Hikes & Brews: Amherst Mountains Community Forest and Airline Brewing Company
On Route 9 in rural Amherst, some 20 miles west of Bangor and 20 miles north of Ellsworth as the crow flies, you’ll find the Amherst Mountains Community Forest. This nearly 5,000-acre tract of forestland is home to six remote ponds, miles of streams, significant wetlands, a jumble of rolling hills, low mountains, and great hikes worth the trip.
From the Indian Camp Brook trailhead on Ducktail Pond Road, you can combine the Ducktail Pond Trail and Partridge Pond Trail to visit the two namesake ponds, both undeveloped gems, in the wild backcountry. Thick with fragrant spruce and fir and lined with colorful mosses and lichens, the winding trail between the ponds leads through a forest fairyland of sorts. Connect the dots via the gravel road for a pleasant loop of just over three miles.
Back out on Route 9, also affectionately known as the Airline Road, head east for a mile or so to Airline Brewing Company. Established in 2014, the brewery and tasting room are housed in the old Paul Bunyan Furniture Company, a beautifully renovated space that features a thick, glossy L-shaped wood slab bar, benches and tables for gathering, and a gas-fired stove in the corner.
Old mill memorabilia and artifacts hanging on the sawn board walls will surely catch your eye as you taste a refreshing brew from the extensive list of traditional British-style beers and ciders. The English Pub Ale is an old favorite, as is the cask-conditioned Red Ale, while new to the menu is the Downeast IPA, brewed in support of the Downeast Salmon Federation. Enjoy your draft with a tasty bite of pub grub.
Make it a Two-Fer:
Head for Ellsworth and Frenchman Bay Conservancy’s Jordan Homestead Preserve, a sweet one-mile hike along the Union River. Close by is Airline Brewing’s flagship location, a classic English-style pub in the heart of downtown. Enjoy the same great beer with a cheese toasty, bangers and mash, or steak-and-ale pie.
Amherst Mountains Community Forest: mainetrailfinder.com
Airline Brewing Company: www.abcmaine.beer
Carey Kish of Mt. Desert Island, ME is freelance writer, avid hiker and beer drinker, and the author of the new book, Beer Hiking New England (available on Amazon in March of 2023).