Thursday, November 16, 2017

Tasting Rooms For Those Who Don't Drink Beer

ME: "Hey! Wanna go try out this new tasting room I just heard about?"

HER: "But I don't drink beer."

ME: "That's okay, they probably have water.  In a pitcher. From a faucet.  With no ice.  In a Dixie cup."

HER: "Do they also serve stale bread at these prisons?"

Ouch!

How many times has this exchange happened? Regrettably,  not everyone in a group is always committed to venturing out to parts far-flung for an activity they already aren't overly excited about. Some might even feel that they are discriminated against because they feel they don't belong there.  They don't have the same excitement and sense of exploration for a goal that often leaves them bored and wondering when they can get the hell out of there.

ME: "But it will be fun!  They have a guy playing a guitar, and corn hole, and a fire pit if it is cold outside.  We can stop at the store and get you a soda or a bottled water but you can't bring wine or booze with you because they don't have a license for that and you could get us thrown out."

HER: "But I thought we were going out for happy hour.  What do they have to eat there for pub snacks?"

ME: "They have lots of stuff.  Last week they had mini-pretzels in a bag.  I heard a food truck was coming by that served donuts."

HER: "It's 6 o'clock on a Friday night, I'm hungry, and I want to get something to eat.  I don't want to go stand around with a bunch of drunks and my bottle of water while you expound about other tasting rooms you've been to.  I said, I DON'T DRINK BEER!"

ME: "Okay, I guess I can go by myself some other time but it would be more fun to share these trips and experiences and be able to recall them and talk about them."

HER: "Then talk to your tasting room friends and tell them to get a clue."

I wish the tasting rooms were more welcoming to non-beer drinkers so that the rest of us could enjoy them while not making others in our party feel uncomfortable.  I've been to a lot of them now and while not every one of them is unwelcoming to beeraphobes, there is kind of a sense that non-beer drinkers are second-class citizens and literally just along for the ride.

There are a lot of factors which make tasting rooms different from bars or restaurants.  Their main mission is to present their wares and have you sample them, enjoy them, buy them to take away, and then tell your friends what a great time you had there and about the great beer they serve.  They are marketing vehicles. Many of them have specialized licenses that relate to their being a "tasting room."  They don't have restaurant licenses that allow them to vend food and other beverages unless they are produced onsite.

They try to make everyone feel welcome and usually have no problem with you bringing some food or snacks or soft drinks.  This requires that you already know if they serve food or else you have to plan ahead.  "Serving" food is many times in the form of a food truck that is camped out at their location for that day.  You don't always know what those options are until you get there.  This is fine for people who are not picky about what they eat, but it can be a disappointment for those who travel from a distance to a location that already isn't densely packed with restaurant options.

Breaking up the trip into an "eat phase" and a "drink phase" is a disappointing compromise.  If you try to drink beer first, then you end up needing something to eat which may cause a sense of urgency to hasten your departure from the tasting room.  Feeling rushed to leave usually upsets what is usually a very enjoyable, entertaining, and relaxing experience.  If you eat first, which for me usually involves having something they have on tap at the restaurant,  you might get all filled up and not have the same urge to try as many beers at the brewery later as you might have out of sheer lack of capacity to consume more.  The eventual trip to the tasting room becomes a "nightcap" with that sense that you need to be getting home.

There are many solutions to this conundrum of making everyone happy.  The best one is to do your homework ahead of time at a site like the Maine Beer Tasting Rooms.  There you can find links to the brewery websites, facebook pages, and other information to improve your chance of a successful outing.  Some breweries, but not all, will advertise if a food truck will be there or if they have a relationship with a nearby victualer.  Few of them mention if they have snacks or soft drinks so you should be safe and assume that you need to bring your own.  Some breweries, like Island Dog Brewing in South Portland brew their own non-alcoholic root beer as an option.

Another good piece of information on the Maine Beer Tasting Rooms is the hours of operations for the breweries.  This can help you to plan the drink then eat vs eat then drink decision based on when you know they are closing for the day.  You might opt to have few beers and then finish up at a place to eat that stays open longer than the tasting room. That takes care of your responsibility to do your homework before setting out, but it doesn't really solve the problem of the tasting room's hospitality to our friends who have not seen the light.

