This Belgian beer pub opened last month in a new building on a nondescript stretch of Pleasant St in Brunswick., across from a check cashing place. It's an expansion of a place called Ebenezer's in Lovell, which is out in ski country near Fryeburg. Ebenezer's has an unlikely set of accolades for such an out of the way location so we thought Lion's Pride would be worth checking out.
In short, it definitely is.
On entering the place one is greeted with about thirty taps, many of which bear imported draft Belgian beers that you pretty much can't get anywhere else on draft, and are hard to come by in bottles. The room is casual -- walls are decorated with handpainted murals of beer logos from around the world.
As we sat down, the server brought over the beer menus. Our eyes boggled at the selection, both of taps and bottles, and the very helpful and patient server talked us through our orders -- everyone, even those with pedestrian tastes, ended up with something he or she was quite pleased with. Most of the draft beers are imported from Belgium and are therefore higher priced than a Bud at your corner bar, running $6-8, and are served in the appropriately shaped glasses for their respective styles.
Menu is mid-priced, with sandwiches (named after beers) and apps around $8-10 and entrees $14-22 or so. Four of us got sandwiches, one of which was the Rocheforte, a lamb burger topped with the house-made prune ketchup (tasted like prune-and-tomato, sweet and spicy), roquefort cheese, and fresh spinach. Stellar. All the sandwiches come with really awesome frites, and assorted flavored mayo's including one with tarragon, one combined with the prune ketchup, and a fantastic beer-spiked aioli, our favorite.
Since we were at a Belgian place, I felt obligated to order the mussels and frites. The order came with an enormous pseudo-newspaper cone of the frites. But this was the one disappointment of the meal -- the mussels were steamed in a coconut-lemongrass broth that didn't seem to complement their flavor very well. I sorta get it, because in theory the lemony, coconutty flavor should match nicely with the fruitiness and spiciness of Belgian brews, but to my taste they didn't quite pull it off. Possibly because the mussels were tiny and immature, they were missing the full, savory note that would've brought the flavors together. I would've preferred a simpler do with beer and garlic.
All in all, Lion's Pride is a great addition to the Brunswick restaurant scene. Although there was one disappointment, given the rest of our experience there, we still can't wait to go back.