ends up nondescript. Which is probably why I drove past it time after time after time. It was only after a trip to the incomparable Ebenezer's, while lamenting the remoteness of that location, that we discovered its sister bar was none other than the building I'd driven by so many times I'd forgotten it was there.
Since then, I've been making up for lost time, because the Lion's Pride is my favorite restaurant, no qualifier. Once you get beyond the exterior, the interior of the space is dark wood accented by a healthy selection of classic beer related posters, bottles and signs. The bar area, off to the right, is spacious and comfortable, and the copper top bar is a classic. While I've never sat in it, the restaurant area is large but open; good news since they regularly host larger groups down from Bowdoin.
The worst thing I can say about the food is that it doesn't live up to the beer. Which means only that it isn't world class. What it is is several notches above your typical pub fare, both in variety and preparation. They have staples like burgers, true, but you'll find a much wider variety on the menu from mussels and frites to Indian eggrolls to a big caesar to brie wontons. Everything that I've had in there has been very good, and I've been there enough to have half a dozen entrees at varying times. So the food is great.
The beer, however, is excellent. As the other reviewers note, the 35 kegs are all mounted into custom glass tap handles below a big board listing the drafts. The selection is tremendous on one visit, but what's more impressive is how dynamic it is. I've been in almost weekly, at times, and I never have to have the same beer twice: the turnover on their kegs is outstanding. The range of styles is apparent; at any given times they'll have on IPAs, Imperial Stouts, Dubbels, Tripels and Quads, strong ales, barleywines, saisons, brown ales and porters. For the less than adventurous in your party, they always have at least one tap with something basic. This week it's Stella, next week it's Anchor Liberty.
In short, then, it's a beer lover's paradise. One of my favorite things to do is to walk in and have the staff pick the beers for me. I've sent wine drinkers in here, and they walked away happy, having been pointed towards beers they didn't know existed.
Like all pubs, though, the Lion's Pride is a reflection of their staff. My first visit, I have to admit, my expectations were low. How could a small college town thirty miles north of Portland realistically expect to attract people who really knew their beer? They managed, as you'll find out if you're lucky enough to visit. They don't just know the beers they carry, they know beer period. They're beer geeks of the highest order, and they're only to happy to educate. Even better, they are to a person fun and friendly, whether you're new to beer or a BA regular.
Most restaurants I've frequented in the past had something wrong. The beer was good, the food not so much. The food was excellent, the service poor. And so on.
I can't find a similar flaw with the Lion's Pride, which is probably why I'm there a lot. Which in turn why I've been able to drink so many of the amazing beers on here.
If you're in or around Brunswick then - anywhere within driving distance, really - you owe it to yourself a visit. I'm just sad it took me so long.
09-14-2010 21:17:29 |
More by sogrady
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
First of all, when rating some of these items for the BA, I think it has to be said that this is, in some ways, a bit upscale in the scheme of things, such as price and atmosphere. While it is not, from what I saw on my one visit two nights ago, a social Mecca or a classic place to bring your party pals, it is in it's own fairly unique way, a one-of-a-kind, awesome beer landmark in the northeast. Inside and out it appears clean and presentable. Inside it is very welcoming with shiny wooden tables and chairs, set pretty decoratively with walls full of what I found to be highly enjoyable beer art, weighted heavily toward the Chimay side of Belgian legends. It is nearly an art museum of colorful, entertaining tin signs and posters and framed advertisements, etc. Very enjoyable to my eye and sensibilities and all presented tastefully with obvious class. The bar area to the right of the entryway is fair size but generally more intimate with smallish tables and a medium sized bar presented all with a flair for the artistic, pretty classy while retaining a warm and welcoming appearance. The tap knobs were hand crafted multi-colored works of beauty, apparently made personally by one of the head guys for Stone Brewing (hope I remembered that right). They were stunning with lighting set to accent the unique design and colors of each of the 20-ish+ taps. I would have liked to have just sat at the bar to enjoy this scene up close, along with the great beer, but this night was to dine with my family so we took a table in the barroom. The other areas of the restaurant presented neat little tables with similar general beer decor. But then let's get to the great beer. Awesome selection and an impressive range of imports and domestics, hoppy