Being and insurance agent that focuses on breweries and other craft beer related risks I spend a lot of time drinking local beer. Recently Bryan Roth from This is why im drunk asked me to participate in a series highlighting six beers from Maine. Bryan is recruiting beer bloggers from across the country to write blog posts about a specific state and include six beers others should try. They all have to be available in bottles or cans, no growlers and also should not be limited release beers.
We have so much great beer in Maine I knew picking six would not be easy but here they are in no particular order.
MO – Maine Beer Company – Freeport, Maine
Most craft beer drinkers outside the State of Maine seek out Maine Beer Company’s Lunch as it is the most popular beer from MBC and is an excellent IPA. However Mo should not be overlooked. This is a hoppy pale ale and is much easier to find than lunch. As you can see from the photo the beer has a great thick white head.
Aroma has more pine and citrus than many IPAs and the taste does not disappoint. Malty start but the hops quickly take over. MO is named for the brewers twin daughters; Madeline and Oliver. If you make it to Maine be sure to check out Maine Beer’s new facility in Freeport as it has a great tasting room and plenty of fresh beer.
Cant Dog – Marshall Wharf Brewing – Belfast, Maine
Marshall Wharf only recently started making cans and the first beer they decided to can is their huge imperial IPA, Cant Dog. This beer is big with their website claiming it is 10% ABV. I drink a lot of imperial IPAs and I can honestly say none of them hit harder than Cant Dog. In addition to it being a big beer it comes in a big can – 16 ounces of pure hop pleasure.
This beer is darker than most IPAs with a nice tan off white head. Aromas are pungent with pine, citrus and grassy hops. The flavor is fairly well balanced but still extremely hoppy. There is a big malt backbone. Finish leaves the filmy residue that big IPAs often do.
Marshall Wharf makes some great beer and they do an exceptional job hiding the alcohol in their beer. Most people that visit Maine enjoy the coast and if you are planning a trip to the Mid-coast region be sure to include a stop at Marshall Wharf.
House Beer – Allagash Brewing – Portland, Maine
Any list of beer from Maine would not be complete without something from Allagash. They make so many exceptional beers it was hard to choose only one for this list. Many of the beers by Allagash are available outside the State of Maine so I decided to include one of the few that is only available by visiting the brewery in Portland Maine. House Beer is a Belgian Pale Ale sold only by the case and only at the brewery.
This beer is fairly simple when compared to Confluence, Odyssey or any of the other beers that Allagash makes but this was intentional. Their goal with House Beer was to have a “table” beer similar to a house wine that you can enjoy with any meal. This beer comes in at 4.5% ABV, has a great color and taste is simple but has a decent amount of hop and spice from the Belgian yeast.
Allagash makes great beer and just went through a significant exp ansion. They provide one of the best brewery tours I have taken and it is well worth the visit if you come to Maine.
Bonfire Rye – Sebago Brewing Company – Gorham, Maine
This is a new beer from Sebago Brewing Company, I beleive it replaces their brown which has been in their line up for a long time. It is described as a hoppy rye ale which sounds similar to Daymark from Rising Tide above but these beers are entirely differenct.
Bonfire Rye starts of with plenty of malt followed by some nice hop flavor then a hint of rye and smoke. If it sounds like there is a lot going on you are correct but it works well. This is a nice fall beer without the pumpkin or spice you get from so many other brewers.
Sebago has 4 brew pubs in Maine and their beer is available in most retail outlets. It would be hard not to find their beer if you are looking for it in Maine.
Daymark – Rising Tide Brewing – Portland, ME
Rising Tide has not been around as long as Allagash or Maine Beer Company but in they are producing a lot of great beer from their new location on Fox Street in Portland. The picture here is of a growler of Daymark but this is one of their core beers sold in 22 ounce bombers.
Daymark is a rye beer with a solid Columbus and Centennial hop bill. The beer is very light and refreshing with a fair amount of floral hops in the aroma. Some peppery spice from the rye but everything is very well balanced.
The brewery has regular hours, sells growlers, bottles and other merchandise. They also have a solid schedule of food trucks and usually have corn hole to keep you entertained while having some samples.
Thunder Hole Ale – Bar Harbor Brewing – Bar Harbor, Maine
For my sixth and final beer I had so many options including some very good options from Gritty’s, Geary’s and many other great breweries. I opted for this one from Bar Harbor Brewing as it is one of the better brown ales I have tried.
Bar Harbor Brewing is actually part of Atlantic Brewing but still operates under the Bar Harbor label. This is a straight up English style brown ale with a nice deep brown color and tan head. Aroma has the nutty sweetness you expect and the taste has lots of caramel malts.
An excellent brown ale worth trying plus it is named after one of the more famous areas of the coast, a visit to Thunder Hole in Acadia National Park is a must.
Well that is my list of six beers from Maine as of August 2013. If I were to do this again in 2014 it may be entirely different as we have a number of breweries opening soon including Tod Mott’s new brewery in Kittery, Banded Horn Brewing in Biddeford which is owned by Ian McConnell former brewer at Sixpoint in New York as well as Bissell Brothers Brewing and Foundation Brewing opening on the same road as Allagash in Portland. So much is happening in Maine’s craft beer scene it is a great time to visit our wonderful state.
Below is the list of other participants for the month of August in the Six Pack Project:
- British Columbia by Matt at I Am the Beer Snob
- Connecticut by Kristen at Now Beer This!
- Indiana by Rebecca of Bake and Brew
- Maine by James at Insurance Guy Beer Blog
- Minnesota by Paige of Alcohol by Volume
- Montana by Ryan of Montana Beer Finder
- Oregon by Chris at I Think About Beer