BIDDEFORD — Most people enjoy popping open a bottle of champagne on New Year’s Eve. But others find tapping a keg more appealing.

So, if you’re a bigger fan of beer than you are bubbly, you might want to ring in the new year at Banded Horn Brewing Company, in the Pepperell Mill Campus at 32 Main St., Wednesday night.

The brewery, which celebrated its one-year anniversary just a couple of weeks ago, is teaming up with Barreled Souls Brewing Company in Saco for what the two breweries are calling their New Year’s Collaboration Celebration.

“They’re closing New Year’s Eve, and we’ll all be over here,” Banded Horn’s founder Ian McConnell said of Barreled Souls in an interview on Monday. “Then, we’re closing New Year’s Day, and we’ll all be over there.”

Wednesday night’s celebration, which begins at 4 p.m., will feature the release of “Banded Souls,” an IPA made with Amarillo hops and lime zest, as well as a countdown to 2015.

“The idea was to make something whimsical and lighter for New Year’s Eve that would still have a slightly higher alcohol content,” said McConnell of the first new beer to be released this week.

On New Year’s Day, the party will move to Barreled Souls, on Route 1 in Saco, where “Hoppin’ John,” a lightly smoked ale brewed with black-eyed peas and rice, will be released for a brunch starting at 11 a.m.

“There’s a traditional southern dish that you eat on New Year’s Day, and it’s supposed to bring you good luck and prosperity in the new year,” said Banded Horn’s brand ambassador Michael “Biggie” Delaney of the second beer to be released this week. “The dish is bacon, black-eyed peas and rice, so the beer was brewed with black-eyed peas and rice, and we’ll serve it with a side of bacon.”

Barreled Souls opened just a few months after Banded Horn did, said McConnell, and a friendship soon formed between the two brewers.

“We immediately got to know them,” he said. “We developed a friendly relationship with them. They’re just great guys to be around, and they make awesome beer.”

Delaney said the idea for the two small, local breweries to collaborate for a New Year’s celebration came simply from a conversation about the holiday.

“We were all talking about what we were going to do on New Year’s,” he said, “and we thought, ”˜Why not just make two beers and do a party at both places?’”

And that’s exactly what will happen this week.

With most New Year’s events happening in Portland, the two breweries wanted to give people in Biddeford and Saco a place to go that’s not too far from home.

“We wanted to give local people a place to come on New Year’s Eve,” said Delaney of Banded Horn’s Wednesday night event. “There’s a high population of people in the mill, who actually live in the mill, so it’s great that they can come home after dinner or whatever their typical New Year’s Eve plans are and finish the night off in town.”

— Staff Writer Angelo J. Verzoni can be contacted at 282-1535 or [email protected]



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