Bethel Village Historic Walk & Steam Mill Brewing
Situated along a placid stretch of the Androscoggin River, where the rugged peaks of the Mahoosuc Range meet the White Mountains, it’s easy to understand why the historic town of Bethel is often referred to as “Maine’s most beautiful mountain village.” Outdoor enthusiasts know Bethel as a hub for adventurous pursuits such as hiking, paddling, mountain biking and skiing. Add locally-brewed craft beer to the list for that all-important post-activity thirst quenching.
For a good look around the village of Bethel, take the self-guided walking tour developed by the Bethel Historical Society. The walk visits 39 sites and structures of architectural and historical significance dating from 1774 to the 1920s. The two-mile tree-lined loop is an easy stroll that just so happens to pass right by Steam Mill Brewing on Mechanic Street, adjacent to a lovely little green that features a 1908 civil war monument.
Start your walk on Broad Street at the 1821 O’Neil Robinson House, which is home to the Bethel Historical Society and looks across to Bethel Hill Common. Weave your way through town to visit a wonderful array of homes and inns, churches and commons that define this charming community. Settled in 1768 as “Sudbury” by the original grantees from Sudbury, Massachusetts, the village was incorporated as “Bethel” in 1796.
After your tour, double back to Steam Mill Brewing for a refreshing pint or two. Owned and operated by Brent and Lori Angevine and Scott and Koral Fraser, the brewery takes its name from the Steam Mill section of town—the location of an old steam mill in the mid-1900s—and the neighborhood where Scott and Brent started their homebrewing endeavors after college. Jobs and families put the pair’s dream of their own brewery on hold for a couple decades, but in 2016, the two got serious again, and in 2018 they finally opened their Bethel brewery.
The Steam Mill taproom is a warm, inviting space with a handful of high-top tables and chairs. Scott or Brent is usually on hand to pour any of at least a half-dozen brews, all produced with locally-sourced ingredients, and each with names inspired by local landmarks such as Paradise Perle, Intervale Ale, Alder River Red Ale, Whitecap Blueberry, Pine Hill Porter, Mollyockett IPA and Screw Auger Stout. Relax and enjoy.
Hike: Bethel Historical Society (walking tour map and guide) bethelhistorical.org
Brew: Steam Mill Brewing www.steammillbrew.com
— Text & Photos: Carey Kish of Mt. Desert Island. Carey is an avid beer drinker, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide, and author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast.