There’s a lot to do, a lot to see, a lot to eat, and a lot to drink here in Maine. This blog is going to focus on the latter, exploring a bucket list of local breweries, distilleries, wineries, and cideries available throughout this magnificent state. I’ve tossed in a few places I’d recommend, but regarding Maine breweries–I’d have to make a whole separate blog post for those. Beginning with a “Brewery Bucketlist,” I’ve selected six breweries from six different locations: the first five are places I hope to visit, and the sixth is one of my newest visits, and has gotten onto my own personal list of favorites.
1) Atlantic Brewing, Bar Harbor
Atlantic Brewing is a family-owned brewery located in Bar Harbor and surrounded by Acadia National Park. Their beers run the flavor gamut from light and fruity to dark and rich. “Our malts and our hops are imported from England, and our water comes straight from our well in Town Hill, Maine.”
2) Baxter Brewing, Lewiston
“From summiting peaks to heading upta camp, there are many moments that just go with a Baxter beer.” Inspired by West Coast IPAs, they were determined to craft a beer that captured the essence of Maine with a hop profile reminiscent of those out west. Today Stowaway is the best-selling Maine-made IPA across New England.
3) Brickyard Hollow, Yarmouth
“The plan was to create a hyperlocal, community based pub where families and friends could gather for laughs or come together and support local causes while enjoying great local small batch beer and food.” Brickyard Hollow has 12 taps which allows them to have a variety of beers pouring. A typical menu features: ales, ipas, browns, lagers and stouts.
4) Bunker Brewing, Portland
A craft micro-brewery featuring a small indoor bier-garden style taproom, with seasonal outdoor seating. A classic favorite is their light and refreshing Czech-style pilsner. But boy, does that Barn Cat Dark Mild Ale look good, too!
5) Funky Bow Beer Co., Lyman
“Deep in the woods of Lyman you’ll find one of the most sought after breweries in Maine. A father and son team ‘done good’ developing some of the tastiest beers around.” They are constantly developing new single batch flavor combos, but always have their staple beer line “guarenteed to dance all over your tastebuds!”
6) Belleflower Brewing, Portland
A small batch craft brewery that focuses on variety and distinction between batches and prioritizes high quality and locally sourced ingredients. “Expect new releases each week alongside a curated selection of prepared foods from Maine and greater New England.”
Not a big beer drinker? Try a distillery, and take your tastebuds to another level. These two distilleries, both located in Portland, are places I’d recommend – both because of the quality of the drinks and the quality of the atmosphere.
1) Batson River Brewing & Distilling, Portland
“Established in 2018…our menus feature a range of cocktails, each crafted with their own house distilled spirits, along with a full list of Batson River craft beers. Everything from the food, cocktails, and beers are inspired by the season, utilizing local and fresh ingredients whenever possible.”
After an evening visit on my birthday in March, I have to admit–it’s one of the coziest places I’ve ever been. Picture a blazing stone fireplace, dark wooden accents, and plush, comfy corners. Are you ready for an old fashioned yet?
2) Maine Craft Distilling, Portland
“Farm-to-flask distilling isn’t a slogan at Maine Craft Distilling, it’s our operating principle.” While collaborating with local famers, they’ve created a line-up of creative, high-quality, craft-distilled spirits—each as unique and interesting as the landscape and seascape of Maine.
Need a spot for date night? How about an outing with old friends? Check out Maine Craft Distilling on Washington Street–it’s right behind The Shop by Island Creek Oysters (stop there too!) The autumn night that I visited with my fiancé, there was a jazz trio playing live music, there was a group of friends playing corn hole outside, and the atmosphere was warm and inviting.
These next two distilleries are on my bucket list. I’ve either heard great things or tried their products firsthand…now it’s just making a trip out of it!
1) Split Rock Distilling, Newcastle
Split Rock creates bitters, simple syrups, mixers, and spirits. From Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Barrel Rested Gin, to White Whiskey and Blueberry Vodka, they dedicate time and patience into perfecting their products.
“There is a real split rock on Split Rock Road and we still drive past it almost every day—a rough plug of granite, cracked open long ago by time or skill (or a little of both) to reveal an unexpected smoothness within. That is the spirit of Split Rock.”
2) Wiggly Bridge Distillery, York
I was gifted a bottle of Wiggly Bridge Small Barrel Bourbon Whiskey (featured to the left). It was…delicious. And since then, I would love to visit the distillery in-person, and try their other spirits as well.
“Our spirits are distilled from sour mash recipes in small batches using our handmade copper pot still. Yes it is a handmade, hand rolled, hand riveted copper still. Some would say it is a labor of love. We chose this route because it yields superior taste found only in authentic hand crafted spirits.”
Last but not least: wine, mead, kombucha & cidah...and where to find them! I’m a fan of all of these Maine products, and hope to make a visit to the Oyster River Winegrowers barn soon.
1) Maine Meadworks, Portland
Maine Mead Works continues, with unique means, the mission of re-introducing to the world the oldest of all fermented beverages – Mead. “With the magic of wildflower honey, water and our own proprietary yeast strain, we’ve been blending ancient tradition with modern science, year after year, to produce and perfect a highly distinctive beverage at the meadery in Portland, Maine.”
2) Urban Farm Fermentory, Portland
Urban Farm Fermentory is a fermented beverage producer and community engagement hub located in Portland, Maine. “It is here that we craft authentic kombucha, cider, beer, gruits, mead and jun using local and foraged ingredients, when available.”
3) Ricker Hill Hard Cider, Turner
The entire process of making Ricker Hill’s Hard Cider takes place right there on the farm. They grow their own apples, blueberries, and cranberries that they use to make a variety of ciders. Made from real apples, not from concentrate, this craft cider is full of flavor. “With a wide variety of flavors, we have something for every pallet. From sweet to dry, mild to tart, (but always delicious) our ciders run the gamut. Apples are what we do, and we’re Mainiacs about our cider. “
4) Oyster River Winegrowers, Warren
Oyster River Winegrowers is a small farm winery in Warren, Maine. “Since 2007 we have been making lively wines and ciders in a low-intervention style from both our own fruit, and fruit that we source from other growers in the Northeast. Our own vineyards and orchards are managed organically. In the summer months our barn opens as a popular gathering spot for adventurous wine drinkers from near and far.”
There it is. Marissa’s “Maine Brews and Sprits Bucket List” circa 2021. I’m sure it’ll just keep getting longer, but you’ll just have to stay tuned! Enjoy, and remember to drink responsibly–stay safe, keep healthy, and have fun!