Monhegan Island Brewing Co.

Visit an Island Brewery: Monhegan Brewing Co.

For you, dear beer, I would climb a mountain and cross the sea.

To grab a brew from Monhegan Brewing Co., it’s not like you can just drive up and hit the tasting room after work. This remote brewery is one of the few existing island stops on the Maine Beer Trail. You’re going to have to set aside an entire day for the journey, but it’s going to be the best damn beer you’ve ever tasted.

The entire experience starts from the moment you take the mailboat from the Monhegan Boat Line out from Port Clyde.  For $35 round-trip, you can make the 7:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. ferry out and take the return 4:30 p.m. boat back, giving you an entire day to explore Monhegan’s extensive trails.

The official ferry season starts Memorial Day, but the crowds start to hit around July 4, so if you want it to feel as though you have the island to yourself, go any weekday or weekend before then. With roughly an hour crossing (10 miles out to sea), stand out on the top of the deck and let yourself experience full sensory overload; feel the bracing salty wind, the churn of waves and take in the porpoises, seals, and shags. Close your eyes and imagine everyone else you know sitting in an air-conditioned cubicle, trying to decipher an Excel spreadsheet. Try hard not to cackle out loud.All of Monhegan Brewing Co. beers are named for Monhegan landmarks or aspects of island living.

After the boat docks, you’ll instantly see why this place inspires so many artists. There are no crowds or cars. Barely any stores. Just million dollar views everywhere you turn and a reclusive sense of silence. Maine: the way life used to be.

Have a good pair of hiking boots and bring a backpack with snacks and water or grab what you need at the island’s only year-round grocery store, L Brackett & Son on the main road just before the post office.

Buy the trail map at the boat ticket booth because your smart phone won’t likely work here. For those who want to boost the enchantment factor, take the easygoing Cathedral Woods trail, which reveals many tiny handmade fairy houses built alongside the path. (Just don’t cheese off the locals and alter the natural landscape or leave any items like beer caps).

If you want to get the biggest reward for your beer hike, forgo the easy trails and head straight for the cliffs. A short jaunt down the south side of the main road will take you to a fairly good loop starting with Burnt Head #4, which winds through the hushed forested interior of the island. Cut to the left slightly to Gull Cove #5, which takes you through a jagged cliffside path, (known as Trail #1) a spectacularly rugged hike that spans the perimeter of the island.

When you come out on Lobster Cove on the south side of the island, you’ll be sweaty and tired, but it’s going to feel like the chorus of angels just busted out in a cappella when you see the shingled cape taproom of Monhegan Brewing Co.

Owners Matt and Mary Weber started this family-owned brewery in 2013 and for the last three summer seasons, have seen traffic and sales exponentially increase. “The first year, people would sort of stumble onto the brewery, but now, especially with The Maine Beer Trail, we’re seeing more and more people come over specifically to go for a hike and sample a brew,” she said. “You earn your beer, that’s for sure.”
The inside of the taproom feels like a rustic clubhouse with cheerful blue and white decor and features about five to six brews ranging from IPAs and pale ales to a stout.

One of their most popular summertime brews is the Balmy Days Citra-Hopped Kölsch. After those cliffs, the light citrusy body with a touch of wheat is going to taste like Nirvana in a glass, no joke.

“A lot of people have told us it’s the best beer they’ve ever had, said Mary. “As much as it pleases me that they like our brews, I have a feeling that being hot and sweaty and having a cold beer at the end of the trail has a lot to do with it,” she laughed.

Each brew ranges from $5.00 – $6.00 per pint and they also offer handcrafted ginger beer and root beer as well. They take both cash and cards, but islanders always appreciate cash.

At this taproom, there is no such thing as a stranger. Many of those who came over on the ferry with you will end up here, or you might see an islander wheel up on an ATV to fill a growler. Mingle on the taproom steps or wander out to a shaded table in their lobster trap beer garden.

Out of all the day trips you take in your lifetime, you can honestly say you never went this far out of your way for a beer.
Okay, kick back and take a sip. You can die now.

— Text & photos: Kay Stevens

The Seasonal Runner

The Seasonal Runner

Leaping into Spring & Summer

The sweetness of that very first spring-like run of the season is intoxicating. Runners shed their winter layers and emerge from their treadmill lairs to drink in the warm, earthy air. The roads and trails are clear, days grow longer, and plant life gives birth to new leaves and buds. We, too, are innately connected to this pattern of growth and renewal. Suddenly, a motivation that was once dormant, breaks through. There is a palpable energy in the air, and that is especially apparent to anyone with a running mindset.

The turn of the warmer weather is often met with a zeal and eagerness to train harder, achieve that PR, or even to lace up a pair of running shoes for the very first time.  Ideally, we are taking cues from nature, and honoring these natural cycles; not overdoing it to risk injury and burnout, and training in ways that improve our performance, while allowing for sustainability and continued enjoyment in the sport of running. Here are a few points to keep in mind as we enter this exciting time of year.

The social aspect of running with a group is incredibly motivating.  Structured workouts within a group setting can improve your performance while having fun, and the accountability of the group will likely mean a stronger commitment on your end. As you connect with like-minded individuals, you are sure to make lasting friendships.

