The brew – called Block Party IPA – is the result of a collaboration between Black Bear Brewing, Marsh Island Brewing and Orono Brewing Company. And the owners and operators of all three came together at the Black Bear Brewing tasting room on April 1 to celebrate the new beer’s release.
The beer was also being poured at Woodman’s and at the Orono Brewing Company tasting room, though not at Marsh Island’s tasting room due to the specifics of licensing (OBC was able to pour because their facility was the one used for the actual brewing).
As part of the release, one dollar from each pint sold was donated to the New England Mountain Bike Association; the money is earmarked for improving and marking a local mountain bike trail there in Orono.
Tim Gallon of Black Bear, Clay Randall of Marsh Island and Asa Marsh-Sachs of OBC came together a few weeks ago to create this brand-new brew.
As for the beer itself, Block Party IPA sits at 6.7 percent ABV and 53 IBUs. Described as “citrusy and bright,” it features heavy late hop additions of Azacca, Topaz and Cashmere. It is double dry-hopped and features Maine-grown grains from Maine Malt House, Maine Grains and Blue Ox Malt House.
Abe Furth, one of the owners of Orono Brewing Company, was thrilled with the outcome of the collaboration.
“Something like this is great,” he said. “It has been fun to work together with these guys. You can see that there’s room for all of us to succeed.”
Furth went on to praise the accomplishments of his fellow brewers, waxing enthusiastically about the quality of both their products and their personalities. He also said that one of the questions that he most often hears is whether or not the three breweries get along. They do, but it’s understandable that some people might have doubts – after all, you’ve got three similar businesses all doing their thing within sight of one another.
Still, a rising tide raises all boats. And through cooperation, Black Bear, Marsh Island and OBC can turn their corner of Orono into a craft beer destination. In some senses, they’re already on their way - a group of beer fans trekked all the way from Boston to join in on this collaboration celebration.
Newly improved bike trails can only help the cause as well, adding another benefit – for locals and tourists alike - to making the trip to Orono. In fact, the three breweries will be coming together again later this spring to volunteer for a trail building day.
“We’re doing fun stuff together,” Furth said. “Great things are happening.”