3 craft breweries paired with 6 classic Maine hikes
Since the 1980s, Mainers have been at the vanguard of the craft beer revival. There are now 80 craft breweries in the state producing hundreds of unique beers. Lucky for hikers, the Pine Tree State has a trail for every taproom. Here are a handful of our favorites.
Atlantic Brewing Company
Located in the heart of Bar Harbor, the Atlantic Brewing Company is a short shuttle ride from Acadia National Park. The brewery’s outdoor beer garden is the perfect place to untie your hiking boots after climbing the Precipice (one of the most challenging trails in the park). In high season they offer their Bar Harbor Summer Ale and take advantage of the chance to try their hard-to-come-by small batch Brother Adam’s Honey Bragget. Make sure to try all their samples in their tasting room.
The Beehive Trail
Acadia National Park is the fifth-smallest national park acreage-wise but is also one of the nation’s most visited. With sweeping ocean vistas, lush forests and rocky cliffs, it’s easy to see why. One of the park’s most popular hikes lets you see it all from up high. The sky-climbing Beehive Trail is steep—so steep that iron rungs function as a ladder at the more vertical parts. Though short, at less than a mile one-way, most hikers combine the Beehive Trail with the Gorham Mountain Trail, which links up at the summit of Beehive and adds three more miles and an additional peak to the hike. What it lacks in distance, it makes up for in its steep climb and while not as daring as the Precipice, it packs an exhilarating punch with its cliff ledge passages and views of Sand Beach and beyond. Pro Tip: This is one of the park’s most popular so starting out early is key to avoiding the crowds.
The Precipice Trail
The Precipice is Acadia’s star and is closed when Peregrine falcons are nesting, so check before you hit the trailhead. This is a vertical and serious hike that goes up the side of Champlain Mountain. It is not for those afraid of heights and while it is not considered a technical climb, like on the Beehive, plan to grab iron rungs and pull yourself up for much of the 1,041-foot ascent. After you reach the summit, take the Champlain North Trail—a path that’s been around since the 1800s, long before Acadia became a national park—down.
Maine Beer Company
Brothers David and Daniel Kleban run the Maine Beer Company not just as a brewery but also as a sustainable business operation as dedicated to its employees as it is to the environment. The brothers have an innovative Hop Program and give back 1% for the Planet, which means they donate 1 percent of their gross sales each year to environmental causes. Their tasting room is the perfect place to kick back and quench your thirst after trekking up nearby Bradbury Mountain. The tasting room offers eight beers on tap, some exclusive brewery-only beers. Make sure to try all of their IPAs, pale ales and their nitro stout.
Casco Bay Trail
Located in Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, the Casco Bay Trail is the picture postcard light hike along Maine’s Atlantic Coast. The rocky shores of Casco Bay and the Harrasseeket River are just some of the charms of this 200-acre park. Combine all four trails to network a 4.4-mile hike. Depending on when you plan your visit, you might see hatchlings in the osprey nests on Googin’s Island (late spring to early summer). Or save your hike for low tide and explore the tidepools along the bay. Best of all, you’re just a short drive to Maine Beer Company’s Taproom.
Bradbury Mountain State Park is one of Maine’s original five state parks, and you’ll find this quick 2.3-mile hike is a short drive from Maine Beer Company, as well. With lovely forest trails, Bradbury is a hotspot for leaf peepers. (The area hits peak leaf in early-mid October.) During spring and summer months, you’ll also spot wildflowers, and the expansive views from the top of Bradbury Mountain are epic no matter the season.
Deepwater Brewing Co.
This micro brewery housed in a restored 200-year-old barn is a labor of love for proprietor John Hikade. Tucked away on the less traveled Blue Hill Peninsula, Deepwater Brewing Co. is just a 12-minute walk from the Post Office Trail that connects you to Blue Hill Mountain. After your hike, try a pint of their smooth Irish stout-like brown ale, their IPA or their seasonal summer blond ale, all of which pair nicely with their local oysters and mussels.
Kingdom Woods Conservation Area
Kingdom Woods Conservation Area is only a seven-minute drive from Deepwater Brewing Co. It features 3 miles of trails on 800 acres and takes you inland to Fourth Pond, one of the few undeveloped ponds along the Maine coast. Enjoy the uplands under a canopy of northern red oak and white pines and the watershed with northern white cedar, fir and spruce.
Blue Hill Mountain
Blue Hill Mountain is made up of 500 acres preserved by the Blue Hill Heritage Trust and sees far less traffic than some of the more popular parks in the state. A hike here will take you through fields, woods and the open bedrock summit, treating you to views of both Mt. Desert Island and the Blue Hill Peninsula. If you park in the village, follow the 1-mile Post Office Trail that connects you to the Osgood Trail and takes you up 934 feet to the summit. You can then connect with the short Hayes Trail connector or loop around via Radio Tower Service Road. Both bring you back to the South Face, Osgood and Post Office Trails. Keep walking and soon you’ll arrive at Deepwater Brewing Co.