Bangor’s beer scene will expand once again this fall, when Mainiacal Brewing, a new craft brewery specializing in sour and wild barrel-aged beers, will open in a former warehouse on Harlow Street, sometime in late September.
The brewery, owned and operated by Justin Amaral, Sam Canders and Cody Allen, will offer an ever-changing array of experimental beers inspired by head brewer Amaral’s fascination with the science of brewing. It will also offer barbecue made by Chris Tarlin, a pitmaster who formerly made barbecue at the now-closed 4Points BBQ & Blues in Winterport.
Located at 345 Harlow St., in a large warehouse behind Northern Kingdom Music, Mainiacal is the result of six years of intensive study by Amaral, 28, who started out making mead but quickly turned to beer, after becoming obsessed with the science of brewing.
“I really became fascinated by the microbiology that goes into making beer. The science of fermentation is really interesting,” said Amaral. “I ended up getting a lot of the same books you get in college microbiology classes, and studying it pretty intensely. I consulted with labs all over the world. I’d have studied it in college, but I didn’t have time, with a full time job.”
The most scientific area of brewing is when brewers get into making sour and wild beers — beer that has a distinctly sour, acidic or otherwise funky flavor profile, either by using wild Brettanomyces yeast, or by adding acidifying bacteria during the barrel aging process. In Maine, breweries that notably make wild or sour beers include Allagash Brewing Company, which has an entire department dedicated to making those types of beers, as well as Oxbow Brewing Company.
The Mainiacal Brewing location will be home to the brewery, to a tap room and to Tarlin’s outdoor smoker. Amaral and his brewery partners opted for a location just a little bit outside of the downtown footprint, as Bangor’s main commercial streets in downtown are already almost entirely full — and because they need lots of room if they intend to barrel-age most of their beers.
“This was the only building of its size available near downtown, and as a barrel brewery, we’re going to need room for 2,000 oak barrels,” said Amaral.
Some of the initial offerings Mainaical will have on tap include Hurricane Brett, a barrel-aged Saison made with 58 strains of yeast, and lemon, lime and tangerine peel; Don’t Tickle My Prickle, a golden sour barrel-aged with prickly pears; and Cloudy With a Chance of No Filter, a hoppy, unfiltered New England-style IPA.
In addition to beers, Amaral also makes a line of fermented hot sauces, including Excuse Me While My Face Melts, made with moruga scorpion peppers, and Obituary Creator, made with Carolina reaper peppers.
An exact opening date has not yet been set for Mainiacal Brewing, but Amaral expects to open the doors in late September. Check the brewery’s Facebook page for updates.