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Belfast Bay Brewing Co. is near the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where just about every brewery makes a red ale, unlike the U.S., where red ales are not well known. Established in 1996, Pat Mullen’s company is either the fifth or sixth largest brewer in Maine, producing thousands of cases of McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout and Lobster Ale. Their brews are sold everywhere, in both the big-and-famous and the mom-and-pop establishments.

Originally a brew pub and brewery in Portland creating eleven brews, today Belfast Bay, in its new location, focuses on the best of their best, McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout and Lobster Red Ale, and has set aside their other beers, after realizing that “The key is the pubs. Bartenders talk up the beer they like, and the customers will buy it.” Successful sales means selling to the right establishments, and educating them. A bottle of one ordinary beer may be half the price of a Lobster Ale. But if the cost of the alcohol content is the measure, they are equal. Not many drink beer for its water content!

A very dark, full-bodied stout with a smooth, moderate bitterness and roasted malt character, McGovern’s Oatmeal Stout took the Silver medal at the World Brewing Championship. Subtle chocolate and caramel flavors are partnered with discrete hop aroma. The oatmeal  lends rich, full body with no “dark beer” bitterness. Smooth, intended for those who plan to enjoy more than one.

A hands-on manager, owner Pat Mullen credits his wife for suggesting they brew Lobster Red Ale, the perfect Maine brew. Unlike their highly hopped neighborhood beers, they decided to brew Lobster Ale to be very user friendly. They cut down on the hops and added slight amounts of black and dark crystal to the brew. The result was a medium hopped, medium flavored, very drinkable red ale.

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Tracie Burket
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