An Island Brewery that’s Worth the Trip
Why should the mainland have all the fun?
This summer, another Maine island boasts a brewery that’s only accessible by plane or boat. Visitors to North Haven can now enjoy balanced, English-style beers from the comfort of a funky basement space with a view of a 130-year-old boatyard.
North Haven Brewing Co., which celebrated its first birthday in November, was founded by Ben and Elizabeth Lovell, siblings who grew up on North Haven, and Ben’s childhood best friend, Jesse Davisson, a life-long islander.
Ben and Elizabeth left to attend Bowdoin College, and chose to return to the island as adults. The brewery got its start when Ben and Jesse decided to see how far they could take their home-brewing hobby.
“As Jesse and I were both fishermen, we decided that we’d brew beer because we had the whole winter off,” Lovell said. “We just kind of kept at it, kept brewing, kept taking classes … one day we were sitting on the beach, Liz and I, and she was just like ‘we should really sell this.’ ”
After three years of planning and building out the space underneath the newly renovated Calderwood Hall (also home to several apartments, a film production studio and the Calderwood Hall restaurant) North Haven Brewing Co. opened for business in the winter of 2017.
Locals and tourists alike flock to North Haven Brewing Co. for the beer selection, which ranges from regular offerings such as Keeper (a hoppy IPA), Highliner (a crowd-pleasing pale ale), and Barrel Stove Brown Ale to more esoteric one-offs featuring local ingredients, which can be enjoyed in the tasting room or taken home in refillable growlers. Restaurants on North Haven, Vinalhaven and Rockland have featured North Haven Brewing Co. beers on tap as well.
“We had a couple of one-offs, like AM Stout, that people really love,” Lovell said. The coffee stout was a collaboration with between the brewery and 44 North Coffee, located on Stonington Island. Another one-off, Sailor’s Warning, a red ale, featured North Haven-inspired rose hips.
The brewery’s social scene is another reason for both locals and tourists to visit. The space hosts weekly pub theology and occasional live acoustic music. Curious passersby come in for the first time to check out the operation, which features stainless steel vats behind a glass wall for easy viewing.
“It’s fun for us to have people come in and see the equipment right there behind the glass,” Lovell said.
“It’s a conversation starter,” Liz added.
North Haven Brewing Co.’s tasting room hours can be found on their website www.northhavenbrewing.com
— Text: Courtney Naliboff. Courtney lives, writes, plays music, teaches and parents on North Haven island.