Think about what you want to achieve.  Do you want to commit to running more days per week? Do you want to go longer or faster, or snag a race PR?  Goals should have personal meaning, rather than meeting someone else’s expectations. By being specific and realistic, you will be in a better position to commit to the work required to meet whatever goal you set.

Yoga poses work the body in ways that can bring tremendous physical, energetic and mental benefits. Let your yoga practice work with your training, and not in opposition. On high mileage or active days, give in to a restful practice; and on lighter days, you can allow your yoga to focus more on strength and movement. The following short sequences highlight three poses for each purpose.  Add them to your routine to create more balance and see how you feel.


With the feet together or hip width, draw the hips back and down like you’re reaching for a chair. Let the weight be heavy in the heels and light on the toes. Feel the outer hips compacting as the torso lifts off the thighs and the chest is upright. Keep the hands at the hips or raise the arms as shown.

From Chair Pose, pour the weight on the right leg as you lift the left foot and draw it back behind you, so you land in a lunge.  Through that transition, keep the outer right hip exactly as you had it in Chair Pose.  In the High Lunge, you may experiment with a bent or straight back leg as you keep a tall spine and even explore a subtle backbend.

From High Lunge, shift the upper body forward and bear the weight in the front leg, again keeping the right hip pinned in and drawing back, which engages the glute and hamstring.  As you lean forward, keeping the chest searching forward, and spine long, lift the back leg. Work to keep the hips level – right and left hip bones facing the floor evenly.  Keep the back leg lifted by engaging the quadricep and drawing the inner line of the leg toward the ceiling. Step to Chair Pose, and then to a standing position.

Flow through these three poses, alternating from right to left.  Experiment with holding for 3-5 breaths in each pose, and then moving dynamically, holding for 1 breath per pose, and performing 5-10 times on each side.


Place the elbows under the shoulders, keeping the legs relaxed. Head may be kept in a neutral position, fall forward, or rest on a block.

From a seated position, draw the soles of the feet together, allowing the knees to go wide. Let the feet be further away from the hips, and incline the body forward.

Lie on your right side, supporting your head in your hand. Draw your left leg up, like you’re hanging out reading a magazine. Reach behind you with your left hand and catch ahold of your right foot, targeting the quadricep of the back leg. Stay on your side, or roll back (as shown in the photo), to invite a twist to the spine.

Hold each pose with the muscles fully relaxed, allowing the body to become heavy. Go only to the point where you feel a mild amount of sensation – nothing sharp or painful. Set a timer and hold each posture for 3-5 minutes.

6 Yoga Poses for Runners

—Photos: Yang: Terry Cockburn, Yin: Cindy Giovagnoli

Terry Cockburn has been teaching yoga since 2006 and owns Freeport Yoga Company (Freeport, Maine) and Yarmouth Yoga Studio (Yarmouth, Maine).  A marathon runner, mother to two boys (and one yellow dog), business owner and outdoor adventure seeker, she balances an active yang lifestyle with time on the meditation cushion and a contemplative yin practice.  Terry teaches classes, workshops and retreats and has a passion for working with the athletic population.  Check out her upcoming offerings at

Maine BrewGuide: 5 Summer beers you'll want to try

Summer Beers You’ll Want to Try

Maine BrewGuide reviews 5 summer beers from local breweries

Oxbow Brewing Company ~ Grizzaca
5% ABV

Kissing cousin to a Saison, Grizacca is Oxbow Brewing Company’s interpretation of the Belgian style beer called grisette. There is an infinite amount of lore surrounding this style, but it doesn’t have to get complicated: while saisons were made for farmworkers, grisettes were brewed for coal miners. Simple, until you find references to “grisettes,” young working women dressed in gray, “gris” in French.  Let’s stick to the beer. Sipping Grizacca with Anne Marisic, Oxbow’s Director of Retail Sales, at noon on a gray, er, gris Saturday, was a perfect example of why we go to tasting rooms. Once inside, the world becomes smaller, the outside no longer bothers our consciousness. We are talking beer and drinking it. Grizacca is bright, crisp, with notes of pineapple and hints of the promise of spring. Ahhh. A must-sip beer for the spring and summer season. Watch for Rivulet in Summer, 2017, their newest grissette.

Threshers Brewing Co. ~ Nor’easter
5% ABV

In the springtime, on a day that just breaks 50 degrees, if you happen to be sitting outside on the patio at Threshers Brewing Co. in the deep woods of Searsmont, just kick back, prop up your Muck Boots and gaze at the bare trees and muddy parking lot. Then take one sip of their Nor’easter and close your eyes. You’re on the beach, baby, and it’s fast forward to summertime. This Northeast style IPA is made with a Vermont-style ale yeast, which lends some cloudiness to the honey color and the Australian El Dorado hops smooth it out without any trace of bitterness. It starts with citrusy, almost naval orange flavor, which gives way to a juicy, clean finish—sort of like a breath of clear, cool air on a hazy, summer day.

Shipyard Brewing Co. ~ Fire Berry & Maui Mango Blend
5% ABV

Tea beers are currently trending in Europe, with Germany being the epicenter for tea blending these days. Fortunately you don’t have travel far to experience Shipyard’s two options, Fire Berry and Maui Mango Blend. Both of these tea beers are wheat based and low in alcohol to allow a neutral canvas so when the teas are blended it allows the elements of the natural tea ingredients to come through. Oh, and caffeine-free!

