FEATURED BREWER PROGRAM
Each month, we feature one Maine brewery, serving up exclusively their brews at the bar, stocking their cans in our retail shop, and chatting with our guests about what makes that brewery so special. Most months, the owner or head brewer will join us a few evenings out of the month to meet our guests and conduct and informal tasting. Check our calendar for upcoming Featured Brewer Nights!
OCTOBER 2021 - Island Dog Brewing
125 John Roberts Rd, South Portland, ME 04106
Jim and Jody Denz founded Island Dog Brewing in South Portland in 2016. Jim and Jody both have varied backgrounds – from teaching to raising ostriches to working in nursing homes, between the two of them, they’ve done it all! Jim’s passion for homebrewing began well over two decades ago and, after a particularly inspiring beer bus tour (and much prodding from Jody, family and friends), he decided to continue exploring and ultimately join Maine’s craft beer scene.
Today, their brewery produces around 300 barrels per year with around 42 regular beers that they brew at least once each year. One of their most popular is A Beer Called Blue, a wheat beer brewed with Maine wild blueberries and local wheat malt. This time of year, keep an eye out for Boo!, a pumpkin beer made with Maine maple syrup - yum!
Jim is particularly passionate about experimenting, mixing styles and pushing boundaries with his brewing. His Apriweizen is a great example – it started as a traditional German Hefeweizen that Jim added apricot to, to create a unique, delicious and non-traditional beer. As the only brewer and co-owner (Jody being the other owner), Jim has complete control over each and every beer Island Dog produces and has the freedom to create small batches of traditional, unique and experimental beers with local and high-quality ingredients.
Island Dog’s tasting room is located in South Portland and is the only place where you can buy all of their beers. The tasting room is stocked with games to play while your enjoying your beer, a patio and a very dog-friendly atmosphere. From the neighboring OTTO pizza to rotating food trucks in the Spring and Summer, there are no shortage of nearby food options to pair with your beer while you’re there. Follow them on Facebook for the most up-to-date information about what’s on tap, upcoming beer releases, trivia and comedy nights, and more!
From out of state and looking to take some Island Dog beer home with you? Visit their tasting room for the full selection, or seek out a Market Basket or one of the 8 local Hannaford’s that carry a limited selection of their beers. Currently, Island Dog is only distributed within the state of Maine.
JUNE 2021 - Tumbledown Brewing
Tumbledown Brewing was founded by Matthew Swan, who developed his skills as a homebrewer while working a day job at the local hearth and sports store. After 10 years and much peer pressure from friends and family, he decided to pivot and start his own brewery in Farmington, ME.
Today, Tumbledown produces around 200 barrels per year, with 6-8 staple varieties and rotating special brews. In the winter, be sure to seek out their popular seasonal offering, Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter! One of most popular beers is Tumbledown Red, a drinkable 5.6% ABV red ale with mild hoppiness – this delicious brew pairs well with many foods and is available year-round. Tumbledown strives to offer a wide array of beers to please all types of customers – you’ll find a well-rounded menu that includes several different styles each time you visit their tap room. Each beer that they brew is named after a local landmark or something that is important to the owners and employees – like biking, skiing or fishing.
Notably, nearly 90% of the grain Tumbledown uses is grown in Maine, including Pale Malt from Maine Malt House and specialty malts from Blue Ox Malt House. They also use Cascade hops from Maine in their 207 Pale Ale.
The Tumbledown tap room in Farmington, ME is worth a visit anytime – located right on Route 2 and 27, it is easy to get to year-round. Relax on the patio with your family, friends, or pup (they are dog-friendly!) or stop in for a quick drink on your way to one of the many nearby recreational opportunities. Tumbledown features food trucks at their tap room on the weekends, but also encourages you to pick up take-out at a local restaurant and enjoy it in their space – coordinate your take-out plans with their summer music schedule for a memorable night out!
