Rising Tide & Liquid Riot (or the brewery formerly known as In’finiti Fermentation and Distillation)

Before a concert at the State Theater’s great new venue on Thompson’s Point recently, I stopped at Rising Tide Brewing Co. and Liquid Riot. One I had heard of before but had never tried and one I had never heard of or tried but NEED to go back!

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Rising Tide was founded in 2010 in Portland by Portland native Nathan Sanborn. He does the brewing concepts, recipes, etc. His wife, Heather Sanborn runs the business end of it. In 5 years they’ve expanded to selling their beer throughout New England and have been awarded Small Business of the Year by the Portland Development Corp. And it is pretty darned good beer.


Spinnaker – 4.5% ABV

Hefeweizen. Luckily for me and my lazy blogging lately, Rising Tide includes descriptions of all the beer I tried. So just click on the above link. The only thing I’ll add to this, is I tasted bananas. This is not the first beer that has tasted like bananas to me. And I like them.


Maine Island Trail Ale – 4.3% ABV

If you’re not a fan of “bittah beeahs” then skip this. Very hoppy and lemon-y.


Zephyr – 7.2% ABV

IPA. I found it quite smooth and sweet. That’s exactly how I like my IPA’s.


Ishmael – 4.9% ABV

Copper Ale. A red ale, but I found it quite milder than other reds.


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First thing I’ll tell you about Liquid Riot is that they have their own parking. So you don’t need to search for a spot in the Old Port. So, there’s that. Secondly, it’s awesome! I’m having a hard time finding information about the owners, but I do know that they own an great beer bar in Portland, Novare Res Bier Cafe.



Albino Stout Nitro- 5.5% ABV 14 Plato

Wait, what? A couple of things here. This is a stout. It’s not dark as a moonless night. I was wondering if this was going to be like Crystal Pepsi, but it tastes like a stout. It’s light colored because of the way the cocoa is distilled and extracted, blah, blah, blah, what the hell is “Plato”? Plato is another complicated science term that deals with the density of beer, essentially, as my non-scientific brain comprehends it.


Dub’stash – 8% ABV 17 Plato

Hoppier than other Double IPA’s I enjoy. But solid.


Kinderbock – 2.5% ABV 8.3 Plato

I’ve never had a kinderbock before so I crossed it off my beer bucket list. As you can see by the small ABV it is very light and pine-y, but still flavorful.


The Brass – 4.7% ABV 12 Plato

Amber style. Fruity.

3 reasons I will be coming back here:

The view.

The view.

This burger was amazing!

This burger was amazing!

And not pictured, they make their own whiskey!!!!! I’m in love.


Atlantic Brewing Co. in Bah Hahbah.

Driving to Bar Harbor in the Summer is one of my favorite things to do. It’s one of my favorite places in the world! And I only live an hour away from it. How lucky am I? I’ve done the tour here before a few years ago, but this day did not do the tour. Instead, a friend and myself just did the tasting room and got lunch at Mainely Meat BBQ, which is located on site.

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Atlantic Brewery began as Acadia Brewing in 1990. They quickly outgrew their popular downtown Bar Harbor location and moved to a farmhouse on the outer part of the island on the Knox Road. They now distribute bottles throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York City, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Pretty impressive.


Summer Ale – 4.3% ABV

Pilsner. Great taste! Light and crisp. This was going to be my favorite until…well, I’ll get there.


Blueberry Ale – 5.1% ABV

Wheat ale. Blueberry beers are tough. Like pumpkin beers are tough. Some smack you upside the head with flavor and spices. This one does not have an over powering blueberry flavor, but I wouldn’t commit to more than a bottle. This one is pretty to look at though. Just don’t marry it.


Real Ale – 4.8% ABV

Classic brown ale. Their flagship beer. Very tasty. Also, when you are in the tasting room make sure to try the pretzels they offer with the Real Ale mustard. I may have abused my mustard privileges while there. And I got a bottle of the mustard to bring home.


04609 Double IPA – 6.8% ABV

Named after the area zip code. I had heard about this beer being sold earlier this year, and I really wanted to try it but didn’t commit to a full pack of it. I love Double IPA’s. Unfortunately, I did not love this one. There was not that rich, smoothness and complex flavor from Double IPA’s. It was really bitter. It just doesn’t compare to the other great Double IPA’s out there. Sorry not sorry.


