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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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The Three Pint Stance (05-18-2016)

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Hit the trail

One of the most enjoyable parts of the craft beer hobby is exploring all the new and interesting flavors out there today. The explosion of small and mid-sized local breweries across the state has also led to another sort of exploration - hunting down and visiting all of these breweries!

The best way to experience a brewery is to go straight to the source. Thanks to Maine's relatively relaxed tasting room laws, breweries are able to host guests and allow them to sample their wares and even leave with some to drink later. Sure, buying bottles or cans of the local brew at the local brew shop is convenient, but there is no substitute for drinking the beer where it was made.

Now, Maine is a fairly big state, and with well over 50 breweries operating in the state, visiting them all is certainly a feat to achieve. Since 2009, the Maine Brewer's Guild has put together the Maine Beer Trail, a comprehensive list of each member brewery. The first edition of the Maine Beer Trail had 14 breweries listed, and the January 2016 revision has 56 breweries listed (with more to be added next year!).

Some things to remember about the Maine Beer Trail and visiting Maine breweries:

- To cross a brewery off your list, you must visit the actual brewery and have a member of the brewery staff sign your Maine Beer Trail Passport. You can't get it signed at a brewfest or other brewery event and have it still count no cheating!

- There are prizes! If you send in your passport with 10-19 breweries visited, you will receive a Maine Brewer's Guild hat. If you have 20 or more (but not total completion) they will send you a Maine Brewer's Guild t-shirt. If you complete the entire beer trail, you will get a Brewer's Prize Pack filled with Maine beer goodies!

- In Portland and Bangor, there are beer touring companies that run tours of a number of local breweries. In the Greater Bangor area, you have The Growler Bus; in the Greater Portland area, Maine Beer Tours and the Maine Brew Bus operate a variety of tours. There is an added cost for the convenience of having someone drive you to all the breweries, but it's a small price to pay for that convenience couples with the knowledge and access a tour like that provides. (Note: All three companies are highly recommended by the Three Pint Stance.)

- Being a large state, there are certainly going to be long drives involved. Always plan ahead, designate a driver and drink responsibly. Remember to stop for food before you get too far into your beer tour. And as always - pace yourself.

To download a copy of the Maine Beer Trail passport, visit

What's in my glass?

Brewery: Rising Tide Brewing Company (Portland, ME)

Beer: Maine Island Trail Ale

ABV: 4.3%

Since its inception a few years back, Rising Tide's Maine Island Trail Ale (MITAle) has been the quintessential session beer in the state of Maine. It is crisp, hoppy and refreshing, the perfect thing for enjoying summer in New England. This beer gets its name due to the fact that Rising Tide donates a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Maine Island Trail Association, which according to is, 'a water trail spanning over 200 islands and coastal sites along the 375 miles of the coast of Maine.'

So, good beer for a good cause; win-win! MITAle is available throughout the summer season in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans and on draft as well.

(Tim Bissell is the co-owner and Director of Marketing for Gneiss Brewing in Limerick, Maine. Find out more about Gneiss by visiting their website at


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