Brewer, Maine has a new, well, brewer!

One might think Andy Geaghan chose Brewer, Maine as the location for his new 20 barrel brewhouse just for the pun of it. But after my visit on Wednesday, I saw why it was a smart choice: it’s literally just over the river via the highway from his family’s iconic Geaghan’s Pub and Brewery at 470 Main Street, Bangor.

Ryan Powers, Andy Geaghan (rear) and Lisa Sturgeon hold down the fort with their team at the new Brewer facility

Ryan Powers, Andy Geaghan (rear) and Lisa Sturgeon hold down the fort with their team at the new Brewer facility

Sign at Geaghan's Pub & Brewery in Bangor

Sign at Geaghan’s Pub & Brewery in Bangor

I visited both places on a blustery spring afternoon. (Wait — I know it was afternoon, but was it really spring?? So windy.) Complaining aside, the Brewer-y is located in a small industrial complex that also houses a fitness center and other quiet businesses. While I met with the team, a soft burbling sound, like a fountain in a Zen garden, caught my attention. The source of the “Zen” was a hose running CO2 run-off into a bucket of water from a fermenter.  Ah, the beauty of beer brewing.

The specifics were outlined in a May 12th press release:

The brewery in Brewer will have a 20 barrel brewing system with 40 barrel fermentors. This is about eight times the production capacity, from the 5 and 10 barrel system currently being used at Geaghan’s Pub & Craft Brewery in Bangor. The increase in capacity will allow for more distribution, and the bottling of Geaghan Bros. branded brews in 6 pack and 12 pack varieties, which is something new for the Greater Bangor market. The closest brewery with 6 packs available in stores is Atlantic Brewing Co. out of Bar Harbor. 
The brewery in Bangor will still be operational to meet their demand and supply the Pub, serve as a test lab for working on new beer recipes to go into the brewery’s lineup, and the primary location to taste Geaghan brews and tour brewery productions, as the Brewer facility is currently zoned just for manufacturing.  
Smiling Irish Bastard will soon be available in bottles and 12-packs

Smiling Irish Bastard will soon be available in bottles and 12-packs

So the new brewery won’t be open to the public, but you can enjoy the beers and have a tour at the mother ship at the Pub, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in July.

For 40 years, Geaghan's has been a staple for food and beer and fun in Bangor

For 40 years, Geaghan’s has been a staple for food and beer and fun in Bangor

 

Oh, and then there’s the food. Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings showcase prime rib…get there early, I was warned, it sells out fast. And always on the menu are the chicken wings. “We sold 61,000 pounds of them last year,” Andy told me.

Plus, the Pub is open for breakfast too. Win, win win.

I bought a growlette (32 oz) of Smiling Irish Bastard, named after Bernie Welch, a Geaghan by marriage, who walked a beat in Bangor for many years. This is a multi-generational family that has become part of the very fabric of Bangor, and now Brewer.

“Like” their Facebook page, so you get the hilarious updates from Larry Geaghan, Andy’s Dad. I also recommend signing up for weekly emails from the Chamber of Commerce. Bangor is booming. We tend to head the hour to Portland if we go for a day trip, but there are so many new breweries opening, not to mention restaurants, BookMarc’s bookstore, Bangor Wine and Cheese (freebie wine and beer tastings), Central Street Farmhouse (for your beer and wine-making needs), Friar’s Bakehouse, where Brother Donald and his cohorts from St. Elizabeth’s Monastery make sandwiches and baked goods….need I say more? GO!

 

This was on a quiet Wednesday afternoon. Get there early for the prime rib!

This was on a quiet Wednesday afternoon. Get there early for the prime rib!

 

Kate Cone

About Kate Cone

Kate Cone has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, is a freelance writer and the author of "What's Brewing in New England: A Guide to Brewpubs and Microbreweries," published by Downeast Publications in 1997. She is currently updating What's Brewing with a second book about New England craft beer to be published in 2015.