I suppose that making trips to tasting rooms should always have a contingency plan or a reason for going there other than the only goal being drinking beer.  A lot of times, the entertainment at the tasting room is the draw for the evening.  Different breweries are trying different ideas to draw your attention to them by offering afternoon yoga classes, corn hole and trivia tournaments, various musical groups, and interesting events like dog adoptions, etc. 

It is very true that the exploration of some of these breweries will take you to parts previously unknown.  Places were your GPS might even be slightly confused.  There are other ones where you might have to plan to be in the area overnight if the idea of a long drive home afterward is a concern.  One thing we've done in years past is use our vacation location as a base of operations and then venture out for an evening to explore an area that we typically wouldn't be in.

Tasting rooms are not trying to be all things to all people.  They do their best to provide an interesting place to visit and linger as long as you like.  If you do a little homework on the Maine Beer Tasting Rooms website and set the expectations of your companions, you can be both successful in your goal of trying new beers and getting others to want to come along again.  Everything you need to make those plans can be found there.  It's the whole reason it exists.  If you find that you are the one that makes the travel plans, use it, like it, friend it and most importantly, TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

Cheers everyone.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Attention on the Flight Deck!



There’s a new brewery at Brunswick Landing, site of the former naval air station.  It's called Flight Deck and it is definitely worth a trip up to the old base.
Co-founders Nate Wildes and Jared Entwistle have repurposed the small arms pistol range into a brilliantly sunlit and inviting tasting room serving their locally sourced beers. 
 
Head Brewer Entwistle is currently producing six styles of brews ranging from a hop-heavy Subhunter Imperial IPA (9.1% ABV) to the hibiscus tea beer which is in search of a name and has become an immediate hit.  Most pours are $5.00 each with a flight of 6 tastings for $12.00. 
Try their delicious soft pretzels made from spent grains by the Landing’s New Beet Market.  Come spring, they plan to open the ceiling height glass doors onto the patio built from slabs cut from the bullet-proof walls.  This will add to their stated mission to provide much needed space for social gatherings and events in the Brunswick community. 
The all-electric brewing operation is powered by a combination of the Landing’s bio-energy plant partially powered by the brewery’s spent grains and other on-site renewable energy options.  While you are on patrol hunting for the newest craft beer tasting room, Flight Deck is the place for--what else—the perfect flight.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2017 Maine Brew Guide magazine.

Give Me Liberty!


Imagine two craft breweries in a town of 930 residents.  The town of Liberty has two stellar examples of the best that Maine has to offer the beer explorer.  It’s only 35 minutes from Augusta on Route 3.
Lake St. George Brewing Company’s sign shows “Est. 1993 and 2017.”



Danny McGovern and his family have reopened the brewery on a 15 barrel system drawing on his over 20 years of expertise as a master brewer. 
The tasting room is currently open seven days a week as a place where community gathers and is wheelchair accessible.  Winter plans are to reduce days to Thursday through Sunday.  They have music on weekends and trivia on Friday nights.  There is an outdoor seating area complete with corn hole games and is nicely lit by outdoor cafĂ© lights.  They will also use the fire pit throughout the winter season. 
On the day we visited, they were pouring a Blonde Ale, Oatmeal Stout, IPA, a Blueberry Sour, and an English Pale. Pints are $5.00 and $6.00 with a flight of four 7-ounce pours for $11.00. 
They have occasional food trucks, but guests are welcome to bring their own food.  Fresh pretzels are also available Friday through Sunday, along with a selection of sandwiches prepared by the Washington General Store.
After sampling at Lake St. George, head on over to Liberty Craft Brewing on Coon Mountain Lane and prepare to experience some of the best food, brews, and views in Maine, but you have to hurry.  LCB closes down for the season at the end of October and then reopens on June 1. 
Overlooking the Camden Hills, the views from the outdoor decks (which are wheelchair accessible) are breathtaking. 
Guy Hews owner/brewer took what started out as his man-cave and grew it to a full-service restaurant with wood fired pizza featured on Saturdays. 
His chef, Matt puts together some of the tastiest pub food we’ve yet to try in Maine.  Arrive hungry, the portions are large.  
On the beer menu: Blackberry Milk Stout, West Coast IPA, Dry Red Ale, their flagship IPA, a Vienna style lager, and a double-hopped IPA.  All fantastic.  Six 5-ounce flights are $12.99 and a flight of four 8-ounce flights is $14.00.  

