Split Rock Distilling, Newcastle, ME

 

We were in the coastal Maine area near the end of summer to visit with Megan’s Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. We went on a mini-alcohol tour featuring two breweries and a distillery.

Split Rock Distilling was our second stop after Boothbay Craft Brewery. Split Rock is located in Newcastle, Maine, which is just a short drive from Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta.

Split Rock is named after the road traveled by owners Matt and Topher in order to meet. Each spirit is small batch, created with organic grains, organic fruit and organic sugar. Yes, their creations are all organic!

 

Megan and Mark

 

Split Rock is an inviting place, whether you spend your time outside or inside. Plenty of tables and games are available outside, as well as local food vendors (check out their facebook and website for who is coming next!).

 

Jenn and Aunt Terri waiting for us outside

 

Scheduled food truck

 

Washers

 

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Inside, you step up to the bar to try a sample, or buy a mixed drink using their organic spirits.

Matt, one of the owners/distiller, served us our samples. Organic Blueberry Vodka, Organic White Whiskey, Organic Bourbon Whiskey and Organic Gin.

Organic Blueberry Vodka
Uncle Steve and Aunt Terri had two bottles of this at their Maine house… so Megan knew we were in for a treat. Split Rock takes their Organic Vodka and steeps Native Maine blueberries to create each batch. It was very strong, as you would hope a vodka is. After trying it straight, we tried it with a bit of lemonade, and it became the perfect summer drink.

Organic White Whiskey
Made from corn, barley and wheat. Megan was impressed with how smooth it was! It was a bit too harsh for Uncle Steve to enjoy straight.

Organic Bourbon Whiskey
This is Uncle Steve’s favorite. Their White Whiskey, barrel aged for 3-5 months in 5 gallon barrels. Very good, even smoother than the White Whiskey.

 

 

Organic Gin
Their recipe is top secret, but this is the second Gin Megan has actually liked. Usually, when she thinks of Gin, she thinks of the time when one of her friends handed her a gin and tonic and it was quickly passed along … Their organic Gin is citrus forward, with a peppery throat. Star anise is present as well. Complex, in a wonderful way!

 

Prefer a cocktail?

One of Uncle Steve’s favorite items there is organic maple syrup they sell made in Jackson, Maine. Frontier SugarWorks currently ages their organic maple syrup in Split Rock’s Bourbon Whiskey barrels. They didn’t have any available at this time, but they expect it to come in again this fall.

We also had the opportunity to try a secret project Matt is working on…

This was absolutely AMAZING, and we hope that you are able to make it for more than just for personal use.

Matt telling Mark about the distilling process

 

What to go home with?

 

Enjoyed a cocktail while you were there? All ingredients are available to take home, and recreate the perfect cocktail!

 

We ended up buying a bottle of Gin, Bourbon and Blueberry Vodka!

 

Want to visit?

Normal Tasting Room Hours
Open on the 4th of July
Monday – Thursday: Noon – 6 pm
Friday and Saturday: Noon – 7 pm
Sunday Noon – 5 pm
or by appointment call 563-2669

 

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Barreled Souls, Saco, ME

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We visited Barreled Souls in the late summer. They are located in Saco, ME and as the name suggests, they make all barrel fermented beer.

 

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The entrance is around back, in the basement level. It was a little dark in there, nice atmosphere, but due to this, not all of our pictures came out that great. The have an outdoor area where you can sit in the nice weather.

 

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Of course they have lots of cool furniture made from old barrels.

 

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Our tasting:
Tequila Barrel Aged Space Gose
– 5.6%
A slight tartness up front, then tequila flavor takes over. It is light in body and tastes like a tequila beer, we liked it!

 

MEmosa – 5.8%
Flavorful for what is described as a ‘light, clean blonde ale’. A little citrus up front with a hoppy finish. Light, refreshing and bubbly.

 

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Quaker State with Chocolate and Orange – 6.8%
Aged in Woodford Reserve Barrels, you get some chocolate flavors, a little citrus, then the bourbon flavor takes over. An interesting combo, and well done, definitely a heavy barrel aged beer, but tasty.

