Saturday, March 16th I took a trip down to Sedgwick, Maine to visit Al and Mia Strong of Strong Brewing Company. The Strong’s were holding a tasting event and I’ve had more than one reader tell me I should visit and try their beer and I’m glad they did. Strong Brewing Company is a very small operation; currently brewing small 5 gallon batches until they can complete their 1.5 barrel brewing system and finish building their temperature controlled conditioning room. This startup brewery is taking a different approach to funding their operation; they are a Community Supported Brewery (CSB). I think the community supported brewery idea is great, if you are a supporter you buy a “share” which helps fund the Strong’s efforts in building and brewing, in return you get beer. There are different levels of shares you can buy, a full share with a 64 or 32 ounce growler or a half share with a 64 or 32 ounce growler. $340 gets you a full share with a 64oz growler and 48 refills (24 gallons), a full share with a 32oz growler and 48 refills (12 gallons) is $171. A half share with a 64oz growler and 24 refills (12 gallons) is $172, a half share with a 32oz growler and 24 refills (6 gallons) is $84. Currently the Strong’s have sold 42 shares in their CSB and this doesn’t include the people I watched purchasing shares at the tasting event. The Strong’s goal is 100 shares and I’d say they are well on their way. In addition to selling shares the Strong’s are currently running a Kickstarter campaign, Kickstarter is a website that helps fund projects by pledges. If you see a project you like you can pledge money to the project and if the project reaches its goal Kickstarter will pay the amount raised to the project, if the goal isn’t met then the project doesn’t receive funding and you are not charged. Kickstarter projects could be anything from music, movies, events, gadgets, and in this case a brewery. Currently the Strong Brewing Company Kickstarter is 34% funded in their goal of $7,500. I am a firm believer in supporting local people and local businesses, I will be making a Kickstarter pledge in support of Strong Brewing Company and I encourage you to do the same.
Now for the best part, the beer, Al had three beers on tap for the tasting, A California Common that was named Localmotive, it gets its name from Al’s intent on sourcing all of the ingredients from Maine. The beer was a hazy, golden straw color, it smelled of yeast and toasted grains, and was crisp and flavorful; Localmotive would be an amazing beer to quench your thirst in the summer months.
Rope Ferry Red (6% ABV) is a red ale named after the road that the Strong’s home and brewery are on. It pours red with copper highlights and a frothy off white head. The nose was malty with a light hop aroma. Taste was sweet and malty with a nice hop flavor that kept everything in balance, a very well done beer.
The last beer was Black Velvet stout, a deep dark beer with a frothy off white head and a big roasted malt nose. This was a rich, flavorful beer with a full body and smooth mouthfeel.
I’m glad I made the trip down to Sedgwick, Al and Mia are very friendly and welcoming and it was fun to watch them interact with the 40+ people who showed up for the tasting event at their home. It truly was a fun atmosphere with what appeared to be mostly locals mingling and sampling Al’s fine brews, there was even a group of local friends playing music. If you have the opportunity to make the trip it’s well worth it, I never once felt pressured to buy a share, which tells me Al and Mia are confident in their beer, It speaks for itself. It was a fun gathering and a chance to try some new, local beers from an up and coming brewery.