Tributary Brewery, the next big thing in Maine Beer

1aThe landscape of microbreweries in Maine changed on Saturday with the opening of Tributary Brewery in Kittery by famed brewmaster Tod Mott. With a new brewery opening every month in the Pine Tree State, the idea of a new facility launching has lost some of its luster in recent years; not the case with Tributary. So why is this new kid on the block so special and perhaps the next big thing in beer?

3aLet’s start at the top with Tod Mott who is considered a rock legend by those in craft beer circles, but probably unknown by the common beer drinker. In 1993 he developed Harpoon IPA, the Boston-based breweries most popular beer and probably responsible for the company’s success and growth into a national brand. Mott then moved north to the Seacoast where he spent nearly 9 years at Portsmouth Brewery, solidifying his place in brewing lure with the creation of Kate the Great (ranked best in America, and second-best in the world in 2006). With a resume that most brewers only dream of, Mott decided to resign from Portsmouth in 2012 and to start laying the groundwork for his own brewery.

Work on renovating the former furniture store into a world-class brewing facility took time; close to 8 months from the time the lease was signed until when the first beer was poured to the public. Tributary is located in the Post Office Square are of Kittery about a half mile off Route 1 and with a massive parking lot just outside Gate 2 of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

2aThe interior is modern and open with a larger bar, reading chairs, and picnic tables for seating along with a small store including logo gear and such. The tasting room looks in upon the brewing facility which is massive with Mott saying they have the capacity to do up to 5,000 barrels a year but hope to start out with 500 for the first year.

So the beer, there were two on tap for the launch, a Pale Ale and a London Session Brown Ale, with several more coming out in the next week or so. The Pale Ale was so delicious, great flavor, no after taste, and super smooth and light; it was the type of beer you could sip and enjoy or drink by volume and have a blast. The Brown Ale was dark in color and rich in flavor with hints of cocoa (I think) as the slightly thicker consistency. When it comes to beer, I defer to my buddy Evan who is a beer expert and joined me at Tributary on Sunday, he was impressed therefore I was impressed. I am sure other bloggers can pick apart the intricacies of the recipes, but I can tell you that they were two of the best beer I have had this year.

4aIn addition to tasters, you can also pick up growlers in 32 oz and 64 oz sizes with very favorable prices for refills. I went with the 64 oz Pale Ale which cost me $18, but the refill will only be $12 making it extremely affordable for such a high quality beer.

Mott says that he will likely brew Kate the Great under a different sometime this winter and that alone will put Tributary on the map. Until then there are going to be lots of beers coming out almost weekly as he tries to get more of his recipes into rotation. The brewery will be open Wednesday through Sunday 12pm-7pm for now, but follow their Facebook page for more details.

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