 

Mocha Grande – 7.5%
Megan says ‘It’s coffee’. It tastes more like coffee than beer, certainly does not taste like 7.5%. Megan liked it better than Mark. It is a ‘brown ale with french roast coffee and a nutty, malty finish’.

 

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Munro – 9.7%
Labeled as a ‘strong scotch ale’. Very tasty, they described it best, ‘rich malt flavors, reminiscent of dark caramel, fig jam, and a light smoke’. Yup, rich, dark tasty with a hint of fruit.

 

Big Boy – 11.9%
This is a ‘barleywine with toffee malt flavors’. Mark is not a big fan of barley wines, so it was just ok, not our style but figured we would give it a shot.

 

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They also had a home brew competition running while we were there, you could taste and vote on the best home brew. We did not end up trying these, but that is cool that they do that for those who are local.

It seems like they have a rotating tap list, so there is always something new and different on. We liked most of the beers and can certainly see ourselves going back another time.

 

Hours

Wednesday and Thursday: 4:00 – 10:00
Friday: 4:00 – 12:00
Saturday: 12:00 – 12:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 8:00

Geaghan Brothers Pub and Craft Brewery, Bangor, ME

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After spending the day drinking around Maine with Amanda, we decided to finish the night off with apps and beers at Geaghan Brothers Pub and Craft Brewery in Bangor, Maine. It is connected to a small hotel, and next door to the casino and appears to be at the beginning of the downtown Bangor area.

We ended up getting a table in the bar area because it was still crowded at 8:30pm on a Saturday night.

 

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From looking around on their website, it looks like Geaghans Pub has been family owned since 1975. They started brewing their own beer in 2011, and they are still owned and operated by members of the Geaghan family.

 

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Our beers:

Refueler – american style wheat – 5.25%
Definite wheat beer taste, has a slight hoppy taste. Megan didn’t like it, Mark and Amanda did.

 

Linemen – pale ale – 5.4%
Fairly standard pale ale, Mark thought it was just ok, light, with a touch of sweetness. It is ‘designed for the domestic beer drinker’ so it doesn’t have as much flavor or hops as we would like, made for the brew pub drinker who doesn’t really like craft beer.

 

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Presque Isle – honey blonde ale – 5.5%
Light blonde ale, very subtle sweetness, has a dry malty body. Megan and Amanda liked it, Mark thought it was ok.

 

Smiling Irish Bastard – american pale ale – 6%
Very strong hop smell, tastes strong, like and IPA. Mark likes it, strong hop flavor, not much of malt profile, but does have a little bit of a hop bite. Dry hopped with Cascade and Columbus hops.

 

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Higgins Irish Red Ale – 5.9%
A malt forward flavor, but light in body, good overall taste, pretty solid red ale.

 

Bangor Tiger – IPA – 7%
Strong IPA, citrusy and lime, a little bitter. Not Mark’s favorite IPA combo, but it was pretty good. Megan and Amanda did not like it.

 

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sometimes, after a day of drinking, water is a great beverage

 

Bangor Brown Ale – 5.11%
A light, malt forward brown ale, light chocolate taste with a bitter hop taste, a ‘true american style brown ale’. Mark liked the strong and complex flavor, Amanda and Megan not so much.

 

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Dad’s Oatmeal Stout – 5.5%
A strong and roasty flavor, definite dark coffee taste with a slight bitterness.

 

 

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Pub Cheese

 

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Irish Nachos

 

Want to visit?
Hours of Operation

Sunday – Thursday 11:00am – 11:00pm (Kitchen closes at 10pm)
Friday – Saturday 11:00am – 1:00am  (Kitchen closes at 12am)

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And a giant statue of Paul Bunyan next door, because, ya know, it’s Maine.