They have live music on Saturdays along with corn hole and an outdoor ping pong table. 
For up-to-date information on these and all the craft beer tasting rooms in Maine, head on over to Maine Beer Tasting Rooms for the latest information on hours, directions, and news.
This story was published in the Fall 2017 Maine Brew Guide


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe

Welcome intrepid tasting room explorer!

You've found the Maine Beer Tasting Rooms Website and you are overwhelmed by the volume of choices out there. We don't blame you. It's big and getting bigger every week. At this count, if you tried to visit four tasting rooms a week, it would take you about six months to visit them all.  We run into folks at tasting rooms all the time that say they want to visit every brewery on the list.

Unless a certain beer has developed a reputation that makes the tasting room a destination spot, most folks arrive at a tasting room with a sense of wonder. They don't know what they don't know. Does the tasting room have indoor and outdoor seating? Do they serve food? What about food trucks? Is there music? Can we bring the dog? What about kids?  Oh yeah, and what's on tap?

Most of this can be found on the facebook page or the brewery's own website for the tasting room, but sometimes it is a mystery until you get there. We like to think of it as the tasting room is the Christmas tree and the rest of it are the decorations. Our website has everything you need to know to find the information you are looking for. Some of the info changes from time to time and we try to keep up to date.  It's a constant effort. 


When we use the website for our own exploration, we typically will check the facebook page "about" tab to see that we are still current in our understanding of their days and hours of operation and occasionally we find things that have changed that we wouldn't have known about if we didn't do this validation check.  In general, we're pretty proud of the quality of our data so in most cases you should have what you need right from our website pages.  Mostly, if you "like" our Maine Beer Tasting Rooms facebook page or follow our twitter page, you'll have the most up to date information that has been posted from the breweries as we constantly monitor and share or retweet any interesting information.


When we are chatting up new friends and showing them the app, we typically take them to the Maine Beer Tasting Rooms Great Quest Google Map first.  This is a great way to see the spray of tasting rooms laid out across a map of Maine.  It's not surprising that most of the breweries are in the lower third of the state with at present one outlier up in Caribou.  Also not surprising is that the two largest centers for breweries are in Portland and Bangor. 


As the old saying goes, "If you don't know where you are, a map isn't going to help you."  Luckily, the Google Map solves that for you and allows you to drill down to your intended destination quickly and easily with a few clicks.  Navigating to one of the tasting rooms on the map is as simple as clicking on the little green beer mug and then clicking on the map link from the list that pops up on the left side of your browser.  From there, Google directions are available by just clicking on the directions icon.  It couldn't be any simpler. While you have the information panel opened for that tasting room you can scroll down to see their days and hours of operation.


Usually, when we set out to visit a tasting room we know ahead of time how far we want to go and more importantly, how long will it take to get there and back.  It's one thing to arrive at a tasting room all chipper and excited to see what's in store.  It's an entirely different thing to get back home in the dark on unfamiliar roads.  One good thing about tasting rooms is that most of them close down at fairly reasonable hour.  You might be having a great night out and want to stay, but as the cheesy stand-up comics will tell you, "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."  If you want to continue your evening after your tasting room conquest, consider other activities or watering holes in the area.


We like to visit tasting rooms when we happen to be in an area for another purpose.  When we vacation in the summer on a lake in Maine we have a different home base for exploring.  This gives us a new radius of options that we probably wouldn't utilize.  We hate to leave camp when we are there but the pull of an untried tasting room is sometimes too much to ignore.  Most of the tasting rooms away from the larger beer centers are closed in the middle of the week.  That means we have to head out when we first arrive to camp or try to fit one in the night before we have to pack up and leave.  While we always hope for good weather at camp, sometimes there is a silver lining in a cloudy day.