Coal Porter – 5.6% ABV

Five different malts are used to brew this chocolatey and coffee-y tasting brew.


Ellen’s Coffee Stout – 5.4% ABV

This one right here. SO. GOOD. Brewed with milk sugar, coffee, and a vanilla that is so delicious. This is a brew you could drink in the morning.


The tastings are very small, if you didn’t notice. So I saved room for New Guy IPA. 6% ABV and classic IPA flavors that go nicely with a pulled pork sandwich, if I do say so myself. This was a huge glass of it though. I think I finished a quarter of it because I wanted to save room for dessert, which was…


Brother Adams Honey Bragget – 10.5% ABV

You only get an 8oz. glass of this because of the ABV. Which is fine. I split mine with my friend so that I could still drive. Delicious, sweet honey and copper flavor.  Definitely a sipper of a beer. But a sweet finish to a delicious afternoon.

Lubec Brewing Co. The Most East You Can Go. Evah.

This brewery I was the most worried about. Not because of the beer, but because of the drive. Lubec is a drive. And I had seen on another beer blogger’s site that they had gone there within the hours that were posted on their Facebook page and when they got there the brewery was closed. So, last weekend I was staying at a friend’s house in Harrington and we were going to Lubec anyway so I took a chance. I did message them on their Facebook page prior to making the trip. No response. And I did call that morning of the trip. No answer. I guess they’re just not into me. But, as luck would have it….they were open!!!!

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But maybe it’s not me, it’s them. I think this brewery is pretty much like Lubec. They’re just kind of into their own thing. Lubec  is, to me, kind of a different coastal town than say Bar Harbor or Camden. There you feel very catered to. In Lubec you kind of feel like you’re on their turf. So get your things and get out. Does that sound rude? Because the people aren’t, they’re just very…coastal New England. Anyway, enough on my feelings about Lubec. Let’s talk about the beer.



Quoddy Red Head – 5.6 % ABV

I love a red head! This first one was probably also my favorite. All of these beers are pretty straight forward representations of their styles. So going light on the descriptors. Caramel and slight spice. What you expect from a good red.


Water Street Ale – 4.8% ABV

Classic, light German Ale.


Day’s First Light – 4.5% ABV

English Style Bitter. But not too bittah, for me…


Smuggler’s Treat Pale Ale – 6.2% ABV

I can say I was there when it was named! They didn’t have a name for it when they poured it, so the beerista called it Gayle’s Pale Ale. Because her name is Gayle. Then it became Smuggler’s Treat. This one had a good taste and nice bite to it.


Lubec Gold Swindle – 4.8%

Golden Ale. A nice summer beverage.

This brewery is new. Like, only open a couple months new. I would say if you’re in Lubec, stop in! If you’re going there specifically to visit this brewery…call first. And if they don’t answer, maybe call another shop in town and see if they know if they’re open.

The Hills are Alive, with SquareTail Brewing. Amherst.

Route 9 leading to Amherst is very hill-y. Truth be told, I think I’ve only traveled Rte. 9 one other time in my life and before this trip I never realized that there was an Amherst, Maine. Well, there is. And there is a pretty decent brewery there. Square Tail Brewing. It’s hidden among the rolling hills and, honestly, I drove right by even with my GPS. At the end of a gravelly road is a sign, but you might overlook it thinking it’s advertising a bean supper or something like that.

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Square Tail is another name for Brook Trout and fishing is head brewer, Wes Ellington’s other passion. He has been a home brewer for about 4 years and opened this brewery earlier this year.  One of the things I like about this brewery is that they are using local ingredients to make their brews. Can you say fiddlehead beer? And, according to a Facebook post I saw, Tate’s strawberries for a future brew (I’ll be going back to try that).



Roll Cast Cream Ale – 5.4% ABV

Creamy, smooth, exactly like it should be. What is a cream ale anyway? Cream ale is an American style light lager. Corn or rice might be used to lighten it and is very mild on the hops. If you’re not a fan of the “bittah beers”, then this one might be for you.


