Beer & Beverage
Microbreweries Offer Toasts, Tours and Tastings
Maine became the first state in the U.S. to outlaw alcohol back in 1851, when it established its own rather curious form of Prohibition. But ``The Maine Law," as that early prohibition act was known, did not stop more than 50 breweries from being established around the state in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Devoted beer drinkers found so many ways around the law that, on more than one occasion, Maine's governor was urged to call out the state militia to deal with violations. And in 1985, Maine became one of the first states in the nation to pass legislation allowing small breweries to serve their brew on their own premises.
Today, Maine's microbreweries are nationally known for their artisanal quaffs. Many offer tours and tastings, and some have their own restaurants or pubs. An annual brewers' festival takes place every November in Portland to celebrate the state's fine microbrews.
Maine also boasts a few producers of other spirits, such as vodka made from Maine potatoes.
Maine is also surprisingly fertile territory for growing grapes. The state has at least eight wineries--making wines mainly from apples, blueberries, pears and raspberries--and most have tasting rooms where visitors can sample their creations.
Explore a list of Maine wineries.
Moxie: A Curious, Time-honored Maine Beverage
Maine is also the birthplace of Moxie, a much-loved nonalcoholic drink that tastes something like a cross between root beer, cola, and cough syrup. An 1888 article described it as ``a harmless luxury...that prevents injury from luxurious living; that sustains the overstrained worker, makes the nerves feel better and removes all the bad effects of stimulants and dissipation." This ``nerve food" is on sale at many local groceries around the state.
If you love Moxie and are seeking a unique getaway, Lisbon Falls celebrates this Maine drink with the Moxie Festival. You can also visit the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage in Union to look at decades of Moxie memorabilia.
You can find more information about Maine fairs and festivals that celebrate Maine products at Farmers' Markets, Fairs & Festivals.