When the sun gets low in the evening, we love to sit back and watch the sand dunes turn gold from across the tidal river. Afternoon heat fades and tips of waves shimmer all the way to the horizon. What better time to match nature’s splendor with some liquid gold of your own — a craft concoction from any of these top five Maine breweries can make the perfect addition to an Ogunquit evening.
Shipyard Brewing Company — Portland
Shipyard is one of the most recognized names in Maine brewing, and with good reason. Their lineup has grown to 20 beers over the last two decades and the Brewers Association ranks them the 25th biggest craft brewery in the country. You can probably find a smattering of their suds back home, but there’s still plenty of reason to stop by as part of a day trip to Portland. See first-hand what the crew’s been up to on an evening brewery tour, or try samples in the tasting room during the day.
Maine Beer Co. — Freeport
Their best-known IPA might be dubbed Lunch, but a pint from Maine Beer Company goes well with just about any time of day on vacation. This Maine brewery is a little further north in Freeport, another 10 minutes past Portland for a total of 50 from here in Ogunquit. Your trip will be rewarded at the eight-tap tasting room, which often features a beer or two that’s not distributed anywhere else. If you’d rather skip the drive and pair Lunch with dinner in Ogunquit, check the current draft list at Cornerstone — our local wood-fired pizza house usually reserves a tap or two for Maine Beer Co.
Oxbow — Newcastle
Belgian lovers, this Maine brewery is for you. Oxbow’s farmhouse brewery takes the best of the monks’ traditions and adds a modern American twist. Bloomberg Business calls it one of the 10 best craft breweries in New England, thanks in part to the liquid innovation known as Saison dell’Aragosta. Don’t be fooled by this beer’s Italian influence: it’s brewed with local sea salt and fresh lobster for a pure Maine flavor profile.
Banded Horn Brewing Co. — Biddeford
Banded Horn is at the heart of an artisanal revival in Biddeford. This Maine brewery set up shop in a 150-year-old repurposed mill, making unique beers alongside woodworkers, visual artists, pie makers, and some 100 other local businesses. The crowdfunded operation campaigned its way to existence on Kickstarter in 2013, but don’t write it off as an internet novelty: local ingredients like Maine-foraged spruce tips keep Banded Horn’s local authenticity score high. If you’re heading up there, bring a paddle. Biddeford Pool is a great place to go kayaking in southern Maine.
Rising Tide Brewing Company — Portland
Another awesome Portland brewery, Rising Tide is family owned and keeps its focus on high-quality small batches. These unfiltered, unpasteurized beers retain all of the flavor and boldness of of the yeast that created them. You can visit the brewery for a tour and fill a growler to bring back to your Ogunquit cottage. Pour your Rising Tide slowly — the yeast will settle to the bottom like coffee grounds from an old-fashioned percolator.
The Maine brewery scene is fermenting faster than we can keep track of — these are five of the best in our opinion, but don’t be afraid to experiment. With the beach by your side, you can’t go wrong. Cheers to Maine beer and relaxing in Ogunquit!