Maine breweries featured in great new book

What's Brewing in New England               Linda and I honeymooned in Germany 38 years ago, and that’s where I discovered great beer. For years afterward, I drank only German beer. But then, finally, Mainers began to brew great beer.

Kate Cone’s new book, What’s Brewing in New England, published by Down East Books, includes all of my favorite Maine brews and breweries. The book covers breweries in all the New England states, and I am sure to use it during my visits to our son and his family in Massachusetts.

But in this review, I’m going to focus on Maine. Kate Cone has the perfect background for writing this book. When she wrote her first book in 1994, also titled What’s Brewing In New England, she had just finished working at Shipyard Brewing Company where she was an assistant to the president, Fred Forsley. Since then, she’s been a writer for many publications including newspapers.

“My greatest honor,” she tells us, “came when I won a blue ribbon at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Organization fair for a sweet Irish stout I had made with my own two hands.” Yes, she even brews beer.

To gather the great info she gives us on all these breweries, Kate worked hard, traveling, interviewing, texting, calling, and gathering all of the information that will help you get to our very best breweries and enjoy their beers.

She did an especially good job of capturing most of Maine’s great breweries, telling us about their history and their best brews. She certainly got to all of my favorite breweries.

From Atlantic Brewing Company’s Cadillac Mountain Stout, to Smiling Irish Bastard from Geaghan Brothers, my favorites are all here. Kate also tells you about some of our best pubs, including Geaghan’s in Bangor and the Liberal Cup in Hallowell.

Anytime anyone wants to meet with me in the Augusta area, I tell them to meet me for lunch at my office, in the corner booth by the front window at the Liberal Cup.

Linda and I have written our Travelin’ Maine(rs) travel columns about Geaghan’s and the Cup, as well as several others in the book, including the Sea Dog in Topsham and Federal Jack’s in Kennebunk, two more of our very favorites.

I enjoyed her stories about Shipyard, a sponsor of my website and brewer of many of my favorites (I enjoy most of their beers from Export to Joshua Chamberlain, Prelude to Monkey Fist IPA).

We’ve also written several times about the Monhegan Brewing Company ten miles out to sea, a place we visit every year to bird watch – and where we also enjoy those great brews, nearly all of which are sold right on the island during the summer/fall tourist season.

Northern Outdoors in the Forks, where Linda and I have enjoyed many outdoor adventures from rafting to fishing, has its Kennebec River Brewery featured in the book. Unless you see them at a festival, the only place you can enjoy their great beers is in the restaurant and bar at Northern Outdoors. Another reason to stay there!

And then there’s Oak Pond Brewing Company in Skowhegan. I’ve loved their seasonal Dopplebock for many years, and enjoyed their Oktoberfest during a recent travel column visit to the Old Mill Pub in Skowhegan, which uses several of Oak Pond’s brews in the preparation of their very tasty food.

Kate’s book also provides interesting info about the brewing process and brewery tours now available throughout New England and in Maine. Time to hit the road!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.