Portland Beer Week, a week-long series of events celebrating (and organized by) Maine’s craft beer industry and providing both education and appreciation opportunities, kicked off yesterday and runs through this Friday, November 7th. My misfortune is that my next visit to Maine is next week – but for the rest of you, there’s no excuse for missing out on this opportunity to enjoy a good brew and support those local businesses that are the backbone of the great state of Maine. On a playful note, this year, the local breweries are crafting specialty beers in honor of Bill Murray – see more at this link for Bill Murray Beer Week.
Nationally, craft brewing has exploded over the last several years. Virtually all states and citizens have capitalized on and benefited from this trend and the increase in quality beer options, although some certainly more than others. The entrepreneurial, artistic climate in Maine naturally lends itself to take advantage of this momentum, and there is no question that this boom has been a boon to Maine breweries.
Although the big craft beer movement is recent, when I think of craft beer in Maine, I’m taken more than 20 years back in time, to visits to Gritty McDuff’s as a little girl (where, not to worry, my dad might have enjoyed a brew or two, but I did not). Gritty’s was founded in 1988 and their long tenure in Portland and expansion to Freeport and Auburn locations is representative of the history of Maine craft beer. Other breweries come to mind, too, like Sebago Brewing (founded 1998) and the well-known Allagash (founded 1995). I’m sure a Maine beer expert could name a number of other older breweries, as well. Whether they are old (mature?) and storied or new and unique, Maine’s craft breweries offer something for everyone and are sure to satisfy. Get out there and enjoy!
(please drink responsibly)