One thing the U.S. is known for - at least, when it comes to adult beverages - is being a hub for craft beer breweries. Around the country, many states have their own beer trails and breweries, some of which have gained worldwide recognition due to their unique flavors and seasonal offerings. The beer culture in the U.S. has grown exponentially over the last several years, as has the following behind it.
Thus, brewery trails have arisen. Many people take to the road every year to follow the trails of the best brewery in each state, and one of the most well-known is Maine's. It's the longest beer trail in the country and seems almost an insurmountable feat, were it not for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place prizes that await each brew fan at the end.
Everything You Need To Know About The Maine Beer Trail
New England is known for its nationally recognized breweries, and those who are fans of the drink go to great lengths to visit its most beloved taprooms. While upstate New York and Vermont might steal the spotlight when it comes to the most coveted IPAs, lagers, and porters, Maine is one state that has the most breweries on its beer trail. When the trail was first founded back in 2009, there were only a total of 25 on the entire length of it. While this doesn't seem like that small of a number, it pales in comparison to the sheer number of breweries on the trail now - totaling over 100.
All of these breweries are spread throughout the state of Maine which makes it impossible to visit them all in one trip (not to mention, somewhat unsafe - that is a lot of hops to drink). However, the Maine Brewers' Guild has made it easy for beer-seeking road trippers to check each brewery off their list gradually, without needing to hit a certain number in a certain time frame or even in any specific order. Fans of these hoppy breweries can start anywhere they wish and follow the trail to whichever breweries they choose and the best part? There are prizes for each bracket, from 25 breweries, 50 breweries, and, finally, every brewery listed on the Maine Beer Trail.
The Prizes Fans Can Expect For Closing Up Each Bracket
In order to get rewarded for visiting each brewery, there are some hard and fast facts that fans should be aware of before heading out for their flight samples.
- Trail followers will need to download the beertrail.me app in order to digitally 'stamp' their beer trail passports.
- When visiting each brewery, there should be a poster somewhere inside that has a four-digit code that can be entered into the app. This will correspond with the brewery and will confirm that visitors have, in fact, visited. If the post can't be found, don't be shy about asking the beertender what the code is!
- Keep track of how many breweries have been visited, and determine when to submit passes, depending on which prize bracket a person is aiming for.
So, what are the prizes for each bracket? It was only fairly recently that the third and final prize was (somewhat) revealed by a Reddit user. However, this hasn't stopped the fun of following Maine's long beer trail nor has it ruined the joy in getting rewarded for experiencing the state's best hoppy drinks.
- 1st Prize: For visiting 25 breweries, visitors will receive a Maine Brewers' hat.
- 2nd Prize: For visiting 50 breweries, visitors will receive a Maine Brewers' t-shirt.
- 3rd Prize: For visiting 100 or more breweries, visitors will receive the coveted 'Prize Pack' which is said to include cozies, specific merch, and other items from breweries all over the state.
Specific Rules For Following The Beer Trail
Bearing all of this in mind, trail-followers will need to remember some rules before heading out on their brewery tours. For starters, no brewery that has not been checked into will count toward the final tally of breweries. This means that if a guest goes to a brewery but forgets to sign in and enter the four-digit code on the Maine Beer Trail app, it will not count - no exceptions.
While most people probably think that they can submit their entry for 25 breweries and then build on that in order to reach the second prize for 50 breweries, they'd be wrong. The Maine Brewers' Guild only recognizes breweries visited for the first time; therefore, a brewery that was entered into a submittal for the first prize bracket can't be used a second time in order to submit for a second-prize bracket. So choose wisely!