Hoppy-ness found at Bigelow Brewery

Tucked away on a scenic road 20 minutes from Mayflower Hill is an oasis of comfort and culture. Walking down the cobblestone path towards the entrance to the Bigelow Brewing Company, one is hard pressed not to notice the all of the stylistic details surrounding what appears to be a classic Maine barn. A statue of stacked kegs on one side of the path is juxtaposed with a wire rendering of a moose on the other, both complemented by the jaw-dropping view of rolling hills on the horizon. The most captivating detail of all before entering the brewery, however, is the smell. Adjacent to the near side of the building is a wood-fired pizza oven, protected only by a wooden canopy covered in gleaming string lights. Though subtle, the oven pops out what must be some of the tastiest and most unique pizzas in Central Maine.

Bigelow Brewing Company offers a tasting flight of five different beers to allow brewery goers to sample all they have to offer.

The warm atmosphere continues inside the wood paneled tasting room. Patrons are made to order their beers, which come in flights, regular glasses, or growlers, at an enthusiastically staffed counter. Drinks can then be taken to an array of high top tables or long, communal picnic tables.

The brewery currently has nine craft beers on tap: Hop Yard Harvest Ale, Lying Bastard Pale Ale, Dementia Dog Double IPA, Bigelow Brown Ale, Jailbreak Chocolate Chile Stout, summer seasonal Avery Peak 4088 Summer Wheat Ale, fall seasonal Witch’s Tit Pumpkin Ale, and a collaboration beer with Noctem Artisans Basseurs (located in Quebec City), La Saison Du Labrador. All beers are made with malts produced in Maine, and grains, fruits and vegetables for the restaurant are also sourced from local farmers.

The Echo’s tasting consisted of a flight of five, four ounce brews: Lying Bastard Pale Ale, Witch’s Tit Pumpkin Ale, Avery Peal 4088 Summer Wheat Ale, La Saison Du Labrador, and the Jailbreak Chocolate Chili Stout ($8.75). 

A favorite of the Echo’s was the Lying Bastard Pale Ale. The English inspired ale was developed by Bigelow as an introduction into the craft beer line “for those who do not care for the extreme bitterness of hops,” according to the info card. It indeed provides some notes of hops that help a taster transition into the more distinct beers, but the ale was incredibly smooth and provided a nice counter to some of the stronger beers of the flight.

The stout (7.8 percent ABV) was an adventurous choice for the group members, none of whom have a particular affinity for dark beers. While the strong flavor might appeal to some aficionados, it did not entice this group. Similarly, one taster noted that the Labrador harbored a strange earthy aftertaste that took away from its initial smooth impression.

The Echo supplemented the brews with a spanakopita-inspired pizza from the wood-fired oven and an appetizer of fresh herb and cheese breadsticks. Both dishes had unexpected, but much appreciated, flavors.

Live music is typical on weekends at the brewery, which is only open until 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Dan Stevens from Old Lyme, CT entertained the crowd on Friday night with relaxing and jovial tunes that perfectly fit the brewery’s overall ambiance.

The strong degree of thought that is clearly put into the brewery’s atmosphere makes sense given Bigelow’s philosophy that “beer can and should be about a place,” according to its Facebook page. “We strive to make beer from our community, using local ingredients to feel a sense of ownership of where we live. We are committed to our local community and hope it influences our customers to expect that from their beer.” Members of the Colby community can likewise benefit from taking a short trip to Bigelow, where they will surely appreciate all that Maine has to offer. 

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