Summer is unarguably the best time of year to drink beer — at picnics and ballgames, on boats and at barbecues, at sunny, seaside beer gardens. Earlier, we introduced “5 Essential Maine Summer Beers.” However, with Maine’s breweries churning out some of the nation’s most inventive brews, we chose this batch featuring some ingredients that might surprise you.
Mount Desert Island Ginger
Atlantic Brewing Company
Not a ginger ale — an ale brewed with ginger. That first sip is bracing, but this one’s crisp and sweet and goes great with Asian food. Others brew with ginger, but Atlantic’s been doing it for 22 years. On draft and in bottles. 15 Knox Rd., Bar Harbor. 207-288-2337. atlanticbrewing.com
Pemaquid Oyster Stout
Marshall Wharf Brewing Co.
Brewed in late summer for Damariscotta’s Pemaquid Oyster Festival, this ink-black brew is made with live oysters in every batch. Marshall Wharf is known for “big” beers — high alcohol, strong flavors — and this rich, chocolaty stout is no exception. On draft and in cans. 2 Pinchy Ln., Belfast. 207-338-1707. marshallwharf.com
Baxter Brewing Co.
Lemon and lime peel, lemongrass, and Kaffir lime leaves give this ale a clean, bright kick. But it’s nicely balanced, not crazy citrusy, and an excellent accompaniment to a lobster roll. On draft and in cans. 130 Mill St., Lewiston. 207-333-6769. baxterbrewing.com
Tortuga Wild Summer Pineapple
Hidden Cove Brewing
A brave combination of a sour ale and a fruit beer that manages not to be too much of either. Hidden Cove smokes pineapple and ferments it in rum barrels, then adds more during secondary fermentation. Try this if you like ciders. Draft only. 73 Mile Rd., Wells. 207-646-0228. hiddencovebrewingcompany.com
Hazelnut Coffee Elwood Brown
Orono Brewing Company
Using flavored joe (even from Carrabasset Coffee Company) is risky in a coffee beer, but this creamy, malty ale comes together well. The hazelnut is faint, the coffee stronger. A great beer for dessert. Or breakfast. Draft only. 20 Main St., Orono. 207-866-4677, oronobrewing.com
+ Beer festivals to look forward to this year include the Maine Brewers’ Guild Beer Festival on July 25 in Portland, Maine Lakes Brew Fest on September 26 in Casco, and inaugural Aroostook County Brewfest in Mars Hill on October 17. For a look at four more beer festivals happening this month, check out our Guide Calendar. On June 29, join associate editor Brian Kevin for a Down East beer tour around Portland — click the ad below for details!
Beer image used under Creative Commons Zero license.