When Tom Madden and John Paul sent the first run of Portland Pale Ale out of their bright pink Anderson Street brewery in early March, they thought they’d have time to breathe. The plan was to dial in a couple other recipes and get a new beer out to market.
Then the calls from beer stores and bars starting pouring in; the bright, crisp Portland Pale Ale was selling out. The accounts wanted more.
Even I became smitten with Portland Pale Ale, including it in my spring beer list a few weeks ago and pouring a glass for Rob Caldwell on ‘207.’
With this newfound demand, Madden and Paul pushed aside their plans and started turning out batches of Portland Pale Ale to answer the market’s call.
Lone Pine Brewing Company had arrived.
Tom Madden and John Paul, both 29, have been friends since they were classmates at Thornton Academy. In his late teens and twenties, Madden worked at Madden Beverage in Saco, the family-owned business. When his father began selling homebrew supplies at the store, they needed someone to test out the new merchandise and answer questions for customers. Tom gladly agreed to start brewing.
While Madden was honing his brewing chops, Paul was working in the music industry in Boston, and after college, he accepted a job in the industry in L.A. When Paul visited Maine, he and Madden would meet up for a beer and dream about starting a brewery.
After a few of these meetings, the two friends reached a crossroads; it was time to make this dream a reality or move on with their lives.
If you’ve tipped back a pint of Portland Pale Ale, you know they made the right decision.
Madden, who is the head brewer while Paul runs the business side of Lone Pine, is only able to squeeze in production of one other beer right now as he keeps up with demand for Portland Pale Ale. The second beer in Lone Pine’s arsenal is What What! Wheat, a hoppy wheat ale.
Madden explains, “I wanted to make a wheat beer that doesn’t need a slice of fruit.” The idea is that the citrus hops will add the fruit flavors.
What What! Wheat pours a deep gold with a small head of tiny beads. The aroma is a nice play between the bready wheat grains and the tangerine and orange notes from the Horizon, Summer and Amarillo hops. The aftertaste achieves that citrus flavor you get from a wheat beer with an orange or lemon slice. What What! Wheat is, as the saying goes, extremely crushable because you can drink several of these in one sitting. And at 4.9-percent alcohol by volume, it arrives just in time to be your new warm weather drinking partner.
The work they did over the fall and winter at the brewery is about to pay off this Saturday when they open the tasting room to the public. The space is a mix of industrial concrete and warm woods from the rustic bar and flooring boards that line the tasting room walls. There’s a garage door that will swing open in nice weather, and a great view of the brewing equipment.
This Saturday head to the pink building on Anderson Street to sample the goods at Lone Pine Brewing and celebrate the early success of Portland’s newest brewery.
WHEN: Noon Saturday (check website for an update on hours)
WHERE: 219 Anderson St. #4 (It’s the pink building)
ON DRAFT: Portland Pale Ale, a hoppy American ale brewed with Citra, Amarillo, Summit and Falconers Flight, and What What! Wheat, a citrus-forward wheat beer
HOURS: Check website for weekly updates on hours
AVAILABILITY: Bottles available at Bier Cellar, Craft Beer Cellar and RSVP in Portland
MORE INFO: lonepinebrewery.com
One Eye Open Brewing Company coming to East Bayside
In June the East Bayside neighborhood in Portland will grow by one more brewery with the slated opening of One Eye Open Brewing. It will certainly be the smallest brewery on the block with only a barrel and a half brewing system in a small shed-like building. One Eye Open Brewing’s addition to the Portland beer scene is just one more reason this summer is looking to be the best beer summer in Maine yet.
Brunswick Hotel and Tavern offers craft beer package
4 Noble St., Brunswick
With the warmer weather on the way, that means trips up Route One to visit Midcoast breweries. The Brunswick Hotel and Tavern has launched a Craft Beer Package that offers patrons a welcome 4-pack of local beer, a complimentary appetizer in the tavern, and, most importantly, a central location to visit Midcoast breweries. The hotel staff can help you plan your daytrips to the half-dozen breweries in the area. Bring on summer and trips up the coast.