Atlantic Brewing Company, Bar Harbor, ME

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Our 3rd stop in Bar Harbor was at Atlantic Brewing Company, Amanda was with us. They have a whole compound with the brewing facility, tasting room and store, as well as Mainely Meat BBQ. We did not take the tour, but were able to taste all the beers on tap.

 

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Atlantic Brewing Company was started in 1990, as Acadia Brewing. They have moved and upgraded several times, and now run a 15 barrel system that they use for everything. Atlantic Brewing actually bought out Bar Harbor Brewing, the owners of Bar Harbor Brewing were ready to retire and sell. Atlantic Brewing Company now owns and still operates out of both facilities.

 

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They are just starting to run small batch brews on a small 7 barrel system to experiment with new styles and flavors on a smaller scale. They don’t want to tie their bigger system up with large amounts of test or experimental beers.

 

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Our Tasting:

Summer Ale – 4.2%
Made with German hops, has a Pilsner taste, but not a bad Pilsner taste. Good, really light flavor. Megan and Amanda thought it was nondescript.

 

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Blueberry Ale – 5.1%
Real strong Blueberry smell, and strong Blueberry taste. Blueberries are added during fermentation with yeast, which gives it the strong blueberry taste. Better Blueberry beer than Bar Harbor Blueberry.

 

Real Ale – 4.8%
This is their lightest beer besides the Summer Ale which is just seasonal. Light in body, decent flavor, hint of caramel, from a quick malt dip??? This was Amanda’s favorite, Mark and Megan both liked it as well.

 

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040609 Double IPA – 6.8%
Good IPA, a hint of piney hops, with a touch of citrus, fairly strong flavor. Made with Columbus and Centennial hops. Not Mark’s favorite style IPA, Amanda thought it was bitter with a hint of Grapefruit.

 

Coal Porter – 5.6%
Chocolate malts gives it a chocolate flavor. Light in body, hops added to give it a dry finish, Megan and Amanda thought it was ok, Mark liked it.

 

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Ellen’s Coffee Stout – 5.4%
They used 50 gallons of cold brewed coffee in this beer. A milk stout, good body, really good flavor, we all liked it, and bought some.

 

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Extra tasting, because we saw it and asked for it:

Island Ginger – 5.7%
30lbs of crushed ginger root added to this wheat ale. Light in body, ginger bite is boiled away so it has a lighter ginger taste. Amanda thought it was too carbonated and lacking that strong ginger taste, not bad but not great.

 

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After the tasting we sat outside and ate at Mainely Meats BBQ. They have seating inside as well as outside.

 

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The food was great and we got a ton of it. Enough for dinner for the 3 of us, a late snack, and several days of lunch for Mark.

 

With dinner we tried:

Brother Adams Honey Bragget – 10.5%
Smells sweet, heavy, malty, but sweet taste. Amanda thought it had a viscous mouthfeel, we agree. It is ‘brewed in the fall, cellared over the winter, like a desert wine, made to be sipped’.

 

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Macfoochies Scottish Ale
‘Sweet and full bodied, with a low hop profile’. Mark agree’s, full bodied, touch of sweetness, he liked it for a Scottish ale, robust but not overly strong. Amanda thought it was too heavy, she was hoping for more of a Red Ale flavor.

 

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Mark tasting Mafoochies

 

 

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Megan was not a fan of Mafoochies

 

They make their own root beer, Amanda thinks it was pretty standard. Mark liked it, a good flavorful Root Beer.

 

Brewery Hours
Monday – Sunday: 
10:00 am-5:00 pm

As always, check Facebook or their website for the most up to date information.

 

Other places to visit nearby

Bar Harbor Cellars

Bar Harbor Brewing

Tree Spirits Winery and Distillery in Oakland ME

Dragonfly Farm and Winery in Stetson, ME

 

 

 

Bar Harbor Cellars, Bar Harbor, ME

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While on our trip to Bar Harbor with Amanda, we of course we had to stop at Bar Harbor Cellars Winery and Vineyard. They are located just outside the downtown area on Sweet Pea’s Farm. There is a nice, big shop and tasting room as well as a cafe.