goodies, Belgians, Saisons, Barleywines, Sours, stouts, most everything. Sadly I could only have a couple. The Mikkeller Amarillo (ipa) and the Cuvee des Jacobins (sour red). Both were outstanding, presented in the appropriate tulip glasses, at the optimal temperatures, and fresh as you could ever hope. Delicious and nicely complemented by a great buffalo chicken wrap (very spicey!), and as others have attested, great "frites" served in a fancy vertical cornucopia with scrumptious sauces for dipping. Everyone was pleased with their meals. But, of course, it's about the beer and this place is to be unbeaten, although you have to accept that the level of beer quality here does demand, understandably, a high price tag. I won't bother to list all the beers they had on tap, or the similarly heroic collection of bottled beauties. Suffice to say it was one of the best selections I've seen. The staff was also unbelievably knowledgeable, and attentive. They knew their stuff and most all of them stopped by to chat beer during our visit. They seemed legitimately energized to have a fellow enthusiast on hand. And the icing on the cake, as I was signing my credit card receipt, I was given a free, near full glass of Mikkeller Nelson Sauvin IPA (not even listed on the chalkboard this night) which was one of the best beers I've ever had, seriously. What can I say but I have to come back here as soon as possible. Just set aside some money and have yourself an experience. And eventually they will add their own brewing on premises to the mix! These guys seem to have special connections with the likes of Stone & Mikkeller among others, so I can only imagine that it's going to be the most incredible beer place for many a night's travel! Don't miss this place.
08-11-2010 03:09:00 |
More by Durge
New Brunswick (Canada)
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$$
Finally decided to stop by for a night in Brunswick on the way to a weekend trip in Portland... all of the positive things I have read about the Lion's Pride couldn't be ignored any longer.
We arrived at around 8:00 on a Thursday. There were several people at the bar and a few tables taken, but otherwise the place was extremely quiet. Thursday is normally Gank the Goblet night, but not tonight. We sat at the bar... very nice place, beer posters and signs all over, a couple of very well-stocked beer fridges, and probably the nicest set up of taps I've ever seen.
The beer selection was awesome... leaning heavily on Belgian beers, of course, but there were some fantastic American offerings, as well as Norway, Germany, etc. I had no problems at all finding 4-5 beers to try over the night; if anything it was hard to decide b/c the tap list was so great. Probably more than 200 in bottles as well. We also shared a couple of appetizers (Belgian frites and some hummus), which were great... I'd love to try some more of the food on another visit.
The service was just as impressive as the selection and environment. Our main server (for some reason, I never got his name) had to be one of the most enthusiastic beer servers I've ever encountered. Very informative and willing to make recommendations, he also gave us a tour of the place afterwards and even gave us each a glass since the Gank the Goblet night had been cancelled (he and his wife, also a bartender there, had just been married that week).
Any complaints about this place would be extremely minor. The TV, which was very close to us, got turned on about 30 minutes into our visit, but I guess I can understand since it was the final game of the NBA playoffs with Boston vs. L.A. There was also a mix-up with the first beer ordered with the two people I was with, where they received the other person's beer and didn't realize it until a couple hours later when they each ordered the OTHER beer... but this stuff does happen, and I know the servers were pretty fantastic overall.
Definitely worth stopping at if you're in the area. Overall, great food and beer, fantastic staff, really nice atmosphere... maybe it gets a lot busier on the weekend, but it was quite quiet on Thursday and therefore very enjoyable.
06-21-2010 18:06:28 |
More by berley31
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
I first visited The Lion's Pride back in October (after a visit to Ebenezer's Pub the same day) but waited until now to review this extraordinary place. I have no idea why Chris Lively picked this location, but there is a little slice of beer heaven in southern Maine that compliments its sibling in Lovell quite well.
I went to The Lion's Pride for the last day of their 1st Annual Belgian Beer Fest. While I missed out on the beer dinner, Allagash night, and the night of the lambics over the course of the festival, the staff had some great stuff on tap for the finale. The bartenders are incredibly knowledgable and friendly and always have a great recommendation based on your tastes. I won't even go into the details of all the stellar and rare beers I sampled that day, but the Cantillon Cuvee des Champions, DFH/Birra del Borgo My Antonia, and Kasteel Cuvee du Chateau stand out as my favorites. If you go, the burgers, mussels, and Belgian frites are superb.
