I recently had the pleasure of visiting a dear old friend…Maine Beer Company. It has been a few years since my last visit and six since my first visit and review. I had previously been back since they expanded but I decided I wanted to write a quick follow up because here we are six years later and I’m still so impressed by the brewery, staff and beer. Even though they have grown leaps and bounds they have stayed true to their core. The beer is still top notch and some of the cleanest, tastiest beer around, they still partner with several nonprofit charities and the staff has remained helpful, friendly and fun. It’s not only the beer I respect at Maine Beer Company but their philosophy as a whole.
Since my first visit the building has expanded…it’s huge. I’m not gong to front my first visit after the expansion I was a bit shocked by the size of the new tasting room and missed the little one but I was also happy to see them doing so well. They worked hard and deserved it. Now that I’m use to the size it didn’t phase me on this visit. Instead I could really take the time to sit back and enjoy how they have grown yet stayed the same.
What else has changed? No flights, a host to seat you, besides the pizza they now offer a few other snacks plus wine and expanded outside seating. Since the pandemic they have removed tables making the seating more spacious. I also noticed seating on the 2nd level – old tap room – I’m not sure if that was being utilized last visit or if it was added because of the pandemic.
On this particular visit I enjoyed:
Prince Percy Pilsner 5.1% – I was one lucky gal to enjoy two great pilsners in one day, Bissell Brothers prior. A bit hop forward balanced by the malts with classic floral aromas and hints of citrus as well.
Black Barn No. 22 IPA 6.3% – a very nice easy drinking IPA with hints of melon and lemon.
Dinner DIPA 8.2% – Of course! Tropical fruits with hints of Maine Pine and earthy garden. I always enjoy this classic.
I also purchased a bottle of Thank you IPA 6.4% to enjoy later in the week and enjoy I did. There’s a lot going on with this IPA from Saaz hops to malts with notes of fresh baked bread, coconut, mango and lemon.
After spending sometime at with this dear old friend I felt reset, relaxed and ready to enjoy Maine!
To say Bissell Brothers Brewing has been on my Breweries to Visit list for some time would be an understatement. As the saying goes…All in good time and that time finally arrived. I decided I’d be making two stops this year on my beloved trek north to Maine – Bissell Brothers Brewing (Portland Location) and Maine Beer Co.
I had no preconceived thoughts as to what BBB would be like but they didn’t disappoint. They are located a bit off the beaten path, aren’t most breweries, in an old railway building. So yea, the building is pretty cool with its rustic charm and the vibe is bright, energetic and fun! There’s a very nice patio area for outdoor enjoyment and inside the main floor is large with plenty of seating and there’s also a small upper level as well. You order at the bar, the line moves quickly and the staff is very friendly and helpful. There were 14 beers on tap and the list was broken up by IPA & Hop-Forward, Dark & Malty, Lager & Traditional and Funky & Wild. I think the way they had the tap list is very helpful and cuts down on a lot of questions from folks.
Beings there was a Pilsner on tap and that’s my fav style right now, yea I said it, I went with that first. Precept Pilsner 5.6% – Oh yum! This pilsner was so crisp and clean. This particular pilsner uses Mittelfruh & Saaz hops along with Maine Pilsner malts. The malt to hops ratio was spot on and it was the perfect refresher after sitting in the car for 6 hours.
Next up I enjoyed the Zoo Hypothesis Double IPA 7.7% – What a treat this DIPA was. It’s made with Lotus, Citrus and Mosaic hops along with 2-row, Maine Oats & Maine Wheat malts. The nose consists of a variety of fruits including tropical along with orange and grapefruit. The orange and grapefruit are the forward tastes balanced by earthy herbs and spices.
I was surprised they offered a selection of food from tacos, sandwiches and burgers along with a kid’s menu as well. They also offer wine, craft cider and soda
Because we still had a stop at Maine Beer Company and the rest of the drive to our final desertion I had to make do with just enjoying the two beers this visit but I look forward to a return trip.
This Gal first spotted Maine Beer Company, in Freeport, last year on the drive up to summer vacation. At the time I was unable to stop in but promised myself a visit the following year.
l had several breweries on my wish list for this this year’s Maine vacation. However, Maine Beer Company was at the top. After all, I waited a whole year for this moment. When I first spotted the brewery in 2014 I hadn’t heard of it before but that was no longer the case. During the past year Maine Beer Company has been making news in the beer world and time and again making the top beer lists.