The Maine Beer Tasting Rooms facebook page is a great place to share your experiences.  The brewers love to hear folks impressions and opinions.  You should use that place to let us and the breweries know what you liked or what you would like to see in the future.  A lot of the tasting rooms have music and your feedback on those shows also helps them to decide if the entertainment is what the visitors would like more of.


How are we doing?  Do you like the website and the mobile app? Is there something that is lacking that made you have to leave the website to find information that wasn't right there?  We have some ideas ourselves about some enhancements but we can't think of all of your special needs.  If you would like to see something added there's a good chance that others would like that too.  That being said, trying to keep track of what is on tap at all of the tasting rooms is next to impossible.  The selections and styles are constantly changing.  This is a good thing because that is what keeps us coming back to see what's new.  You can usually find that kind of information on the individual tasting room's website or on some of the more established beer information sites like ratebeer or Beer Advocate.  Many of the beer search apps are only on mobile platforms assuming you are using them when you are out and about. Their data quality and accuracy is pretty bad from what we've seen and they rely on self-reporting and others contributing to their websites.  These will probably get better over time, but for now, we can't recommend them if you are looking for tasting room specific details.


Good luck in your exploring.  Please drop us a comment if you have a minute.  We think we're doing a good job, but you are the user so it matters more what you think.


Stay thirsty my friends.


Cheers!







Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Tasting Room's the Thing


For the record, while I’m writing this I am drinking a Patina Ale from Austin Street Brewery in Portland and damn it’s good.  I had stopped by there a few days ago to snag a growler to add to my growing collection that we will be using as table centerpieces at my daughter’s wedding.  I’ve got a pretty good selection of full ones now that I have to “get through” before I head out on the next phase of the mission.  It’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it.

When I was contemplating writing this article, the words, “The play’s the thing” from William Shakespeare kept playing over and over in my head.  I had never read Shakespeare before so I had to Google it to see where it came from and what he meant by it.  What I learned has absolutely nothing to do with craft beer or tasting rooms but for a few seconds, I was smarter than the average high school student yawning through his English class.  For those keeping score at home, it is from Hamlet, act two.

It’s not really a chicken or egg thing, but I got to wondering if people go to tasting rooms for the beer or they go for the experience of the tasting room itself and for me, the beer is just part of it.   In many cases I have not even tried one of the beers from that brewery and the tasting room is my entry to the styles they are currently producing.  Expecting to get the same beer styles at a tasting room is like expecting Marden’s to always have the items you are looking for.  The styles change often as the brewmasters experiment with different recipes.  If you go to Untappd or Beer Advocate to see the varieties they brew and expect to find it on tap at a tasting room, you might be disappointed to find that it is not in the rotation.  Remember, going to tasting rooms is more about the hunt than the kill.

You may or may not even know what is available until you get there because not all the breweries are good about keeping their beer menus current on their websites or facebook pages.  That unknown is part of the surprise of getting there and looking up at the chalkboard.  Since most of the beers offered are not household names, they almost always tell you the style of beer, the alcohol by volume (ABV%) and the various serving sizes available.  Pricing is sometimes on that chalkboard also but in the case of Funky Bow in Lyman, business transactions are performed in “Funky Coins” which are poker chips purchased at the door. All you have to worry about after that is dropping a few bucks in the tip jar.  The taproom guys don’t have to handle any money and things move along smoothly.  I really like that system.

What makes the tasting room experience satisfying is that you get to try many different beers from that brewer and you are served by people who are knowledgeable about their craft.  The frustrating thing is that you might fall in love with a style and find out later that it isn’t offered in cans or bottles at your local beer store.  This is a good excuse for circling back to that tasting room if you are the kind of person who needs a sure thing.  However, like I said above, don’t be disappointed if that specific beer isn’t on tap the next time you swing by.

I can only speak for myself in what I look for when I go to a tasting room for the first time.  I like to see that there are picnic tables rather than “four tops” because many times I’m with a party of folks that is greater than four and we like room to all sit together.  I also like the picnic table format because there is room to spread out your pizza or food truck food and still have room for your flight paddles. 

