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Question 1: What is your all Maine brewery dream team-up? And why?
It’s pretty wild that three of our heaviest hitting craft brewers in Maine originated in the same industrial park. While two have moved away to upgrade to bigger spaces, there’s something attractive about them getting together again for a neighborhood block party to combine their particular brewing strengths. Known for their flagship Daymark pale ale featuring locally grown rye malt, Rising Tide Brewing in yEast Bayside could flesh out the grain bill with that unique, spicy rye. Freeport’s Maine Beer Company is a hop-head’s best friend; naturally they’d throw some intensely flavorful, aromatic hop varietals into the mix. As the oldest, most established, and largest of the three, Allagash Brewing would be my choice to host the party in Riverside Industrial Park. As one of the country’s earliest and best-loved Belgian-focused breweries, they could contribute their tried-and-true house Belgian yeast strain to transform the collaborative wort into a dry, crisp elixir worthy of a royal name: Something like Duke Thursday…Queen of the Weekend–no, Prince Tuesday!
Wait a second…They brewed it on Earth Day? For the fourth time? I thought that beautiful Belgian Rye Pale Ale was all a fevered dream!
Question 2: What would your Maine + U.S Brewery Team-up look like?
Ok, I got this. How about Maine’s oldest brewpub, Gritty’s…They keep most of the interesting stuff in-house, right? I’d love to see them mix it up out of state. They’re in a pretty small class–call it the Class of ’88. Lots of British-inspired breweries there. Maybe Gritty’s could get together with one of their contemporaries to celebrate a mutual anniversary by swapping brew sessions… Oh wait; they did that for their 25th anniversary last year? With Deschutes Brewing? AND with Vermont Pub & Brewery? Nice!
Question 3: What would your Maine + International Brewery team up look like?
This one I’ve got for sure: Oxbow Brewing. A farmhouse brewery. “Loud beers from a quiet place.” That sounds like the tagline of a brewery in the middle of nowhere that keeps to itself. They should definitely team up with some out-of-the-way European farmhouse brewery and mash in together.
No way. Have you guys seen this? Oxbow collaborated with Hof Ten Dormaal last year on the Tildonk Special? A blonde ale with chicory made only with ingredients grown on Hof Ten Dormaal’s farm in Belgium? Well that’s a neat fluke… Oh. I see. Oxbow also has an upcoming limited bottle release of Étoile du Maine, an oak-aged collaboration with Brasserie Thiriez, a French farmhouse brewery. Not to mention the blonde saison they collaborated on last year called Freestyle 17. Man, these guys have it on lock!
Question 4: Free for all! Anything goes here as long as there is 1 Maine brewery involved.
It’s inspiring that I don’t even need to pull collaborations out of my wildest dreams: So many I could hope for have been done or are in the works. The collaborative spirit is one of the best parts of the beer industry, and something that sets this industry apart from so many others. Whether it’s neighbors walking around the corner to put their heads together or international superstars crossing oceans to pull off something unique, brewers and fans alike benefit from this golden age of brewing camaraderie.
Maine Dream Team-Up Project Participants: