In terms of beer, we have an embarrassment of riches here in Maine. My apartment is literally a few miles away from the Allagash, Geary, Gritty McDuff and Shipyard breweries. From my local beer shops I can pick up bombers, growlers or sixers from most of Maine’s twenty-plus breweries and brewpubs. On top of that, our state has an increasing number of imports from other states and countries. In the last few months alone, Stone and Victory have appeared in Maine, and the number of offerings from Brooklyn and Rogue have jumped. Add to that the multitude of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts beers that have been available for years. Nevertheless, I find myself pining for brews I have tried at beer fests and drank regularly when I lived in Juneau. While this is by no means a comprehensive list, it does include the “most wanted” of beers you just can’t get there from here.
A great example of an APA. My memories of this are probably colored more by my memories of living in Juneau than the actual quality, but I’d still love to get my hands on another sixer.
Troeg’s Nugget Nectar
One of the only imperial ambers I have ever had, and it impressed me enough at the Extreme Beer Fest in Boston to trade for a few bottles. A strong, malty beer with tons of hop flavor but no unbalanced bitterness – a rare gem.
Surly is the youngest of the breweries on this list, and unfortunately has the smallest distribution. If you ever find yourself in a position to pick up any of these beers, get as many as you can. Seriously. Surly brews what they want to brew rather than sticking to any style guidelines, and this leads to some awesome, unique beers. Plus, all of Surly’s beers are only available in cans – how cool is that?
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout / Milly’s Tennessee TNT
I have a weakness for beer aged in whiskey and bourbon barrels, and – other than a few selections in Allagash’s quiver – there are no brews in our neck of the woods flavored this way. The stout takes on a wonderful oaky flavor from bourbon casks, and the TNT (a barleywine) is made doubly good by being blended with a favorite of mine – Jack Daniels.
Terrapin Wake and Bake Coffee Oatmeal Stout
Even among all of Terrapin’s great beers, the Wake and Bake stands out as an awesome beer. Imagine if a cup of coffee and an oatmeal cookie gave birth to a tasty, liquid, beer-y child (in an appetizing way).
New Belgium Fat Tire
My favorite amber being brewed today. Perfectly balanced with roasted malt shining through, I’ve already traded with friends out west to get this multiple times.
Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout
It’s a shame that all the Maine beers flavored with the state’s most famous berry are light, wheat ales. Dark Horse does berry stout right with a filling, chocolaty beer.
Ramstein Winter Wheat
The best weizenbock I’ve found outside of Schneider Aventinus. Smooth – rich, spicy and a bit fruity.
To be fair, the Westvleteren Trappist 12 is pretty impossible to get anywhere, not just in Maine. The beer has a cult following and a sterling reputation; I’ve been lucky enough to have it once and can confirm both are well-deserved.
I’ll cut it off there, if only to dam my watering mouth. If you have access to any of these, go ahead and check out my beer list from the top of the page. I love sharing the goodness of Maine beer as much as trying things “from away”, and would be thrilled to set up a trade.