Brewery of the Month:
Baxter Brewing Company
This month, our featured brewery is Baxter Brewing Company! We would like to thank Director of Brewing Andrew Sheffield for taking the time to talk to us about Baxter Brewing Company and the delicious beer they brew!
When did you open: We shipped our first case of beer in 2011. I came on in 2017 from Colorado where I was a brewing supervisor at New Belgium. Before that I was a brewer at Oskar Blues.
Where are you located: Lewiston, Maine
Where do you distribute: All throughout New England and a little bit in New York and New Jersey. Last month we just shipped our first beer overseas to England.
What was Baxter beer like when you the brewery first opened and how has it changed since you arrived?: So Baxter was the fastest brewery to reach 5000 barrels brewed in a year from the time that we opened. We now brew 17,000 barrels per year making us the 3rd largest producer in the state (behind only Allagash and Shipyard). Our early years were focused on expansion and sticking to our core lineup and making sure our core was available at all times. But this came at the expense of variety in our lineup. But then between 2014 and 2017 the craft beer industry became less focused on growth and expansion, and more focused on diversity in what you can offer the beer drinkers. When I came on, my first job was to focus on beer freshness. I wanted to make sure that our beer was reaching the retailers as fresh as possible- we wanted to avoid any beer that was out of code from reaching the beer drinker. We also started diversifying our portfolio more once I started and tightening up our brewing processes so we could brew more delicious beer more often.
Do you have a philosophy behind the beers you brew?: For me, it’s about balance. Before I was a brewer, I was a winemaker. And before that I was a Sommelier. And the mentality in the wine world is that the best wines are balanced and don’t bash you over the head with in-your-face flavors. I try to emulate that same idea in every beer we brew. For example, our beer "Prost Secco" is a Berliner Weisse brewed with chardonnay grapes, peaches, and pears. I brew a fruited wheat beer with the fruits I mention before, and blend that with a Berliner. The best sours, I feel, are not over-intensely sour, but rather use the acidity as one note that harmonizes with the rest of the beer.
What are your core beers: Stowaway IPA, Hop Tryst IPA, Ein Stein Lager, Per Diem Pre-Prohibition Porter, Maine Lager, and Pamola Session Ale.
Do you have any plans for fun/cool beers in the future: We are currently working on some beers that honor some of our favorite movies. We have Innuendo- a blonde stout that tries to emulate a White Russian in honor of The Big Lebowski’s 20ths anniversary; Dolce Mio- an Imperial Cannoli brown ale that honors The God Father; and a triple IPA called “Gofer It” which honors Caddy Shack.
Thanks again to Andrew for talking to us about Baxter Brewing Co! We are excited to feature Baxter's beers on April 26th! Be sure to mark your calendars!