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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Queen City Quaff

On the banks of the Penobscot Rivers’ Eastern shore lays the City of Brewer. Often referred to as the Queen City it’s much smaller than its big brother Bangor just across the river. As I enter Brewer I’m shocked to learn of a new brewery, one of the first in downtown Brewer. My “Navigator” quickly fires up Google and we are on our way. I opt not to change my shirt despite the fact that I remain covered in lobster remnants. No time for wardrobe changes when beer is involved.
We find Masons Brewing Company with little difficulty despite the fact that there are no signs. Google comes through again! The brewery sits at the end of Hardy Street, which dead ends at the river. I’m astonished by the size of the building. The large parking lot is filled with cars. Masons is my kind of place, with room for approximately 150 people and an outdoor seating are overlooking the water. It’s downright gorgeous.

The beer list is somewhat eclectic with wheat beers pilsners, saisons and even a weizen. The vast majority of Mason’s beer is in the sub5% ABV range, unusual in this day and age. I take the safe route and order their IPA. Mild by today’s IPA standards at only 5.6% ABV it’s a well balanced example of what an IPA should be. Equally eclectic is the food menu. Arugula and goat cheese abound throughout the menu.  I unwittingly order a bratwurst and sauerkraut pizza, hold the “Arugula”. The pizza is as good as the beer.
 As we are paying our bill the waiter informs us that the owner is in the building, and I rush to try to get a word with him but I’m too late.Never to be dissuaded I return to Masons two days later intent on catching up with the owner. Stalkers are rarely dissuaded. As I creepily scan the crowd I sample their West Coast Pilz, an American spin on traditional German beer using both German and American hops. At 4.3% ABV the beer is crisp and dry which is a refreshing change on such a hot day. Suddenly I see an unshaven man in a baseball cap in the brew house. The owner Chris is in the house and begins busily cleaning around the fermenters. After several minutes of awkward motioning he comes to the bar and I introduce myself.  He pours us each a beer and we retreat to a table. Chris started as homebrewer, like many in the craft beer industry. The brewery was five years in planning and Chris designed the building himself. I’m shocked to learn they have only been open 11 weeks. He tells me “This is my mid-life crisis” to which I reply, “If you are going to have one I can’t think of anything better!” Masons Brewing Company is a must visit for both foodies and beer lovers alike. As part of the Maine Beer Trail one needs only to make reservations on the Maine Brew Bus to visit all the local breweries, including Masons. You will undoubtedly find that one stop at Masons just isn’t enough. During your visit please keep an eye out for a scruffy guy in a baseball cap who will undoubtedly be working behind the bar or in the brew house, enjoying his mid-life crisis.

Until next time,

Stay Crafty

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