For those who aren’t already connoisseurs of the Bangor area’s craft brewing scene, it might seem a little overwhelming at first. Where do you start with the 14 different breweries within a 25-mile radius of Bangor — especially when they’re all so different, both in terms of beers brewed and vibes offered?
To make it easy for you, we’ve listed them all here, with our suggestions for the first beer you should try at each place. All 14 are within a 40-minute drive of Bangor, and many of them also offer food menus, about which we’ve also offered suggestions. Winter or summer, daytime or evening, there’s never a bad time to sample the fruits of Maine’s craft brewing scene.
And fret not — when the next new brewery opens, we’ll update this story to include that as well.
2 Feet Brewing
80 Columbia St., Bangor
Opens at 3 p.m., Monday-Saturday, noon on Sundays
The vibe: A mom and pop-style, family-run joint
The beer: Barn Burner, a saison brewed with jalapeno and ghost peppers that sounds like it would be spicy, but is really just warming and flavorful.
Bonus eats: Get there early enough in the day to grab a slice of 2 Feet’s ever-changing, decadent cakes and other desserts.
Airline Brewing Company
22 Mill Lane, Amherst, and 173 Main St., Ellsworth
Opens 4 p.m. Thursday-Friday, noon Saturday-Sunday in both locations
The vibe: English pub, Maine hospitality
The beer: The Brown Ale, a classic English-style brown ale. It’s on the lower side, alcohol percentage-wise, so it’s easy to drink — smooth, uncomplicated and medium-bodied.
Bangor Beer Company
330 Bangor Mall Blvd., Bangor
Opens at 3 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon Saturday-Sunday
The vibe: Nerd-chic, Chinese-American fusion
The beer: BBC does a quality German lager called Brite, which is crisp, clean and lightly sweet.
Bonus eats: The Bang Bang Cauliflower or Chicken is delicious, though it’s really just a vehicle for that creamy, tangy bang bang sauce.
Black Bear Brewing
19 Mill St., Orono and 191 Exchange St., Bangor
Opens at 3 p.m. Monday-Friday, 2 p.m. Saturdays, in both locations
The vibe: Cozy, cheerful and no-nonsense
The beer: Tough End IPA is a classic American IPA — hoppy and citrus-y, without being overwhelming — and is named for the Orono neighborhood just a stone’s throw from the original brewery. Black Bear also roasts its own coffee, and sells beans on site.
Blank Canvas Brewing
46 Betton St., Brewer
4-9 p.m., Thursdays-Saturdays
The vibe: For adventurous beer drinkers only
The beer: This experimental brewery keeps cranking out unorthodox, oddball brews, but its Dill Cucumber Pale is a reliable and drinkable beer with notes of, yes, cucumber and dill.
Fogtown Brewing Company
25 Pine St., Ellsworth
Opens 3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11:30 a.m. Saturday-Sunday
The vibe: The hippest garage you’ve ever been to
The beer: Yellow Submarine, a kettle sour brewed with Maine grains, tastes good whatever the season — on a hot day or a cold night.
Friar’s Brewhouse Tap Room
84 Main St., Bucksport
11:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday
The vibe: Homey, hearty, riverfront drinking and dining
The beer: While the Whoopie Pie Porter is the original Friar’s brew, the Monastery Ale — fruity, herbal, amber-colored — is the true star of the show.
Bonus eats: Lots to choose from here, but anything French Canadian on the menu — pork pie, pate, cretons, charcuterie plates — is highly recommended.
Geaghan Brothers Brewing Company
34 Abbott St., Brewer
Opens 4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, noon Saturday-Sunday
The vibe: An Irish pub, but with a contemporary craft brew aesthetic
The beer: One of Geaghan’s first and most popular brews is Captain Kool, an easy-drinking, juicy, coppery-colored IPA.
Marsh Island Brewing
2 Main St., Orono
Opens 3 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
The vibe: No frills, small but mighty New England-style brewery
The beer: Marsh Island makes loads of different beers, but its various fruit-flavored brews are especially delightful. See if Puckercrush, Island Escape or Tropical Breeze are on the list.
Mason’s Brewing Company
15 Hardy St., Brewer
Open for lunch and dinner daily
The vibe: Cavernous, crowd-pleasing throwback brewpub
The beer: There’s a reason Hipster Apocalypse is Mason’s flagship brew: it’s a straightforward, tasty, sessionable IPA.
Bonus eats: Mason’s burgers — which are huge and covered in unique toppings — are the highlight of a straightforward, but creative, menu.
Orono Brewing Company
61 Margin St., Orono and 26 State St., Bangor
Open in Orono at 4 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon Saturday-Sunday; open in Bangor at 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon on Sundays.
The vibe: Simultaneously super-hip and indelibly Maine
The beer: OBC is one of the most acclaimed breweries in Maine, and there are two beers that are must-tries: the smooth, creamy 44 North Coffee Stout, and the bright, fruity Tubular IPA.
Bonus eats: Only the Orono location has food, and its chicken sandwiches, be they fried chicken, grilled curry chicken, whatever, are irresistable.
Penobscot Bay Brewery and Winterport Winery
279 South Main. St., Winterport
Closed until mid-March; hours vary upon reopening
The vibe: Spacious, elegant and friendly
The beer: This is the only place on this list to offer both house-made beer and wine. On the beer side of things, Humble B Lager is a delightful brew made with local honey and fresh ginger.
Sea Dog Brewing Company
26 Front St., Bangor
Opens at 11 a.m. daily
The vibe: Time-honored riverfront bar and restaurant
The beer: A throwback to a simpler time, before craft beer became the international juggernaut that it is today, Sea Dog’s Wild Blueberry is still a classic.
Bonus eats: Sea Dog has a massive menu, but its Maine-harvested mussels are a reliable choice, cooked one of four ways.
Tattooed Dad Brewing Co.
894 Moosehead Trail Highway, Jackson
Open 3-7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday
The vibe: Rustic, backwoods charm
The beer: This tiny, still-new brewery, which opened just last year off Route 7 in the Waldo County town of Jackson, has a small but creative list of beers, including the tangy, easy-drinking Sour Orange Wheat.