Mooned Loon Pale Ale – 7.4% ABV

This one was my favorite and let’s talk about why. So, this is a typical pale ale. Light, crisp, drinkable. But this is Pale Ale on Nitro. What’s Nitro? Why are people using it? Beers “On Nitro” are all over the place. And for good reason. This is where science comes into play. From craftbeer.com:

“When people talk of nitro, it’s a reference to the type of gas used in the carbonation process. It means the difference between the creamier nitrogen beers (N2) and their lively, prickly CO2 counterparts. A typical nitrogenated beer contains about 70 percent nitrogen and 30 percent carbon dioxide.

Nitrogen is largely insoluble in liquid, which is what contributes to the thick mouth feel. This effect is helped by a special piece of tap equipment known as a restrictor plate that forces the beer through tiny holes before it lands in the glass. That process causes the “rising” effect that is topped with the head. And it’s really only the bubbles on the sides of the glass that fall. Inside they are actually rising, as typically seen with a poured carbonated beverage.”

Needless to say, I could not get a growler of this one because of the Nitro. Frowny face.


Caddi’s Fly Wheat Ale – 5.1% ABV

A little citrusy and pretty cloudy. Decent Summer beer.


Union River ESB – 5.0% ABV

This was the one I was really looking forward to trying because it’s made with fiddleheads! And it tastes…like fiddleheads! Grassy and bitter. This was also on Nitro so there was bit of smoothness to cut through the bitterness. I liked it but maybe not to commit to a lot of it.


Mid Arbor Red Ale 4.4% ABV

Malty. If you’re a fan of the red ales, like me, you won’t be disappointed.


Lazy Paddle Milk Stout 5.1% ABV

Strong coffee flavor.

Overall, solid brewery and surprisingly busy in my opinion. So if you’re on “The Airline” stop in. The people are friendly, helpful, beer is good and they’ll give you some pretzels to soak up everything.

Andrew’s Brewing Co. & Rock Harbor

About 3 months out of the year, us Mainers experience the whole reason we live here, Summer. The rest of the 9 months is spent pretty much like Jack Nicholson in the Shining, but for that quarter of the year, it’s really great to live here! Case in point, taking a trip to the midcoast to visit some breweries and have some of the best seafood in the world. First stop, Andrew’s Brewing Company in Lincolnville.


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Andrew’s Brewing Company is operated by Andy Hazen and has been brewing commercially since 1992. In fact, Andrew’s is one of the original 5 craft brewing companies in Maine. The beer is straight-up, solid versions of what their styles are. Last year, they expanded a brewpub in the Lobster Pound in Lincolnville. The bar is beautiful! It’s a finished thick wood that fit in with the rest of the restaurant.



Golden Ale – 4.1% ABV

This picture is Summer in Maine as far as I am concerned. The beer was just as good as the lobster roll. Light, and unmessed around with. Just a solid, crisp and slightly hoppy brew.


IPA – 5.6% ABV

Straightforward IPA. Not as bitter as some other IPA’s. And I tasted a bit of sweetness to it as well.


English Red Ale – 6.5%

This one was my favorite. Malty and a toffee-flavor, which was a perfect lead-in to….


Scottish Ale 5.8 % ABV

So, the bartender was awesome. He was able to talk about the beers, we chatted about what beers we liked and my beer trail resolution. And, he convinced me to get the strawberry pie and I think I convinced him to get into Scottish beers. Nothing goes better with dessert than a Scottish beer in my opinion. I’ve been really getting into Scottish-styles lately and this was a tasty one. As was the pie.

I also picked up a 6-pack of their English Pale Ale in the gift shop to enjoy at home.


Oh, and the view outside isn’t too shabby either.


Next stop!


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Rock Harbor Brewery is located on the main drag through Rockland and is a nice, typical brewpub atmosphere. It was started in 2011 by Dan Pease and his goal to make a decent brewpub with solid craft beers is pretty straightforward.



Breakwater Wheat – 4.9% ABV

Brewed with orange and coriander. I’ll be honest, the first thought I had was Allagash White. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Not too citrusy. Summer in a glass.


Beacon IPA – 5.5% ABV

I found it quite fruity and pine-y.


