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Gneiss guys finish first

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Gneiss guys finish first Gneiss guys finish first

Brewery founders coming to Nocturnem

BANGOR Brewing beer has become big business. Here in Maine, we have seen huge growth in the realm of craft breweries in recent years; new companies are cropping up all over the state.

Nocturnem Draft Haus will be playing host to one of those new breweries as part of their delightful Beer School series on Tuesday, February 4. Starting at 6 pm, attendees will get a chance to meet the minds behind Gneiss (pronounced 'nice') Brewing Company, based out of Limerick. Founding partners Dustin Johnson and Tim Bissell will be on hand to discuss the process behind their brewing adventure and to share a selection of the brews they've brought to bear in their first months of operation.

(In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that Tim Bissell is a former employee of The Maine Edge. He is also an exceptional human being just top-notch and his presence here is sorely missed.)

'We're coming to Nocturnem to do two events in one,' said Bissell. 'First, as part of Nocturnem's ongoing Beer Education classes, we will be speaking to the participants of the class about our brewing processes - particularly brewing with wheat, as all of our beers contain 50 percent wheat in the mash.

'In addition to the Beer Education class, we are going to be hanging out in the bar for the rest of the night doing a Meet the Brewers style event,' he continued.  'Gene [Beck, owner of Nocturnem] will have five beers of Gneiss on tap that cover a wide range of what we have produced in our first four months or so of operation.'

Growing a brewery from the ground up is no easy feat. Gneiss (named after the geologic term) was no exception. Luckily for Johnson and Bissell, they didn't have to wander too far from familiar territory.

'We are located on Patterson Road in Limerick,' Bissell said.  'The brewery was built on 8.5 acres of land that Dustin acquired from his family - right next door to where he grew up. Our flagship beer is a German-inspired Weissbier; all of our beers are brewed with wheat and a German hefeweizen yeast.'

The partnership at the center of Gneiss Brewing is built on a foundation of friendship. Johnson and Bissell have been friends since their junior high school days; the two attended Massabesic schools and the University of Maine together. And it was at UMaine that the seeds of their current endeavor were planted.

'We both started brewing in college,' said Bissell. 'I got going first, but he definitely 'caught the bug' and went much further into the hobby than I ever did.'

There's a lot to do when running any business a brewery is no exception. And since it's just the two of them, some of those duties occasionally need to be shared.

'He runs the day-to-day aspects of the brewery and the recipe formulation and I take care of the marketing side of things, design work, website, social media etc.,' Bissell said. 'Although being a two-man staff, we both get our hands dirty on brew days, which can be pretty involved.'

While the two have ventured down south in order to pursue their foamy dreams, they still carry a connection to the area. Bissell especially was enthusiastic about his return.

'It was tough to leave Bangor,' he said. 'But it's a little easier when I can come back with a boatload of beer.'

(Gneiss Brewing Company will be at Nocturnem Draft Haus on Tuesday, February 4 starting at 6 PM. For more information about the event or Beer School in general visit nocturnemdrafthaus.com or find Nocturnem on Facebook.)

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