Untappd is a beer-related phone app used by some beer fans to check off the unique and varied beers that they have tried over time. I have been using the app for quite some time as a memory aide. By checking into beers as I’m drinking them, it serves as a reference for me when I need to recall an obscure name or see what beer I’ve had recently from a single brewery.
In addition to this simple checking-in, Untappd gives its users the opportunity to earn badges that are based on their drinking habits and preferences, for example, for styles or locations where the beer was consumed. These cumulative statistics are fun to look at, and recently I noticed that I was approaching the milestone of having tasted 2,500 unique beers. While most would probably save a rare beer – maybe one that has been squirreled away for a special occasion – for this honor, I went the opposite and checked into a beer from a new brewery in Yarmouth.
Why should I “waste” my milestone on a brewery that is the first in its town and housed in a building that once held a laundromat? Because it’s what craft beer is – and should be – about: neighborhoods, community and creativity. Our local pubs and breweries used to be the center of community activity – and there’s no reason to treat my 2,500th unique beer any different than those that I have sampled at many other Maine breweries.
Brickyard Hollow Brewing Co. held its grand opening on June 25 and became Yarmouth’s first modern brewery. The brewery and restaurant are situated on Main Street, adjacent to the epicenter of the town’s famous Clam Festival and close to Town Hall and the library. This central position harkens back to the breweries that existed before Prohibition that were at the center (sometimes quite literally) of small-town life.
Not being a regular visitor to Yarmouth myself, I hadn’t seen much of the construction progress before the opening, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was bigger than I’d been imagining. The brewery and restaurant are in a 2,100-square-foot space with plenty of seating both indoors and outside in an open-air patio area. The brewery itself is small in capacity – a five-barrel system – but that’s more than enough to keep a handful of beer on tap along with several other guest taps. At the opening, a kolsch, pale ale and double IPA were available alongside several local guest taps from Bunker, Allagash, Oxbow and Maine Beer Co.
The restaurant at Brickyard Hollow was also a treat. Rather than throwing together some phoned-in pub standards, the menu is creative and well rounded. There are full entrees, vegetarian options and snacks that range from familiar burgers to dishes like pad Thai, scallops and edamame.
Brickyard Hollow seems to fit nicely into the model of the Brewpub 2.0 where the food is not simply added for belly-filling (and brewery financial support) purposes, but is something to be developed along with the beer. While food trucks for breweries remain a popular solution when space or zoning is limited, it’s great to see more substantial (and permanent) options for food along with local beer.
There is a lot going on in politics lately, and it reminds me that the pub used to be the place for discourse, conversation and, in some cases, plotting political rebellion. There are plenty of places to meet over a pint of beer to discuss the state of the world, and I feel like a brewpub in the center of town might be the right space to do that.
If you plan to visit, as with any new brewery, it’s best to check social media for hours, as they might change in the first few weeks after opening. But I do strongly recommend you stop in, especially on a warm summer evening when you can take advantage of the abundant outdoor seating.
P.S. As I have mentioned in other columns, it is hard to hold on to the title of Maine’s newest brewery for long. It seems that, for Brickyard Hollow, this distinction lasted only four days, as The Pour Farm in Union opened Friday.