Visit as many breweries as I can…

IMG_0157This year, as part of my 30 Things to Do Before 31, I am on a the journey of exploring as many breweries as I can and what better place to live in than Denver for this reason along! So here is my ongoing list:

  • Copper Kettle Brewing Co. (Denver)

  • Great Divide Brewery (Denver)

  • Declaration Brewing Co. (Denver)

  • Wynkoop Brewing (Denver)

  • Dry Dock Brewing Co. (Aurora, CO)

  • Riot Brewery (Denver)

  • Lost Highway Brewery (Denver)

  • Ratio Brewery (Denver)

  • Grandma’s House (Denver)

  • Second Street Brewery (Santa Fe, NM)

  • Renegade Brewing Co. (Denver)

  • Oskar Blues Brewery (Lyons, CO)

  • Upslope Brewing Co. (Boulder, CO)

  • Dillon Dam Brewery (Silverthorne, CO)

  • Stem Ciders (Denver)

  • Moab Brewery (Moab, UT)

  • Vernal Brewing Co. (Vernal, UT)

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#21: Tour a Brewery

Cutest brewery...

There is the cutest local brewing company in Bar Harbor, Maine and we toured it!  Atlantic Brewing Co. began as Acadia Brewing Co. in 1990. The facility currently resides on a farmstead from the 19th century where it uses the native vegetation and highlights the local stonework.  It exudes everything that is Bar Harbor: quaint, earthly, inviting, and delicious.

Atlantic Brewing Co.

Atlantic Brewing Co.

I will state here, at the beginning, that neither myself nor the Future Mr. had ever had Atlantic Brewing Co. beer before, so we were in for an adventure.  I have always wanted to tour a brewery, but the idea of touring a massive corporate complex was anything but appealing.  When we drove out of Acadia National Park, we ended up winding through amazing countryside before finding ourselves on Knox Rd.  Atlantic Brewing Co. consists of maybe three or four buildings altogether.  And when I say buildings, what I really mean is a small BBQ joint, an even smaller 19th century farm house turned into a storefront, one building where the brewing occurs, and lastly a building that I am assuming where packaging and all things marketing transpire.  The complex is extremely welcoming and surrounded by lush Maine vegetation.

Mainely Meat BBQ

Mainely Meat BBQ

While waiting for the next tour to began, we found ourselves enjoying some grub at the BBQ joint in front of the storefront. Mainely Meat BBQ was yummy, simple, and straight forward.  The menu is maybe 5 items large where they highlight specific beers to sample with the foods for the ultimate burst of flavors. The food was great and the beer sampling we tried was a tease for what was to come…

During the tour, we had a great guide who passed out the various additives they use in the beer. I learned quite a bit and who doesn’t love show and tell items that are passed around.  I was able to smell, hold, and even taste (if desired) the hops, barely, wheat, and malt pellets.

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We had the chance to see how they release the nitrogen from fermentation in a safe and eco-conscious manner. They attach rubber tubes to the barrels that are placed into a bucket of water at the end.  The nitrogen, when released, causes either roaring bubbles or slight depending upon the pressure build up from the various stages and different additives.

This machine fills the bottles and stamps the labels.  A team both loads the bottles and then puts already full bottles into a case for delivery.  What a mess is someone sneezes and misses the moment when they are supposed to take the bottles off...

This machine fills the bottles and stamps the labels. A team both loads the bottles and then puts already full bottles into a case for delivery. What a mess is someone sneezes and misses the moment when they are supposed to take the bottles off…

Next we saw the small, but powerful machine that fills all of the bottles with beer and stamps their labels. One thing that sets this brewery apart from many others, is that is takes pride in being environmentally friendly.

Barrels where the fermenting happens...

Barrels where the fermenting happens

The waste from the fermentation is broken down and then used on local farms to feed cows and other farm critters.  They also have a compost out back that is then used as a fertilizer for the farm where all of the hops, barley, etc. plants are grown.  Pretty neat stuff. Our guide was great and allowed us to hang back to check out the barrels and machines.  It takes anywhere from 72 hours to a week for the beers to ready for drinking.

Finally, we had a chance to do a beer tasting.  There was yummy ones and then there were a few that I could barely drink down.  The gift shop is equipped with locally canned goods including an amazing mustard and preserved blue berry jam.  I loved my first brewery tour experience!  Just another thing for me to cross off my list of 27 Things to Do Before I’m 28.

Now for a review of what I thought of the actual beer brewed at the Atlantic Brewing Co., here are my top three (keeping in mind that I like darker beers with loads of flavor):

BLUEBERRY

BLUEBERRY

Nearly twenty years ago, a local farmer stopped by our brew pub looking to sell his truck full of wild Maine blueberries, providing the inspiration for our Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale. That year our beer debuted at the first-ever Maine Brewer’s Festival where it was enthusiastically received. This brew stands alone as a beer first, ending with a subtle berry finish. Unlike many fruit beers on the market, which are imbalanced with sweetness our amber ale isn’t overly fruity—just enough berry flavor to complement the hops.

  • Brewed Since: 1993
  • Yeast: Nottingham
  • Hops: Pilgrim, Wye Goldings
  • Malts: Pale, Wheat, Munich
  • ABV: 5.1%
ISLAND GINGER

ISLAND GINGER

Our original brewery was located next to a Thai restaurant. We absorbed the ginger aroma constantly wafting through the walls and finally gave in and decided to try brewing with it. We knew that a good brew needs a crisp finish to balance the sweetness of the malts. Usually hops serve this purpose, but in this beer ginger root does most of the “hopping.” The result is a delicately spiced brew with an exotic flavor profile.

  • Brewed Since: 1993
  • Yeast: Nottingham
  • Hops: Pilgrim, Wye Goldings
  • Malts: Pale, Wheat
  • ABV: 5.7%
COAL PORTER

COAL PORTER

There is a much debate in the brewing world about the difference between porters and stouts. At one time the two were even considered synonyms. Nowadays porters are often more malted, while stouts tend to be more roasted in flavor. When we decided to add a dark beer to our repertoire we chose to pursue the rich, chocolate tones of a porter. This ale continues to gather accolades in the beer world for its strong malt backbone and well-balanced, bitter hops.

  • Brewed Since: 1993
  • Yeast: Nottingham
  • Hops: Wye Goldings, Pilgrim
  • Malts: Pale, Crystal, Black, Wheat, Chocolate, Munich
  • ABV: 5.6%
Atlantic Brewing Co. in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Atlantic Brewing Co. in Bar Harbor, Maine.

All in all, it is a fairly small operation, but one that makes pretty awesome beers.  This is a Must. Do. for anyone that is visiting Bar Harbor, Maine!