2018 Best Breweries

Hop Culture has included Allagash in a list of the best breweries of 2018.

They might have a larger distribution footprint than the other breweries on this list, but no operation in the world has managed to grow with more grace and integrity than Allagash. Every time I wear one of their shirts, I feel proud to support an organization that in turn supports their employees, their community, and provides an unparalleled taproom experience. Despite being a well-established brewery, Allagash continues to innovate with canned releases hitting the market and an increased distribution of brewery favorite: Coolship Resurgam. There are few breweries we could name that have never made a bad beer. Allagash might be one of them.

Beer Releases at Oxbow & Rising Tide

Two beer releases are taking place this weekend:

  • Rising Tide will tapping 12 barrel-aged beers on Saturday which will include “several never before released projects” including a “spontaneously fermented ale with raspberries”.
  • Oxbow is releasing a pair beers brewed with Maine honey to celebrate the landmark accomplishments of Karl von Frisch to explain the dancing behavior of bees. Both Dance Language beers blonde farmhouse ales brewed with Maine honey. “To showcase the flavors and aromas of different varieties of honey we brewed a single base saison recipe. The DL: Buckwheat Honey is light gold in color with notes of pepper, dried flowers, fresh baked bread, and honey with a medium body finish. While the DL: Blueberry Honey version has notes of  fresh citrus, dark fruit, and honey with a medium body and dry finish.”

Beer: Record Numbers, Allagash White, Early Training

The Press Herald has published an article on how “beer lovers visited Maine breweries in record numbers this summer“,

Perry can’t separate out summer visitors, but the Maine Brewers Guild says June to September is the busiest time for beer tourism (and all tourism) in Maine. In 2010, Allagash welcomed 9,000 visitors. By last year, that number had skyrocketed to 150,000. Some of that growth can be attributed to the brewery’s location. There are now five other breweries in the immediate area, along with one distillery, so it’s a popular place for tourists to come and hit a number of breweries at once.

and an article on “how Allagash White shaped the nation’s beer tastes“,

So what is it about White that makes it stand out? Its soft, cirtusy palate and delicate spicy notes stand out from many other styles, and it’s a welcoming beer for both new and experienced drinkers. Allagash’s rigorous quality control procedures ensure that the beer tastes just as good at a bar in Los Angeles, as it does in a flight in the tasting room in Riverside.

and Dave Geary reminisces about a brewing internship in the UK for an article in The Bollard.

In the early ’80s, I was doing an internship at Belhaven Brewery, near Dunbar, Scotland, an ancient and beautiful place. Belhaven (the name means “beautiful harbor”) is nestled among the rolling barley fields of the East Lothian coast, about 20 miles east of Edinburgh. Established in 1719, Belhaven is Scotland’s oldest working brewery. With abundant local barley, fine water from the brewery well, and access to markets up and down the coast, Belhaven was the perfect place for a brewery three centuries ago, and it still is today.

Allagash Bottle Releases

Allagash is holding a double bottle release on Saturday:

  • Coolship la Vigne, a spontaneously fermented beer made with with freshly pressed St. Croix and Sabrevois grapes from Maine Coast Vineyards in Falmouth, Maine. Allagash describes the beer as ” tart and funky with rounded notes of wine and apricot. The finish is both crisp and dry”.
  • Saison Gratis, “a tart and fruit-forward beer that’s hopped in our coolship and then open fermented”.

There’s a single bottle limit for the La Vigne and a 2 bottle limit for the Saison Gratis. Doors open at 10:30.

3 Brewery Expansion for Freeport

Three new breweries on Route 1 near Maine Beer Company are in various stages of development.

Brad Nadeau who started developing Stars and Stripes Brewing Co. (website, facebook, instagram) late last year has leased space in Freeport at 8 Varney Road where he plans to open a 2,000 sq ft brewery later this Fall. For more info check out this article in The Forecaster.

Mast Landing (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) is working on a project to build a 6,000 sq ft brewery at 475-491 US Route 1. The new space will include a 2,000 sq ft deck. You may remember, Mast Landing’s owners originally planned to open in Freeport before finding their current building in Westbrook, so this is a homecoming of sorts for the brewery.

A third brewery is being considered for a 15,300 sq ft lot at 392 US Route 1. Details are scarce at this point, but plans do call for a 2-story brewery to built on the site.

Stars and Stripes, Mast Landing and the proposed 3rd brewery will all be located near Maine Beer Company, potentially creating a new beer destination in the Portland area.

Allagash Brewing

Down East tells the story of Allagash Brewing and Rob Tod. The article is an assemblage of interviews with Tod, former and current employees, customers and leaders in the industry.

Top-secret ingredients and MacGyvered dairy equipment. Old world wisdom and cutting-edge tech. Hollywood celebrity and cult cachet. It’s all part of the long, heady history of the curious beer that put Maine suds on the map.

BA Best New Breweries: Battery Steele

Beer Advocate has named Battery Steele to their list of the 50 Best New Breweries of the past year.

On Portland, Maine’s Industrial Way, the avenue that birthed titans like Maine Beer Co. and Bissell Brothers, 2017 saw the beginnings of Battery Steele Brewing. The industrial setting, with shining tanks directly in front of consumers, harkens back to the craft breweries in years past. Co-founder Jacob Condon says Battery Steele is a product of exploration and “pushing the limits of ourselves and the beers we produce.” The well-received Flume is an 8 percent Double IPA brewed with English malts and Citra and Mosaic hops. Battery Steele also brews an IPA as part of its OnSight Experimental Series. In 2018, Condon says, the brewery will expand its physical space and “add some variety” to the hop-heavy lineup, which already includes Knox Bière de Garde and Telos Stout.