Brunswick’s first downtown brewery gives nod to prohibition

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BRUNSWICK — Oscar Wilde once said, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

Brunswick natives Mattie Daughtry and Phillip Welsh, co-owners of the soon-to-open Moderation Brewing at 103 Maine St., have taken that sentiment to heart.

“One of our dear friends helped us come up with the name,” said Daughtry of the moniker, which was chosen after three years of brainstorming. “He woke us up in the middle of the night, which was perfect.”

Daughtry and Welsh are in the final stages of opening the establishment, which will be Brunswick’s first downtown brewery, thanks to a new zoning ordinance passed by Town Council last August. The new rules allow for a standalone brewery to exist in the area without being part of a restaurant.

Prior to Moderation moving in, 103 Maine St. was home to Looking Glass Salon, which is now located at 17 Mill St.

Welsh and Daughtry have been friends since high school, but Daughtry, who is also a state representative for Maine’s House District 49, said college is when Welsh’s talent for brewing emerged.

“It became pretty clear after a few years that it wasn’t just your stereotypical home-brew, and all of us started really telling him that he should really pursue this,” she said.

Pretty soon, Daughtry began learning to brew too, and the seeds of an idea started to form.

“I always joke that I’ve seen every beer in his arsenal from start to now,” Daughtry said. “And we always talked about having a business in Brunswick; a lot of our friends have moved back, and we wanted to find a way to be a part of the community.”

Welsh said he and Daughtry began planning the business roughly three years ago, and “after a pretty extensive search for a location,” the Maine Street spot opened up.

He added it’s been interesting to watch the Maine beer scene blossom in recent years and see the wide variety of high-quality beer produced by local brewers. In making his beer, Welsh is interested in using less common strains of yeast.

“There’s a full range, within that there’s a whole genre, I guess, of different types of fermentation (and) different yeast that ultimately aren’t being used a whole lot,” he said. “That’s what interests me most, and I think it’s really about to take off.”

Welsh also said Moderation’s flagship beer, a red ale, is going to be “extremely unique,” and utilizes brettanomyces, a strain of yeast typically used in Belgian beer, giving it an “interesting subtle fruitiness.”

On March 3, Daughtry and Welsh unveiled their “Box Shop Girls” breakfast stout at Curtis Memorial Library for the organization’s “Booked for the Night” event.

In addition to the Wilde quote, Maine’s history also served as inspiration for the theme of the brewery. Moderation’s Facebook page states the owners wanted it to be reminiscent of pre-prohibition times, “when small breweries were the favored gathering spots in neighborhoods.”

“We knew we wanted to be downtown and we knew we were going into a historic building,” she said. “We’re both sort of self-professed history nerds, and we also wanted to have a sort of ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ to Maine being the first state to pass prohibition.”

She added that Moderation’s tagline, “always drink at Moderation,” is meant to be a play on the phrase “always drink in moderation.”

Daughtry and Welsh said one thing that’s been helpful throughout the process  is support from other local brewers. Baxter Brewing Company in Lewiston, for example, helped them when their yeast was late, and Blue Ox Malthouse in Lisbon Falls rushed their order of malt.

At the Feb. 5 Brunswick Town Council meeting, Nate Wildes, co-founder of Flight Deck Brewing, also expressed his excitement about Moderation opening.

“I think one thing that doesn’t get covered enough is how collaborative and amazing the beer world is in general and especially in Maine, there’s always someone you can ask to get information,” Daughtry said.

Daughtry added she and Welsh hope to have the brewery open in “the next couple weeks,” and are just waiting on some last equipment to arrive. When it opens, the brewery will be equipped with a European-inspired beer garden and outdoor seating, and offer a small bar menu. Patrons will also be able to bring in their own takeout food.

Ultimately, Daughtry said she and Welsh are excited.

“It’s really surreal,” she said. “Even just at the library, the love and support from the community really has helped us, and it’s kind of the best way to come back to your hometown.”

Elizabeth Clemente can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or eclemente@theforecaster.net. Follow Elizabeth on Twitter @epclemente.

Phillip Welsch and Mattie Daughtry, co-owners of Moderation Brewing, stand in front of the soon-to-open establishment. Moderation will be downtown Brunswick’s first standalone brewery.

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