Tyler Inman, left, and Ryan Bisson are the co-founders of Trinken Brewing Co., due to open in West Bath in 2020. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

WEST BATH —  When Trinken Brewing Co. opens its doors in West Bath sometime next year, it will mark the 155th brewery in Maine, and 24th in the Midcoast, according to the head of the Maine Brewers’ Guild.

The number of small breweries in the area, however, doesn’t dissuade Trinken founders Tyler Inman and Ryan Bisson.

“People are excited here because it’s a place they’re going to call their own,” Bisson said. “They don’t have to go to Brunswick, they don’t have to go to Portland, they don’t have to go to Boothbay; they’ve got a place here.”

Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild, agreed with that sentiment Monday.

“People are craving that face-to-face time with their neighbors and fellow community members,” he said. “It goes beyond just the beer; it’s creating communal spaces where people can get to know one another. There are few places left where you can feel comfortable striking up a conversation with a complete stranger, but breweries are one of those places.”

“There’s still room” for more, he said. “Any community of a reasonable size, and some even below that, have a little brewery.”

Each one provides a new taste of Maine, from the locals gathering at the watering hole to each summer’s influx of tourists, Sullivan said.

Inman and Bisson don’t see themselves jumping on a trend, but rather creating one. To educate people that “you can have an enjoyable craft beer experience without all the bells and whistles. … We just want to establish the trend of simple beer, drinkable beer.”

In a space they’re leasing at 144 State Road, the two 30-somethings are transforming a former auto detailing shop into a brewery and pub with indoor and outdoor seating, a food truck, and offerings that hearken back to classic German brewing styles.

Inman, a Bath resident and U.S. Army veteran, had been helping market another local brewery last year when he heard from Bisson, a Phippsburg native who had been brewing in his Richmond basement for the past few years. The two men, who have been friends since attending Morse High School in Bath together, ultimately decided to go into business, and this May started building the Trinken brand.

“We just rolled right into it,” Inman said in an interview alongside Bisson on Dec. 22.

Their opening date depends on when the partners receive a permit from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which can take a few months. They applied almost two months ago.

“Once we get the notice we still have to start brewing, and it’s going to take us a month to a month and a half to get enough beer stocked up to actually open,” Bisson said. “We’re not allowed to brew before having that permit.”

“We’d love to be able to turn this around in 30 days, and be slinging beer,” Inman said.

Trinken — German for “to drink” — will open with six offerings: Hanau, a Bavarian Hefeweizen; Das Knacking, a traditional Cologne-style Kölsch, a summery beer with a crisp taste; the Radio Tower, a strawberry blonde ale; Basin Bomber, a New England India Pale Ale; and Screecher, a double New England IPA.

“We’re just trying to not do all IPAs,” Bisson said, expressing a desire to offer flavors that people haven’t experienced. “Tyler and I have both been to Germany before, and had authentic German beers, and we really like them.”

“People don’t even realize that they love this kind of beer,” Inman said, adding that “do more with less, in terms of what you’re using for your ingredients,” has been his mantra in marketing Trinken on social media. He sees the beers as an opportunity to educate the uninitiated.

The company’s website, trinkenbrewingco.com, points to the German Beer Purity Law, established in 1516, which allows just barley, hops and water to be included in beer. Yeast was later added after it was found to be a critical ingredient.

“For the majority of our core beers, we’re talking about using the basic ingredients,” Inman said. “You let time do the work.”

The beers have personal connections to the men. Hanau is the village outside of Frankfurt where Inman’s family is from. The Basin Bomber is a nod to the Basin, a stretch of road in Phippsburg with its fair share of folklore; the Screecher was a creature from colonial days said to lurk in the Basin’s woods.

Given Trinken’s connection to Germany, Bisson and Inman are planning something big for Oktoberfest 2020. They hope in the next five years to establish a working relationship with a German brewery.

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