Fore River Brewing and Café Louis’ collaboration, Louis Louis Preble. Photo by Caitlin Enz

What pairs with a beautiful sunny Sunday morning in Maine? Brunch beer! I don’t often have beer before noon, but when I do, I look for something that is light and fruity, is full of coffee flavor or has notes of maple.

The fruity, spiciness of Allagash White pairs well with eggs, salads and quiche.

A coffee stout is like having your toast and coffee at the same time. I like it with sweet breakfasts, like French toast, and have high expectations for Lone Pine’s brand-new Allen’s Coffee Breakfast Stout.

Any beer made with maple syrup makes me crave blueberry pancakes. Triple Stack, from Norway Brewing, is slightly fruity with a hint of maple. But since this farmhouse Tripel clocks in at 9.7% ABV, it might be better suited to a breakfast-for-dinner situation.

When I heard that Fore River Brewing had collaborated with its South Portland neighbor Café Louis on a brunch beer, I had to check it out. The Louis Louis Preble, the latest riff on Fore River’s signature fruited sour, was inspired by the café’s popular tangerine hibiscus mimosa.

I wasn’t sure how many beer lovers would be lining up for brunch, so I arrived with some friends quite a bit before opening time (it wasn’t necessary, but the place is small and filled pretty quickly). We were seated immediately and were soon basking in sunlight streaming through the large windows.


Café Louis is a cozy place to sit, the colorful walls and the many plants made me feel right at home. The grapefruit pink of my Louis Louis Preble matched the warm ambience, and I had a hard time saving some beer to try with my breakfast. But I did.

In tasting the beer on its own, I noted that it both smells and tastes like tangerine and citrus with some floral notes (maybe hibiscus). It was slightly sour and refreshing.

The first dish we tried this sour with was the patacones, fried plantains served with avocado, salsa rosado and lime. The citrus in the beer complemented the citrus in the sauces, and the slight sourness cut through the fried plantains and the thickness of the sauces.

Next, I tried the cauliflower empanada, which is filled with queso chihuahua, fermented ramps, fried egg and served with garden greens. The citrus in the beer nicely complemented the vinaigrette on the garden greens. The sourness cleaned the palate of eggs and beans, although some of the spiciness of the dish got lost in the beer flavors.

To round out the brunch, we tried the Louis Louis Preble with the tres leches pancakes. I wasn’t sure about this pairing, but it worked pretty well. The sour fruitiness of the beer was a nice contrast to the sweetness of the dulce de leche and cocoa nibs.

I really enjoyed my beer-y morning, which was well worth braving a bike ride over Casco Bay Bridge.

Caitlin Enz is a Certified Cicerone® who lives in Portland. Follow her on Instagram at @hops_and_brains.

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