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Brewery Opening: Fore River Brewing Company, South Portland

South Portland’s first brewery in over ten years opens this week. See behind the scenes of the Fore River Brewing Company.

One of the benefits of operating The Maine Brew Bus is being able to be part of the inside track when new breweries open up in Maine.

Often we are written right into the business plan, and it’s safe to say that we already have plans to include new breweries on our tours well before they open.

A look at the spacious tasting room and large bar at Fore River Brewing Company in South Portland.

A look at the spacious tasting room and large bar at Fore River Brewing Company in South Portland.

Such is the case with Fore River Brewing Company which opens to the public Thursday afternoon.

I first became aware of Fore River Brewing almost two years ago when something floated across social media indicating that a new brewery was coming soon.

We found our friends from Hella Good Tacos of Portland at the event. 

We found our friends from Hella Good Tacos of Portland at the event.

Soon I learned that one of the three partners behind the project was John Legassey, a personal friend and local home brewer who had organized some amazing backyard amateur beer competitions that I had attended over the past few years.

These events became pretty legendary, with themed elements to each of the beers that were brewed. I met people at these events who had traveled from throughout New England to compete or to taste.

Fore River Brewing co-founder TJ Hansen is the 2013 champion of the annual Bean Homebrew Competition. Photo: Facebook

Fore River Brewing co-founder TJ Hansen is the 2013 champion of the annual Bean Homebrew Competition. Photo: Facebook

Not to be outdone, the brewers’ other halves concocted a dip competition alongside the beer event. So now you could also rate and review sweet and savory dips to determine an eventual winner.

John Legassey is explaining some of the tasting room design elements to Kai Adams of Sebago Brewing Company. 

John Legassey is explaining some of the tasting room design elements to Kai Adams of Sebago Brewing Company.

So some time goes by, and the next thing I knew we were invited to take part in a special tasting event during August of 2014 in a backyard on a beautiful Maine afternoon. Both Zach and I were able to taste different beers, and then provide comments that helped the concept to move forward.

We looked at the glasses that the sample beers were being poured in, and realized we were truly at the epicenter of the future Fore River Brewing Company.

The glasses used for the August 2014 tasting event. Photo: Facebook

The glasses used for the August 2014 tasting event. Photo: Facebook

Fast forward to January of 2016, and after a long construction process the three partners are ready to unveil their beer at The Thirsty Pig at 6pm on Wednesday night. They will then they will open their tasting room to the public on Thursday starting at 2pm.

From left; Sean Sullivan, Executive Director of the Maine Brewers' Guild; Jim O'Brien, founder and president of Vacationland Distributors; and John Legassie, co-founder of Fore River Brewing Company.

From left; Sean Sullivan, Executive Director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild; Jim O’Brien, founder and president of Vacationland Distributors; and John Legassie, co-founder of Fore River Brewing Company.

This afternoon they held an industry preview event at their space at 45 Huntress Ave near Cash Corner in South Portland.

All three Fore River Brewing Company founders with Kai Adams of Sebago Brewing Company.

All three Fore River Brewing Company founders with Kai Adams of Sebago Brewing Company.

Check out the beers that were available as of today: Lygonia IPA (6.5% ABV), Timberhitch Irish Red (5.5%), or their John Henry Milk Stout (5.2%). More beers and more styles are on the way soon, and as they are already affiliated with Vacationland Distributors you should see their beers on tap very soon in Southern Maine.

And also look for our tours to visit here regularly in the near future. You can stay up to date with our schedule by bookmarking our Tours and Tickets page.

Cheers to Fore River Brewing Company, and welcome to the club of amazing Maine craft breweries!

Don Littlefield is the Assistant Principal of The Maine Brew Bus. He enjoyed a Left Hand Fade to Black while writing this post. Twitter: @BeerinME

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