I’ve been on the road, and while the travel is just a family vacation, we have managed to squeeze a few brewery visits in. A quickie, pic-heavy roundup.
Brookeville Beer Farm
We start out in Maryland, where Sally’s brother Doug took us to a wonderful three-year old farm brewery. They’re growing their own hops there, which they use in their (excellent) flagship IPA. But when we had a gander at this year’s crop, the bines were in woeful shape. They were, however, sourced from Oregon’s Crosby Hop Farm, which brought a smile to my lips. The place has a wonderful vibe; there’s a grassy lawn with tables outside where children and dogs can frolic, and inside the place has a barn-like feel and an octagonal bar. The beer strikes me as in-process: some great beers (the IPA, a pale), some that could use improvement (pilsner). Overall, not bad for a young brewery trying something fun and ambitious.
I have also written about The Brewer’s Art, which is easily one of the most elegant brewpubs in the world. Hard not to stop in for a pint—and we actually had dinner, which was as classy as the building.
Maine Beer Co.
Wait, am I just retracing my steps?? Here we have yet another return visit, but as with Guinness, it was to check up on a remodel. When we stopped in last fall, a vast new pub area was going in, and man, does it look good. They’ve also initiated a new program of one-off beers as a way of seeing what sticks (one of the more unusual aspects of Maine Beer Co is how small and stable their line is). Beer number four is a pilsner that was just lovely. Apparently it was a big hit, so look for that to potentially return.
The treat of the trip—no easy matter given what we’d already seen—was tucked into the woods not far from Newcastle—which is a bit north of where Maine’s fjord-like fingers reach into the Atlantic. Though Oxbow has three locations, this is where the beer is made, and where, should you have the fortune to travel here, you can spend glorious hours sipping rustic saisons. Oxbow focuses on saisons, but they also do mixed-fermentation beers and even spontaneous fermentation (I grabbed a bottle for later). The flagship is called a pale, but it leans toward Wallonia, too. Wonderful beers and a magical location. I can’t believe it wasn’t packed with beer geeks traveling from far and wide, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.