 

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Most of their wine is made from grapes they purchase from Europe. They buy just the vintages that they like, so they are getting exactly what they want. The wines are styled after the area the grapes come from. They are sent to Italy and pressed to their specifications, then shipped to Quebec and down to Maine, being kept cold the whole time.

 

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Old fashioned press

 

They ferment with just the natural sugars from the grapes; they do not use any added sugars. They do grow some grapes on site, but not nearly as much as they need. Maine is not the most ideal place to grow grapes.

 

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Our tastings:

Riesling 2013
This was a fairly dry Riesling with a hint of sweetness, and a dry finish.

 

Gewurztraminer 2013
This was a little sweeter than the Riesling, but still fairly dry.

 

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Syrah 2013
This was a bit sweet, a little black cherry flavor. It was good, we all liked this. Would pair well with a bold cheese or chocolate.

 

Pinot Noir 2012
Amanda was the only one to taste this one. She really liked it, light enough for summer, but enough body for the winter, with a smooth taste.

 

Red Zinfandel 2013
Peppery, a real intense wine. Definitely made for having with a meal.

 

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Megan picking out some wine

 

Fruit & Sweet Grape Wines

Apple-Blend
We liked this, a sweet wine, but a good sweet, not overly sweet or sugary tasting, light in body, easy drinking.

 

Cranberry
Strong Cranberry taste, almost taste liked cranberry juice.

 

Black Curant-Apple
Made as a desert wine. 40% apple and 60% black currant. Complex for a fruit wine, lots of interesting flavors. Mark and Amanda liked this, told it goes well with spicy food.

 

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Apple-Raspberry
40% apple and 60% raspberry, Megan described it as jam like.

 

Icewine Cab. France
A rare, red ice wine, made with 2,000 – 3,000 grapes, in each bottle. Sweet, but a complex flavor. Really good, Mark tasted apricot, Megan said Fig, good either way, but more on the expensive side as it is an ice wine.

 

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They have a cool, rustic barn building with all sorts of local treats as well as all their wine for sale. The tasting bar is pretty big with plenty of room at the back of the barn.

 

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There were these really cool fountains outside made from old wine barrels. They are just outside Cafe entrance, which we did not have a chance to eat at.

 

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Megan and Amanda with their wine selections

 

 

Regular Hours

Opened Memorial Day to Columbus Day

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

 

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Our other stops along the way…

Bar Harbor Brewery only 1 mile away.

Tree Spirits Winery and Distillery in Oakland, ME

Dragonfly Winery in Stetson, ME

Oak Pond Brewing Company in Skowhegan, ME

Bar Harbor Brewing Company, Bar Harbor, ME

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We visited Bar Harbor Brewing Company on a recent trip to visit our friend Amanda, up in the Bangor, ME area. They are located in the heart of downtown Bar Harbor, right in the middle of all the shops.

 

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Amanda, Meg and Mark

They have a pretty decent sized tasting room and gift shop for a downtown location. They have been making beer since 1990. In 2008, Atlantic Brewing acquired the Bar Harbor Brewing brands after the original owners retired.  They still brew the award-winning Thunder Hole Ale and Cadillac Mountain Stout with their original recipes. Bar Harbor is a line of Atlantic Brewing.

 

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can’t find them and are in Bar Harbor? Look for this sign!

 

 

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All three of us purchased a flight, for $5 a piece. Amanda and Megan were going to split one but decided against it due to the size of the pours. For $5 a person, we each received cute keepsake glass and a 2 ounce taste of the 4 beers they had on tap. They also offer larger pours of the beer as well as wine from Bar Harbor Cellars (another sister location).

 

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Mark and Amanda are ready to taste some beers!

Our tasting:

True Blue
A light wheat ale, light in body, strong blueberry smell, slightly lighter blueberry taste. Megan said it was a good balance of flavors. Brewed as a wheat ale with blueberries added while conditioning in the brite tank.

