Maine Beer Company
DRINK MAINE-October 2011
By Sophie Nelson | Illustration by Eric Hou
David Kleban, on Maine Beer Company:
“About six or seven years ago, I decided I wanted to make a tangible product. I joined a brewers association and started to build a quasi business plan. When it didn’t work out, I just kind of put the idea in a folder in a filing cabinet. A couple of years later, Alan, a partner at the law firm where my brother Dan was then interning, showed my brother his home-brewing setup. Dan really picked up on it, so I said, ‘Well, jeeze, let’s just start screwing around.’ I really saw a light in his eye for brewing. I thought I may as well ask him, ‘Would you rather be a brewer for the rest of your life or an attorney?’ He said, ‘A brewer.’ So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll figure it out.’ To this day, I do the business stuff and he does the brewing stuff.”
Maine Beer Company’s most distinguishing characteristics?
“I always like to talk about the philosophy behind our company: being small, staying small. Giving back is a big deal. Even when we weren’t paying ourselves, we gave back through the organization 1% for the Planet. We figure if we make beers we want to drink, if we put our hearts into it, we’ll find our crowd. Or they’ll find us, as the case has been. We’ve been really lucky.”
Your favorite Maine Beer Company beer?
“Whatever I’m in the mood for. If it’s really hot out, I want a Peeper Ale. And if I want more than one, I’m having a Peeper. If I want just one beer with a nice meal? Probably Zoe. It’s complex and has a lot of different flavors. In the wintertime, the Mean Old Tom Stout. That’s kind of a generic answer, but it’s true. And the IPA? I’ll have the Lunch IPA when I’m in the mood for a turbo-charged Peeper.
New this fall?
“Beers on draft. That’s new for us, and something to look out for around Maine. Maine’s getting our beers on draft before any other state.”
What other local beers are you into?
“One that comes to mind is Allagash Black. I always really enjoy that beer any time of year. Rising Tide Brewing Company’s Daymark. Sebago had a special-release batch called Fool’s Gold Ale, which was a California common-style ale. That’s great.”