Jon Stein (l.) and Ian Heyse (r.) of Fogtown Brewing Co. participate in the Autumn Gold Beer and Wine Tasting in Ellsworth on Sept., 22.” Image courtesy of Fogtown Brewing Co.
By Chris Sweet
The 6th annual Portland Beer Week kicks off during the first week of November running from the 5th through the 11th. This year, Beer Weekers can enjoy 54 discreet events including a Pro-Am Competition at Salvage BBQ on Nov. 6 where local homebrewers are featured side-by-side with the pros. Check in with @PortlandBeerWeek for all the details.
The day after PBW ends, the Maine Brewer’s Guild keeps things rolling with Freshmen Orientation 2017 on Nov. 12 at Bayside Bowl. This year’s freshman class showcase includes: Battery Steele; Cushnoc Brewing; Drumming Grouse Brewery; Flight Deck Brewing; Fogtown Brewing; Goodfire Brewing; Island Dog Brewing; Lake St. George Brewing; Machias River Brewing; Nonesuch River Brewing; North Haven Brewing; Woodland Farms Brewery; & Yes Brewing.
Two of those freshman breweries, Fogtown and Lake St. George, are new to this columnist. Fogtown is poised to become Ellsworth’s first brewery when it opens at the end of October. Founded by longtime friends Jon Stein and Ian Heyse Fogtown features a Maine-made 7-bbl brewing system. Fogtown’s malts are locally-sourced and the beers will the be pilsener focused with some ales brewed with locally foraged herbs and spices. Barrel-aged stouts and sours are also slated to join the tap list. Fogtown aims to become a community space fostering art, music, education as well as courses on brewing.
The other new (to me) freshman brewery is Lake St. George Brewing in Liberty and it’s a bit of a misnomer to call LSGBC a freshman since it’s not actually a new brewery. LSG was first opened in the ’90s and recognized as Maine’s sixth brewery. Longtime brewer Danny McGovern co-founded LSG before moving on to Belfast Bay Brewing and then Marshall Wharf Brewing where owner David Carlson purchased LSG’s original 7-bbl brewing system. McGovern recently opened Monhegan Island Brewing with this daughter and son in-law. The resurrection of Lake St. George Brewing is truly a family affair with six family members taking a partnership stake, Danny; Carol (wife); daughters Mary and Elizabeth; and sons-in-law Matt and Jeffrey.
The Maine Brewer’s Guild also announced the first annual Winter Session Beer Festival on Jan. 13, 2018, featuring Maine breweries, local food, and of course local beers. The Winter Session will be held inside the Brick South building at Thompson’s Point in Portland and like the popular Summer Session it will invite an out-of-state guest brewer or two to join the fun.