From the outside there doesn’t appear to be anything special happening at 525 U.S. Route 1, Freeport, ME. The brewery is very much like it’s beer labels…Simplistic. Housed in a white farm style structure with a simple blue sign stating that’s it’s Maine Beer Company and small outside seating area. The inside is just as simple and tranquil with white walls, white blank canvas art, a few picnic and barrel tables and an occasional burst of color from a fresh flower sprig. Seriously, these folks let the beer do all the talking.
One thing this Gal did notice upon arrival were the solar panels. In fact, Maine Beer Company is incredibly eco and community friendly. Partnering with several area business, supporting various local organizations and artist. Oh and they compost AND support a local cat rescue. My goodness this place was made for Geeky Beer Gal! That’s right this solar power on her chateau, composting, animal rescuing, beer loving hippy has found the one and only peaceful retreat known as Maine Beer Company.
After taking in all the beautiful simplicity of the place it was time taste their beer. Naturally, I was going for the taster round of all 8 beers on tap. 8 beers 5oz pours $18, can do individual pours or 4 pour taster. Also, pretzels and snacks are available, there’s a food truck outside and you can bring food in from elsewhere.
I was a bit perplexed that several beers on the taster round were various styles of Pale Ales or IPA’s but no worries this Gal enjoyed them all along with the stout and amber too.
Now onto the beer reviews:
Pilot 7 – American Pale Lager 5.5%
A hoppy lager with hints of the tropics. Very crisp, clean and easy to drink.
Peeper Ale – American Pale Ale 5.5%
Very light in flavor with just specks of lemon, melon and floral to compliment the hops.
Lunch – IPA 7%
Brewed in the West Coast IPA style Lunch offers lots of hop flavor accented by pine and citrus which makes Lunch very refreshing. Bought a bottle to share with my Hop Head Brother who also found it very enjoyable.
Another One – IPA 7% – I think this makes a good intro IPA beer to those who may not be IPA fans. The hops are there but in subtle way that renders the beer smooth without the hops after bite. At 7% this beer can really sneak up on you.
Zoe – Amber 7.2%
Love! This beer offers the malt/hops balance that I’ve come to love. Malt, hops, dark fruit and cocoa all add up to a delish beer. A few bottles of this beer came home with me.
Mo – American Pale Ale 6% – A lovely beer that got better with each sip. Once again there was pine (it’s Maine there should be pine) and citrus balanced by the malts.
A Tiny Beautiful Something – American Pale Ale 5.5%
There really is something beautiful about this beer. It’s so smooth, silky and clean. It’s freshness is pleasing and relaxing. This is a single hop ale using the El Dorado hops.
Mean Old Tom (nitro) – American Stout 6.5%
No worries still a stout gal at heart – pure heaven! Chicory, cocao, & dark fruits accented by vanilla combine to make a delightful stout. There’s nothing mean about this beer. Bought a few of these to take home. This Gal showcased Mean Old Tom on the episode 7/25/15 of What’s On Tap.
Indeed Maine Beer Company was worth waiting a whole year to try and yes, I’m already planning my visit for next year.
Side note:This Gal had some troubles sitting down to write this review. Why? I wanted to make sure to convey just how incredibly special Maine Beer Company and the beer they brew is. I hope I did them justice.
After a few days of kayaking and boating this Gal felt it was time to explore some more of Maine’s other great offering – BEER! Next tasting stop Boothbay Brewery at The Watershed Tavern. This particular exploration involved six of us including both beer and non-beer drinkers alike.
We piled into two vehicles and were on our way until we had no clue where we were. Not one to give up I called to only find out we were a mere minute down the road from the brewery. I feel safe in saying many folk get lost on their way and the brewery is use to explaining how to find them. They are not far off the main road to Boothbay but at the same time one would never expect a brewery to be where they are. Once we arrived none of us could believe what we found. The brewery and attached restaurant are really plopped down in the middle of a back road surrounded by the beauty that is Maine. Not only is there the brewery and restaurant but several small cute cabins scattered about the property for rent. It’s a little slice of Maine heaven that is beautiful and welcoming.
The brewery itself was closed by the time we arrived so we wondered into the restaurant, The Watershed. When one walks in you feel like you entered a good friend’s rustic cabin that they built by hand using their own trees which is pretty much the case here. It’s warm, cozy and invites one to stay and enjoy.
