Welcome to the next installment in the continuing saga of my farewell tour in Maine. Whilst traveling from the coast to central Maine, after consuming not less than six pounds of lobster, I began searching for breweries. Alas, Belfast Bay Brewing is along my route. Yes Please. As my “Navigator" researched the route I wondered aloud why I had never visited the brewery, or even sampled their beer during my many trips to Maine. A quick phone call to the brewery revealed the reason why. Belfast Bay does not have a taproom, and tours are by appointment only. Not the best business plan, in my humble opinion. We pressed on.
Approximately 30 miles north of Belfast is the town of Winterport, home to Penobscot Bay Brewing. Apparently it’s a big bay, hence so many “Bay” breweries. As I enter the brewery my first thought is “This is not my kind of place". Penobscot Bay originally started as a winery, expanding to beer a couple of years ago. Bottles of wine adorn the walls, with a small “Sampling” bar on the far wall. The atmosphere is a cross between a museum and a library. We are the only customers. With 10 days of facial hair and a shirt stained in lobster juice and lobster remnants I look and smell like a lobsterman that was lost at sea for years! The “Taproom” manager looks at me apprehensively, as if a three-headed Sasquatch had just walked in. He nervously asks if I would like to sample some beer. I grunt in approval. I am quickly rewarded with a” Mountain Man” DIPA. How appropriate.
At 9.5% ABV this beer I surprisingly well balanced, with only a hint of bitterness and hops out the wazoo. I eagerly suck it down. The manager then asks if I would like to try “Humble B”, a Honey Wheat Ginger beer, more grunting. I have had several beers of this type but this one is by far the best I have ever had. “Humble B” is the ultimate easy drinking “Lawnmower” beer.Fortunately Penobscot Bay Brewing distributes locally, making it less awkward for all the three-headed sasquatches like myself. While their taproom draws low marks I do give them credit for at least offering samples. That being said, it’s painfully obvious that they remain focused on wine. While I don’t recommend visiting the “Brewery” I do recommend picking up a couple bottles of their beer at the local grocery. You won’t be disappointed.