Born in Bar Harbor’s Lompoc Café in 1993, Atlantic Brewing Co. has been brewing up classics such as Island Ginger, Cadillac Mount Stout and Bar Harbor Real Ale for local residents and visitors to enjoy for years.
Headquartered on the Knox Road in the Bar Harbor village of Town Hill, the main brewery produces the company’s standards and seasonal releases, such as its Summer Ale.
A newly opened microbrewery, though, is giving tourists and the community a taste of small-batch beers and its owner, Doug Maffucci, and his nephew Alex are seeking to get creative and concoct new brews with other brewers.
Located at 52 Cottage St. in downtown Bar Harbor, Atlantic Brewing Midtown manager Alex Maffucci says the new centrally located microbrewery/tasting room provides the space and lets consumers see up close the process and taste the results.
“The Town Hill brewery is pretty much at capacity so we were limited in adding new things in general,” he said. “We wanted a venue when we could try new things and [have] a smaller brewhouse size to be more risky.”
Atlantic Brewing Midtown has partnered with Jason Burke and Stephen Coston, who own Midtown Burger, to offer both microbrews and food at the tasting room. Midtown Burger offers twice-fried French fries and burgers with locally sourced fresh meat and interesting flavor combinations, such as kimchi and goat cheese or pulled pork, for toppings.
At Atlantic Brewing Midtown, the microbrewery enables the brewing staff to collaborate with other home and professional brewers. One such collaborator has been Bar Harbor home brewer Mike Staggs, who won a contest to have his recipe brewed at Midtown. That beer was released on June 14.
Talks about collaborating are under way with Orono Brewing Co., Ellsworth-based Fogtown Brewing Co. and Bangor-based Geaghan Brothers Brewing Co., and releases could come toward summer’s end.
“You sort of meet with them and have a recipe that’s not formed fully,” he said. “Maybe they throw in an ingredient or a technique and we mesh that into whatever beer is being produced.”
The experimental aspect, Alex Maffucci said, mostly takes the form of weaving in local ingredients, barrel-aging beers for layered flavor and using different yeasts. Beers on tap now include pale ales, lagers, stouts and others in rotation when the small-batch kegs kick.
“We’re only in the initial phase of collaboration as we’ve only been open for a year,” he said. “We have some ideas, but we haven’t put on that ‘risk-taking’ hat quite yet.”
The Midtown location, he said, caters to a different crowd than the Town Hill brewery.
“[Town Hill] is traditional in a way, and that doesn’t mean it’s old or worn out.” he said. “People just know what they like and want that.”
“At Midtown, we see that beer nerd personality,” he added. “They want to know the intricacies of the recipe. The bar being on the other side of the window, you get that interaction with the brewers the visitors really enjoy.”
Alex Maffucci and brewer Dante Maderal do the bulk of brewing at Midtown. Maderal’s first recipe, a rye pale ale called Crack A Bone, is currently on tap. The menu describes it as being “brewed with rye from Maine Grains. Light and crisp with a spicy rye flavor and a slight bitterness for a refreshing brew.”
The tasting room, which seats 130, is a contemporary steel building with outdoor and indoor seating. Visitors can sit at a natural wood bar with heavy-duty metal and wooden barstools or at high-top tables.
The whole space is very industrial looking, with brewing equipment visible through a window at the back of the tasting room, but the vibe is relaxed and laid back.