Rogue Wave Double IPA – 9% ABV

Double IPA’s…mmmmm…. Now for people that don’t like IPA’s because they find them too “bittah”, don’t let that scare you. I find Double IPA’s to be smooth and slightly sugary. This was a good example of that. This was my favorite out of the flight. Don’t let the higher alcohol content scare you either, just…tread lightly…


CopperHouse ESB – 6% ABV

English Style Bitter. But not much bitter. Caramel, nuts and malt.

So this is not a beer, but I just want to give a shout-out to one of my other favorite stops on the mid-coast. Which is the Park Street Grille where I get a watermelon margarita on occasion. Salud!


Barreled Souls

So, definitely the best part about having friends join you on the Beer Trail is that you can try so much more beer! And, it doesn’t hurt that one of them is willing to drive you. Safety first!

For the past 3 years, I have kicked off Summer Break with a weekend in Old Orchard Beach. You need that first sunburn to really usher in the season. This year, I added a brewery visit to my weekend and boy am I glad I did! This place is awesome!

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IMG_2251 If you haven’t heard of Barreled Souls yet, it may be because it’s only been open for about a year. Childhood friends and Maine natives, Chris Schofield and Matt Mills started as home brewers and decided to open a brewery. Chris, the head brewer, began with a home brewing kit and went on to refine his craft at a couple of breweries before starting his own. Matt has worked in the hospitality industry for years in Southern Maine. Both wanted a brewery that they would want to spend time at. And after visiting, I think it’s a place lots of people would want to spend time at.

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Barreled Souls uses a fermentation system called Burton Union. This technically challenging system is not commonly used and was developed in England in the 1800’s. And, to be quite honest, after reading about this system I still can’t really explain what it is. It has something to do with yeast distribution. Bottom line, it helps with the flavor and aroma of the beer.

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They have about 12 draft lines and I wanted to try every one of them. They have very unique flavor combinations and quite a bit of variety. Unfortunately, I couldn’t try them all. But I gave it the ole college try! So, let’s get to it!


Irish Twin – Blonde Ale (5.1% ABV) brewed with watermelon and mint.

Don’t let past flavored beers scare you away. The watermelon and mint are so subtle this makes for a refreshing and easy-drinking beer on a summer afternoon.


Space Gose – Leipziger Gose (4.0% ABV)

What’s a gose? In short, a gose-style beer is salty and sour. This particular brew is made with Maine sea salt, lemon and coriander. I didn’t find it overly salty, however it was right on the cusp of being too sour for me. But, as I have said before, I dislike sour beers. (Except for that one in Liberty)


Rosalita – Blonde Ale (4% ABV)

Blonde?! Isn’t that red?! What type of filter are you using? Nope, no filter. This blonde is brewed with agave and hibiscus flowers. Light and flowery. I have quite a few girlfriends that “don’t like beer”. I would give them this one to try and not tell them it was beer until after they were done enjoying it. It tastes nothing like beer and is so refreshing.


Confucius Says – IPA (7.8% ABV)

Made with green tea with tropical fruit hints. The green tea definitely stood out on this one. I found the hop amount was just right, but my company who does not like “bittah beeahs” found it way too hoppy. If you like IPA’s, I think you’ll enjoy this one that has that relaxing green tea character.


Quaker State – Oatmeal Stout (5.5% ABV)

Very rich, flavorful stout with strong coffee and vanilla elements happening here. This was a kick-off to some really rich, flavor-filled and power-packed brews. Some of the best dark beers I’ve ever had.


Stay Puft – Imperial Stout (9.2% ABV)

Now we’re kicking it up a notch! When I saw this on the menu, it was the first one I wanted to try. Brewed with marshmallow, graham crackers and dark chocolate. And it tastes exactly like a liquid s’more. Chocolatey, that burnt sugary flavor and nutty graham cracker. Lord have mercy!


Cookie Monster – Imperial Porter (9.8% ABV)

Do you like oatmeal raisin cookies? If you do, this is the beer for you.

And last, but certainly not least…


Dark Energy – ??? (13.2% ABV)

The description on the menu said “Accelerating the expansion of the universe. This is a bigger version of Dark Matter.” Dark Matter is another beer they make, and the only description is “We are much more certain what Dark Matter is not then we are what it is.” -NASA

I do know Dark Energy tastes like chocolate covered cherries. Very, very boozy, chocolate covered cherries. And did I mention I did have a DD?

