Craft Beer in Maine
More than 100. Sometimes we forget that Maine is a small state, so it is impressive we have more than 100 craft breweries. That’s because in Maine we take our beer seriously – from the simple ingredients, to how to we make it – Maine’s craft beers are an art form. All you need to make a beer is just water, hops, malt and yeast. Each ingredient must be the best in order to make a truly exceptional beer.
Maine’s breweries rally to ensure our water is the finest. A dozen breweries, including the Maine Beer Company, Allagash Brewing Company, Rising Tide Brewing Company, and Bissell Brothers, joined together in 2019 to form the Maine Brewshed Alliance to educate people on the importance of effective stewardship of Maine’s waters. Sebago Lake is the source for all of Portland’s craft breweries and it is some of the best drinking water in the country – so clean it doesn’t need to be filtered and happens to have the mineral content of the water used by most Belgian beer brewers. Icy cold aquafers are the source for others, like at Oxbow Brewing Company in Newcastle, and at the Oxbow Beer Garden in Oxford.
Many Maine breweries use homegrown hops, and barley and oats for the malt. Hops grown in Aroostook County are now being used by brewers including Gritty McDuff’s in Portland, and the Geaghan Brothers Brewing Company in Bangor. And some brewers, like Allagash, even use wild Maine yeast to craft some of their beers.
Planning to get off the beaten path? No problem. You’ll find the nano-brewery, The Pour Fam in Union, Bigelow Brewing in Skowhegan where their beer is made with malts that are grown in Maine and fruits and vegetables are from local farmers, Norway Brewing, a family-owned microbrewery that has an onsite restaurant with a seasonal menu using local products, and Monhegan Brewing 10 miles out to sea on Monhegan Island.
When Baxter Brewing in Lewiston opened in 2010 in a converted mill space, they were the first in Maine to can all its beer. They have now added The Pub at Baxter as an ode to Lewiston-Auburn’s manufacturing history and offer food, games like shuffleboard, Skee-Ball and cornhole, live events and outdoor seating alongside a waterfall in the canal.
To ensure you catch all the breweries throughout the state, check out the Maine Beer Trail and follow along.
There are several craft beer festivals happening throughout the state. Be sure to check calendar listings.
Each of Maine’s craft brewers has their own story and create unique beers that help tell it. For a bigger swig of what these and other Maine breweries are up to, visit mainequarterly.com/beer.