Our travels along the Maine Beer Trail for 2017.

How did we do with my 2017 Bucket List item of visiting all the craft breweries on the Maine Beer Trail? I’d love to say we made it to them all, but since there are over 70 unique breweries in Maine, and new ones continue to open, I’m afraid the finish line eluded us, at least for now.

While we came up a little short, we did have a great time trying to get to as many craft breweries as we could this past year. For each stop, we usually tried to make a day of it. We’d search out an interesting hike, and look for other fun things in the area as we explored different parts of Maine.

Below is an overview of the craft breweries we visited in 2017.

Banded Horn. 13-W, 32 Main Street, Biddeford, Maine. We’ve been to Banded Horn a few times, so when I saw a Localvore deal that included a flight and a growler pour, I grabbed it. The only problem was that we forgot about the coupon until the day before it was expiring which resulted in a hasty trip down to Banded Horn one rainy Monday evening for much too short a visit.  We also forgot our beer mail map. Fortunately, it gave us an excuse to head back another time.

Bigelow Brewing Co.  473 Bigelow Hill Road, Skowhegan, Maine.  Bigelow Brewing Co. is located in a converted horse barn. It is a light, open space with plenty of seating to enjoy wood fired pizza and a tasting flight. The beer was light on the hops which I enjoyed. They also creatively name their beers in honor of family members, pets and other items of significance to them. I enjoyed their Lying Bastard while my husband was a fan of their Rowe Road Maple Porter. The exterior spaces were as inviting as the interior with a fire pit and cozy seating areas.

Boothbay Craft Brewery. 301 Adams Pond Road, Boothbay, Maine. We stopped into this brewery before going on our Cabbage Island Clambake. The Watershed Tavern at the brewery has a small interior area with seating, but as we were there on a sunny summer day we opted to sit outside. We did a beer tasting flight along with a light caprese salad. We topped it off with a dessert flight of mini-treats including a Kahlua toffee trifle, key lime pie, salted caramel cheese cake, and rum cake. The beer and the desserts were all delicious.

Bunker Brewing Company. 17 Westfield Street, Unit D, Portland, Maine. Their new brewery location is open and eclectic. We stopped in on a recent snowy winter afternoon.  We had a full day of errands planned so were only able to have a quick round of sour beers – peach and raspberry. They were light and mild. I like my sours with a little more bite, but I can see where others might enjoy this version. It was a fun place to hang out on a snowy afternoon.

Dirigo Brewing28 Pearl St, Biddeford, Maine. Dirigo makes one of my favorite craft beers, Champagne Du Maine. It’s a weisse beer and they add a shrub for added flavor. We tried one with the raspberry and another with the pine. I’m partial to the pine, but they are both delicious. Dirigo Brewing has a beautiful tasting room overlooking the Saco falls.

Ebeneezer’s Brew Pub | Lively Brewing. Route 1, Brunswick, Maine. On our way home from Popham Beach State Park, we popped into Ebeneezer’s to check out their craft beer and get another stamp for our beer trail map. This brewpub makes Belgian style beers which I always enjoy.

I tried their White Fire Alien, described on their site as “A Belgian style Witbier brewed with Orange Peel, white pepper and aged rhubarb for a dry, spicy, slightly tart finish. Crisp and refreshing with an added complexity from the addition of rhubarb”. You could taste the Rhubarb kick towards the end of your sip. I loved it! We also shared a delicious order of poutine complete with fried egg on top.

Sadly, this spot has closed since our visit but their original location at 44 Allen Rd in Lovell, Maine is still open.

Foulmouthed Brewing. 15 Ocean Street, South Portland, Maine. This brewery also serves mixed drinks and wines along with a small but inventive menu. We’ve visited this brewery before which I blogged about in my post Unexpected Delights at Foulmouthed Brewpub in South Portland. But, we weren’t working on the Maine Beer Trail for that first visit so we headed back. Not that we needed an excuse, this is a fun place to hang out.

For our second outing, we tried three of their beers: coconut cream stout, mango floss and blue balls. Generally, I am not a fan of hoppy beers but thought the mango floss had a great mix of hoppy against the sweet of the mango. And, if you’re looking for something fun to do while enjoying your craft beer, they also host trivia on Tuesday nights.

Gneiss Brewing. 94 Patterson Road, Limerick, Maine. After a fun outdoor hike at Vaughn Woods State Park, we stopped at Gneiss for a craft beer tasting. It was a Sunday afternoon and they were packed. My husband and I each picked two beers and then headed outside to one of their picnic tables.  My husband went for the darker options but I tried some of the lighter fare. My absolute favorite was the Pyroclast – a golden, wild ale. It’s advertised as having a light tartness which I thought was just perfect.

Gritty’s Brew Pub. 396 Fore Street, Portland, Maine. We stopped by Gritty’s for the release of the Maine Beer Guide. My husband even won a gift card when he was able to identify all the beers in a tasting flight. We visited again recently to get our Maine Beer Trail stamp. While they brew their own beers, the pub also has a full menu of food and drink.

Gruit Brewing. 200 Anderson Street, Portland, Maine. This is Urban Farm Fermentory’s brewery. Gruit is a hop free beer. I blogged about Urban Farm Fermentory in my post A Visit to Urban Fermentory for Kombucha and a Tasting Flight, but wanted to do a quick recap on their Gruit.

