It will be easy to miss Oxbow Blending and Bottling, the new growth of Oxbow Brewing Company opening today at noon. Beer-seekers will drive past the facility multiple times, curse at Siri, park in a spot belonging to neighboring Maine Mead Works, poke their heads in the meadery to inquire about growlers before being directed next door. It's inevitable.
The space is well hidden behind and between Maine Mead Works and Coffee by Design (the warehouse used to house CBD's roasting operation). There are no neon signs lighting the way, and it doesn't look like much from the outside. There's just an understated "Oxbow Blending & Bottling" logo painted by Will Sears on the front door, fitting for a famously outgoing company whose tagline is "Loud Beer From a Quiet Place."
But fans will find their way. The unassuming exterior belies the enormous, impressive interior, which won't be a full brewery but will be a tasting room for all of the additional goodies it will enable. Barrels are stacked high, housing various funky brews for which Oxbow has become known. Wort, or unfermented beer, will be trucked in from the original Newcastle brewery and transferred to aging vessels such as these. Similarly, disciples of the unique style Oxbow has cultivated will truck in from all over the city, the state, and the country, making a pilgrimage to drain those vessels.
The tasting room has a capacity of about 100, with picnic tables and a long, copper-top bar. Servers got a test run at a soft opening Tuesday night, and are preparing themselves for a crowd sometime after the space officially opens at noon. See a preview of the entire 10,000 square foot space from photographer Kyle J. Norris, who captured as many of the thoughtful and limitless design details as possible Wednesday evening. Check back tomorrow for an interview with co-owner, head brewer, and master blender Tim Adams, who provides information about what to expect from the new facility.
And if the stream of pilgrims is steady enough, maybe it won't be easy to miss Oxbow Blending and Bottling after all.
Open Tuesday - Thursday 12 - 7 p.m., Friday - Sunday 12 - 10 p.m.