Looking for Tumbledown beer? Of course, your first stop should be their own tap room! But, if you’re not in the area, you can find their beers across the state in the following retail outlets:
- Craft Beer Underground – Auburn, ME
- The Vault – Lewiston, ME
- Bow Street Beverage – Portland, ME
- Oak Hill Beverage – Scarborough, ME
- R.S.V.P. Discount Beverage – Portland, ME
- Flagstaff General Store – Stratton, ME
- Fotter’s Market – Stratton, ME
- Oquossoc Grocery – Oquossoc, ME
- Pines Market – Eustis, ME
- Rangeley IGA – Rangeley, ME
- Skoolhouse Variety – Weld, ME
- Mainely Provisions – Kingfield, ME
- Food City Farmington – Farmington, ME
- Valley Brook Variety – Avon, ME
- Damon’s Beverage & Redemption – Waterville, ME
- Damon’s Beverage & Redemption – Augusta, ME
- Days Store – Belgrade Lakes, ME
- Wayne General Store – Wayne, ME
- Bethel Beverage Company – Bethel, ME
- Mountain Valley Variety – Rumford, ME
JULY 2021 - Bateau Brewing
You’ll find Bateau Brewing in a historic mercantile building in downtown Gardiner, perched above the Kennebec River. Though the brewery itself is relatively new, the idea for a new craft brewery in Gardiner came about nearly six years ago; at the time, founders Steve and Matt couldn’t find the perfect location and the idea was tabled. In 2019 the stars aligned, Jim and Chad joined the team of founders, and Bateau Brewing was born.
The brewery is a passion project for its founders, all of whom still hold their “day jobs” and work together as a team to manage daily operations and scale production. Currently, they brew 12 regular brews plus seasonal specialties – a total of around 250 barrels per year – but are continually growing.
Bateau Brewing’s most popular variety is the 220 Maine IPA – available in our tasting room throughout July – which they describe as their idea of a perfect Maine IPA. With hints of pineapple and a dry, sweet finish, the 220 is a year-round staple. Also available in our tasting room throughout the month is the CrowHawk, a malt-forward Irish Red Ale with strong “upta camp” vibes. This brew is a favorite of both Maine Tasting Center staff and Bateau’s founders, who describe it as “about as perfect as a beer can get.” They’re not wrong!
One thing that sets Bateau Brewing apart is their scientific approach to the water they use in their beer. They use a reverse osmosis system to create perfect, pure water and then add minerals in specific quantities back to the water prior to brewing. This approach allows them to precisely control the texture and mouthfeel of the water and how it interacts with the other ingredients and flavors in the beer. By making small adjustments to the mineral concentrations in their water, they can change and improve a beer without even having to add or change the ingredients.
It is well worth your time to make a trip to the Bateau Brewing tasting room in Gardiner, just 30 minutes from Maine Tasting Center. In addition to sampling their many available beers, you can beat a chill by the giant stone fire pit, kick back in an Adirondack chair to watch the sturgeon leap from the water, enjoy artwork by local artists, or grab a bite to eat from the permanent food truck (Millers Pride). It’s a great place to relax in a beautiful and historic setting.
Of course, their tasting room is also a great place to stock up on cans of your favorite Bateau Brewing beer! You can also find their brews in cans at the following locations throughout the state:
Maine Tasting Center – Wiscasset, ME (July 2021)
Cobbossee Beverage - Farmingdale, ME
Goggin’s IGA - Randolph, ME
Lighthouse Wine & Seafood - Manchester, ME
Tess’ Market - Brunswick, ME
Now You’re Cooking - Bath, ME
Bootlegger’s Beverage Warehouse - Topsham, ME
Bow Street Market - Freeport, ME
Bow Street Beverage - Portland, ME
AUGUST 2021 - Allagash Brewing Company
50 Industrial Way, Portland, ME 04103
A couple of years out of college, after attaining a degree in geology and working odd jobs in Colorado, Rob Tod was hired at Otter Creek Brewing Company, in Vermont. Initially, it was just a job, but two days after he first walked into the place, he called his parents and said, “I’m going to be a brewer for a living.” And a year later, in 1995, he moved to Portland to start Allagash Brewing Company. He began brewing a beer called Allagash White, modeled after the traditional Belgian style of wheat ale called “White Beer.” A few other brewers had tried over the previous thirty years to revive this once-extinct style before Rob Tod fell in love with it and began brewing his own version – today, Allagash White is the brewery’s most iconic and recognizable product. In 1999, head brewer Jason Perkins joined Rob Tod as Allagash’s second employee. He had started his career as a homebrewer in Montana before working as a brewer at several breweries including Gritty McDuff’s in Freeport.
