There’s a growing trend at microbreweries, as they seek to bring craft beer lovers closer to physical and existential enlightenment. I’m not talking about boozy barrel-aged beers — though a generous pour of Allagash Curieux can be a religious experience.
The movement of pairing yoga and beer has been mounting over the past few years and has reached a fever pitch.
Some past and ongoing yoga events at Maine breweries include Poses and Pints at Tributary, Brewsana at Banded Horn Brews + Breath at Fore River, Yogayavira at Rising Tide and Find Your Flow, a weekly yoga class at Funky Bow.
Two upcoming yoga classes at Maine breweries inspired me to ask the question: Why are yoga and beer such popular, albeit strange bedfellows?
On Sunday, Baxter Brewing and Chill Yoga team up to present Bend & Brew. This event features a 45-minute yoga class, followed by a four-course meal pairing Baxter beer with food from Marché Kitchen and Wine Bar.
Certified advanced ayurvedic yoga specialist Heidi L. Audet from Chill Yoga in Lewiston created Sunday’s event. This will be the fifth yoga class she’s hosted at Baxter Brewing.
“Chill Yoga’s Bend & Brew event is more than just pairing yoga and beer. Our program focuses on yoga that stimulates the senses and brings awareness. After yoga, we experience an adventure called ‘Conscious Consumption: The 6 Tastes,’ something that I created from my training in yoga’s sister science, ayurveda,” Audet explained.
Bend & Brew, along with other yoga events at local breweries, hopes to bring participants into a more conscious awareness of the world they exist in. The more I ruminate on it, the more sense this coupling of craft beer and yoga makes.
“By having students enjoy a pairing of specially selected foods from a local restaurant with the different beers chosen by Baxter, we see how we can achieve balance, not only in yoga, but through our beverage and food. It’s about observing the art of the taste through balance and satiety,” Audet said.
In early February, Mast Landing Brewing will host a yoga class called NaMASHte to benefit the nonprofit Pets for Vets. I reached out to Mast Landing co-owner and brewer Ian Dorsey to get his take on why yoga classes are becoming so common at breweries.
“Craft beer and yoga both provide people an outlet to slow down and pursue the finer things in life. Every yoga class is a new experience for the participant. The same thing could be said about the various beer offerings found throughout the state. All said and done, craft beer and yoga are both mechanisms that enhance the lives we lead,” Dorsey stated.
The addition of yoga at breweries clarifies what I’ve often experienced in tasting rooms around Maine: Craft beer culture, like yoga or the slow food movement, asks us to experience the sensual world with purpose. So grab a yoga mat and a tasting glass filled with thoughtfully brewed craft beer and open yourself to illumination.
Cheers — and namaste!
IF YOU GO
WHERE: Baxter Brewing Co., 130 Mill St, Lewiston
WHEN: 2-4:30 p.m. Sunday
OVERVIEW: 45-minute yoga class, followed by a tour of the brewery, a flight of beer and a food pairing with Marché Kitchen and Wine Bar
COST: $40 per ticket
MORE INFO: baxterbrewing.ticketspice.com/bend-brew
WHERE: Mast Landing Brewing Co., 920 Main St., Westbrook
WHEN: 12:30-1:30 p.m. Feb. 4
OVERVIEW: This hourlong yoga class will benefit Pets for Vets, the non-profit that pairs military veterans with shelter animals.
COST: $15 per ticket
MORE INFO: eventbrite.com/e/namashte-pets-for-vets-yoga-fundraiser-mlbc-tickets-30109724998
OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS
The Great Lost Bear Presents: Brew Pub Cup
5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, 540 Forest Ave., Portland.
Portland’s original craft beer institution, The Great Lost Bear, hosts a competition of Maine brew pubs this Saturday. The event features beer from Sebago Brewing, Gritty McDuff’s, Sea Dog, Foulmouthed Brewing and last year’s Brew Pub Cup winner, Liquid Riot. Maine’s brewpubs produce some of Maine’s best beers, in addition to running full-menu kitchens. This event shines a light on those beers. Get out and help crown a 2017 Brew Pub Cup champion.
Portland On Tap Brewfest
1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Cross Insurance Arena, 1 Civic Center Square, Portland. $57 VIP ticket, $37 general admission. americaontap.com/event/portland-on-tap/
The 3rd Annual Portland On Tap beer fest comes to Maine this weekend. The event features 65 breweries pouring over 130 beers. Maine breweries include Marsh Island Brewing, Dirigo Brewing, Allagash Brewing, Bear Bones Beer and Peak Organic, among others. Some out-of-state beers that pique my interest include Jack’s Abby from Massachussetts and Von Trapp Brewing from Vermont. The event is run by the America On Tap company, which holds 25 beer festivals in different cities across the country each year, including three coming to Maine in 2017.