Dec 4, 2021
If you’re a voracious fiction reader like I am, your biggest impression of Maine may come from Stephen King novels. But the United States’ northeasternmost state is far more than pet cemeteries and telekinetic prom queens. It’s also home to some of the country’s highest-quality grain growers and maltsters, many of whom are based in an area that’s long been used for another crop: potatoes.
In her piece titled “Making It to a Million — How Allagash Helped Grow Maine’s Grain Economy,” writer Catie Joyce-Bulay dives into this world of farm-to-pint malting and how Allagash Brewing Company’s pledge to use 1 million pounds of grains grown and malted in Maine by the end of this year has helped spur new infrastructure and symbiotic relationships throughout the local industry. As a resident Mainer, she explores the importance of that hyper-localism pervasive among her tight-knit brewing community, and how mutual respect and a shared commitment to quality binds those tilling the earth to those brewing our beer.
During this conversation, Catie discusses what it’s like to live, work, and drink in Maine, a place that fiercely protects its own, but embraces those who share their sense of rugged individuality. We talk about how the slow growth towards using solely Maine-grown grain is a welcome corrective to our current culture of instant gratification, what she wishes she could have expanded on in her piece, how using GPS in rural Maine may lead you to some unexpected places (and snacks), and what to pair a can of Allagash White with. (Hint: it’s everything.)