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Maine Summer = Craft Beers and Lobster

Summer is here and the living, for some of us, is easy. Not so for Maine’s hardworking beer brewers! Maine has become a mecca for those in search of authentic and sometimes unusual beers, as a glance at the Maine Beer Trail web site will show. In the height of summer, tourists are once again flocking to the state, and many glasses of Maine brews are being quaffed along the coast. And what type of beer goes best with Maine’s traditional symbol of summer, a fresh steamed lobster? We asked several coastal brew masters their opinions on the best beer to serve with the state’s signature seafood.

Odd Alewives Farm and Brewery in Waldoboro brews with ingredients from their farm. Odd Alewives photo.

In South Thomaston beer fans can savor both fine beers and a stunning setting overlooking the ocean at Waterman’s Beach Brewery. Opened in 2019 on the site of the former Waterman’s Beach Lobster, the brewery is run by Brad and Anna Frost and Sandra Manahan, founder Heath Curtis’ mother. Customers can enjoy their beers in a small covered beer hall or at picnic tables scattered around the property.

The brewery’s connection to lobster is apparent the moment you step up to the counter. “We have an IPA that we named HydroSlave after the hydraulic equipment the lobstermen use. Both of our founding partners were lobstermen and one actually went back to fishing last year,” explained Anna Frost. To go with lobster she recommended several of their beers.” I would recommend our Light & Variable Pale Ale #6 which has some bright citrus notes that complement the lobster flavor, much like a squeeze of lemon does. And we just released an American lager, Buzzy, that is super light and crisp which would highlight the lobster without burying its delicate flavor. Buzzy also has a low alcohol by volume of 4.3% which makes a great beer for a lobster bake,” she said.

Mary and Matt Weber own and operate Monhegan Brewing Company with Mary’s father, famed brew master Danny McGovern. The brewery is open from April to November, after which Matt continues his work as a lobsterman. Just a few minutes’ walk from the center of Monhegan, the tasting room features at least five beers on tap which customers can enjoy at picnic tables outside. Mary Weber favors one of their lighter beers as a good pairing with lobster. “I’d recommend our Balmy Days Citra Kolsch . It’s a Kölsch-style ale hopped with Citra hops. It’s very light bodied and refreshing and the hops give it a citrusy quality,” she said.

Odd Alewives Farm Brewery founders John and Sarah McNeil make and serve their beers in a renovated 1820’s barn in Waldoboro. Recently celebrating their fourth year in operation, the brewery uses a variety of hops, fruit, herbs and vegetables produced on the farm in its beers. Other ingredients not produced on the farm are sourced locally within the state, resulting in beers that are at least 95% Maine ingredients. In 2021 the brewery was named Best of Maine tasting room by Down East magazine. “I suggest Old Pip to go with lobster,” said Sarah McNeil. “It’s a petite saison made with Maine wheat, honey and lemon coriander we grow here. It has a faint citrus note and is light and refreshing.”

Oxbow Brewing Company in Newcastle prides itself on its farmhouse ales with a European influence. The brewery and tasting room are in a converted barn while the bottling takes place in Portland. The company, which now has tasting rooms in Portland and Oxford, as well as Newcastle, started out with its Farmhouse Pale Ale, a beer brewed with American hops. Experimentation led to a broad array of flavorful beers, including a seasonal one called Saison dell’Aragosta, brewed with Maine lobster and sea salt. Tom Adams, founder of Oxbow Brewing Company, thinks most of the company’s beers would go well with lobster. “I will suggest Farmhouse Pale Ale as the perfect beer to pair with a lobster dinner. This dry and refreshing blonde farmhouse ale is brewed with Maine-grown malt and features a crisp and citrusy hop character,” Adams said.

Maine lobster and a Maine beer — the finest elements of a Maine summer!

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