The tea used is from Tiesta Tea, who has highly researched and selectively sourced teas from around the world for the best characteristics and flavor. The Maui Mango Blend: Has an aromatic nose that presents with notes of pineapple, orange slices and strawberries. The flavor has a pleasant juiciness and is not overpowering, it leaves you with a clean, crisp finish. Fireberry: A more tea forward beer, is made with blackberries, elderberries, currants and hibiscus and has a clean slightly bitter finish which I enjoyed.

In lieu of hops: Tea beers have achieved what is being done with hops these days. Today’s brewers are finding new ways to exploit the bountiful flavors from natural fruit and varying tea blends that allow full, complex flavors in sessionable beers.

Oxbow Brewing Co. ~ Loretta
4% ABV

The brainchild of Oxbow head brewer Mike Fava, Loretta resurrects the once-forgotten style of grisette. Originally brewed as a libation for French coal and stone miners centuries ago, the style is a close cousin to saison, similarly low in alcohol and refreshing. Loretta is one of three grisettes the farmhouse brewery produces – along with the La Griseta and Grizzaca – and the most traditional example of the style. Brewed with European hops and locally-harvested spelt grain, the light-bodied beer clocks in at an easy-drinking 4% ABV. Loretta pours a pale yellow with a big, estery nose, and is a crisp, refreshing mix of lemon, wheat and grainy sweetness with a slightly citric bite.

Fore River Brewing Company ~ Lygonia IPA
6.5% ABV

Lygonia’s golden hue glows like a July sunrise over Casco Bay. Its nose emanates a summer-rich aroma of peaches, grapefruits, and pineapple from the Ella and Topaz hops. As you sip Lygonia, (Fore River Brewing Company) tropical fruit flavors give way to refreshing pine notes until finally easing back to a mango hop finish. It has just the right sweet malt body to balance out the generous addition of hops, while the dry finish leaves little residual sugars to get in the way of its refreshing hop voyage. Lygonia is the perfect companion to backyard cornhole with friends while Tom Petty croons on the radio.

— Text & Photos: Grizacca – Kate Cone; Nor’Easter – Kay Stephens; Fire Berry & Maui Mango Blend – Stan Rintz; Loretta – Josh Christie; Lygonia IPA –  Dave Patterson

Amanda Woods, Wiggly Bridge Distillery

Maine’s Cup Runneth Over

The State’s craft distillery movement is spilling over into its cocktails.

Wiggly Bridge Distillery

Photo: Wiggly Bridge Distillery

Did you know Maine was the birthplace of prohibition? Maine passed the first laws in the country to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages. If not being able to have your afternoon Old Fashioned doesn’t put a sour taste in your mouth, I don’t know what will.

As history states, the Maine prohibition law was repealed in 1934 and Maine residents were able to enjoy their afternoon beverage again and that’s pretty sweet.

Being part of Wiggly Bridge Distillery since its foundation, we see that the craft beer trajectory is being replicated by the craft spirits industry. According to the American Craft Spirits Association there are over 1,300 craft spirits producers nationally as of October 2016. That’s more than double the amount of craft distilleries that existed 10 years ago. This speaks volumes about the strong interest in craft spirits. This surge and uprising is no different for Vacationland. In 2009, there were only 3 distilleries in the state of Maine. Maine now has its own Distillers Guild and has 12 members mapped out on their website.

Wiggly-Bridge Distillery

Photo: Wiggly Bridge Distillery

Maine is known for its pristine waters and aquifers. Not connecting that fact, in reference to this rum punch rhyme, would be doing the State a disservice.

The craft movement has become a huge part of our society not only in Maine, but nationally. The United States seems to be infatuated with artisanal everything, from handcrafted furniture to homegrown organic food to hand crafted chair socks. Yes, you read that right! Look it up. Now that the bulk of the alcoholic offerings behind the bar have been upgraded by the craft movement, it’s time to upgrade the ingredients that play nicely with these craft spirits. The term “fresh is best” rings true for the craft cocktail scene. Bartenders are juicing their own citrus instead of using something that’s pre-made. Ian Michaud, distiller from Liquid Riot, can attest to the fact that craft spirits have opened the doors to the craft cocktail scene. “Craft cocktail makers pride themselves in creating their own mixers, bitters, shrubs, syrups etc. The variety and quality of craft spirits now available to these mixologists allows them a level of freedom to create so many amazing libations!”

Liquid Riot

Liquid Riot / Yo Yo Nana

Ashleigh Hamilton, Lead Mixologist, from Wiggly Bridge Distillery, believes that the cocktails play off the complexities in craft spirits. “When creating a cocktail with a craft spirit the flavors are accentuated and create a more interesting cocktail while a commercial spirit may cause the cocktail to fall flat.”

Ned Wight, owner of New England Distilling, believes that craft spirits give the bartender more nuanced flavors to work with in a cocktail than a regular spirit. “It’s like they [bartenders] were working with a 4 pack of crayons 10 years ago and now they have the mega-pack (with sharpener!).”

The next time you sip a rum punch or an old-fashioned, think about what’s in your drink. Try out one of Maine’s incredible craft distillery options and enjoy the exponential flavor experience you get from drinking a craft cocktail. Your taste buds will start to appreciate the difference between a craft cocktail made with local craft spirits and one that has just come out of a soda gun.