Beer Education is a focus of the staff, and Ryan is by far one of the most well-rounded beer geeks I have ever met - there is a wealth of beer history, culture, and up-to-date news in this guy's head. Fascinating to say the least.
By far my favorite beer bar (along with Ebenezer's, of course). Seek this place out if you truly want to sample the best beers available in the U.S.A.
03-25-2010 18:24:22 |
More by ElGallo
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
This place is a real find. I've never seen such an incredible beer menu. The service is great. The bartenders could answer many questions with enthusiasm. The food is outstanding! You can certainly take any friends or family members who may not be really into beer here, and they will be very happy with their dining experience. Fresh and prepared perfectly. I've taken several friends there and everyone has been very pleased. The bar area is usually relaxed and fun. The restaurant area can be a little empty but that will pick up with time, and as they start to market events more I think. I'd like to see more notices about their events around town and online-- I think that would draw a bigger crowd. It looks like they've had some good ones, and the Belgian Beer Festival was certainly fun and memorable. Always incredible beer, great food, and a good time at The Lion's Pride.
03-19-2010 19:28:39 |
More by Oktoberfesting
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
What a place! What started out as a quick pit stop to see an old friend on a long drive turned into a truly unbelievable evening of incredible Belgian beer.
I was initially blown away by how comfortable and quiet the place was. Considering the selection (see below), if this place was in any more populated area, the line would be out the door and around the corner. But thankfully (at least for me) this was not the case.
The selection would bring tears to the eyes of any self-respecting beer lover. We visited during their first annual Belgian beer fest so the selection was understandably skewed in that direction. They have 35 taps...each and every one of them pumped out nothing but exceptional stuff. We tried the Cuvee des Jacobins, BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien, Allagash Interlude, Tsimje BBB, Cambridge's Benevolence and on and on.
The food was pretty tasty as well. "Pliny The Burger" did not disappoint.
The service was exceptional. Extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff. Certainly some of the best beer bar servers I have come across.
Only complaint - I wish it were closer to my home. Although, it would probably mean I would have to take out another student loan to finance the more than frequent trips I would take there.
Thanks LB and Ryan for an unbelievable time. Hope to be back soon!
03-15-2010 21:50:26 |
More by seanboley
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
The sister bar to the world renowned and remote Ebenezer's, The Lion's Pride is also certainly worth the haul from all parts.
Hand-made woodwork fits up the bar area with custom blown-glass tap handles, a copper top bar, reproductions of brewing artwork, and vintage tins. Coolers stand at attention, bellies full of rare lambics and Geuzes.
A tap-spanning chaulkboard spills out a drooling variety of Belgian draughts, leaving one bewildered and thirsty.
Earthy colors, inviting woodwork, and warm lighting round out the interior.
The night we visited Chris Lively the owner was there presenting a night of Lambics. A variety of rare, hard-as-tacks and funky as farmyard spontaneously fermented beers were sampled including:
Upland Peach, Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Kiwi, Allagash Resurgam Gueze, Red Framboise, and Koelschip with cherries, Jolly Pumpkin Bier de Mars Grand Reserve, Luciernaga Grand Reserve, 3F J+J Blau, and Millenium Gueze.
I also enjoyed a Brooklyn Flemish Gold and my wife had several St. Bernardus Prior 8 from the taps and were in perfect condition.
Our bartender that night was attentive, friendly, and educated.
As for the food, a plate of blazing, gooey nachos slid by us and looked amazing as well as authentic Belgain Frites.
Chris and Jen Lively have done it again with the Lion's Pride.
An incredible selection with world class hospitality in a gorgeous setting.
03-14-2010 12:54:02 |
More by brewandbbq
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I have been frequenting this bar since they opened last summer. At the very begginning things were a little rocky as to be expected from any new undertaking. However it has since become one of my favorite places to be. I learn a lot every time I go and the bartenders are extremely friendly and very enthusiastic. I have been to beer 101 (the wednesday night tastings) many times. The selection of samples during these events are well worth the fifteen dollars they charge. I live in portland and much closer to novare res but routinely travel to Lions Pride as the atmopshere is better and the service and attention given by the bartenders is leaps and bounds higher. I feel very priveleged to have a bar of this caliber here in Maine.