Barreled Souls is a great stop if you’re in the Saco area. I wanted to bring home a growler of the Stay Puft, but knew it wouldn’t survive the trip home with the integrity it deserved. I have other breweries to stop at in this area and know I will return to this one along the way.

To Freeport! No, we’re not going to LL Bean!!!! (Maine Beer Co. & Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Co.)

With this 2-fer post, I have now been to 10 breweries on the trail and am now eligible for…wait for it…a Maine Brewer’s Guild Trucker Hat, y’all!!!!! But I’m not in it for the schwag, just the glory. So let’s get to it!

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This past January I attended a beer dinner at Blaze in Bangor. The entrees were paired with beer from the Maine Beer Co. It was an excellent meal and a lot of fun. The owner, Dan Kleban was there and he told the stories behind a lot of their beers. Check that post out here.

Maine Beer Co. was founded a little over 5 years ago by brothers David and Dan Kleban. In that time, their beers are some of the most sought after not only in Maine, but the country. The website details their story better than I could, so go check that out!



A Tiny Beautiful Something Pale Ale – 5.5% ABV

Brewed with a new hop variety, El Dorado. This beer was light with a bite to it. Slight citrus.


Lunch IPA – 7.0% ABV

Named after a whale that has been spotted off the Maine Coast with a bite taken out of it’s fin, this is one of their more sought after beers. Nice, smooth IPA with citrus and pine tones.


Red Wheelbarrow – 7.0% ABV

A red ale that is unique and superbly crafted. Malty characteristics stand out.


King Titus – 7.5% ABV

Porter. Chocolatey.

Now this brings up a topic of conversation I had with my friends during this visit. What’s the difference between a Stout and a Porter?


This is kind of an interesting article that asks brewers that very question. Doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut distinction. Consensus seems to be stouts are a richer, more intense version of a porter.

Next stop!

Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company!

Guess I didn’t take any pictures other than my beer. Oops! My bad!

Gritty’s has been in business since 1988, starting in the Old Port. Since then, they have won several awards for their beer, bars and food. They have 3 locations in Portland, Freeport and Auburn.

***WARNING*** all of these pictures look the same…


Original Pub Style – British Pale Ale 4.5% ABV




Blonde –

Coppery flavor.







Pilsner –









Vacationland Pale Ale – 4.8% ABV

I found it ashy. #sorrynotsorry

I tried their Raspberry Wheat Ale but I did not get a picture I guess.  And it was, not surprising, raspberry tasting.

As Jay-Z would say, onto the next one!!!!

Liberty Craft Brewing (or the day I was converted to sour beers)

One thing about the Beer Trail is I am definitely going to parts of Maine I have never been to before. Take Liberty, for example. Liberty is tucked away in Waldo County and is just shy of a thousand people. And this past Memorial Day weekend was a beautiful time to make the trek there. There are lots of rolling hills and, thankfully, the 220 is newly paved and provided smooth sailing.

So, I get to Liberty Craft Brewing and, I’ll be honest, I was a little hesitant about going in. There’s nothing wrong with the place. It just felt like I showed up at somebody’s house and was going to go in and drink their beer. But all the signs said “Open”, so what the heck! Getting out of my comfort zone is also part of this Beer Trail journey.

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And I am so glad I went in! The owner, Guy, was there and was so welcoming. Guy was very informative about their beers and their business. If I remember correctly, he has been home brewing for about 7 years, has had the tasting room since last September and just included the food service within the past month. The space is small for sure, but during my hour there, probably 20 people came in to try the beer or grab a bite, or both! I had the lunch special which was BBQ chicken and it was awesome! But let’s get back to the beer!

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Chupacabra XXX IPA – Smooth with a sweet twist to it. Guy says he brews it with Belgian sugar. I was going to get a growler of this but then…well, I’ll get to that.


St. George Golden Pilsner – very earthy taste to it, light and easy-drinking.


Smoked Spider Rauchbier – I tried this one for a few reasons, I’ve never had a smoked, Rauchbier-style before and the name intrigued me. There’s a definite smoke flavor to this beer. Consensus in the tasting room was that liquid smoke must be added to give it that flavor. Nope! Guy says he smokes the grains that he uses. So this was a first for me. But it wouldn’t be the last…


Tunk Spruce Ale – Another first, never had spruce in my beer! Light and woody tasting.

