If you’ve ever dreamed of spending more time in local breweries, your time has come.
The local brewery explosion in Maine has included tasting rooms and tap rooms, so people can have a drink just feet from the fermentation tanks or the stacks of aluminum cans.
And so, many of the tap rooms and tasting rooms are offering increasingly diverse and interesting things to do while hanging out there. Some host comedy nights, open mics and musical performances. Some have had yoga in the brewery, games of Scattegories or trivia, even painting and art activities between sips of suds. Some have running groups, so you can burn off calories before you drink. Local distilleries, makers of spirits, are doing much the same.
There was a day, not that long ago, when if you wanted to visit your favorite beer or spirit maker, you’d have to book a tour. But now you can go on a moment’s notice, hang out and drink, and do all kinds of other stuff, too.
Some events are ticketed, some are free. Here, is a sampling – a flight, if you will – of some of the diverse entertainment and activities being offered at local breweries and distilleries.
OVERFLOWING WITH ART, AND YOGA
One of the more eclectic lineups of brewery events is at Bear Bones Beer on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. On Thursday at 7 p.m., they’ll host a Tile Paint and Pint Night. For $30, you get a tile and supplies to decorate that tile, which will then become part of a Lewiston building’s front wall. You also get a pint of beer. On Sunday, there’s a Yoga in the Taproom class at 11 a.m., put on by Poise Yoga Studio & Foot Sanctuary, for $12, including a beer. There are also open-mic nights on Saturdays through Feb. 24, and a trivia night on Jan. 30. The brewery’s beer list includes IPAs, sessions, a pale ale, a twist on a classic pilsner, a rye ale and more. bearbonesbeer.com
GET FUNKY, MON
Funky Bow Brewing in the tiny town of Lyman has live bands in a giant heated tent. Pizza is available and, of course, a variety of tasty Funky Bow brews. Friday’s music will be provided by Stream Reggae from 5 to 9 p.m. On Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m., the band Fog Ave is playing a party to celebrate the release of Funky Bow’s Five String Oatmeal Vanilla Milk Stout in cans. There’s a $3 cover when music is playing. The brewery makes an American IPA, American pale ale, coffee porter, red ale and more. funkybowbeercompany.com
LAUGH ‘N SIP
Some breweries and distilleries host regular comedy nights, and organizers say it’s partly because Portland no longer has a dedicated comedy club, which the Comedy Connection was for years before closing in 2012. Stroudwater Distillery at Thompson’s Point in Portland has a monthly comedy night. The next is Thursday at 8 p.m., $8 admission and $18 for a VIP seat and one drink. The lineup of local comedians will include James Theberge, Rob Nesbit, Aaron Waldron, Jed Bloom and Conor McGrath. The distillery makes vodka, rum, gin, rye and bourbon, and you can see some of the equipment from the tasting room, behind a big window. stroudwaterdistillery.com
A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING
Island Dog Brewing in South Portland, on John Roberts Road behind the Maine Mall, also has a comedy night, the first Saturday of every month. On Feb. 2, the lineup will include Boston comic Ben Quick, along with comedians Alex La, Nick Gordon, Mark Moccia and Nic Dufault. But the brewery is also starting an eclectic open-mic night at 6 p.m. on Jan. 30. The brewery’s owners say they are looking for comics, musicians, poets, mimes, balloon-animal makers, magicians, singers, storytellers and more. “We’re looking to be a place for performers who don’t have a lot of other places they can play,” said Tim Francis, a co-owner. “I’ve already gotten a call from a kazoo band.” The brewery makes a Belgian saison, IPA, dunkel, cream ale, stouts, porter and more. islanddogbrewing.com
BE SMART, EAT WELL
Some brewery tap rooms have game nights, and some have food trucks pop in. Rising Tide, on Fox Street in Portland, has both. The place has been having team Scattegories nights, including one coming up on Jan. 30. The object of the game is to name as many things as you can in a category, like “colors” or “things you dream about.” You can buy beers paired with empanadas from De ‘Nada Empanadas, a pop-up cafe. The brewery also regularly hosts food trucks. On the afternoon of the Scattegories night, the Muthah Truckah will be on site with grilled sandwiches.
The brewery makes a copper ale, American pale ale, pilsner, brut IPA, stouts and more. risingtidebrewing.com
AGAIN WITH THE ECLECTIC
There’s something happening just about every night at Oxbow Blending and Bottling on Washington Avenue in Portland. Friday is Fruited Friday, when the brewery releases a fruited brew. Saturday will be Winterfest from noon to 7 p.m., with pizza, music from Driving Charlie Home and hot chocolate and crafts for the kids. Saturday night at 7 p.m. will feature an all-vinyl set of music from DJ Hi-Duke and Jay Pelletier. Monday is for Marinara Mondays, 6 to 9 p.m., when homemade pasta meals from Il Dono Pasta Company are offered for sale, with beer, of course. There’s also live music on Wednesday nights. The website lists more than 70 kinds of beers, including saisons, grissettes, farmhouse ales, stouts and lots more. oxbowbeer.com