Text: Amanda Woods

5 keys to training stress-free

5 Keys to Training Stress-Free

Running and training shouldn’t be stressful. It is very easy to say that you don’t have time, you will go tomorrow, or you will start next week, but that is not a way to achieve your goals. Over the years, I have tried different ways to make going for a run highly efficient and focused, all while getting the results that I want. I have put together 5 easy ways to make going for a run simple:

1  Prep your gear the night before.

Make sure you have your shoes, shorts, tights, jackets, water and other necessary gear lined up so that you can walk out the door without spending time looking for your one sock, or watch. This is the ultimate time suck, especially when you don’t have time.

2  Don’t wait for others.

Many people say that they need to be motivated by others to go train, but do you really? You might talk while you are warming up and when you are done, but that is about it. If you are really training, you can’t talk because you are breathing too hard. Taking time for yourself is not a bad thing! Embrace the peace and quiet as well as focusing just on you!

5 Keys to Training Stress-Free

Photo: Ken Lubin

3 Have a route mapped out.

If you have a certain amount time to run, map out a route. 30min, 45 min, 1hr, or 1hr+ this is a great way to take the time constraints out of the equation and enjoy the experience. Just go!

4 Have a purpose.

Each run should have a purpose. Is it a recovery day? Do you need to do speed work? Are you going for endurance? Make sure you have a purpose for your run.

5  Reward yourself.

Most of us aren’t going to the World Championship or Olympics any time soon, so don’t be afraid to reward yourself for a job well done or finishing a week of accomplishing your running goals. Have a beer, an extra glass of wine or dessert. If you don’t allow yourself these types of indulgences you will go crazy! Life is all about balance.

As a busy traveling executive with kids, I compete with the top guys in multisport events, and using these tactics have worked extremely well for me. Efficiency, focus and purpose are the keys to being a top athlete.

Text: Ken Lubin, Founder of Executive Athletes (

In Maine, there are two great OCR events: Dynamic Dirt Challenge and Tough Mountain Challenge.

Ready for Your New Obsession?

This season’s obstacle course racing (OCR) is going to be the best yet in New England. There are several events for people who are just starting to get into this growing sport as well as professionals who are trying to make a name for themselves.

If you’re new to OCR, there are a few upcoming events to check out. In Maine, there are two great OCR events:

Dynamic Dirt Challenge and Tough Mountain Challenge. The Dynamic Dirt Challenge is on June 4th at Pineland Farms in Gray. This four-mile course is designed to challenge your all-around strength, stamina and mental grit. The second event is the OCR that I started with: the Tough Mountain Challenge in Newry on July 29th. This four-mile adventure obstacle race will test everything you have with the challenging Sunday River Resort as the setting for this twenty-four obstacle event. If you are looking to get an earlier start on this new physical hobby, then check out Thunder Run in Epping, NH on May 20th. This is a 5k format with all the fun of the other races including plenty of mud.

If you’re ready to tackle the next level of OCR, Tough Mudder offers “escape the ordinary events.” There will be two events in New England featuring Tough Mudder’s newest obstacles, that you won’t want to miss. The first event is at Mt. Snow, VT on June 24th – 25th, also known as the Beast of the East. This 10 to 12-mile course has more than 20 obstacles that will push you beyond any point you have reached before. The second “escape the ordinary” event is at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on August 19th – 20th and this will offer Full and Half Mudder both days. The Half Mudder is a 5-mile mud run without some of the advanced obstacles, a perfect way to start your Tough Mudder career. You will find that even if you went alone to these events you will come across the finish line with 20 new friends that are like family. In my opinion, it is an event that is truly life changing for most of the participants.

The next OCR series coming to New England are the Spartan Races. These races are for all levels, but geared to competitive OCR athletes because races are timed with cash prizes. The first New England race is the Spartan Sprint, this 3 to 5-mile course features 20 to 23 obstacles in Rutland, MA on June 17th. The second event is the Spartan Super and takes place on August 15th in Barre, MA, mileage is increased to 8 – 10 miles with 24 to 29 obstacles. The third and largest race is the Spartan Weekend on September 16th in Killington, VT. This is birthplace of Spartan racing and it offers the Ultra Beast, Beast and Spartan Sprint. The Ultra Beast is a test for the most advanced athlete with 26+ miles and 50+ obstacles. There are strict time hacks as well and not all who start will finish this race. The Spartan Beast is a 12 to 14-mile course with 30 to 35 obstacles to push you to the next level. The last of the Spartan race series is at historic Fenway Park on November 4th. This Spartan Sprint will be the one every OCR athlete who loves the hometown Boston Red Sox circles on their calendar. Many New England OCR athletes will attempt to earn their Trifecta medal, by completing a Spartan Sprint, Super and Beast in the same year.

I will round out this OCR report with some other upcoming race series dates and locations:

May 13 — Terrain Race, Thompson CT

May 20 — BoneFrog Challenge, Charlemont MA

August 10-13 — Shale Hill OCR Festival, Benson VT

August 19 — Warrior Dash, Thompson CT

— Text: Jeff McAninch

Floating is an amazing tool for recovery used by Olympians and professional athletes around the world.

Float Your Way to Recovery

Floating is an amazing tool for recovery used by Olympians and professional athletes around the world. From Aly Raisman, the Gold Medal winning captain of the US Women’s Gymnastics team, to the NBA Finals winning Golden State Warriors, World Series Champs Chicago Cubs, and even The New England Patriots, floating has been proven to help athletes get back to training harder, faster.

