Aaand here it is. Place rating #1000, and it is the highest rated place in America. I spent the previous night in Portland and drove up here for lunch on my way back to Burlington, so it was only a half hour out of my way or so. Agreed with Borken that that is about the best you can do for most of humanity. I had a bit of a scare about opening; the phone number listed above no longer plays a message when they are closed and the times I called I just got nothing. My emails were never answered. Fortunately they did respond on my last resort (facebook) after a day or so confirming they would be open. When I arrived the placard out front advertised new 7 days per week opening hours of 11:30AM-9PM (bar open later) You are really out in the boonies here; barely cell phone service (nothing at all inside actually), surrounded by trees and a country club golf course. Loads of deer flies and mosquitos to keep you company though. Plenty of parking - the lot itself is not large but there is parking on the approach. When I pulled in it looked like the gravel lot was full of broken glass, but its just Mica - no worries.
The sign has been updated from the one on the picture; its black and white; an old man in a rumpled tophat holding a lantern. Presumably Ebenezer Scrooge?? It is also called just Ebenezers now, but I am not going to be the one to change it here, given the iconic nature of this place!
Walk up an it seems a bit like you are coming up on somebodies house. Find the correct entrance and step in to the covered patio, which is nice and offers views of the golf course. Step inside from there and there is a seating area and a fairly small bar. The place certainly had customers, but was not busy on a Friday at lunchtime. Most folks seemed like locals to me with the exception of one neckbeard and his wife who were clearly here because of the place’s iconic status in beer nerddom. Lots of people came and picked up to go orders. Two sided tap list was pretty interesting indeed, fairly IPA focused which seemed strange. About 2/3 of the beers were New England in origin, but there were a smattering of other things ranging from the obvious (St Bernardus 12) to the unusual (a 2012 keg of Makers Mark Riporter). Lively brewing was well represented on the list, but was not explicitly advertised as the owners brewery. Tap beers were available in full or half pours, no taster glass sizes, although they will give you a Danish pour of anything you want to try, literally in a small shot glass. I asked about the bottle list and was directed to the coolers, which held an interesting, but not mind-blowing, set of Belgian and others. Nowhere near 1000+ bottles; perhaps 100? Cantillon and De Cam were well represented, along with vintages of things like Pannepot. Nothing shot out as a must try so I did not ask about prices. I did not ask and was not offered a glimpse at the rumored private cellar. I have no idea whether there is some secret handshake into the Ebenezar Kezar private cellar, but just being able to visit the place was a lot of fun, even without being read in to the full monte experience.
Service was cheerful and helpful. I did not get the feel that my server had any deep understanding of beer, but she recognized that I was a beer dork quickly and let me do my thing. Food (I had a Cobb Salad) was amazingly fresh and tasty. I would not be surprised if everything on my place was sourced from within 30 minutes. Carrot slices were cut into butterflies, which my kids would have loved. All in all an outstanding beer destination, and well worth the (likely one time) visit in celebration of my 1000th place review on RateBeer. Given that I have already been to Grote Dorst, I am not sure what I could do for #2000, but I have a while to think about it I guess. Sante!
Visited February 2016. Interesting location and I am not really sure what is the business plan. Visit was very short and I only had coffee and one of their own beers. Taplist was full of interesting Belgian beers.
So, we "only" drove a half hour each way out of the way to get here. Considering we’re from California, that is probably about as good as a tourist/traveler can do. We came from Moat Mountain after hiking in Crawford Notch. The very odd backroad way the GPS advised us to take actually paid off as we saw some black bears ambling across the road. Neat!
Anyway, yeah, this place is kind of in the middle of nowhere. Sort of a bucket list beer place for me as well, since it was one of those mystical places when I first started getting really into beer. Small parking lot and pretty modest sized outdoor dining room and bar as well. Very cozy and homely. Seems the Belgian beer festival had ended just a few days prior, so a lot of Belgian beers still on draft and bottles in the cooler.
The draft list was pretty eclectic and actually had a handful of beers from Lively Brewing (the owners’ brewery). Now, I’m sure that the cellar here is insane and if you know the right people, you can get just about anything you might want. I would say the draft list and bottles available during our visit were certainly very much above average and had some nice finds. But I guess considering the unreasonable hype that surrounds this place, it was impossible to meet those expectations.
The women working the bar were incredibly friendly and helpful. Happy to let us, and other patrons, try any beers before committing to a purchase. I appreciated that as some of the beers were quite expensive (many at $10 or $12 for maybe 8 to 10 ounce pours).
I really enjoyed my visit here, but I would caution those that come here expecting to be able to just order every rare beer they can imagine on a whim and have it appear in front of them. If you want that, you probably should try to make some sort of arrangement ahead of time. Otherwise, just show up and drink some good beers.