Today, Allagash Brewing Company produces approximately 100,000 barrels each year – nine year-round brands, plus a wide variety of special and seasonal releases. As a “Belgian-inspired” brewery, most of their beers fall into the styles traditionally brewed in Belgium and use Belgian-style yeast strains; many are also barrel-aged. Allagash also prides itself on constant innovation and creating new beers that expand the possibilities of these styles. Fittingly, some of the breweries most sought after beers are their unique wild ales – like Farm to Face (a wild ale brewed with peaches) and Coolship Red (a spontaneous beer aged with raspberries).
Allagash’s most recognizable beer brand, however, is the original Allagash White. Like traditional witbiers, their recipe includes coriander and orange peel, plus their own “secret spice.” This intentionally hazy beer has a silky, almost pillowy texture and pairs exceptionally well with a wide array of foods – including lobster rolls!
In additional to brewing unique and expertly-crafted Belgian-inspired beers, Allagash also works hard to “use beer as a force for good.” They are a Certified B Corp and were the first registered benefit corporation in Maine. As part of that mission, they give back 1% of their sales to organizations in the community that support people and our plant. They also have a current pledge to use one million pounds of Maine-grown grain – about 20% of the grain they use - per year by 2021 in order to help build agriculture in our state. One of their beers, Sixteen Counties Ale, is made entirely with local grain – look for it in our retail shop! – and the beers in the Coolship series use 95% local grain.
If you haven’t already, make time in your schedule to visit the Tasting Room at the Allagash Brewery. There, you can participate in tastings and tours, buy beer and merchandise to take home and find small-batch and brewery exclusive beers that you can’t get anywhere else. You will often find the Bite Into Maine food truck outside the Tasting Room, serving up lobster rolls, sandwiches, whoopie pies and other Maine-centric treats. Be sure to follow @allagashbrewing on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information about the Tasting Room, new releases, and special events.
You can find Allagash beer throughout 19 states and Washington, D.C., both on draft and in bottles and cans. Their distribution is too vast to list each venue here, but we encourage you to use the Beer Locator tool on their website at Allagash.com/locator.
SEPTEMBER 2021 - Cushnoc Brewing Co.
A shared vision of bringing world-class pizza and beer to Maine’s capitol – that’s what originally brought together the four founders of Cushnoc Brewing Co. Casey, Tobias, James and Chris – each from a different professional background – founded the brewery in Augusta, ME in 2017. Today, Cushnoc is a flagship brewery – Augusta’s first and only - for the state capital and Central Maine and is dedicated to its local community
Cushnoc Brewing Co. produces approximately 2,300 barrels each year, including between 6-8 year-round brews and a wide variety of special and experimental releases. In fact, the brewery has put out over 160 different beers during just the few years they’ve been open! Generally, their line-up includes hoppy American styles, classic German styles and funky, barrel-aged Belgian-inspired styles. Keep an eye out for one of their most popular and widely-available brews, Gigantic Dad Pants, a classic New England IPA. Looking for something a little more rare? Cushnoc’s fans love Purple Rain, a gin barrel-aged Belgian Tripel with lavender! Around 10% of the grain Cushnoc uses is grown in Maine, including pilsner malt from Buck Farms and flaked cereal grains from Maine Grains. They also brew a wet hop IPA every fall with fresh hops from the Hop Yard in Gorham, ME.
No trip to Central Maine would be complete without a stop at Cushnoc’s downtown Augusta restaurant and tasting room. Enjoy stunning views of the Kennebec River and Old Fort Western while snacking on delicious pizza with creative toppings and sampling their current beer offerings. Looking for an outdoor experience? Pay a visit to their Annex location just East of Augusta on Togus Pond. This location features outdoor seating, stunning nature views, trivia and other entertainment, access to hiking and biking and more!
You can find Cushnoc Brewing Co. beer in hundreds of retail locations throughout Maine (in all 16 counties!). Be sure to follow @cushnoc on Facebook or @cushnoc_brewing on Instagram for up-to-date information about the Tasting Room, new releases, and special events.
Are you a brewery interested in participating in the program? There's no cost to participate but spots are limited - contact us today!