I tried their Berlinger Fruit Gruit which reminded me a lot of their Sidrah cider. They were similar in that they both had a mild, cider taste. The gruit was mellow. I enjoyed it, but my husband likes something a little darker. They did have a beautiful tasting room and they host a variety of community related events.

Hidden Cove Brewing73 Mile Rd, Wells, Maine. We stopped by this brewery after a beautiful hike on the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. It was another stop where we were pressed for time so only able to do a quick tasting. As always, my husband liked the porter. Their Jali is aged in tequila barrels with jalapeños.

Kennebec River Brewing. 1771 US Route 201, The Forks, Maine. Located at the lodge at Northern Outdoors, this brewery is also a full service restaurant. We enjoyed a couple of tasting flights over dinner. The portions were large and we should have split a meal but I enjoyed my Pineland Farm burger with seasoned friends. We also ordered nachos which were piled with lots of delicious stuff. My favorite beer was the Whitewater Wheat with orange and the Big Mama Blueberry Ale. I do like my fruit beers. I also blogged about this trip in my post Four hikes during our weekend at Northern Outdoors in The Forks, Maine.

The Liberal Cup. 115 Water St, Hallowell, Maine. We stopped into the Liberal Cup after our weekend up in The Forks. We had spent the weekend doing back to back hikes so we were exhausted. We arrived at the Liberal Cup around 5:30 on a Sunday, and it was busy. This brewery is also a full service restaurant with other beverage choices so I opted for a glass of Pinot Grigio while my husband tried their Pitch Black IPA. He enjoyed it.

We split a clam chowder and a papardello, fiddleheads, lobster and shrimp in Alfredo which was one of their specials the day we visited.  It was delicious. The space had a nice pub vibe with a bar area and two rooms with plenty of seating. There were exposed brick walls and wooden ceilings with framed pictures of politicians throughout the space. It had a lot of charm.

Maine Beer Company. 525 U.S. 1, Freeport, Maine. This is a popular local craft brewery. They are a little hoppy for our taste, but they have a large following. They have a beautiful, creative space that is powered by solar. We also enjoyed a delicious soft pretzel with dipping sauces as we drank our beer so that was a nice bonus.

Norway Brewing Company.  237 Main St, Norway, Maine. This is a super cute brew pub with a great menu of locally sourced food. It’s fairly small but light filled and welcoming with a snowshoe themed decor. I tried their Apple Bear Berliner Weisse which was a light craft beer to which they add apple syrup before serving. It tastes more like a cider than a beer which worked for me. The food menu was excellent. We opted for the amazing Full Monte, “a fried egg, sharp cheddar, spicy mayo & maple candied bacon on herb french toast” with maple syrup on the side. We also enjoyed a side of Belgian Fries. Both were so good!

Oxbow. 49 Washington Ave, Portland, Maine. For our first stamp on the beer trail, we stayed local (for us) and hit the Portland tasting room for Oxbow. We actually went for the Atayne warehouse sale. There was fun Irish music playing and we got to support some great local charities including Portland Trails. Oxbow hosts a lot of fun events at their tasting room. You can check out their events page for a full list. My husband really loves their beer, so while I enjoyed my more mellow Space Cowboy he did some tastings and checked out their sours. I did a sip or two from his tastings and it started me on the path of loving sour beers. Now they’re one of my favorites.

Oxbow Brewing. 274 Jones Woods Rd, Newcastle, Maine. In addition to their Portland location, Oxbow has a tasting room in Newcastle Maine. We stopped by after hiking in the area . It is a beautiful space with both inside and outside seating. We opted for a picnic table outside and enjoyed the view while sharing a tasting flight.

Saco River Brewing. 10 Jockey Cap Lane, Fryeburg, Maine. This was a super quick stop during a Sunday afternoon last winter after having hiked the Mountain Division Trail in Fryeburg.  We’ll need to come back again to explore this spot a bit more. They did have a fun bar area that overlooks the brewing floor which is separated from the bar by a plexiglass wall.

saco-river-brewing

Sea Dog Brewing Company. 1 Bowdoin Mill Island #100, Topsham, Maine. We’ve enjoyed visits to Sea Dog Brewing Company before but this was our first stop into their Topsham location. Along with their beer, they are a full service restaurant. We stopped in after one of our hikes, and enjoyed an appetizer with our drinks.

The Run of the Mill. 100 Main St, Saco, Maine. This is a nice brew pub with delicious food and a full bar. My husband is still partial to his stouts so he enjoyed one of their craft beers on our visit. I grew up in Saco, so the breweries on the beer trail in the Biddeford and Saco area are easy to cross off our list, and generally ones that we visit more than once. Run of the Mill has a great outside space during the warmer months.

We had planned to finish off the beer trail in one year, but clearly it is a more extensive adventure. Our beer trail map shows some extensive wear from the journey so far, and one especially rough afternoon when we made the poor choice of leaving it in our backpack next to a water bottle during one of our hikes. But, I’ve reinforced it with packaging tape to laminate the edges and now we’re ready for year two.

Do you have anything like the Maine beer trail in your area?

Banded HornBigelow Brewing CompanyBoothbay Craft BreweryFoulmouthed BrewingGneiss BrewingGritty's Brew PubKennebec River BrewingTheLiberalCupTheLiberalCupMaine Beer CompanyNorway Brewing CompanyOxbow NewcastleSea Dog BrewingRun of the MillOxbow BrewingLively BrewingHidden Cove BrewingDirigo Brewing

 

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