One thing about tasting rooms is that I’ve found the people you meet are more casual and inviting to strangers.  It’s very easy to ask to sit at someone’s picnic table with them and strike up a conversation.  You don’t feel like you are intruding on someone like you would if you asked to sit at a smaller table.  That would be weird.  If you are planning to spend a few hours at a tasting room, you really want a place to sit, especially, again, if you are drinking a flight of beer and have to juggle all those tasting glasses.

The food options at the tasting rooms I’ve been to are pretty limited.  Most tasting rooms do not consider themselves to be restaurants and might have some snacks (either to be purchased or free) or allow you to bring in your own stuff.  A lot of them have dogs running around and that might complicate any food licenses too, so if you feel you absolutely need to have something to eat while you are there, you might want to bring a bag of chips with you or something to hold you over.

Another thing I look for is entertainment of some kind.  By entertainment I mean music.  Some tasting rooms have started to show football games or host yoga classes.  Let’s keep that stuff to sports bars and Zumba studios.  Watching people in-shape and exercising while I’m drinking a beer alongside them is voyeuristic to me.  Maybe that’s just my problem.  Most tasting rooms are not set up to have large bands and might have a small acoustic set playing in the corner.  This is great because the volume is still at a conversational level.  You can usually find out who is playing by visiting the website or facebook page of the tasting rooms (available of course, through MaineBeerTastingRooms.com).

So if the specific beer that a tasting room serves is not the draw, is it the keep?  I think so.  If you plan your initial visit with the intention of purchasing a flight, you can quickly sum up the styles available and decide if you want to dive in a little deeper on the second round. One thing about tasting rooms is that they are excellent in opening your palate to new experiences.  Rather than have to gamble in purchasing a six-pack (or more commonly today a four-pack) of beers from your local store, you can sample a wide range of styles with little investment.  Drinking from flights also dynamites your sensibilities out of a rut you might have gotten yourself into where you drink only IPA’s because they are safe bets.  I know a lot of folks who say they only like IPA’s because they just aren’t up to speed on the options there are out there and if you spend any time at all at tasting rooms you’ll quickly see that the brewers are constantly experimenting with recipes you would never thought were possible in “beer.” 

I have made it my goal when I go to a tasting room to at least include in my flight selections something I have never tried before or have tried but didn’t like so that I can train myself to being more open-minded about different styles.  I recently asked a bartender at a tasting room to give me something I had never had before.  She looked at me like I had two heads because she had never served me before.  After that uncomfortable bit, I smiled and asked if they had anything on tap that was so new that it was only available there.  We all had a laugh and she gave me something that had just come out that day. I don’t even remember what it was now, I just know that liked it and that was fine.

Speaking of “liking” beers at a tasting room.  I can honestly say that I have never had a bad beer at a tasting room.  All of the beers are very good and their quality is closely guarded by the onsite brewmasters.  If they brew a batch that they feel is not up to their standards, they will open the valves and pour the whole conditioning tank into the floor drains.  Whether the beer was a style that you would like to try again is a matter of personal taste.  It is also a matter of whether that style is being packaged for take away or distribution.  Many times, the only place you can get a style of beer you personally like is at the tasting room since the ones that make it to canning and bottling are usually the ones that the brewery wants to promote their brand and these decisions are usually pointed toward a more common denominator.

The tasting room is the thing.  Since you don’t know what you are going to be served until you get there, and you don’t know what the atmosphere of the room will be before walking in the door, the “thing” that you are seeking is the room itself.  Your experience in the tasting room will determine if you seek to add their products to your beer fridge at home.  It will also cement in your mind the memory of your time there and make you want to come back or recommend it to your friends.  Since many of the Maine beer tasting rooms are far flung, a recommendation to a friend is a valuable incentive to head out on a trip that could take up the better part of the day just getting there and back.

The Maine beer tasting rooms are unique compared to wineries, cideries, and mead works in that are usually very unpretentious, many in industrial spaces.  The service is usually “self.”  The hours of operation are “various.”  The locations are usually closer to the homes of the brewmasters rather than population centers.  Many of the breweries only exist to serve a small radius around their tasting rooms with no plans for expansion that would disrupt the goals the brewers for their quality of life rather than the size of their balance sheets.