03-12-2010 22:27:44 |
More by mclaughlindw4
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
In a nondescript building on a nondescript street in Maine is one of the most amazing beer bars in New England. The restaurant is plastered with posters from many brewery's and the large windows gives plenty of light to the dark wooden furniture. In the back of the restaurant is a brewing set up that sits unused. Hopefully some brews will start flowing out of the system soon. An amazing site that can't be missed are the glass blown tap handles.
I took a little bit off of my atmosphere score because there was a large TV in the bar area that was not on at the time of my visit. I'd prefer having no TV at all to eliminate the distraction from the comfortable bar atmosphere.
The day I was there was the beginning of their week long Belgian Beerfest. The list we received for these out of the ordinary beers was incredible. My only complaint about the Lion's Pride if I had to have one was that the list did not include descriptions. However, the well educated waitress knew about each beer and described them perfectly. Outside of the special Belgian beers their everyday tap list had many hard to find beers and local favorites.
Not to be outdone by the beer, the food at the Lion's Pride is also remarkable. Burgers made with Stilton cheese, Lamb burgers made with homemade ketchup, Quiche, Rubens, and several other well made dishes. The food list isn't long, so you may not find exactly what you're looking for, however the quality is very good.
Service is excellent. Our waitress was very knowledgeable and passionate about all the beers on the menu. She answered every question we had and attended to all our needs. I wish I could remember her name and find servers like her at other restaurants I visit.
The price of the beer is steeper than other bars, but take into account what you are drinking and the price is fair. Most of the beers on the Belgian list was around $8 for a 10 oz. sample. Some cost more for smaller samples and some cost less. Food prices were average. My burger and fries was around $12. Depending on the number of beers you order dinner for two could easily cost $60 to $80 before tip.
In summary, the Lion's Pride is worth the trip. Incredible beer list, tasty food, comfortable atmosphere and courteous staff.
03-08-2010 01:13:13 |
More by WanderingFool
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$
As a Brunswick resident I have to say The Lion's Pride is by far my favorite eating and drinking destination in the area. It's definitely a can't miss stop for any serious or aspiring beer lover who even gets within an hour drive of Brunswick.
As other posters have mentioned the, decor inside is incredible. My favorite aspect is the hand blown glass tap handles which are very unique. The service is always top notch and the waitstaff and especially the bartenders are incredibly knowledgeable about the selections.
The food is also outstanding with the burgers being the highlight for me. Then of course there is the beer selection which I just can't say enough about. It's absolutely top notch and I have sampled so many beers here that I never would have been able to find anywhere else.
My only quibble with The Lion's Pride would be that the crowd can be extremely small during what I would consider normal drinking hours and I do have trouble convincing my non beer geek friends to join me there due to the cost of all the beers. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to go into this place and have it packed so tight I can't move but I have been in there a number of times at 8:00 or 9:00 on a weekend night and the place has been dead with only a handful of customers which is kind of depressing. Like the previous poster said I think having a few more solid but lower priced beers on tap would draw in more of a crowd, attract people who weren't hard core beer lovers (or simply don't have the means to spend $8-10 on a 10 ounce beer) and improve the atmosphere a bit. With 35 taps maybe dedicate between 5 and 10 taps to quality beers that didn't cost more then $5 for a full pint then leave the remaining 25-30 for the premium beers.
Other then that I have absolutely no complaints about this amazing beer bar/restaurant. I can't wait until the brewery gets up and running!
REVIEW UPDATE 3/10/11: One year after I first reviewed Lion's Pride I feel I must update my review. My original complaint about small crowds and no lower priced beer is no longer relevant. Over the past year Lion's Pride has built an incredibly solid following and great reputation in the area. The place is frequently filled with great crowds even when other bars and restaurants in the Brunswick area are almost empty. In addition, they now consistently have about 5 lower priced but still quality beer selections on tap at all times for people who are not extreme beer geeks (yet). Because of these changes my non beer geek friends now love joining me at Lion's Pride to throw a few back or have a bite to eat. I give 100% of the credit for this extremely positive change to the managers, Leigh and Ryan, who are top notch. Great job guys!
02-01-2010 15:37:35 |
More by Chowdahead
The Lion's Pride in Brunswick, ME
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