We decided to plop ourselves down at the bar which meant we took up most of the bar. There are only 8 stool/chairs around the bar. These seats are a piece of carved art with very high backs and extremely sturdy. Around the bar is a small booth and game table ledge with a couple of stools around it. The bar top is a beautiful piece of milled wood. OK, there is beautiful wood everywhere, walls, ceilings, beams, tables, chairs, tasting trays – all of it gorgeous! There is also a handsome brick fireplace in the bar area that I can only imagine ads to the cozy environment in the winter time.
Geeky Beer Gal’s Bro suggested we share a taster round since it include 6 large tastes and we were still pretty full from lunch. (there is also a 10 beer taster round) Two others in the party shared a flight as well. The two non-beer drinkers entertained themselves with tavern puzzles available at the bar for patrons to enjoy and drive themselves crazy with. The Watershed offers both beer and wine but no hard liquor. They do offer a few selections from other breweries, as well, such as Dogfish Head and Allagash.
My being a malt person and my bro being a hop head made for a very interesting mix for our taster flight which consisted of:
633 Pale Ale – Boothbay Brewing 6.33%
A true pale ale and happens to be their flagship brew as well. This ale has some good quality malt tones that help counter balance the hops. Right away one can tell they are using American west coast hops which helps me to distinguish one pale ale from another. To me American West Coast hops are a breed unto themselves with a very distinct characteristics that sets these beers apart from the rest of the hop pack. The hop factor was a bit much for me so not a favorite but a very well done pale ale.
Ken Brown Tribute Ale – Boothbay Brewing 7%
Sweet malty goodness! This ale has a nice dark roasted coloring but the body is on the lighter side for a brown. Great mix of malts with accents of hops and a good nutty flavor. Enjoyable indeed.
Dexter “Rippa” Red IPA – Boothbay Brewing 6.5%
Hop overload for this Gal but the Bro enjoyed it. A hoppy red ale true to style with some caramel undertones making its way through the field of hops.
Black Rocks Stout – Boothbay Brewing 6.7%
Yum! Wonderful roasted coffee, bitter chocolate and caramel flavors mixed with just a hint of those West Coast hops. A full pint of this black beauty would be most enjoyable. (Tried a small taste of this on nitro – AMAZING – the nitro helped to mellow out and blend the flavors together even more so.)
Devil’s Thumbprint Black IPA – Boothbay Brewing 6.6%
More and more I find myself enjoying the Black IPAs. I just find them to be a really nice balance of malt and hops and easy to drink. This certainly was the case with the Devil’s Thumbprint. It was so well balance that both myself and my bro enjoyed it!
Townsend – Boothbay Brewing 5.3%
A good medium body English style ale with a pleasant mix of fruitiness, hops and malts.
Fellow tasters shared the… Flip Flop Kumquat – Boothbay Brewing 4.9%
Very light in body, nice wheat beer with hints of citrus. Good intro beer for someone just starting to get into craft beers.
Vanilla Porter – Boothbay Brewing 3.8%
First tried this after tasting the Black Rocks Stout and felt it was good with just hints of vanilla. I tried it again later on in the tasting and wow the vanilla really punched its way through. Nice porter body but the vanilla was bit overpowering.
While enjoying the beer we all took notice of how delish the food looked and smelled. A nice touch was the chef retrieving some beer from the taps to cook with. The menu is true tavern fare with both meat and vegetarian offerings. On the way out we spotted fish and chips being served to a patron and none of us could believe the size of the dish. We all agreed we’ll have to pay another visit to Boothbay Brewing so we can try out the food and enjoy some more beer!
This Gal recently had the pleasure of spending some much needed down town in the beautiful state of Maine. Maine also happens to be home of this Gal’s favorite beer bar – The Great Lost Bear! (Please see last year’s post for a full review). Why is The Great Lost Bear my fav? Three simple reasons: 1. Great beer, 2. Great Veggie food (meat friendly too), 3. Great Music – the perfect trifecta. I’m talking kick back and relax bar atmosphere, sipping on the best of Maine beer offerings while listening to the Dead or some other great classic rock band. For this Gal it just doesn’t get any better.
On this particular visit I opted for the much loved taster round. Five 5 oz pours for $6.25. Wanted to enjoy as many beers as possible but kept in mind still had a good hour and half drive to the final destination. To help balance the intake of alcohol I enjoyed a delish house-made veggie burger that was out of this world in size and goodness!
