Maine – In a state known for its handcrafted products, such as ships and furniture, it is no surprise that Maine has an incredibly vibrant beer scene. With more than 50 craft breweries across the state that produce more than 200 different beers, people from around the world are coming to the state to sample them all.

“Maine is definitely becoming a destination for beer lovers,” says Carolann Ouellette, the director of the Maine Office of Tourism. “The breweries, located throughout the entire state, allow visitors to experience several of Maine’s different regions while pursuing their next favorite brew. Each brewery is unique, too, in part because the beers are made from Maine waters, lending a special quality to each microbrewery’s product. Several brewers use local grains, as well.” 

Enjoy a cold brew and fresh lobster overlooking the water.
Enjoy a cold brew and fresh lobster overlooking the water. Photo credit: The Maine Office of Tourism

There are only four main ingredients to beer, water being the most important, and Maine brewers use the sparkling and delicious waters of lakes like Sebago and Auburn; Oxbow Brewing Company even has its own proprietary aquifer underneath its farmhouse. The mineral content of Maine’s water is the same as what Belgian brewers look for in their beers and is ideal for brewing in that particular style. 

Brewers have known this about Maine for quite some time. The first on the Maine microbrew scene were the beloved Shipyard Brewing and Geary’s, located in Portland. These two companies, both more than 20 years old, are now known throughout the states. Shipyard is even one of the 15 fastest growing breweries in the country. 

The best way for people to experience the Maine beer hype is by sampling the beers themselves, and the perfect way to do that is on the Maine Beer Trail. Established in 2009, the trail now connects 60 Maine craft breweries. With an easy-to-follow map, the self-guided tours offer visitors samples of handcrafted, artisanal beer. There are breweries both inland and along the coast, in cities and in the mountains. Visit Friars’ Brewhouse in Bucksport where one of the Franciscan Brothers of St. Elizabeth of Hungary brews his trademark Whoopie Pie Porter. The Maine Beer Company gives a percentage of its profits to environmental nonprofits and Penobscot Bay Brewery in Winterport even serves their own beer-flavored ice cream. The Maine Beer Trail Passport is available for download at mainebrewersguild.org. For a guided tour, hop aboard The Maine Brew Bus.

“No two breweries in Maine are alike,” adds Ouellette, “All styles of brewing are represented and each has its own personality. The Beer Trail is a fun and delicious way to experience Maine culture and creativity.” 

To learn more about Maine’s craft breweries, be sure to check out the recently released Maine Thing Quarterly, a multi-media close-up look at all things Maine beer.

Maine’s craft breweries will be featured during Maine Craft Weekend (MCW) Oct. 3 and 4. This statewide tour of Maine craft studios, breweries, and businesses is an opportunity to explore the life and work of craft artists and craft brewers in Maine. The self-guided tour features participants throughout the state who are not regularly open to the public or who have planned special weekend events and demonstrations at their locations.  

Maine Art Museum Trail: “The Director’s Cut”

The Maine Art Museum Trail offers more than 73,000 works of art and “The Director’s Cut” is a special exhibit in 2015 featuring works chosen by the eight museum directors on the Art Trail and highlights a variety of works including paintings, sculpture, paper and photography. The Art Trail runs over 200 scenic miles from Ogunquit to Bangor, and includes eight museums showcasing art, from ancient to contemporary, in collections by the many artists associated with Maine, such as Marsden Hartley, Robert Indiana, Alex Katz, Rockwell Kent, John Marin, and Louise Nevelson. The trail also includes paintings from Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and early American silver and furniture, as well as contemporary prints, photographs, and sculpture from Maine and around the world.  

Performing Arts

Maine’s rich performing arts scene has drawn visitors for well over a century. With numerous venues statewide and a variety of vibrant festivals, there is something for everyone. World-class theater, dance and live music performances have taken center stage throughout the years and 2015 is no exception. Summer’s event calendar is always particularly full and every region of Maine has some truly unique performances. Many communities, including Brunswick, Freeport and Scarborough, also offer free summer concert series, great for family outings. Here are a few performing arts offerings taking place in 2015: 

  • Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Festival – June 17-21. With something for everyone, this is one of the largest family musical events in New England.
  • 15th Annual Deer Isle Jazz Festival – July 31- Aug 1. This year, the festival features New Orlean’s own acclaimed clarinetist, Evan Christopher, and Geri Allen, Detroit-born jazz pianist and singer.
  • The Stonington Opera House offers Live! for $5 performances in July and August featuring an exciting variety of talent from around the world.
  • The Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine has numerous performances by Kids on the Block, a nationwide program using Bunraku-style puppetry. These life-sized educational puppets tell real stories for children.
  • The Lakewood Theater’s 115th season offers 18 weeks full of drama, comedy and music from May through September in Skowhegan. Performances include Inherit the Wind, Damn Yankees and Nice Work if You Can Get It.

Travel + Leisure magazine recently recognized Stone Mountain Arts in Brownfield on their list of “Coolest Music Venues” and we know why. Not only do they book exceptional talent, but the 200-seat timber frame music hall is nestled in the foothills of the beautiful White Mountains.

Another unique venue is Theater at Monmouth, named The Shakespearean Theater of Maine by the Maine State Legislature in 1975. Performances are held in Cumston Hall, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

Check www.visitmaine.com for events and performances taking place in 2015.

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Cold brew, fresh lobster