It’s late August and that means summer in Maine is quickly coming to an end which mean cooler days, brisk nights, hoodies, and pumpkin flavored everything are just around the corner. But, if you live here in Maine or will be sticking around for a bit longer in our lovely state looking to try some great brews, today’s blog is for you.
It’s no secret Maine is fast becoming a top destination for individuals looking to take “brewcations,” or “beercations.” If you haven’t heard this term before you aren’t alone; I hadn’t heard it until I started working at a brewery and now engage with customers nearly every shift that are on one. A brewcation is a vacation where people travel to towns, states, or regions to sample different breweries and brews. Maine has become a top brewcation destination for a couple of reasons, one because there are 21 independent breweries in the Portland region alone, and because nearly all of the 21 breweries make excellent craft beer.
For folks heading out on a brewcation they generally have their top breweries they want to go to picked out, their tours booked (if the brewery gives a tour) and coolers ready to be filled with beers to bring home. Out of these breweries in the Portland region the big three that everyone wants to visit are: 1) Allagash; 2) Bissell Brothers; and 3) Maine Beer Company. But what about the other 18 breweries in the region? Or, if they’re feeling adventurous, what about the other excellent breweries that dot the state? One of the perks of my job is that I get to talk with people who love beer as much as I do on a daily basis, and what’s more, they love good beer and want to learn as much as they can about all the excellent selections Maine has to offer.
I often get asked what other breweries I would recommend to someone who either is not from the area, or is just starting to explore the Maine craft beer scene. I have to tell you, answering this question is tough because I would recommend that everyone goes to every brewery at least once, however, that is not necessarily realistic to someone here on a week’s vacation, and the breweries, much like Maine are obviously very spread out. So to help answer this question I dedicate this post to giving you a rundown of my top 3 favorite breweries for the Portland, and Bangor regions with the except of Allagash, Bissell, and Maine Beer (sorry Western Maine, I just haven’t had a chance to try your breweries yet!).
Portland Region/Southern Maine
- Mast Landing Brewing Company-920 Maine Street, Westbrook, ME 04092
Mast Landing began operations in summer 2015 and has since become a local favorite of beer lovers in the area. I first discovered their brews at the Kings Head Pub in Portland last summer when I tried Gunner’s Daughter, their delicious chocolate peanut butter stout. From that point on, I was hooked on their brews. Since finishing up school at the University of Maine and moving to Windham I have had the chance to become more acquainted with their other styles and believe me, in addition to their creamy stout they brew IPA’s that can stand with the best of them. If you’re ever in the Portland area and want to try some awesome beer, I highly recommend making the short drive from the city to their taproom in Westbrook.
- Foundation Brewing Company-1 Industrial Way #5, Portland, ME 04103
Foundation Brewing Company has a great selection of beers to offer on a daily basis ranging from hop-forward IPAs to a couple delicious sours. My favorite IPA is their Epiphany, a delightfully tasty, hoppy beer that contains the must have aromas of citrusy paradise that explode on the tongue with the first sip. They also brew a couple of fantastic sour beers to compliment the standard styles. Zuurzing, Klein Bruin, and their wild and barrel-aged beers, in particular, Magnus will delight any sour enthusiast. In addition to their awesome brews, during the summer there is typically a food truck out front and outside seating.
- Battery Steele Brewing Company-1 Industrial Way, Portland, ME 04103
The last brewery that has made a major impression on me in the Portland area is Battery Steele Brewing Company. Battery Steele is the newest brewery on my list and has the most abbreviated hours, however, if you’re at Allagash or Foundation, Battery Steele is a great brewery to check out. I went there for the first time this past summer and was delighted by their Flume DIPA, in my opinion one of the best double IPAs I have tried (and I’m not a huge DIPA fan), they also have a fun and tasty French Saison called Knowx Biera de Garde. What’s even better is that Battery Steele is literally next door to Austin Street Brewery, on the backside of Foundation, and across the road from Allagash, a beer lover’s dream.
Bangor Region/Central Maine
- Orono Brewing Company-20 Main Street, Orono, ME 04473
Orono Brewing Company, or OBC as it is known, holds a very special place in my craft beer heart. It was the first craft brewery I went to that got me excited about its beers. Before OBC opened in Orono in 2015 I thought that craft beer was a Sam Adams or Blue Moon, thankfully OBC and brew master Asa showed me how great craft beer can be. OBC has a great lineup of beers on tap with some staples available year round, and others swapping in and out on a fairly frequent basis. They have excellent IPAs (my favorite is their Kilowatt Lemon Habanero IPA), a great stout, coffee brown, whitbier, and other various brews to satisfy everyone’s flavor palate. They also recently ventured into brewing sours; their first, Ta-Da Golden Sour was as good a sour as you’ll find. They have two tasting rooms, one in downtown Orono, and one in Bangor; both provide a great atmosphere but beers on tap can vary from location to location.
- Marsh Island Brewing Company-2 Main Street, Orono, ME 04473
Marsh Island sits just down the street from the Orono OBC tasting room and is definitely worth a visit if you’re passing by, or thru Orono. They have several IPAs that are fantastic (definitely sample their Pulp Truck IPA), a great pilsner, and other various styles that are available on a rotating basis. If you’re the indecisive type have no fear, they offer flights for you so you won’t have lose any sweat making up your mind. Their Oktoberfest Lager is excellent if you can make it to the tasting room in the fall.
- Two Feet Brewing Company-80 Columbia Street, Bangor, ME 04401
Two Feet Brewery is my favorite brewery in Bangor, mainly because they offer the widest variety, and coolest flavors in town. Two Feet pride themselves on brewing a wide selection of beer styles and flavors. One of their best is the Barn Burner Saison which is brewed with jalapeno and ghost peppers that provides just the right amount of heat on the back of your tongue and is sure to make you come back for more. In addition they have a cool blonde brew they termed Maine Morning that is brewed with maple syrup and cold-brewed coffee. They also rotate beers on a seasonal basis so make sure you stop in every few months for some other excellent selections.
There are many more breweries both in the Portland area, and Bangor area that I very much enjoy but I wanted to give you a quick summary of the ones I like to head to the most for a cold pint. I’m interested to know, what are your favorite Maine craft breweries?