A bird hunter is lost in the woods of midcoast Maine. After wandering haplessly for hours, he hears the persistent pulse of a bass drum and what sounds like glasses clinking together. He moves towards the noise. With his unloaded shotgun draped over his shoulder, he emerges into a clearing. In front of him is a flannel-clad mass munching tacos, slurping oysters and tossing back golden beer in tulip glassware, while some strange man scratches vinyl records and another works on a spray-paint mural.
The bewildered hunter wonders if the mothership has landed or if he ate some of those wriggled fungi he eyed on the forest floor. What he has walked into is Oxbow Brewing Company’s Goods from the Woods, a psychedelic mash-up of deep Maine woods brewing and 1980s New York graffiti culture.
The fifth annual Goods from the Woods invites carousers to the remote Newcastle brewery to drink farmhouse ales and nosh artisanal eats from some of Maine’s premier food trucks and vendors.
Past Goods from the Woods have featured food from Hella Good Tacos, Pemaquid Oyster Company, Harvest Moon Pizza Company and Small Axe Food Truck.
Food vendors serve tasty plates perfect for a fall day of beer drinking. The oysters are harvested up the road from the Damariscotta River, making them as fresh as humanly possible.
But this isn’t about the food, it’s about the beer. Established in 2011, Oxbow Brewing Company committed itself to crafting farmhouse ales. This means that most of their beers are brewed with a house saison yeast that imparts a barnyard funk to their ales with notes of hay and horse-blanket.
Though other breweries in Maine have developed their own take on farmhouse ales, Oxbow was at the forefront of bringing this style to New England.
Their flagship beer, Farmhouse Pale Ale, is a collision of saison yeast and bright, citrusy American hops. It’s wildly playful on the palate moving from hay and funk from the saison yeast to grapefruit and lemon peel from the American-style hops. It pours a straw hue with a foamy head of tiny bubbles. Farmhouse ales can sometimes overpower the tongue with barnyard funk, but this beer straddles that razor-thin line between adventurous and drinkable.
Oxbow is on an endless quest for experimentation in their beers, which means that if you go to Goods from the Woods – and you absolutely should – expect an array of outside-the-box beers in addition to the Farmhouse Pale Ale. There might even be secret kegs hidden in the woods surrounding the brewery for revelers to stumble upon.
Do you hear that? The distant call of phat beats mixed with the hiss of spray paint cans? Like our roving bird hunter, if you head towards the noise you will happen upon Oxbow Brewing Company’s Goods from the Woods where a lumberjack-chic setting meets funky beer, great food and a damn good time.
12 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oxbow Brewing Company, 274 Jones Woods Rd, Newcastle. $50 per ticket, includes commemorative glass and two limited edition Oxbow bottles to go. oxbowbeer.com/events
Expect a selection of beers from Oxbow Brewing and multiple food trucks and vendors including oysters from Pemaquid Oyster Company
Dinner Release from Maine Beer Company
7 a.m., Saturday, 525 U.S. 1, Freeport, ME. $8 per bottle. One Case Limit. www.mainebeercompany.com
That’s right, Maine’s most sought after double IPA will see its seventh release this Saturday. Dinner is an atomic celebration of citrus hops that is a world-class drinking experience from aroma to flavor to finish. Doors open at 7 a.m., but if you want to secure some bottles, get in line a few hours early. People drive to Freeport from all over New England for Dinner. When the doors opened for the last release, the line was already a tenth of a mile long. Is Dinner worth the hassle? I think so.
Beer Symposium at Maine Marketplace: Taste the 8 Regions of Maine
6 p.m., Saturday, The Portland Company, 58 Fore Street, Portland. $50 per ticket. www.harvestontheharbor.com
The annual Harvest on the Harbor festival will be held in Portland all weekend. Harvest on the Harbor events feature the best eats and drinks Maine has to offer. Yours truly will be running a beer-centered discussion panel with Zach Poole, founder of The Maine Brew Bus, and Kyle Jongerden, bar manager at The King’s Head and employee of Maine Brewing Supply. Panel begins at 6 p.m. and will feature a discussion of Maine beer along with a Q & A to follow. This session of Harvest on the Harbor runs from 4 to 6:30 p.m.