Inside a float tank there’s 10″ of water saturated with over 1,000 pounds of medical grade Epsom salt, this allows you to float effortlessly on the surface of the water. The water and air are heated to the same temperature as the outer layer of your skin (about 94 degrees). With the water, your skin, and the air all the same temperature, after a short while the boundary between them is nearly indiscernible. Some float tanks are equipped with colored lights and speakers, so you can leave a light on or listen to music while you float. If you choose, you can shut both off and allow your central nervous system some much needed time free from external stimulation. During a float session your body experiences reduced cortisol production, reduced inflammation, increased blood flow and dopamine production. It is a truly unique way to relax your body and your mind.

Floating was developed in 1954 at the National Institute of Mental Health in hopes of answering the question “If all sensory input is removed, will the brain go to sleep?” That answer was found, along with many others, and even more questions. Floating, R.E.S.T. (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) or Sensory Deprivation rose in popularity through the sixties and seventies amongst researchers, hippies, and athletes. It went through a bit of a lull in the eighties and nineties but has experienced a resurgence in the new millennium with float centers opening in major cities around the world.

As people all over are waking up to the importance of a healthy active lifestyle, floating is another tool to be used along with massage, yoga, meditation, acupuncture and the like. Incorporate it into your wellness and recovery plan and see how much sooner you can be training again and pushing yourself to new limits — contact the Float Harder Relaxation Center at


500 Washington Avenue
Portland, ME 04103


Trek Across Maine

Long-Distance Cycling: Food is the Thought

As fuel for a 100-mile bike trek, the food choice was definitely questionable

— if not downright gastronomically ghastly. But sometimes, according to veteran century rider Adam Rosenbaum of Falmouth, you have to go with your gut or, rather, what your gut is telling you to eat.

So that’s how Rosenbaum came to down a hot dog crammed with a hefty helping of sauerkraut while pedaling his way through a century. “Even though I knew it wasn’t the best (food choice),” he said, “I’m riding a long way, and I want a hot dog piled with sauerkraut.”

For people in the long-distance cycling community, food is a must, and while some are quite discriminating about what food they choose to consume, most simply are concerned about preventing their energy gauge from falling to empty.

Most authorities on food and fitness estimate the average 150-pound person expends between 500 and 800 calories per hour when cycling. Of course a variety of factors- head wind, hills, intensity of the riding- weigh into determining the actually number, but what’s indisputable is a cyclist riding 50 miles or more is going to burn a lot of fuel.

Trek Across Maine, Karsten Moran

Photo: Karsten Moran

Consider the Trek Across Maine, the annual three-day 180-mile fundraising ride hosted by the American Lung Association of Maine. Even a cyclist pedaling at a moderate rate of between 12 and 14 miles per hour might consume about 600 calories per hour. At that rate, a 50-mile ride demands about 2,400 calories. Given that huge caloric need, organizers make sure they have an ample supply of food available before, during, and after each leg of the event. Take the 2015 Trek for example. That year organizers supplied 200 pounds of carrots, 350 pounds of granola, 2,300 oranges, 3,500 apples, 5,000 bananas, and 10,000 energy and granola bars. Seem like a lot? Think again. More than 2,000 people pedaled the Trek that year, which comes down to fewer than three bananas per cyclist over the three-day endurance test. So, no, there can never be too much food – not when you’re pushing pedals for as many as 10 hours a day.

Gary Smith, school superintendent of RSU 18, a school system covering five communities in central Maine, has completed the Trek Across Maine for 21 consecutive years. He credits his success in part to adhering to the advice of Trek organizers on nourishment.
“They have a saying on the Trek,” Smith said, “and I follow it: Drink before you’re thirsty and eat before you’re hungry.”
For Smith, though, there’s no hot dogs piled with sauerkraut.

“Fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, maybe a banana, and an energy drink – and that’s it,” he said. “But that’s just me. It’s kind of like a formula.”

Jim Merrick of the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club is a veteran long-distance cyclist, one who has completed numerous bike centuries as well as the Trek Across Maine. He said when it comes to staying sufficiently hydrated and energized for long rides, people need to use common sense. For example, he said, cyclists should drink water on a regular basis in the course of a long ride. But that doesn’t mean guzzling water by the gallons. “I think a lot of people usually say drink plenty of water,” he said, “but people can also overdo it. I know people who have done the Trek who have been hospitalized because they drank too much.”

Rosenbaum is most certainly not a water guzzler. “I ride centuries with one water bottle,” he said. “They say ride with two, but I find that one never gets used.” Instead, Rosenbaum said he simply refills his bottle when he reaches the next aid station. Most organized centuries and long-distance cycling events provide multiple rest stops with food and water for participants.

Merrick, like Smith, heads for the tables featuring bananas and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches although in recent years energy bars have become extremely popular. “They have all these energy bars (at rest stops),” Smith acknowledged, “and I usually grab one or two to put in my bike shirt and more often than not, I have about a dozen left at the end of the Trek.” And that goes back to Smith’s belief in the formula. “I think the magic sandwich,” he said, “is peanut butter with banana on whole grain bread.”

