Greater Bangor's beer scene shows no signs of fatigue: Orono Brewing Company is now welcoming visitors seven days a week, Geaghan Bros. Brewing Company is expanding to Brewer to meet demand, and Square Tail Brewing Company is almost ready to host drinkers at a former furniture mill in Amherst. With a tagline of "Peace, Trout, and Milk Stout!" the company website espouses "a focus on great beer, fishing, family and friends."
Renovations are complete and brewing is underway; co-owner and head brewer Wes Ellington took a moment to share his story with Eater via email (slightly edited for clarity), including the inspiration behind the name and the timeline for when people can expect to taste the final product.
Who is Square Tail Brewing Company?
We are a small family owned business located in Amherst, Maine. The building we purchased this past year is approximately 3/4 of a mile from my home. It was an old furniture mill that we found out of luck. We had planned to build a brewery, but when this building became available we went this route. Our business is 100% personally funded by our family, and our model is to carry no longterm debt within the business.
What experience do you have?
I have worked in the energy industry for ten years. I started in this industry when I was 20. My parents have also been in energy for decades as well. We have been homebrewing for a number of years, and have grown our recipe portfolio on much smaller scales because of this.
What brought about Square Tail as a company?
Square Tail was a long term plan that my wife and I began working toward a few years ago. This past year we partnered with my parents to make it come to fruition a little sooner than planned. Our goals were to provide our family with a business which could sustain us within our own local community. We wanted to become a larger part within our community. To us those are the most important things... Family, Community, and Great Beer.
Where does the name come from?
The name comes from a nickname or local slang name for a brook trout. We are big fishermen, and love to spend our spare time either in canoes or on streams fly fishing. On one summer trip up north in the Allagash fishing, it just kind of hit us. It symbolized to us a lot of what we were searching for in a name. It drove home our passion for fishing and the outdoors, it was a local and common name to our region, it was exciting yet simple.
Do you have a particular beer style you'll focus on?
Our beers have a very British background, but we are not solely focused on these styles. We try to mix a lot of traditional British ales in with some eccentric ideas. We brew other things such as Kolsches as well, so obviously we are not looking to be labeled under one genre.
Will you have a tasting room open to visitors? How and when can people try your beer?
We do have a tasting room, but it isn't open as of yet. We are finishing it up as we get our first beers brewed, and plan on it opening sometime late February to early March. Our plan is to move the majority of our beer through the tasting room starting out. Most of what we are doing right now is being kegged, and will probably stay this way for a while, but we do have plans to bottle some stuff later.