 

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True Blue

 

 

Thunder Hole
A brown ale with a sweeter malt forward taste, light in body with a good flavor. Amanda said, wow, toasty. We all liked this beer.

 

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thunder hole

 

 

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Cadillac Mountain Stout – 7%
Smokey taste up front, hints of coffee, medium to heavy body. There was no dry finish like with a typical stout. Mark liked this.

 

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Cadillac mountain stout

 

New Guy IPA
Smells of grapefruit, but taste was more of a piney IPA. Made with pale malt and Columbus hops. It was ok, not Mark’s favorite style of IPA, and too hoppy for Amanda and Megan.

 

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new guy ipa

 

 

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Amanda’s ‘too hoppy for me’ face

 

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Atlantic Brewing makes Blueberry and Root Beer.

 

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Swag

 

 

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and plenty of beer.

 

Our beertender was friendly, as were the other staff members working there.

 

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Meg and Mark=brewwinefun 🙂

 

Want to visit?

Hours of operation:
Monday-Sunday 10a-7pm
As always, check before going especially in the winter!

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Tree Spirits Winery & Distillery, Oakland, ME

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On a recent trip through Maine to the Bangor area, we stopped at Tree Spirits Winery & Distillery, located in Oakland, ME. They have a nice little shop with a bar and stools for a tasting area.

 

Owner Bruce Olsen has been making wine since 1977. Around 2009 he began experimenting with distilling his wines to make Brandy and other spirits. In 2012 they expanded the business and their offerings.

 

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There were two tastings available, with and without Absinthe. Each tasting included 5 offerings of your choice.

Our tastings:

Pear Extra Dry
Sparkling wine, a little dry with a subtle pear taste.

Apple Picnic Wine
Light, crisp, not too dry but not too sweet. Perfect.

 

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Apple Extra Dry
Lots of fizz and sparkle. Sweet with apple taste, they say ‘delicious and crisp’, we agree! We went home with a bottle of this one.

Pom Sublime
Very sweet and juice like. Originally developed as a mixer, but some people liked it so much people do both with it, use it as a mixer and drink it straight. Definitely a fun summer drink mixer. We bought a bottle, will probably do both with it. Made with their Applejack, pomegranate juice, lime juice, ginger bitters.

 

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Maple Storm
Blend of their Maple Wine and Knotted Maple Spirits. Interesting maple flavor, Megan said sweet like syrup. Has a good taste, that sugary taste with a bite of booze, we both liked it, and bought 2 bottles.

 

Applejack
This is made as essentially a type of Brandy, though it can not be called Brandy because Brandy has to be distilled from grape wine. It was originally made it clear, but people didn’t want Brandy that was clear, they expected it to be brownish. They started barrel aging it for 2 months just to give it that color. We actually like the clear, unaged version better. Smelled and tasted a little bit more fruity.

 

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Maple Jack L- finished product, R- before being barrel aged

 

Knotty Maple – 80 proof
Strong alcohol taste with a light maple finish. It has a good taste, not too sweet which is good. It is basically a brandy, but not distilled from a grape made wine.

 

Absinthe Verte – 130 proof
The only asbinthe produced in New England, and one of only a few produced in the US.  They start with their Applejack and use organic herbs — anise, fennel, wormwood, petite wormwood, hyssop and lemon balm. Megan tasted this, very strong straight. It was then mixed  with sugar water for us and it was much tastier then.

 

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The owner was the one serving us, and was very welcoming and knowledgeable, of course. He told us a lot about the spirits and wines, the process and the story behind them. He was a good storyteller, which made the tasting not only tasty, but informative and fun.

 

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With their set up, it is easier to create more spirits than wines.

 

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Still in the back room.

 

 

Want to visit?
Hours
Wednesday – Saturday: 12:00 – 5:30

As always, check Facebook or their website for updated hours. Hours may
be different during the winter

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Other Places Nearby:

Dragonfly Farm and Winery, Stetson, ME

Oak Pond Brewing Company, Skowhegan, ME

The Liberal Cup Public House and Brewing Company, Hallowell, ME