Some, though, see room for a bit of indulgence during a long ride. Take again Rosenbaum, the hot dog and sauerkraut fan. On a bike century he did last summer in New York, Rosenbaum ate much of the usual fare: energy bars, peanut-butter sandwiches, bananas, and the like.

But he also saved room for dessert. “I couldn’t help myself,” he said. “I also had a couple of chocolate-chip cookies that looked really good.”


— Text: Colin Hickey

Bike MS, Cycling Friends

Bike MS: Sisters Ride on a Mission Together

August 12 and 13, 2017 will mark the 33rd year for Maine Bike MS, the ninth year since Donna McGrew first heard the words “you have multiple sclerosis” when her sister was diagnosed, and the seventh year since her own diagnosis of MS. Now as team co-captain for Cycling Friends and a passionate advocate for the National MS Society, it is Donna’s personal mission to motivate individuals and families affected by MS to get out there and do something about MS NOW…like riding a bike. Because she knows every dollar raised and the miles ridden brings her and her sister closer to the day when MS will stand for Mystery Solved.

One in four Mainers has MS

For more information about Bike MS: Great Maine Getaway please visit the website at or email

Early and on-going treatment with FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your healthcare professional and contacting the National MS Society at or 1.800.344.4867. 

33rd Annual Trek Across Maine

2017 Trek Across Maine


The 33rd annual Trek Across Maine will take place on

Father’s Day Weekend – June 16 – 18, 2017

Over the course of 3 days and 180 miles, you will travel from the remarkable western mountain region to the beautiful coast of Maine. You’ll be accompanied by 2,000 cyclists and 700 volunteers in this fully supported charity ride. Join the American Lung Association as we save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease!

NEW  2 day option available – June 17 & 18, 2017

Enjoy shorter mileage (97 miles) and a lower fundraising minimum
without losing out on the experience of the
Trek Across Maine!

For more information or to register, please visit or email
Use code RACEME for $20 off your registration. Each individual participant is required to fundraise $550 and  ages 7-17 must raise $400. Check out our Facebook page for promotions, discount codes and updates all year long:

2017 Trends in Running Gear for 2017

Innovations in Running Gear

RaceME spoke with John Rogers, owner of Fleet Feet Sports Maine Running in Portland Maine, and Erin Flatley, Social Media Marketing Manager and Run Club Coach, about the trends we can expect to see in running gear this year.

What new shoe trends are you seeing for 2017?

Hoka Arahi

Hoka Arahi – $130

JOHN: I believe shoe companies will build upon similar advances from 2016 in continuing with  “Geometric” Designs, that use similar midsole materials and seamless upper designs. I see the future of shoe innovations will be aided by the latest technology in gait analysis and 3D imaging and scanning. These advanced imaging tools give more accurate details for measuring gait characteristics from “heel strike” to “toe off” with significant information in real time.

ERIN: I see designs trending toward how a shoe fits the foot as a whole rather than focusing on just stability.

Recovery seems to be the hot topic these days, what equipment is trending for pre- and post-run stretching and massage tools?

Addaday Roller

Addaday Type D Universal Roller – $49

JOHN: There is a greater emphasis on injury prevention and recovery than ever before. Brands such as Addaday, Moji, Pro-Tec and Trigger Point are scientifically designing sticks, foam rollers, bodywork balls, and flexible massage devices, which incorporate varied surface textures, materials and shapes to release muscle and tendon adhesions, and realign joints.

R8 Roller by Roll Recovery

R8 Roller by Roll Recovery – $119

Many of these products are self massage tools and mimic the techniques used by physical therapists to speed recovery, break down muscle and tendon scarring and help runners relieve IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis, hamstring strains, shin splints, low back tightness and glute pain. These advances are truly helping runners recover at greater speed, prevent injury, and run pain-free.


What is new in the tech world?

Aftershokz Bone-Conducting Headphones

Aftershokz Bone-Conducting Headphones – $130

ERIN: Listen up runners!! Aftershokz Head phones are a game changer that enhances the runner’s music experience while adding the safety of hearing whats going on around you as well. The technology behind this revolutionary device is called “bone conduction.” Aftershokz Trekz Titanium have been a extremely popular item in which their Portland store has sold out 4 times since Christmas!


Fleet Feet Sports Maine Running has locations at 309 Marginal Way in Portland, and  89 Main Street in Brunswick.

trigger point demo

Raise Your Bar – Hook up with a Running Group

It doesn’t matter whether you’re fast or slow — you are welcome to run, learn, and train with the coaches at Fleet Feet! These fun, simple and social running groups meet in Portland and Brunswick.


location: 309 Marginal Way
schedule: The Portland group starts April 4th and meets Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6pm, Saturdays at 9am (after June 10th – 8am)
cost: $75 includes a Maine Track Club membership, or use promo code SKIP to register for just for Run Club at $50
coaches: Erin Flatley, David Dowling, Kathy Bowe & Michael Gaige


location: 9 Maine Street
schedule: The Brunsick group starts April 3rd and meets Mondays & Wednesdays at 6pm, Saturdays at 8am (after June 10th – 7am)
cost: $50
coaches: Katrina White & CeCe Camacho

Run Club participants receive:

  • A year-long structured training program.
  • Dedicated support and individual counseling from a Run Club coach.
  • 3 group training sessions during the week (option of 5 if you attend both Portland + Brunswick!) Each week will include one structured workout, one group run of 3-5 miles, and a Saturday long run.
  • Information clinics by coaches and vendors on proper footwear, gear, injury prevention, and nutrition featuring product
    try-ons and more!
  • Access to planned Pub Runs, Scavenger Hunts and many other fun runs!
  • Weekly Training Group Email and Group Facebook Run Club Training Page.
  • Race Course Preview Training Runs.
  • Winter Warrior Training – Winter Workouts to maintain strength and endurance….and brave the Maine Winter elements!
  • The camaraderie of others like you with the same goal!
  • With the registration fee, each person will also receive one technical running shirt (one t-shirt or singlet) and one other custom FFSMR product.

