Nestled in an industrial park, in an area that could be considered the craft beer capital of Portland Maine, lies Austin Street Brewing Company. Back in October I traveled to Maine for a brewery tour day with a friend of mine, and one of the breweries that we visited was Austin Street Brewery. Since that visit I have been thinking about Austin Street Brewery and its Kon-Tiki beer. Since I can’t get Austin Street beer in Massachusetts I thought the next best option was to interview the owners Jake and Will of Austin Street Brewery, to learn more how they went from home brewers to opening up one of Maine…and possibly the region’s best new brewery. We also discuss dream six packs and hit TV shows.
Jake and Will how did get into the beer business?
I (Jake) started home brewing six years ago and became increasingly involved with the hobby. It got to a point where I was spending all my spare time doing home brew related stuff. Will is my brother in law, and aside from enjoying my beer, was looking to start a small business.
Jake you were a home brewer before deciding on opening Austin Street Brewery. What was the most difficult part transitioning from a home brewer to opening a brewery and brewing for a living?
Will and I had minimal business experience before starting this adventure. We've learned a lot in a very short time, but it's that side of things that has presented the biggest challenge.
The name of your brewery is Austin Street Brewery how did you come up with this name for your brewery?
Quite simply, I (Jake) live on Austin Street in Westbrook, ME. What started as a fun name to put on my home brewed beers, ended up being the name we used when we decided to take things to the next level.
I visited your brewery this past October and fell in love with your Kon-Tiki beer. What is the most popular beer that you brew currently at Austin Street?
Patina Pale Ale is our flagship brew and our only year round offering. Kon-Tiki certainly generated a lot of buzz for us, but it is on hiatus until we can secure the hops we need. With such a small production size, it can seem like everything is popular, but Patina, Kon-Tiki, and Milk Stout seem to be at the top of the list.
You have great names for your beers like Patina Pale, Crushable IPA and Snowblower Beer. How did you come up with the names for your beers?
Most of the names come from home brew days. We always discuss names, but our thought is if nothing stands out, then we don’t force it. Our milk stout is a good example, so we just call it what it is.
Where can people find Austin Street Brewery beers?
At this point almost all of our beer is sold right at the tasting room in the brewery. We send kegs out occasionally, but due to our production size, our beers can't be found on draft at bars and restaurants with any regularity. After we upgrade our system later this year, you’ll be able to find our beer throughout Maine.
Jake and Will if you two could each have a dream six pack of beer, what six beers would you have in your dream six packs?
I guess what I'll do here is include the beers that were inspirational to me as a home brewer and led to the beers we brew now. 1. Hill Farmstead “Edward” 2. Duck Rabbit “Milk Stout” 3. Allagash “Confluence” 4. Rising Tide “Daymark” 5. Sierra Nevada “Bigfoot” 6. Alchemist “Heady Topper”
Jake and Will if you two could be a cast member of any TV Show in the last 10 years what show would you be on and why?
Will and I are both huge Seinfeld fans and I think that show fits our brewery well. On the surface you have a show that is seemingly about nothing, but when you watch an episode, you realize that it’s quite the opposite. I think people might look at Austin Street Brewery and not see much of a theme for what we do, but once you become familiar with our style, you start to see common threads running through everything we do.