In a state full of quaint seaside towns surrounded by shipyards, lighthouses, and lobster shacks, you may come across the nondescript town of Ellsworth, Maine. But this town hosts a brewery that is far from nondescript. Walking off the beaten path of downtown Ellsworth, one begins to wonder if they made a wrong turn. Surrounded by houses boasting needs of a fresh coat of paint or two and sidewalks weather-worn and cracked, Fogtown Brewing Company is discreetly, but not secretly, hidden at the bottom of a San Francisco style hill behind some run-of-the mill bushes.
Fogtown Brewing, created from a simple dream of two twenty-something best buds, rose from the ashes of a basement house brilliantly utilizing the gently sloping driveway as a quaint beer garden complete with space for budding musicians and a food truck that serves flatbread pizzas just as top-notch as the beers we drank that evening.
Ian and Jon, both musicians and long-time friends started brewing before heading off to college in Colorado Springs and came back to their home state of Maine to create Ellsworth’s unique brewery. Although Fogtown has been open for less than a year, it feels as though it has been a part of the community forever. Not only are Ian and Jon the creators of this place, but more importantly, they are the faces behind the bar as well, casually conversing with customers like everyone is an old-time friend. You will never feel like a stranger here.
These two entrepreneurs and musicians are also quite handy with building materials, crafting the brewery with their own two hands from reclaimed wood, barnboard, and any unique materials they may come across in their wanderings. And the beers have the same integrity and authenticity. Made from locally sourced malts and locally foraged herbs and spices, the beers range from pilsners to beer made with seaweed to barrel-aged stouts, gin-aged IPA’s, and everything in between.
So, If you ever find yourself in the northeastern corner of the US, Fogtown Brewing Company in Ellsworth, Maine, is a place to seek out. And not just for the beer, but for the company that Jon and Ian keep, giving you a place to come home to, even if home is thousands of miles away.
We loved all of the beers on tap when we visited Fogtown; however, we especially loved the ones listed below, but you will have to pay Ian and Jon a visit to decide your own favorites.
- Scupper (Saison/Farmhouse Ale) 5.4% Made with Maine seaweed, spelt, and barley, this saison has a unique taste (not sure how to define it), but oh, it was exceptional. I would go back just for this beer; it must have something to do with the Maine seaweed.
- Night Nurse (Belgian Strong Dark Ale) 7.1% This is an exemplary drink for a cool Maine evening hanging out with friends. The hints of dark chocolate and raisins are scrumptious.
- Po-Tee Wheat (Wheat) 4.6% Unique combinations of potatoes, local barley, red wheat, and apricot give this beer impeccable amounts of flavor while still keeping the perfection of wheat beers many of us love.
- Moonjuice (Session IPA) 4.8% Aged 6 months in gin barrels with juniper and cardamom, this bottle-only special was one we couldn’t resist and haven’t even tasted yet. But knowing the others, we are sure this will not disappoint.
P.S. Living a Stout LIfe is in its formative and teenage years, still trying to figure out its true identity, and while beer is a large part of it, community, connections, and stories are more. Because of this and the fact that we visit many wonderful places, not only breweries (and drink many exceptional beers and cocktails), we have decided to change the “Beer of the Week” to “Stout Life Approved.” This way we can give you, our constant reader, a community and a sense of place and home no matter where home happens to be.
To check out previous Stout Life approved stories, click here.
Until next week…Cheers, Salud, Afya!
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