There are many great advantages about living in New England. The agricultural heritage, its historic past, the overwhelming sense of pride in its sports teams and the breathtaking beauty of the foliage of Autumn or rocky coastlines with crashing waves and majestic lighthouses; yes these are just a few of the reasons why we love this place.
Heck, when we New Englanders want to take a vacation, many of us stay within the 6 states for adventure or relaxation. A hot spot that my family likes to frequent (from youth until adulthood) has always been Maine.
Maine has it all; from rocky coasts to thick forests, fishing and logging, mouthwatering seafood and massive moose, there’s just so much to do and explore. Recently we took a trip to Wells which is located right in the middle of Kennebunk(port) and Ogunquit. It was one of the most relaxing vacations I have been on in a while. In a future post I would like to go into more detail on the trip, but for this article I will stick to the fantastic little spot called Hidden Cove Brewing Co.
Hidden Cove is located on Mile road across from Varano’s Italian restaurant in a restaurant building. This restaurant is more of a guise, because hidden (see the irony) within the small restaurant walls is not a restaurant at all but a great local brewery!
A friend and myself walked there from The Nautical Mile condominiums, and since this being our first time, we expected a brewpub. What we found was only partially right. It’s a Bring Your Own Food style place where you can sit down and enjoy a nice air-conditioned and friendly atmosphere. When you first walk in, directly in front is the bar table and its tender. Peppered around the “lobby” are tall tables to enjoy your brew. All this with complimentary popcorn.
“Boat loads of Awesomeness” -Hidden Cove Brewing
More than likely when you visit you be greeted by Richard the bartender. His subtle dry humor, quips and friendly conversation leaves you feeling like you belong there and can just let loose. And of course we can’t leave out Donald. He LOVES the craft and their experimental brews; and he’s a darned good tour guide.
When we visited, there were 8 beers on tap, and sadly we were too early in the season for the experimental brews posted on the board. Donald took us for a tour of the facility, where we went to the aging room. I almost expected to hear angels humming as we walked into the softly lit room surrounded by neatly stacked barrels aging their delicious nectars. A variety of styles are can be found from rum to bourbon barrels, bubbling with infusions of blood orange or jalapeño. The concoctions are enticing and after speaking with Donald, seemingly limitless!
Though it used to be a full-fledged restaurant, the brewery is outgrowing its current location exponentially. It’s amazing how they fit their whole production in there. I was really impressed with then cleanliness, apparently the owner is quite particular. But that’s great, because when it comes to beer cleanliness is a must.
Now what about the brewer? What goes into the beer? Where did they find their name? Read on my fellow craft beer enthusiasts, as we introduce you to Kevin Glessing, the head brewer of Hidden Cove Brewing Co.
First of all, I just have to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. It means a lot to our readers and The Barley Men, especially considering how busy you are.
After talking with Donald, he joked that Hidden Cove’s philosophy was simple, he said “Make good beer.” I would say mission accomplished there but in all honesty, what is your philosophy on brewing/beer? And where do you draw your inspiration?
Kevin: Thank you for reaching out. I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit to the brewery and meeting with Donald and Rich. I am always humbled when someone shows an interest in Hidden Cove and my craft.
My philosophy on brewing is simple – making beers that I would want to drink as a consumer and have fun doing it. Not every palate is the same – I enjoy making a variety of beers and playing with different ingredients. It’s important to make good quality beer, if you have good beer, the rest will follow
TBM: I would definitely have to agree, and that’s a noble quest. You have a vast variety of flavors. In a following post, I’ll review some of the samples I tried.
According to Donald, he said your name was “re-branded” form another name, but is there a history? Also, I loved his quote “Each beer is a hidden cove waiting to be discovered.”
Kevin: We are not focused on the past. We are focusing on Hidden Cove and moving forward making great, quality beers.
TBM: Well said. So what made you want to start brewing? What do you love about being a brewer?
Kevin: I started getting into brewing because just like most guys, I enjoyed drinking it. As I got older and started educating myself on the many types of beers out there, I soon realized that my interest in the types of beer was much more. I wanted to know the process, what ingredients worked with each other, etc. it grew into much more than an interest – it was a passion.
TBM: I can honestly taste the quality and passion in your brews, no joke. I too love the history of beer and the array of styles and complexity of tastes and aroma are truly enticing. You have done well, but there are many brewers new and seasoned out there. For any aspiring brewers, do you have any words of advice?
Kevin: Just have fun with it and don’t get discouraged. Not every brew will be perfect and you will definitely fail a time or two, but the rewards of making something out of nothing is worth it.
TBM: Awesome! What do you think makes your brewery unique to New England, let alone ME (especially with the explosion of craft brews)?
Kevin: Hidden Cove is unique because we focus on taking our existing beers and elevating the flavors to make quality beer. We work on new recipes everyday, but what is most important to us is the quality of the product. You don’t need a whole bunch of different beers to be known or to have a following – you just have to have good quality beer.
TBM: That is actually a great segue into my next question, with those wonderful beers which one of your beers would you recommend as an introduction to Hidden Cove, for someone who has not had the experience?
Kevin: For those just getting into Hidden Cove, I would recommend our Patroon IPA. It’s a nice easy drinking IPA with tropical / pine notes.
TBM: And of course, one can pick up a growler at the brewery freshly poured! Lastly, any funny stories? Every beer tells a tale.
Kevin: Not really a funny story – but my most memorable moment I had brewing was making a recipe and naming it after my daughter. That was a great moment- not only professionally, but personally
TBM: What a touching experience. That must make your heart swell, and thank you for sharing.
Well Kevin, I hope to visit again, sooner than later. I also keep passing the word around to friends and family. Thank you again for your time.
There you have it, another piece of New England, and another part of the Craft Beer Revolution! If anyone would like to visit Hidden Cove Brewery or find out more information, please go to their site at http://www.hiddencovebrewingcompany.com/tasting-room/
As always thank you all for reading, enjoy local and drink craft beer!