Nutrition Guide for Runners

Fuel: Nutrition Guide for Runners

We spoke with nutritionist and running coach Tara Whiton of Fleet Feet Sports to get answers to some common questions athletes have as they get into their training routines. This is Tara’s Nutrition Guide for Runners — check out these important tips to make sure you are on track to meet your goals.

What are some common mistakes runners make with nutrition?
Rewarding yourself with “treats” or very large meals simply because you’ve completed a run is a common mistake. It’s okay to treat yourself once in a while, but remember what your goals are to keep things in check.  Beginning runners tend to overestimate their calorie expenditure. In reality we only burn about 100 calories/mile no matter how fast we run.

Eating lots of carbs is another common error. While eating carbs is definitely important for running, runners still need to eat a balanced diet just like everyone else. Lean protein for muscle building and repair, healthy fats (like monounsaturated and omega-3’s), fruits & vegetables for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A balanced diet is important for fueling performance and recovering for the next exercise session.

When and how much should I eat before a 30-minute run?
If you are running in the morning after waking you don’t necessarily even need to eat. Later in the day, the general rule of thumb is to eat just a small snack (200 calories) about 1.5-2 hours before the run.

What are the best pre-run foods?
Carbohydrates that are easier to digest along with a little fat and/or protein (to help stabilize blood sugars and keep you feeling satiated). Some examples: banana w/nut butter, 5-6 crackers with nut butter, 5-6 crackers and a couple small pieces of cheese. For those on the go and need of a “convenience snack,” have 1 serving of Clif Shot Bloks, a gel, or a small glass of Gatorade, 30 minutes before run.

How much should you eat before a 60-minute run?
As with a 30-minute run, eat a small snack of around 200-300 calories, keeping in mind that caloric needs are dependent on body size and how fit you are.

Nutrition Guide for Runners

Photo: Kevin Morris

What do you need to bring on a long run?
Liquids are the most important thing. Bring water plus electrolytes (like Nuun tablets) to replace electrolytes lost in sweat (primarily sodium and some potassium). Electrolytes also help to move carbohydrates from the small intestine into to the blood stream where they are needed. bring liquids in a handheld water bottle, hydration belt, or hydration pack. Nutrition options should be focused on carbohydrates. Convenient carbohydrates to bring with you are gels and chews.

What nutritional supplements do you recommend?
At Fleet Feet of Maine, we carry GU, Hammer, Clif, Huma, Nuun, Bonk Breaker, Picky Bars and Honey Stinger. Within those brands are several different nutrition forms: gels, chews, electrolyte drinks, recovery.

What about hydration and electrolyte replacement?
Rehydrating with water plus electrolytes is vital to prevent hyponatremia. Hyponatremia can occur by drinking too much water without replacing electrolytes. Drinking only water, you dilute your blood sodium levels, and this can be deadly! This is only a concern in very hot conditions and longer/more intense races.

Drinking electrolytes can also help move carbohydrates ingested out of your small intestine and into the blood steam (so will help prevent that sloshing feeling) AND can help prevent that nauseous feeling that many people experience after a long run. If feeling that way, drink a glass of electrolytes post-run.

What are the best food and drink choices after a moderate run?
Post run it’s important to eat something within the first 30 minutes after exercise (preferably some carbohydrates and liquid). If you can’t stomach it, try to suck down some Gatorade (carbs, liquid + electrolytes). Within the hour, try to consume a small meal consisting of carbohydrates, protein, and some fat…a well-rounded meal. Some examples might be a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana and 2 eggs, a fruit smoothie with some protein powder, yogurt with fruit and granola…etc.

What about having a beer or two after a race or running?
I think having a beer or two is just fine. Beer is only dehydrating if you drink a lot of it, but everything in moderation of course! You are consuming liquid + carbs + B vitamins. Also, if not just for mental enjoyment!

Why are training groups successful in furthering runner’s abilities and goals?
I think training groups are successful from the motivational and accountability stand point. We have friendly coaches and great people who attend our groups. They are very high energy and I think that runner’s typically thrive in this type of supportive environment! People make friends and find running buddies through our groups and we see them return year after year! In a few words: High energy, fun, supportive, motivational!

Tara Whiton has her Master’s (MS) in Exercise Physiology & Nutrition, is an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, and a running coach. Tara is the Director of Social Media & Communications, and Run Coach at Fleet Feet Maine Running. She is fond of trail races, particularly the 50K as well as short, steep uphill running races. On the road her preferred distance is the half-marathon.

