Raise a Glass: Maine and New Hampshire Breweries Land Spots in US Top 30
Maine has over 100 local breweries throughout the state, and New Hampshire isn't far behind with 90. Considering that both states have nearly the same populations, that's pretty impressive.
According to the Maine Brewers Guild, the craft brewery scene in Maine began back in 1986 when David Geary opened D.L. Geary Brewing Company in Portland. Before that, you were mostly getting your beer at bars and convenience stores, and they didn't have the wide variety of flavors that local craft breweries produce today.
Between 1986 and 2018, local breweries in Maine grew from just one to 122 active breweries. As of February 2022, there were 165 total between active and licensed breweries.
With over 200 craft breweries between Maine and New Hampshire, you have a lot of choices if you are a beer lover. But which ones of those 200+ breweries are the best?
Vinepair.com asked pub owners and managers, beverage directors, and buyers from some of the country’s top beer pubs what breweries they think should be on the list of the 30 best breweries in the country right now. Maine breweries landed in the top 30 three times, and New Hampshire once. Take a look and see if your favorite craft brewery is among the best in the country.
Allagash Brewing Company - Portland, Maine
"Their beers are mainstays in our beer program. Whether enjoying their flagship witbier, Allagash White or savoring one of their mixed-fermentation or spontaneously fermented beers, you will not be disappointed," said Ailish Gilligan, co-owner of The Publick House in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Fluvial Brewing - Harrison, Maine
“Fluvial is one of those breweries that you stumble upon every once in a while and think, ‘Wow, this place gets it.’ They make approachable beers that are consistent from the first sip to the last. They are located in a rural part of Maine that is almost exactly one hour from Portland," said Michael Black, beer buyer at The King’s Head in Portland, Maine.
Oxbow Brewing Company - Newcastle, Maine
"If there’s one brewery we’ve consistently sought to occupy our farmhouse draft line, it’s Oxbow, the small brewery located roughly an hour northeast of Portland. Oxbow’s name is inspired by its nearby winding rivers, with all beer brewed using the soft spring water pulled from an artesian well on the property," said Chris Maestro, owner of BierWax in Brooklyn, New York.
Schilling Beer Co. - Littleton, New Hampshire
“Schilling, out of Littleton, N.H., the quintessential ‘cute little New England town,’ as I like to call it, makes some excellent Northern and Central European-style beers, including some of the best lagers in the entire country," said Rich Spoehr, manager at Burgundian in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
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