Thanks for coming along today on this ramble.  I hope that this article has increased your interest in wanting to get out there and explore more of the tasting rooms.  You should not feel uncomfortable that you might not know a lot about craft beer or different beer styles.  This why the tasting rooms exist.  The brewers are very proud of their craft and want to share it and educate you on it.  Once you try your first one, you will be itching to get to the next one to see what it is all about.  The tasting rooms are all family friendly.  Because most of the tasting rooms are not restaurants, many of them are dog friendly too as long as your dog is well behaved.  For me, that is one of the attractions having friendly dogs around to pet and tease with pizza crusts.

Everything you need to know to start or continue your exploration of Maine Beer Tasting Rooms can be found at this hyperlink.  I hope you find it useful and will leave a comment or suggestion on the facebook, twitter, website, or this blog comment area if you want to know more or have a suggestion to improve the tasting room exploration experience.

I hope to see you at a tasting room soon.

Cheers.

 

 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Billy Beerseed

Johnny Appleseed was a real person.  His real name was John Chapman and just as legend tells, he got the word out about the benefits of apples and conservation to many parts of the mid-west in the early 1800's. He started nurseries throughout multiple states and into Ontario that would then sell the apple trees to orchards.


Getting word out about almost anything today would seem to be simple given the tools provided to us by social media and search engines like Google and Bing.  The trick is to get people to know you are out on the internet and what you have to say. Moving around from place to place to inform and educate folks individually about something on the web seems so backward and inefficient.


There is a saying in business, "Good, fast, cheap, pick two." which is the model of how you can become a presence on the net.  Since the Maine Beer Tasting Rooms website is a hobby and not a revenue generating concern, we're stuck with cheap as one of our parameters and since we want to do a quality job, good is the second one.  That excludes fast as one of the desirable traits of getting eyeballs on the website, facebook, twitter, and even this blog.  If we wanted to employ other methods to increase our presence faster we could pay to promote the facebook page or increase the search engine optimization but you would be surprised by how expensive this is.


One method we have been using is to go around and visit tasting rooms and mingle with the patrons there.  Tasting rooms are almost universally friendly environs where it is easy to introduce yourself to other craft beer aficionados who have a common interest in beer.  The tasting rooms are usually pretty basic with tables and chairs, a bar near the taps, and sometimes a patio to increase seating capacity when the weather cooperates.. 








Many tasting rooms have picnic tables which encourages folks to sit together.  Unlike the privacy afforded by an Irish bar's snug, the tasting room is more like a German beer hall with dozens of public conversations going on. Sometimes the only way to get a seat in a crowded tasting room is to ask to sit at table that is already partially occupied.  This request rarely, if ever, is denied.  Even if a party is expecting more people to show up to their table, a temporary occupation is welcomed.  Getting up to go get a beer from the taps is also part of the ritual since table service by a server is almost never an option.  You sometimes come back to your spot which has been filled by someone but if you leave a coat or hat on the bench, you will usually be welcomed back.






Breaking the ice is easily accomplished and we have never had any resistance from folks even with what some people would think is a personal question such as, "Where are you from?"  Beer tourism is a big thing these days and it is usually a good way to get a conversation started.  It's these kinds of interactions that bring a lot to the experience of visiting a tasting room.  We have met a lot of people, "from away" who are up in Maine shopping or on vacation and take side trips to a tasting room.  There was a recent study by Travelocity that found that 75% of people wanted to visit a local craft brewery to sample the craft beer.  So, it is not uncommon to find interesting people from interesting places (but not as interesting as Maine of course) to meet and swap stories.


One conversation starter we have been using with new people we meet is, "Do you like to visit beer tasting rooms?"  Even if they aren't from away, many people are just getting their whistles wet with craft beer and exploring new tasting rooms is becoming a "thing."  Another good opener is, "Guess how many tasting rooms there are just in Maine?"  The numbers that come back are usually way off either too high or too low indicating that most people don't have much real information about what there is to see and where to go.  That is where Billy Beerseed gets to educate folks about the website and all that there is to see there.


On a recent visit to a tasting room, we handed out over 50 business cards with the URL address and QR code to find the website.  It was fun to show explorers the many sources of helpful information and links.  The Google map mashup of all of the tasting rooms is always a big hit. The combination of  map and database gives all of the relevant information such as the most important hours of operation.


