I want to live inside the neon acid-trip, spray-paint aesthetic of Yes Brewing’s logo and tasting room graffiti mural. Wait, I did live there once. It was called 1990. Bell Biv DeVoe flashed fluorescent duds on MTV, and all my friends donned purple neon Oakley pullovers.
Needless to say, I loved the fun-loving ’90s vibe when I walked into the newly opened brewery and cozy tasting room of Yes Brewing, located behind Mr. Bagel on Main Street in gritty, up-and-coming Westbrook. As the name and early ’90s aura suggest, good vibes abound in Maine’s newest brewery.
Here’s the big question that ran through my head as I ordered a flight of the three beers on draft on a Friday afternoon: Does the beer stand up to the bravado of the branding?
Yes, it does. (Pun unabashedly intended.)
My flight included Yes PLZ!, a mint IPA; Fear Not!, a jalapeno pale ale; and Lil DBL, a hazy New England-style pale ale.
If an IPA made sweet, sweet love to a mojito, the result would be Yes PLZ! This beer has a refreshing mint aroma in the nose coupled with bright citrus notes from the Cascade, Citra and Simcoe hops. The flavor starts with the tropical fruit notes of the hops and ends with a cooling menthol sensation on the back of the tongue. Yes PLZ! is a balanced, drinkable IPA with bold flourishes.
I’ve had some really good jalapeno beers, but I’ve also had some really bad jalapeno beers. So despite Fear Not’s inviting name, my palate did harbor some trepidation as I raised the glass to my lips. From the first enthralling taste, my fears were eased. This beer has a distinct jalapeno aroma that becomes more pronounced as the beer warms up. The flavor is a nice interplay between the sweet heat from the jalapenos and the juicy pineapple from the hops.
Lil DBL is everything good about a New England-style ale. The hazy gold liquid is dank, dank, dank in aroma and flavor with no bitter notes. It’s all musty basement and tropical fruit from the double dry hopping with Citra and Simcoe hops.
As I sipped on Lil DBL, taking in the graffiti art, Brady Frost, Yes’s sales and tasting Room Manager, stopped by to chat about the vision of Yes Brewing.
The gregarious Frost explained that John Bigelow and head brewmaster Cam Ingraham are the brewers behind the beer. Bigelow has 17 years of homebrewing experience, while Ingraham worked at Shipyard Brewing for three years learning how to brew on a commercial scale.
Though there were only American-style ales on draft on my visit, Frost said that the brewers plan on producing a wide variety of beers at Yes.
“Our small 1.5-barrel system is actually a luxury, because we can turnover a lot of small batches and try a ton of stuff,” Frost explained.
They’ve already made some noise with their Pineapple Mosaic Berliner Weisse, a kettle-soured beer with juicy hop notes. Frost also stated that patrons can expect a Cold Brew Wheat Ale in the coming weeks.
Yes put beer in barrels for aging in its first week, so expect to see those in the future. Yes also is one of a small number of Maine breweries to own a coolship vessel for brewing beer with natural wild yeast. I can’t wait to taste the funky yeasts harnessed from the Westbrook air.
To borrow at term from Bell Biv DeVoe, the beers and graffiti-art vibe at Yes Brewing are simply dope.
WHERE: 609 Main Street, Westbrook
WHEN: 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday
ON DRAFT: A rotating list of small batch beer including a mint IPA, a jalapeno pale ale, a pineapple Mosaic berliner weisse, and forthcoming barrel-aged beers and wild yeast beers
MORE INFO: Facebook.