Brunswick brewery debuts blueberry lager with local hops

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BRUNSWICK — A focus on hyper-local ingredients is behind Flight Deck Brewing‘s latest product, a blueberry lager made with hops from Woodside Hop House in Brunswick.

“Our standards have been set and we no longer just want 100 percent Maine ingredients, we want extremely local ingredients from the community we serve,” Flight Deck co-founder Nate Wildes said last week at the Brunswick Landing brewery. “It’s important to us as a brewery to step it up a notch, and all breweries should be using ingredients from their own communities and this is just the start of it for us.”

Wildes said the brewing industry in Maine is evolving and the use of extremely local ingredients wasn’t possible until now. He also said all of Flight Deck’s malt comes from 4 miles down the road, at Blue Ox Malthouse.

Brunswick-born Nick Favreau, director of Woodside Hop House, said the harvesting process takes close to three years and it isn’t easy to anticipate what the market will want.

“Last year I was very fortunate that I had a small harvest and Flight Deck wanted to use those hops and I was more than happy to bring the hops over for them to use in this blueberry lager,” Favreau said.

Hops for this lager were cultivated more than two years ago, he said, so there were a lot of hours put in, including late nights and weekends. “It’s a feeling of satisfaction to see that physical end product to all that hard work,” Favreau said, “and it’s really hard to describe that feeling when I see everyone enjoying the product so much.”

The lager is aged in wine barrels, where it sat on blueberries from Slow Rise Farm in Pittson.

“It really drinks like a wine … like a rosé or a dry pinot noir,” Favreau said. “This beer pairs so well with salads, cheeses, or desserts like chocolate cake.”

At the launch on March 8, customers agreed.

“I really like my wine, and this compares to a wine so much. It’s a lighter type of beer that is what I like, because some of the local blueberry beers are too sweet and heavy,” Ashley Doyan said.

Doyan’s husband, Brett, said he’d order the blueberry lager again. “It has a nice taste to it and isn’t too overpowering or too fruity,” he said.

The blueberry lager is available for a limited time this month, according to Wildes.

“We are so thrilled with this lager’s popularity and it certainly isn’t the last time we will use hops from right here in Brunswick,” he said. “This is the start to something for the brewery and Woodside Hop House and we are really excited about it.”

Favreau echoed Wildes’ sentiment.

“For Woodside Hop House, we hope this lager is a conversation starter, and being from the Brunswick community I am thrilled to offer this product to our community members,” he said. “Brunswick is a cool place and we think this is a partnership that will just continue to grow.”

Patti McDonald can be reached at 780-9123 or pmcdonald@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @pmcdonaldME.

Nick Favreau, left, director of Woodside Hop House in Brunswick, with Flight Deck Brewing co-founder Nate Wildes at the 11 Atlantic Ave. brewery at Brunswick Landing.

Ashley and Brett Doyan said they enjoyed the wine-like taste of Flight Deck Brewing’s newest offering, a blueberry lager with hops from Woodside Hop House in Brunswick.

A blueberry lager is the first beer made with hops from Brunswick’s Woodside Hop House and is Flight Deck Brewing’s most popular bottle release ever, according to brewery co-founder Nate Wildes. The lager will be available for a limited time this month.

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