Herbie loved a good drink of water from a hard rain. We’ll never know how he felt about beer.

Herbie – once the largest American Elm tree in New England – was born in Yarmouth in 1793, the same year that King Louis XVI was executed via guillotine during the French Revolution. More than two centuries later, Herbie had a similiar date with destiny and a sharp blade.

Louis XVI had a whole style of furniture named after him. Herbie gets a nice pale ale that will be released Thursday at the Yarmouth Farmers’ Market.

“Herbie” is a low-alcohol (4.7 % ABV), dry hopped session ale with citrusy notes, says Eric Michaud, co-owner of Liquid Riot, the brewery that’s releasing the beer.

“We wanted something really refreshing, kind of like the idea of farmers working hard and at the end of the day sitting down and having something thirst-quenching and easy to drink,” he said.

Michaud, his brother Ian Michaud (co-owner of Liquid Riot) and head brewer Greg Abbot all grew up in Yarmouth. They sell beer at the weekly Yarmouth Farmers’ Market, located at 317 Main St., and when they were asked to come up with something special for Thursday’s expanded market known as Market Fest, they put their heads together.


Michaud said they thought people of all ages could connect to the story of Herbie.

Herbie struggled for decades with Dutch Elm disease. For more than 50 years, Frank Knight, the town’s volunteer tree warden, took care of the 110-foot-tall Herbie and answered any questions that residents and tourists had about the beautiful, spreading tree that lived at East Main Street and Yankee Drive.

Herbie succumbed to the disease in 2010, at age 217. Knight died two years later at 103, and was buried in a casket made from Herbie’s wood.

Herbie the beer will be sold for $5 a glass at Market Fest, which will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday. A four-pack of 16-ounce cans will cost $12.

The label on Herbie depicts a large tree with deep roots and says: “In honor of Herbie, biggest elm of New England, who stood strong in Yarmouth, Maine, from 1793-2010.”

If you’re a fan of Herbie and can’t make it to the market, don’t despair. Several local establishments have agreed to sell Herbie on tap: Gather, Owl & Elm, and Dirigo Public House. Handy’s and Rosemont Market will be selling the cans. And in Portland, Liquid Riot will have Herbie both on tap and in cans.


Katie Worthing, executive director of the Yarmouth History Center, will be at Market Fest to put the whole toast to Herbie in context. She’ll have photos of the tree and its caretaker, articles about Herbie, and “Herbie merch,” such as bookmarks and wood shavings from the tree.

Knight’s son is also expected to attend.

Cheers, Herbie.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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