Mast Landing’s Two Weeks from Everywhere is a 4% lager brewed with flaked corn from Maine Malt House. Photo courtesy of Mast Landing Brewing Co.

“I don’t always drink beer,” The Most Interesting Man in the World used to tell us. “But when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.”

This wildly popular ad campaign – which most readers will likely recall – became famous at a time (running from 2006 to 2018) when craft beer was ascendent. A clever burlesque of suave masculinity, the campaign managed to associate a very un-crafty beer with sophistication.

Apologies to The Most Interesting Man, but Dos Equis has never been my preference. Nor have any beers brewed in the American lager tradition – that close cousin of the pale Mexican lager – at least since my less discerning adolescent years. While I understand why a craft brewery might want to offer their own versions of something like a Budweiser or Corona to initiate new customers accustomed to the world’s most popular styles, it hasn’t been for me. My attitude toward these historically mass-produced styles – which the original craft-beer “revolution” was a direct corrective to – has been, “why bother?” Hand me an Oxbow Luppolo, a Bunker Machine or a Bobo Pivo from Liquid Riot: My thirst is slaked, and I’ve got a beer that invites my attention.

But a recent backyard encounter with a Pacífico – a beer my partner insists on interjecting into my carefully curated buffets of fuller-flavored locals – rattled something loose. It was the perfect bridge between beers that session, a tidy little palate cleanser with just enough going on to make it preferable to water. With these styles, diminished flavor is a feature, not a bug. Light-bodied, neutral in taste, low in bitterness – and meant to be served very cold – the goal here is quenching thirst and keeping it tranquilo.

A couple of new local beers working in this tradition have me reassessing my priors.

Mast Landing’s Two Weeks from Everywhere is a 4% lager brewed with flaked corn, which makes up roughly 20 percent of the grist. Floral aromas of chamomile introduce a light-bodied beer, poised between sweet and dry.


“The inclusion of flaked corn does a few things to this beer,” explained Weston Shepherd, Mast Landing’s production manager. “Flaked corn contains a higher percentage of fermentable sugars than malted barley and significantly less protein, so using it as a portion of our grist results in a drier, thinner-bodied beer” than all-barley lagers. It also produces a crisper finish. The addition of corn also contributes some subtle flavor and aroma. “There’s a slight sweet corn, honeyed aroma that the brewing team here finds reminiscent of cornbread,” Shepherd said.

The concept for the beer was pitched by a member of Mast Landing’s production team, Jack Abitz, who works in packaging and cellaring. Abitz hails from Wisconsin, a state known for brewing quaffable lagers and farming corn.

By using corn in the grain bill, Mast Landing’s brewers are tapping into a longer American brewing tradition that stretches back to the 19th century.

“It was a grain that was locally grown and readily available,” Shepherd said. Indeed, corn remains the most extensively grown crop in the United States. And it can grow just about anywhere – a quality inspiring the beer’s name, Two Weeks from Everywhere, a phrase borrowed from the Coen Brothers’ film, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Gene Buonaccorsi, Mast Landing’s director of marketing, notes that the name captures “the rustic qualities of the beer and concept.”

While corn might be grown two weeks from everywhere, the corn in this beer was grown closer to home, at Buck Farms in Mapleton, home to the Maine Malt House. The brewers had recently used flaked corn from Maine Malt House in a collaboration beer with Trinken Brewing, called Ford the River.

“We were blown away by the product,” Shepherd said. “When I’ve used flaked corn in the past, it looked like coarsely ground grits and tasted like stale cornflakes. The locally grown and processed flaked corn from Maine Malt House arrives as huge kernels that look and taste like unseasoned corn nuts. The brewers were snacking a bit from each bag before adding it to the mill.”


Banded Brewing’s Milltown is an homage to Biddeford and the Pepperell Mill building. Photo courtesy of Tory Gordon

Another relative newcomer to Maine’s crafty “everyman” beer scene is Banded Brewing’s Milltown. Two-row pilsner malt and Simcoe hops produce a thoroughly approachable beer with a bready aroma and a touch of sweetness; like Two Weeks, it is flavorful, but sprightly and just 4% ABV.

“Milltown is a beer that’s meant to be inclusive and unintimidating,” explained Tory Gordon, Banded’s brand manager and designer. “Milltown is a nod to our past, to all the hardworking individuals who built the world we live in.” And that means quite literally Biddeford’s Pepperell Mill, where Banded operates, which is featured on the label, designed by Allie Norman and illustrated by Gordon – an “homage to the revitalized industrial space that we currently work in,” she says.

It’s “a beer for everyone,” the can announces, and a chance for those “who drink macro beers … to support something local.” Unlike most craft beers, this one comes in six packs of 16-ounce cans, priced at a bargain $10. It’s a welcome new addition to Banded’s core lineup of beers.

One of the core pleasures of drinking beer (for me) is witnessing how brewing traditions are interpreted and reinterpreted through the minds and hands of our craft brewers. While I might not share a palate with The Most Interesting Man in the World (which certainly sounds like an indictment of my tastes), the incredible range of styles and adaptations on offer does behoove us to, as he would say, “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

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