It perfectly complimented the Taster Round which consisted of:
Summer Weizen – Smuttynose Brewing, NH 5.6%
Well done weizen style, very refreshing with a bit of tang. Good wheat presence with hints of floral and pepper. A beer perfect for kicking back and relaxing with.
Black Fly Stout – Gritty McDuff’s 4.1%
Yes, I repeated a beer from last year’s visit to the Bear. Just goes to show how much I enjoy this particular stout. (last year’s review This stout was ridiculously smooth, light in body but packed with big roasty goodness. It runs in the Irish Stout family but enjoyed it more than the typical Irish Stout because of the full malty flavors.)
Atlantic Bar Harbor Brown 5.2%
I love Brown Ales and will tend to order one whenever I see the style represented on a beer menu which in my opinion is not often enough. This particular brown has a good roasty quality of nuts and malts while maintaining a light body. Not the best brown this Gal has had but enjoyable just the same.
Hampshire Special Ale – Geary’s 7%
Maine in a glass! Wonderfully toasted malts, caramel and toffee balanced perfectly by the hops with hints of ginger and coriander make this ale a real pleasure to sip on. The perfect ambassador for Maine beers.
Confluence – Allagash 7.5%
Wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered this little delight but I was pleasantly surprised by how incredibly smooth this ale is. All sorts of wonderfulness going on that results in a sweet and spicy harmony. One can detect hints of pepper and apricot along with the hops and malt. However, there’s no mistaking that one is drinking a Belgian style strong ale.
That was the end of my wonderful New England Sampling but I couldn’t leave without a quick taste of a little treasure I spotted on tap for the Goose Island Tap Takeover happening later that night….
Bourbon County Stout – Goose Island 14.2% (ON TAP)
Liquid Gold – Strong Liquid Gold. This style isn’t for everyone but for those of us that like the style Goose Island nailed it. Once you get past the bourbon taste you can pick out hints of vanilla, chocolate and smoke.
Sadly it was time to wrap up what is happily becoming my yearly pilgrimage to my personal Mecca, The Great Lost Bear.
Now as much as this Gal wanted to linger at the Bear there was another quick stop that just had to be made and was only a mere 8 minutes down the road from The Great Lost Bear.
One of this Gal’s favorite Brewery’s, so much so I once had an amazing pet I named after the brewery – Allagash.
I had the pleasure of visiting this brewery many moons ago when Allagash was in its infancy stage. It was just a small brewery with no real tasting area and I don’t think they even offered tours then. They seemed pretty surprised when my companion and I showed up to buy some beer that day.
Boy, how things have changed. My jaw hit the floor when I saw the brewery, it’s huge; as is the tasting room. It’s also, very welcoming. There is a lovely outside patio area to hang out and enjoy your beers with a rustic Maine feel to it. Inside has a much more contemporary industrial look and feel with a long tasting bar and several tables for relaxing at. There is Allagash swag for sale all around the tasting room without it having an obnoxious in your face buy me feel to it. It was just there if you wanted to check it out. There was also a cold case with beer for sale. Even the bathrooms are cool! The tasting room is really set up for relaxing and hanging out.
The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable and greeted us upon entering and couldn’t believe I had been there so long ago. The other surprise besides the growth of the brewery was that the tasting round was completely FREE!
On this particular day the tasting round consisted of the:
White – Allagash 5%
The white has been a go to beer for me for some time. It’s just so refreshing and such a pleasure to drink. It’s a beautiful representation of a Belgian wheat beer with a good unity of wheat, coriander and orange.
Saison – Allagash 6.1%
This Gal loves a Saison! Great balance of rye, pepper and citrus with a lovely yeasty cloudy presence to it. (Four packs of the Saison and Black where purchased for later enjoyment.)
Dubbel – Allagash 7%
A classic – Hints of chocolate and nuts mixed with malty goodness that add up to a slice of Belgian heaven.
Fluxus – Allagash 8.8%
I don’t remember trying the Fluxus before and it continually changes. This year’s Fluxus is an interesting combination of malts with hints of honey and finishes with a slight earthy pine taste without any one flavor being overpowering but rather complimenting each other.
Now it really was time to continue on thy way – great start to a great vacation. This Gal highly recommends a stop at Allagash Brewing Company next time you find yourself in Portland, Maine followed by some lunch at The Great Lost Bear.