I thought this would be a good place for my 500th review (gold explorer). So many opinions...mostly good...some not. Some of the ones that aren’t good...I can at least understand...others maybe not. Cutting to the chase though...as it concerns my visit...I had a really fine experience. For me after one visit...it’s not a 100..but easily the 96 I gave it. If I come back and have some more in depth experiences I will rate higher...but I don’t automatically expect to get those on a first visit...even given the long drive. I feel bad for someone who came from another country and only had one shot...and it didn’t work out for them they way they’d hoped. I came with the attitude that I’d like this place...maybe a lot...and if less than a lot...I’d come back again (I realize that’s not easy for many...but the place deserves that kind of attention..."and" patience). As far as service...My wife and I were fortunate to get a seat at the bar at about 5:30PM on Sunday evening of this past Memorial Day weekend. I’m sure that helped with the service we got (our bartender/server was amazing!). I could see that many of the tables were being served by younger waiters/waitresses...that "may" have not been as beer savvy as a long traveling beer nerd (like myself) might have hoped for. As for the food...the spicy tuna sashimi in avocado flowers and Ponzi sauce was freakin amazing! My wife had the fish and frites and I had the house burger...with English Stilton, bacon, avocado on a brioche...it was cooked perfectly. Now for the beer...I drank a couple of the "Lovely" drafts...a hoppy one...and a hempy one. My wife had the amazing Piccolo...which I shared with her. I finished with the incredible Black Albert. All in all...we came on a great night...and had a great time. I couldn’t have been more pleased had I been visiting a place that had a rating average of 85-95...but of course given it’s a 100 in so many people’s books and given the history and all the awards...well of course I came away wanting an even better experience...wanting even more...but that’s not a negative for me...it’s a reason to come back.
totally over rated, in the middle of nowhere, bad service, the slection is not that impresive, only the food was fine...
Mathieu87 (328) Brussels, Belgium | November 6, 2015| Updated November 12, 2015
First, let me state, I TRIED visiting this place, but it wasn’t open. The communication on how we made the trip all the way up there, to be faced with a closed bar, is however shameful/disgraceful. Let me explain. I already met Chris 3 times in Belgium. Twice on the Great Belgian Beer Dinner and once at Cantillon. Both times, we had a nice chat, and he suggested I should come visit his place, that we would love it. So, when I started planning our trip to the US, of which Ebenezer was an "high on the list" stop, I immediatly contacted him with the news, and asking him about opening hours. He replied me with a "thumbs up". Ok, no harm done, I figured I’d contact him as our trip approached. When I did, a few days before our visit, letting him know when we could be dropping by, he texted me a reason he exceptionnaly couldn’t be there that day, and that he felt too bad about it. When I replied him, to ask when it would be possible, or if the bar was even open without him being present, I never got a reply. Even after sending him two more messages asking him for more info. In the nearby B&B we booked, the owner said that they were never open on the days we could visit (during winter time). Wow, nice that you let us know about that in advance, Crhis. So as far as communication towards its custumors, I’d give this place a 0/10, but that’s unfortunatly not possible. Anyways, don’t ever plan a trip around visiting this place. This was the biggest let down on a 10 day trip trough the US. I’ll probably never take the effort again to visit. My score: A: don’t know. S: don’t know. S: don’t know, can’t find it on the internet either. F: don’t know. V: didn’t lose any money, but it costed me quite a bit to visit. O: bleh.
The good... it’s a very small, quaint, inviting place, comfortable. Excellent tap selection. Lots of bottles, including rarities. Tasty food, reasonable price.
The bad: the service. I was met with a condescending decline when I asked for a bottle list. The response when my friend my asked for a menu substitution was troubling to say the least.
Overall, this was a little disappointing, but hopefully that experience was atypical. Still worth a stop.
tdtm82 (129) , England | August 26, 2015| Updated November 6, 2015
Chris Lively is one of the most accommodating hosts I’ve come across yet. Amazing cellar. Amazing man. Great list. I was extremely happy to visit and will make arrangements to visit again. You need to come. It’s crazy.
To sum it up, I’d call this place a very good bar that is very overrated. That being said, it is still a great bar with a great selection of Belgian beers, but I don’t feel I experienced the "best beer bar" in the country.
I don’t think they have as many Belgian beers on tap as they used to, as they have several taps devoted now to their own beers from Lively brewing. Several from Allagash and 1 or 2 from Oxbow brewing (definitely worth a trip if you’re in Maine) as well. The Lively brewing beers were good, most seemed about average for a craft brewery. I didn’t try anything that I had to have again.
A good bottle selection, could be close to 80-100 or so in the cooler. As for the beer cellar, forget it ... staff said only the cooler was available, and there’s no list. So you have to peer over people sitting at the bar to even see what might be in there. What good is a world class beer cellar if you can’t buy and drink anything out of it? We aren’t rating private collections here.
The food was good, and the service was great, but they seemed to know little about the actual Belgian beer that was on tap or what bottles were available.
The beer was a little pricey, but that’s to be expected. I’m willing to pay more if the value was there, but most of the bottles I saw were available in my local bottle shop. So it’s hard to justify the standard "bar" markup, plus another 20% or so on a beer that is already $15-$20 in your local bottle shop.
Atmosphere was very nice.
I’d certainly go back again .... with my expectations a bit more realistic this time :).
What a great place! In the middle of nowhere but we stopped by on our way to Jackson, NH. The place itself has a great ambience, the staff was very friendly and the selection was very good. Loads of Belgian stuff of course but also a very good tap list with good variation including several beers from Oxbow and Allagash. Got a chance to speak to the owner, Chris, who was very friendly and who has a greater passion for beer than most. If we follow the Guide Michelin principles, this is a three star: worth a trip of its own.