For the time being, this Johnny Appleseed missionary approach of showing up at a tasting room with a stack of business cards and meeting new people is our "cheap" way of getting in front of like-minded craft beer drinkers and asking them to spread the word with their friends.  Liking the facebook page and following the twitter site is also another way to get folks to act as ambassadors.


"Tell your friends!"


Cheers.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Beercation One

Hello again!


This is the first in a series of easily accomplished one day tours of some of the finest Maine Beer Tasting Rooms. If you show self-control, you can easily make these rounds without having to touch your finger to your nose, or say the alphabet backwards. If you are, "here for the beer," then you probably want to find some adventurous soul to act as your designated driver.  We don't want to "clog the blog" (just invented that phrase) with a lot of directions and logistical information.  You can find all of that at the website.  We have however, sequenced the trips to make sure that you aren't arriving at a location that will not be open.  For the purpose of this one day Beercation, you probably want to take a Friday off from work or do this on a Saturday when the tasting rooms have their doors open and taps flowing.


We thought it would be cool to start this first safari at our southernmost tasting room, and then steadily move northwards.  You don't have to force yourself to complete this tour in one day.  You can stop at any time you are in a comfortable place or make it your mission to start checking off as many tasting rooms as you can.


Maine has a lot of breweries and therefore a lot of tasting rooms to try. You are bound to find one that is more special than the rest. Everyone has a different idea of what is a great time.  For many of us, it is the hunt that is the prize.  For others, it's finding a place that they can become familiar with and develop friendships.  Each place has it's own rhythm.  Some have food or music or the right volume for conversation.  Some are just nearby and therefore become your local go-to spot when you need to have some fresh beer.


Let's get going!


To hit all the places on this tour, you'll want to get an early start. Jump in the car and head on down to Kittery for the Tributary Brewing Company.  They open at noon so they are a good first stop. 
Everyone we know that has been here falls in love quickly with the tasting room and of course the beer. The music is good and you will find it easy to strike up a conversation with the other patrons. They let you bring in food if you want. Since we're just getting started, try to limit yourself to a flight.  Flights are a good idea for this one day tour as you will get to sample many types of beer and take notes about which ones you might want to find at your local beer store or ones that will make you want to return again to have a full pint.

Let's move up the road a bit to our next stop, Woodland Farms Brewery.  They opened in January of 2017 so everything is brand spankin' new.  Flights are only a buck per sample.  Also, most of their beers are on the low ABV side so you can use that as control factor too. Here's the tap list as of this writing but you should take a hint from the fact it is written in chalk.  YBMV (your beer might vary).

We concede that man does not live by beer alone.  Sometimes he needs to wash down that beer with some food. Time to say goodbye to the coastline and head off to Eliot. We're on the road to the Shipyard Brewpub. This place has won awards for their great food.  Their beer is award winning too.  The description of their menu from their website is, "We specialize in fresh Maine seafood, crisp salads, and creative pub fare with a flair. Try our clam chowder and specialty flatbreads. Or, if you're in the mood for a sandwich, our steak and cheese is the best you'll find. Full entrees include crispy salmon, roasted chicken, or fish and chips."

We're making good progress. The next stop is back to Route 1 to SoMe Brewing Company in York.  You read that right.  We did not make a typo.  The name SoMe is a take on Southern Maine, get it? We met these folks when they were first starting out at the Maine Brewer's Guild "Freshmen Orientation" event.  Really nice folks and love their beer.
We took some SoMe beer with us on vacation this year. The cans work great in the boat. There she is standing tall in the center.
But I digress.  Back to the tour.

Our last stop for this tour is Hidden Cove Brewing Company in Wells. The tap room is a barrel of fun.
We've met these guys before at Funky Fest at Funky Bow in Lyman and they are great people.  Great people seem to brew great beer too.

If you take the tour and loved it (why wouldn't you), please reply back with your comments below.
This is the first in what will be a series of one day tours that are made that much better by using the Maine Beer Tasting Rooms website.  We're living in great times and as you can see, it is just waiting there for you to happen upon.


Cheers!