So, now we come to one that wasn’t in my flight. And I didn’t choose it for a reason. It’s a sour beer. I’ve tried several sour beers. I hate sour beers. Until this one. People in the tasting room were raving about it, so I had to try a taste.


Liquid Heat Sour Hot

Sour Beer infused with habanero peppers.

I loved it! Especially fresh off the tap. It converted me to sour beers. Or at least, this one. I even got a growler to take with me. I will admit, I did a lot of traveling and it didn’t really stand up through all the temperature changes and shaking that went on, but do not pass this one by! A little bit of heat that just makes this stand out. Excellent craftsmanship.

I also took a bottle of their award-winning, Nightcap Imperial Porter upta camp and it paired rather nicely with a couple of s’mores.


I never thought I would say this, but I can’t wait to go back to Liberty, Maine! Love this place and would definitely recommend you trying it out. I’m going to check it out in the fall because, well, I think this view says it all.


Back in the (beer) Saddle Again!!! (Part Three, Bissell Bros.)

I learned something on this 3-part adventure afternoon, my stomach only has the capacity for 3 flights in a 2 hour period. I was FULL and running short on time as I had to catch the new Avengers in iMax. So, needless to say, I did not spend as much time in this brewery as I wanted to. I really liked what I tried though. I’ll be back!

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Bissell Bros. is a fun, dude-like atmosphere. Very small space in the tap room to visit, but very friendly staff and if you like that “bittah beah”, as my Mom calls it, you would like it here. And I do.

Bissell was founded by brothers, Peter and Noah Bissell in Portland at the end of 2013. They’ve been open for under two years and are wildly successful. Check out this article from the Press Herald about the brewers and their expanding business.



Substance – IPA (6.5% ABV)

Their flagship beer. And for good reason. Light and lemon-y, with a nice bite! I could drink a whole lot of this.


Baby Genius – Blonde Ale (4% ABV)

This blonde loves a blonde ale! A light, session ale. Easy to drink.


Pilot – IPA (7% ABV)

Probably my favorite during this trip. Strong IPA flavor but smooth finish.


Bucolia – Red Ale (5.6% ABV)

Nice caramel notes. I’m going to admit, I had hit the wall with beer tasting that day. My stomach had reached capacity and I apologized to the beeristas that I couldn’t finish them. When I told them my day they laughed and were perfectly understanding.

Also, not my three strongest blog posts. My descriptions are a little lacking and rushed. But, hey they can’t all be winners can they? The important part is I’m back on the trail! More to come soon! I’m still going to complete my resolution of going to every brewery on the Beer Trail in one year. Right???

Back in the (beer) Saddle Again!!! (Part Two, Foundation Brewing Co.)

So I discovered a beer mecca in an industrial park in Portland. 3 breweries in one location and one of the biggest (and best) right across the street. That, of course, would be Allagash. When we pulled onto Riverside Street, it was packed with vehicles. Allagash was having a special event closed to the public that day and there was a lot of people there. But my focus was not Allagash on this trip. It wasn’t even Foundation. I didn’t know there were several breweries in one location. What a delightful surprise!


It was a beautiful day, and so the garage doors were open and people were out playing bean bags, eating cookout, listening to tunes, and enjoying great beer. Sounds like a perfect day to me!

Foundation Brewing Co. was founded in 2013 by a web designer, John Mahaffey and a physician, John Bonney. Both belonged to a home-brew club in Bangor. According to their website, their focus is on “creating world-class beers which pay homage to classic beers, but bring you something entirely new and exciting.” And they have just started canning their own beer. You’ve probably seen it at your local craft beer purveyor. If you’ve never tried it, pick it up!


Eddy – Saison (5.7% ABV)

Floral and I found it to be quite yeast-y.


Wanderlust – Hoppy Farmhouse Ale (4.5%ABV)

Fruity and bright. Their annual spring/summer seasonal.


Burnside – Brown Ale (5.1% ABV)

Toasty! Coffee! Chocolate! I liked this one quite a bit.

All enjoyed in their brewery!