What’s Hopping in Maine’s Microbrew Scene

Published on : Friday, May 15, 2015

unnamed (2)In a state known for its handcrafted products, such as ships and furniture, it is no surprise that Maine has an incredibly vibrant beer scene. With more than 50 craft breweries across the state that produce more than 200 different beers, people from around the world are coming to the state to sample them all.

“Maine is definitely becoming a destination for beer lovers,” says Carolann Ouellette, the director of the Maine Office of Tourism. “The breweries, located throughout the entire state, allow visitors to experience several of Maine’s different regions while pursuing their next favorite brew. Each brewery is unique, too, in part because the beers are made from Maine waters, lending a special quality to each microbrewery’s product. Several brewers use local grains, as well.” There are only four main ingredients to beer, water being the most important, and Maine brewers use the sparkling and delicious waters of lakes like Sebago and Auburn; Oxbow Brewing Company even has its own proprietary aquifer underneath its farmhouse. The mineral content of Maine’s water is the same as what Belgian brewers look for in their beers and is ideal for brewing in that particular style.

Brewers have known this about Maine for quite some time. The first on the Maine microbrew scene were the beloved Shipyard Brewing and Geary’s, located in Portland. These two companies, both more than 20 years old, are now known throughout the states. Shipyard is even one of the 15 fastest growing breweries in the country.The best way for people to experience the Maine beer hype is by sampling the beers themselves, and the perfect way to do that is on the Maine Beer Trail. Established in 2009, the trail now connects 60 Maine craft breweries. With an easy-to-follow map, the self-guided tours offer visitors samples of handcrafted, artisanal beer. There are breweries both inland and along the coast, in cities and in the mountains. Visit Friars’ Brewhouse in Bucksport where one of the Franciscan Brothers of St. Elizabeth of Hungary brews his trademark Whoopie Pie Porter. The Maine Beer Company gives a percentage of its profits to environmental nonprofits and Penobscot Bay Brewery in Winterport even serves their own beer-flavored ice cream.

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