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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business before turning to journalism more than a decade ago. By day, she is an online content producer for mainetoday.com and the Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod@mainetoday.com On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: September 10, 2013

Behind the keg: Maine breweries, distilleries offer tours and tastes

Written by: Susan Axelrod - staff writer - saxelrod@mainetoday.com

Heather Sanborn, owner of Rising Tide Brewing Co. in Portland, one of numerous breweries and distilleries around the state that welcomes visitors. (Press Herald file photo)

In sheer number of craft breweries and distilleries, Maine is well outranked by California, Colorado and several other states. But with far fewer people, Maine ranks #6 for craft breweries per capita — one per 36,000 Mainers, according to the Brewers Association, a national trade organization. (Compare that to one brewery per 118,000 residents of California — hey, where would you rather live?)

Maine’s small-batch distillers are not quite nipping at brewing’s heels, but their numbers are growing, with Maine Craft Distilling recently opened in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood and the first batch of rye whiskey is underway at Infiniti Fermentation & Distillation down on the waterfront.

Most of these distilleries and breweries like having visitors; they are justifiably proud of their products and their process and want to show off both. The larger operations offer tours and tastings, some of the smaller ones just do tastings (because frankly, there’s not much to see). We’ve put together a comprehensive map of brewers and distillers that will be delighted to show you around and/or give you a taste — and we’ll do our best to keep it updated with the latest information. However, it’s always a good idea to call before you visit.

Another way to visit several breweries and distilleries is to take a tour. Here’s Shannon Byran’s report on The Maine Brew Bus. Other local operators are Maine Beer Tours and Maine Foodie Tours.


View Brewery and Distillery Tours in Maine in a larger map

Allagash Brewing Co.

50 Industrial Way, Portland; 207-878-5385
Tours typically last about 30 minutes; reservations are strongly recommended. Tastings, which change daily, are separate from tours and are offered in the retail store. Due to the high volume of visitors in the summer months, there may be a wait for tasting. Starting on June 1st, retail store hours are: Monday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Atlantic Brewing Co.

15 Knox Rd., Bar Harbor; 207-288-2337
Open 7 days a week from Memorial Day to Columbus Day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Free tastings all day. Free tours at 2, 3, and 4 p.m. Tours take 20+/- minutes and are suitable for all ages.

Baxter Brewing Co.

130 Mill St., Lewiston; 207-333-6979
Tours are conducted Wednesday-Sunday at 3 p.m. Each tour includes one free 4-ounce pour of one regular, commercially available beers. Also has a tasting room  offering samples: 4-ounce pour $1; 8-ounce pour $2; 16-ounce pint $4.

Black Bear Microbrew

19 Mill St., Suite 4, Orono: 207-889-9123
Tastings in the taproom: Wednesday-Friday 4-8 p.m., Saturday 2-8 p.m. 5-ounce samples $1; pints $3.50.

Boothbay Craft Brewery

301 Adams Pond Rd., Boothbay; 207-633-3411
Brewery tours are available daily with a purchase of a $5 wooden nickel, which is immediately redeemable in the brewery or at the tavern. Tour and tastings last approximately 30 minutes. 21-plus only. Tours offered at 3 p.m.; tastings offered 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Bunker Brewing Co.

122 Anderson St. Portland; 207-450-5014
Offers tastings and samples: summer hours Thursday and Friday 5-8 p.m., Saturday noon-5 p.m.

D. L. Geary Brewing Co.

28 Evergreen Dr. Portland; 207-878-2337
Tours and tastings are generally scheduled Monday-Friday between 2 and 2:30 p.m. Call in advance to schedule.

Funky Bow Brewery and Beer Company

Ledgewood Lane, Lyman
Tours and tastings available upon request. Contact the brewery via an email form on the website.

Maine Beer Co.

525 US Route 1, Freeport; 207-221-5711
Tasting room open Tuesday-Saturday noon-7 p.m.; Sunday noon-4 p.m. The tasting room features 8 beers on tap, including some brewery only pilot batches. Huge glass windows allow for a view of the brewery operations.

Maine Craft Distilling

101 Fox St. Portland; 207-798-2528
Tours and tastings available Tuesday-Thursday 3-6 pm., Friday-Saturday noon-5 p.m.

Maine Distilleries

437 U.S. 1, Freeport; 207-865-4828
Tours are offered five days a week (seven during the summer months). Each tour lasts about 30 minutes. The free tours are on a first-come, first-served basis, typically noon-5 p.m.

Maine Mead Works

51 Washington Ave. Portland; 207-773-6323
Tours offered at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Tasting room open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. May-December.

Marshall Wharf Brewing Co.

2 Pinchy Lane, Belfast; 207-338-1707
Tasting room hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-4p.m. After 4, tastings are available at Three Tides bar and restaurant next door.

New England Distilling Co.

26 Evergreen Dr., Portland; 207-878-9759
Informal tours offered during the hours the distillery is open: Monday to Friday, noon-5 p.m.

Oak Pond Brewery

Oak Pond Rd. Skowhegan; 207-474-3233
Tours conducted during regular business store hours, Monday-Friday 3-5:30 p.m.; Saturday 12:30-5:30 p.m. There are no predetermined tour times and tours occur upon request as business allows. Tours are led by owners Nancy or Don Chandler, who also brew the beer.

Oxbow Brewing Co.

274 Jones Woods Rd., Newcastle; 207-315-5962
Offers tastings Wednesday-Saturday noon-7 p.m.

Penobscot Bay Brewery

279 S Main St. Winterport; 207-223-4500
Tasting room hours: March-April, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. May-December Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Rising Tide Brewing Co.

103 Fox St., Portland; 207-370-2337
Tours are typically Friday and Saturday, 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. No reservations required but check Facebook and Twitter to make sure a date has not been cancelled. Tasting room summer hours: Tuesday and Thursdays 4-7 pm.; Friday and Saturday 12-5 p.m.

 Sebago Brewing Co.

48 Sanford Dr. Gorham; 207-856-2537
Tours and tastings Monday-Friday at 2 p.m. Visitors are asked to call ahead.

Shipyard Brewing Co.

86 Newbury St. Portland; 207-761-0807
Virtual tours 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.Sunday, every hour on the hour. Sign up for full brewery tours online, offered on Tuesdays 5:30-7 p.m.

Spirits of Maine, Bartlett Winery

161 Chicken Mill Pond Rd. Gouldsboro; 207-546-2408
Tasting room open from June-October or off season by appointment.

Sweetgrass Farm Winery and Distillery

347 Carroll Rd. Union; 207-785-3024
Open for tours and tastings every day, including Sundays and holidays, May 12-Dec. 31, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

 Tree Spirits

152 Fairfield St. Oakland; 207-877-4477
Open for tastings and tours Thursday-Saturday noon-5:30 p.m.

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