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Dining & Nightlife

The Maine Beer Trail

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In the mid-1980s, when Dave Geary sold his first pints of Geary’s Pale Ale, there were only 13 craft breweries in the entire United States. Today, Maine has around 50 breweries crafting hundreds of unique beers. Yes, it’s a competitive field, but it’s also a close-knit and friendly one. Maybe it’s our coastal location, but they’ve all got a “rising tide raises all boats” philosophy. It’s in that spirit that the Maine Brewers Guild was founded.

Grab Your Passport

That spirit, and Maine’s very distinctive hospitality, combined in 2009 with the creation of the Maine Beer Trail. It connects more than 70 brewpubs and craft breweries, both inland and on the coast. Visit Kennebec River Brewery in The Forks, Black Bear Microbrew in Orono or The Bag and Kettle Brewpub at Sugarloaf. Be sure to grab a Maine Beer Trail Passport when you hit the road. Visit 10 breweries, and you’ll be rewarded with a Brewers’ Guild hat; 20 breweries gets you a t-shirt.

You can enjoy the Maine Beer Trail even if no one in your party is willing to make the noble sacrifice of being the designated driver. Take a guided tour with The Maine Brew Bus, complete with beer, snacks, tours and, yes, beer trivia. Or just stick to Portland. There are nearly a dozen breweries just a short walk or cab ride apart, including Shipyard Brewing Co, Sebago and—note the name—Rising Tide Brewing Company.

Whatever Your Thirst

Maine’s breweries are located all over the map, not just literally, but figuratively as well. At Friars’ Brewhouse in Bucksport, Brother Donald Paul of the Franciscan Brothers of St. Elizabeth of Hungary brews his trademark Whoopie Pie Porter. Penobscot Bay Brewery in Winterport uses the beer they brew to make their signature beer-flavored ice cream. And in a rustic space on Portland’s waterfront, Liquid Riot Bottling Co. not only brews beer, but distills their own vodka, whiskey and rum.

Maine may have a crazily diverse selection of breweries, but they all share one common theme: They’re serious about making an absolutely great product.

To see more of the breweries featured on the Maine Beer Trail, visit mainequarterly.com/beer. Cheers!