In one of my first columns, I dubbed Portland’s One Industrial Way neighborhood as the Fertile Crescent of Maine brewing. The list of brewers who got their start in that neighborhood over the past thirty years is staggering: Geary’s Brewing Company, Allagash Brewing, Maine Beer Company, Rising Tide Brewing, Bissell Brothers Brewing, Foundation Brewing, and, most recently, Austin Street Brewery.
Austin Street might be the lesser known player on that list of Maine beer giants, not because of the quality of their beer, but rather for the limited quantity coming out of their warehouse space on the backside of One Industrial Way. Austin Street brews on a 1 bbl system. That’s thirty-one gallons per batch. In the world of commercial brewing, it’s a mere drop in the industrial beer bucket.
Despite their nano production scale, Austin Street has made a mark on Maine brewing in its first year.
Their Patina Pale is a citrusy American pale ale that has satiated many a palate in Portland bars. And their Brett Loves Hops (an IPA brewed with Brettanomyces yeast) is a beer that drinkers have to stand in line for when it’s released at the brewery.
If a brewery has a flagship beer with a solid fan base and a beer that incites lines upon release, it’s doing something right, no matter the level of output.
On Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m., Austin Street Brewery will celebrate one year in business with a party at their One Industrial Way space. The merriment will include music, food truck grub, six beers on tap, and the unveiling of a surprise.
Before I get to the surprise, let’s looks at the other party accouterments.
DJ Hi-Duke will spin tunes throughout the day, and Fishin’ Ships food truck will provide food. There’s a $20 entry fee, which includes three drink tickets good for three full pours or six half pours of Austin Street beer.
On draft, partygoers can expect Patina Pale (their flagship American ale), Milk Stout (pretty self explanatory), BretteWeizen (hefeweizen with Brettanomyces and Gneiss Brewing yeast), Snowblower (a barleywine), and Grist Mill (a brett saison).
It’s clear that Austin Street isn’t a one trick brewery – they cover ales, dark beers, sours and wheats.
In addition to the beers listed above, they will also be pouring an IPA brewed especially for this event: Industrial Park Ale. Get the pun? Expounding on this hoppy beer, brewer Jake Austin explains, “We used all of our favorite hops, centennial, simcoe, nelson sauvin, and mosaic.” That’s a who’s who of luscious hops.
Now for the surprise. Austin Street Brewery has leased an adjoining unit in One Industrial Way, and the anniversary party will also be an unveiling of their expanded tasting room. In even bigger news, they have a 10 bbl brew system on order that will ramp up their production tenfold. The expansion will allow them to sell more kegs to Portland area bars, bottle more beer, and, by 2016, begin canning.
The expansion should take Austin Street’s brand and beer to the level of their peers in One Industrial Way, elevating them from a niche nano-brewery, to a competitive microbrewery.
For now, let’s cheers to their first year in business, while their promising second year lies in wait.
WHERE: 1 Industrial Way #8, Portland | austinstreetbrewery.com
WHEN: 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday
MUSIC: DJ Hi-Duke
FOOD: Fishin’ Ships Food Truck
COST: $20 per ticket (Includes three drink tickets, additional beers will be $5)
OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS NEAR YOU
Happy Hour at The Grill Room
The Grill Room, 84 Exchange St., Portland | thegrillroomandbar.com
4 to 6 p.m. daily
I’ve never highlighted a happy hour in this section before, but this one is a great deal for beer lovers. From 4-6 p.m. daily, The Grill Room pours $3 pints of some excellent Maine craft beer from the likes of Maine Beer Company and Allagash. It’s a killer deal for an early evening pint.