Maine’s newest brewery is pouring beer in Lewiston — it just isn’t selling any yet.

The first of the Baxter Brewing Co.’s Pamola Xtra Pale Ale and Stowaway IPA should reach stores and bars by the end of this month. That’s what Luke Livingston, company founder and president, promised a couple of weeks ago as I was tasting a test batch of the two brews at the company store, which is already open.

Baxter purchased a super-modern 30-barrel brewing system from a West Coast brewer that was expanding to a 60-barrel system and installed it in the historic Bates Mill complex in Lewiston.

The system lets Baxter brew its beer at the highest possible temperature, thus extracting the most possible flavor from the hops; spins it to get rid of hops and grain particles; and ages it at a cooler than normal temperature, giving the beers the crispness of a lager even though they are ales.

The beer will then go into cans for beer stores and supermarkets, and into kegs for bars.

The 30-can-a-minute brewing system is ideal, Livingston said, because cans keep out oxygen and light (enemies of beer), are more environmentally friendly than bottles, and travel better.

When the creation of Baxter Brewing was announced last spring, Livingston expected to be selling beer by October.

“In construction, everything takes longer and costs more than expected,” Livingston said, “especially when you are dealing with a 150-year-old building constructed before there were such things as codes and plans.

“We started working on one floor, and there were four levels of flooring that had to be removed. There was no way to know that beforehand.”

Livingston chose to put his brewery in Lewiston for a variety of reasons. He grew up in Auburn, and it’s sort of like coming home, even though he now lives in South Portland. Also, the price of property is lower in Lewiston-Auburn.

“And it will let us stand out,” Livingston said. “We are the only brewer in Lewiston-Auburn. In Portland, we would be just another face in a crowded crowd.”

Livingston said his beers are very much of the West Coast: hoppy style. As a beer writer and home brewer, he knew the style of beers he wanted to produce. And when he hired Michael LaCharite, who was founder and head brewer at Casco Bay Brewing Co. of Portland, LaCharite agreed on those styles and came up with the recipes.

Eventually, Baxter Brewing Co. will have a full line of regular and seasonal beers, but it’s going to brew just the two styles at first.

Livingston said the test batches I tasted will be a bit different from the final product, because the tests were done in smaller batches and with different equipment.

Both tests were relatively low in carbonation, and the carbonation should be higher in the final product. Livingston said the Pamola Xtra Pale Ale will likely be a little bit paler, and the Stowaway IPA a bit darker orange.

But both beers were good.

The Pamola is an easy-drinking session beer at 4.9 percent alcohol, with a crisp malt flavor and a slight hop bite at the end. It’s the kind of beer that craft beer lovers can enjoy, especially in warm weather and after working on an afternoon, and the kind that could be enjoyed by people who think they favor traditional American lagers.

The Stowaway IPA is a great example of a West Coast IPA. It has an aggressive hoppy aroma at the start and a strong flavor, but you still can taste the malt in the background. The Stowaway, at 6.9 percent alcohol, is a beer you would want to take some time with.

Livingston said the beers have been received well in the market, with a lot of stores and bars agreeing to sell them.

“Hannaford has said they will take all I can send them,” Livingston said. 

MARSHALL WHARF BREWING CO. at 40 Marshall Wharf in Belfast will introduce three barrel-aged beers on New Year’s Day.

David Carlson, founder and owner, said his MacFindlay Scotch Ale, Old No 55 Ale, and Cant Dog IPA all have enjoyed two years aging in 12-year-old Heaven Hills Distillery bourbon barrels. All three beers have been blended with fresh batches of their respective beers and bottled in 22-ounce bottles.

Carlson said a flood at Marshall Wharf forced a one-year delay in the release of the beers.

“These beers have benefitted greatly from another year in the barrel,” he said.

The three beers are the first Marshall Wharf has offered in bottles. Previously, you could get the beer at the Three Tides brew pub, near the brewery, and in growlers.

The only time the three beers will be offered in the Marshall Wharf tasting room before purchase is 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. For information, go to marshallwharf.com, 3tides.com or call 338-1707.

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at:

[email protected]

 

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