The state of Maine is a common destination for beer lovers, mostly due to the reputation of breweries found in its largest city, Portland. While we definitely have recommendations for breweries you should visit and beers you should try while strolling Portland’s streets, it would be a crime to ignore the countless other exceptional options you’ll find in the “Vacationland” of Maine.
If you’re looking for something more local, you can check out our other Maine brewery articles below.
You can also look at our best breweries in America article if you are looking for something in a different city or state.
One of the best ways to enjoy the natural splendors of Maine’s coast and thriving forests is with a cold 6-pack of the region’s best beer. The question is: which local brewery holds this title and which of their products is superior?
In this article, we’ve provided a list of our top seven breweries in Maine, so you can determine which brewery and beverage win the label of “best in the state.”
- Allagash Brewing Company
- Atlantic Brewing Company
- Baxter Brewing Company
- Bissell Brothers Brewing Company
- Maine Beer Company
- Rising Tide Brewing Company
- Shipyard Brewing Company
Allagash Brewing Company
Anyone trying to visit as many of Maine’s top-tier breweries as they can within a relatively small radius should visit the city of Portland. Once there, your first stop has to be Allagash Brewing Company. Despite being a relatively young brewery (founded in 1994), this Belgian-style beer maker has a profound reputation in the state, often ranking as the local’s favorite.
The first beer you should order is Allagash Brewing Company’s award-winning interpretation of a Belgian-style wheat beer, the Allagash White. The beer is brewed with oats, malted wheat, and raw wheat, resulting in a hazy “white” appearance, and is flavored with hints of coriander and Curaçao orange peel. A close second to this Maine staple would be the brewery’s Curieux. This Belgian Tripel golden ale is another award-winning product spiced with vanilla, caramel, oak, and a hint of bourbon.
Atlantic Brewing Company
In the midst of Acadia National Park, you’ll find the quaint and initially unassuming estate brewery built on the side of a 19th-century Bar Harbor farmstead. This is one of Atlantic Brewing Company’s two locations where they make some of the most exceptional beers ranging in tastes from light and fruity to dark and rich. Keep in mind that their tasting room is only open from May to October, so you’ll have to plan ahead if you want this exclusive experience.
While you munch on this microbreweries saucy BBQ ribs and the youngsters sip on their specialty sodas, you’ll want to place an order for the renowned Blueberry Ale. As the largest producer of blueberries in the United States, Maine is filled with products made from these sweet fruits, and you’ll find no better beer infused with its flavor than this. If you’re not a fan of blueberry, we encourage you to try the brewery’s Coal Porter instead.
Baxter Brewing Company
Baxter Brewing Company prides itself on creating brews that speak to those “with a little extra passion, determination, and grit.” Its hop profile is largely influenced by West Coast IPAs, a relatively modern flavor that starkly contrasts the brewery’s external design of an original mill building. The venue itself is a hotspot for local events, hanging out on the dog-friendly patio, and tasting some of the best ales and IPAs in the state.
A popular beer made by Baxter Brewing Company that appeals to the masses is the Stowaway. This IPA features a bold and bitter but balanced flavor that both veteran and new beer drinkers can enjoy. If you’re into hazy IPAs, then you might want to opt for the Coastal Haze instead with its reduced bitterness allowing its bright citrus aroma to shine through.
Bissell Brothers Brewing Company
Another brewery we highly recommend if you’re near the thriving city of Portland is the Bissell Brothers Brewing Company. Housed in a 100-year-old former railway building, the setting of this brewery has almost as much character as its beers. After initially serving its products in the nearby restaurant, the Thirsty Pig, the Bissell Brothers Brewing Company finally established its own location in 2013 and quickly grew in popularity.
There are two beers that are consistently recommended by this microbrewery: the Substance Ale and Swish. Most people will start with the Bissell Brother’s flagship beer, the Substance, which is a hop-heavy IPA with both bold pine and citrus highlights. Comparatively, the Swish is a double IPA that is an absolute juice bomb.
Maine Beer Company
A destination you’ll see on every beer lover’s travel list who visits Maine is none other than the Maine Beer Company. This brewery is one of the largest in the state and features an uncommonly modern and upscale interior where they serve superb pizzas and offer samples of eight on-tap beers. Some of which are only available for purchase within the brewery itself.
One of the most memorable characteristics of Maine Beer Company is its quirky beer names as seen by two of its best-selling beers: Lunch and Dinner. Lunch is a floral and fruity IPA with surprising hints of onion and garlic whereas Dinner is a Double IPA with a similar flavor palette but more of a malt and caramel aroma. A nice IPA alternative offered here is the Peeper, a dry, well-balanced pale ale featuring notes of pine, raspberry, and strawberry.
Rising Tide Brewing Company
Rising Tide Brewing Company is a small-scale, family-owned brewery with a laid-back, outdoorsy atmosphere. The brewery specializes in artisanal craft beers and follows a communal ethos that “A rising tide lifts all boats.” This is evident in their support of local farmers by using local ingredients in every beer.
This brewery’s beer selection is filled with high-quality products featuring creative flavors, but the favored choice has to be the Daymark. This is a crisp pale ale with a bright, citrusy finish and floral aroma. Another contender would be the Maine Island Trail Ale, which is an IPA with a bright malt body and bold notes of citrus and pine.
Shipyard Brewing Company
Shipyard Brewing Company is another well-renowned brewery that is recognized for setting the groundwork for craft breweries in the state, alongside Allagash Brewing Company. Its creations were first featured in Federal Jack’s Restaurant & Brew Pub until significant demand required founders Fred Forsley and Alan Pugsley to open a separate location dedicated to their popular brews.
Whether you’re visiting Maine during the fall season or not, the two brews you should try are their Pumpkinhead Ale and their Smashed Pumpkin. The first is a crisp, wheat ale that features a delightful pumpkin flavor mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg. The second is a robust brew that is aged in bourbon barrels, resulting in a spiced and slightly sweet bourbon essence mixed with the pumpkin notes.