At Strong Brewing Co., founders Al and Mia Strong (right to left) have joined forces with restaurateur Matt Haskell, owner of Blaze in Bangor and Blaze and Bar Harbor’s Finback Whalehouse, to add a pub and expand their production. PHOTO BY JENNIFER OSBORN

Strong Brewing adds pub, new microbrews



SEDGWICK — Demand for pints and growlers of fresh, locally produced draft beer has driven Strong Brewing Co. to expand.

The brewery, operated by Al and Mia Strong, produces Localmotive, Soulpatch Porter and The Maineiac as well as special edition beers.

Strong Brewing uses regionally grown malt and hops and organic ingredients whenever possible.

“They just keep clamoring for more so we have to supply the demand,” said Al.

The couple have finished the first stage of the brewery’s expansion, which will ultimately triple production for its ales and lagers. Production will increase from 15 barrels a month to 40 barrels a month.

But just in time for summer fun, the first stage of the expansion has resulted in a tap room, a restroom and outdoor seating as well as more parking.

The Strongs have brought on a business partner as well. Joining them is restaurateur Matt Haskell, who owns Finnback Whalehouse in Bar Harbor.

“We really shared the same vision,” Al said.

“Synchronicity is what I’d call it,” added Mia.

Haskell was the brewery’s first wholesale account in 2014.

“We began a dialogue and came up with a plan,” Haskell said.

“We’re going to be adding a food element,” Mia said. A food truck, a giant one with a built-in wood burning oven, will be at the brewery every Friday night in July and August.

The oven and grill are being produced by Maine Wood Heat Co. and a Michigan-based company called Grillworks.

Locally sourced meat, seafood and vegetables will be prepared, including Old Ackley Farm chickens, Little Island Oysters and lobster from Randy Perkins.

There will be concerts on summer Friday nights as well. Trisha Mason Band will perform on July 3, Chris Ross and The North on July 11, The Ghost of Paul Revere on July 24 and The 220’s on Aug. 7.

Local beeravores were without their fix over the winter, as the brewery was closed for the expansion and renovation.

Strong Brewing standbys include Localmotive, The Mainiac and Soulpatch Porter. Through the summer, a couple of special brews will be on tap for a total of five.

Incidentally, Al has been brewing Soulpatch since he began making beer for himself at home in New Jersey in the 1990s.

If you want to sample before ordering a pint, 1-ounce samples are free. Or, the best solution, order a flight of four 4-ounce beers for $6.

In keeping with tradition, 32-ounce or 64-ounce growlers are available to take home.

The brewery really makes a beer for every taste.

The Strongs describe Soulpatch as a “robust porter deep and rich with roasted malt and chocolate notes.” The porter is 6.5 percent alcohol.

The brewery’s flagship brew, Localmotive, is billed as a “California common style beer.”

Localmotive is described as a “pale and hoppy thirst quencher with Maine grown pale malt and generous additions of hops.”

The Mainiac is a “big, bold beer” in production year-round.

“…It will please hop lovers, but being well balanced it will also turn the ‘I don’t like hops people to converts,’” the brewery states.

A new beer called We’re Bock, a maibock, a strong, German lager, has been added to celebrate the reopening,

Incidentally, Al Strong had been a wine drinker for years before he got into artisanal beers.

“When I first met him, he was a winer,” Mia recalled.

The couple discovered micro-breweries while vacationing in Maine before they relocated to Sedgwick in 2003.

Strong Brewing opened in 2013.

Initial funding came from operating the brewery as a CSB, community support brewery with patrons buying “shares” of beer like a Community Supported Agriculture share or farm share. The CSB program is still available.

Strong Brewing Co.

The microbrewery (359-8722, www.strongbrewing.com) is located at 7 Rope Ferry Road in Sedgwick. For the month of June, the brewery is open from 1 to 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Hours will expand for July and August to Tuesday-Thursday 1 to 6 p.m. and Fridays-Saturdays 1 to 8 p.m.

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Correction: An earlier version of this article contained errors. The story should have stated that the brewery’s Maineiac brew contains 10 percent alcohol. The Soulpatch Porter contains 6.5 percent alcohol.

The brewery has a tap room — not a pub.

Finally, Al and Mia Strong’s business partner, Matt Haskell, owns the Finnback Alehouse in Bar Harbor.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.