Brewery Review of Hidden Cove Brewing in Wells, ME.
Hidden Cove had been hidden from my radar for a while now, as I don’t spend much time in Wells, ME , but on a recent trip back from Portland I decided to stop in and check them out.
The first thing you notice when you walk into the tasting room at Hidden Cove is the barrels. They have a whole room stacked with barrels, all aging beers into who knows what wonderful treat. I immediately knew I was in a good place. Also, this is a true tasting room with no food and just their beers on draught, but that’s all you’ll need as Hidden Cove offers a wide variety of beer styles and some very innovative and forward-thinking beers. The chalkboard beer list on the day we visited had 7 beers including 2 barrel-aged selections. I went through a flight and was really pleased with the quality and diversity of what was offered, but the highlight (not surprisingly) was the barrel-aged options. These beers had an unrivaled depth of flavor with many layers of subtlety.
The tasting room itself is a decent size with a bar and some tables. It has a classic décor with a lot of wood trim and barrels literally everywhere. And hidden cove doesn’t just use one type of barrel, they try to match the barrel to the type of beer. I spotted Hungarian wine barrels, Herradura tequila barrels and rum barrels. I wouldn’t surprise me if they had some whiskey or bourbon barrels kicking around either. The bartender on staff that day was very pleasant and even offered to show me around the barrel room.
Although I can’t confirm this, she told me the head brewer for Hidden Cove used to work for Maine Beer Co. in Freeport, ME, but wanted to push the envelope a bit more with his creativity and they did not feel the same way (this is not surprising if you read my review of Maine Beer Co.). So there was a difference of opinion and we got today’s beer lineup at Hidden Cove as a result. Let me just say that’s the best thing that could have happened because Hidden Cove is putting out some of the most interesting beers in the New England area, and it’s no surprise we recently named them Best in Show at the Drink Craft Beer Boston Beer & Cheese Fest (Recap here).
Maine has a really burgeoning craft beer scene, and not just in Portland either. Hidden Cove proves it’s a good idea to explore what lies beyond. If Alexander Graham Bell had been content with the wonder of the telegraph and morse code, we might be texting each other in dots and dashes to this day. Don’t be a lazy Alexander Graham Bell, go try Hidden Cove Brewing.