Distilling in Maine

Distilling in Maine: Ingenuity, Craft, and History

It’s mid-afternoon on a Saturday and I’m in an up-and-coming industrial neighborhood in one of Maine’s coastal towns, enjoying a drink. It’s Maine Craft Distilling’s take on a Moscow Mule, served with their spiced Ration Rum, ginger beer, and lime juice. Or perhaps it’s peppery Gunpowder Rye from New England Distilling, served straight up along with a tour of the distillery. I could be in Biddeford’s Pepperell Mill sipping a Bimini Special—a refreshing tonic made with Round Turn Distilling’s Bimini Gin, coconut water, lime juice, and a dash of bitters. The spirits may vary, but one thing is consistent: these craft distilleries are helping to bring life back to once-neglected industrial spaces as part of a resurgence of distilling in Maine that hasn’t been this robust since before Prohibition.

Craft distilleries and their accompanying tasting rooms are following in the well-trod steps of craft breweries. Fifteen distilleries have opened in Maine in the last 11 years, wrestling consumers’ attention away from national brands with carefully crafted, often locally-sourced products in a wide array of styles. Like breweries, the forerunners of the industry worked to change unfavorable laws leftover from the 1930s for their businesses to thrive. And it’s working—as regulations become friendlier to small businesses and the public’s thirst for craft beverages grows, more and more distilleries are firing up their stills and slinging drinks across the tasting room bar.

Distilling in Maine was actually outlawed for the longest period of time in the country—from the passage of the so-called Maine Law in 1851 until the repeal of Prohibition in 1933—a total of 82 years. It should follow then that near every distillery in Maine gives a nod to history by revitalizing forgotten spaces. Distillers work in once-abandoned mills and warehouses in Portland, Brewer, Biddeford and in renovated barns in York, Freeport, Union, and Newcastle. They create spirits that honor our state’s rich history of shipyards, working waterfronts, and agriculture in these spaces made relevant once again.

Of course, no one narrative captures the wide variety within Maine’s craft distilling industry. The men and women behind the stills produce unique spirits using technology that was first discovered in Medieval times, but given a 21st century twist. Unwanted potatoes become gin and vodka at Maine Distilleries; Split Rock Distilling ferments and distills locally-grown organic grains into vodka and bourbon. Several distilleries use molasses to make a number of rums as varied as those from the Caribbean Islands, and gins are flavored with unique botanicals like chamomile, rose petals, and naturally, blueberries. There’s a Maine-made spirit for everyone from fruity mixed drink lovers to serious whiskey aficionados.

As the Maine craft distilling industry grows, so does the average drinker’s knowledge of spirits. Bespoke cocktail menus featuring bitters, amaros, egg white-topped drinks, and housemade ingredients have helped turn many average bar-goers into a knowledgeable and discerning consumers. Others are simply happy to try something new that tastes good, and many are looking to connect with the story behind the drink. As a result, the last few years have seen a rise in the popularity of events and groups that offer drinks with a side of education.

The Portland Spirits Society (of which I am the founder) hosts ladies-only educational events about different styles of liquor. We’ve learned about everything from tequila and Scotch to what kind of whiskey pairs well with chocolate. Briana Volk, owner of the Portland cocktail bar Portland Hunt + Alpine Club, coordinates the New England Cocktail Conference annually, a multi-day event for industry professionals and the public. The conference’s events in years past ranged from tiki drinks 101 to a “grandpa drinks”-themed retro dinner.

A natural extension of the farm-to-table ethos that has gripped our nation’s food, craft distilling has what’s missing from those ubiquitous national brands: a unique sense of place. People want a drink with a story, and the ingenuity and craft that has long characterized the makers of our state fills every bottle. So next time you order a drink at a bar, ask what’s local, and listen for the unique story that only a Maine-made spirit can tell.

Kate McCarty is a food and drink writer living in Portland, Maine. She has written two books, including Distilled in Maine: A History of Libations, Temperance, and Craft Spirits. Find more of her writing at

Brewed Awakenings: The Fusion of Coffee and Beer

Brewed Awakenings: The Fusion of Coffee and Beer

When you think of the words “Maine,” “coffee,” and “alcohol,” your mind probably goes to Allen’s Coffee Brandy. The ubiquitous brown liquor is practically synonymous with Maine, where it’s been the best-selling spirit in the state for over twenty years. In recent years, Allen’s annually sells over a million bottles – nearly one for every resident of the state.

However, Mainers would be wise to marry coffee and alcohol with another libation – craft beer. Brewers in Maine, like those all over the country, have been incorporating coffee into their brews to delicious effect. And if you’re not a beer drinker, coffee beers can be a great introduction.

Rising Tide's Coffee Porter beer

Photo: Josh Christie

In the world of commercially-brewed beer, fusion of coffee and ale is a relatively new development. As recently as the mid-90s, the first coffee beers were met with resistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who cited coffee as not being an approved additive for beer. Thankfully, the humble coffee bean survived this threat, and now features prominently beers that vary wildly in style and flavor.

Hops’ and grains’ characteristics in beer vary wildly based on where they’re from and how they’re roasted. In the same way, coffee beans can create a rainbow of different flavors and aromas in beer. A coffee bean can add notes that range from floral and fruity, to smokey, to brown sugar sweet. A favorite early-morning activity of mine is stopping into Speckled Ax in Portland and looking over the flavor descriptions for their different coffees. Coffee has a bounty of descriptors, and the list could put sommeliers to shame.

Coffee is added to beer in a variety of different ways. Sometimes, grounds are steeped in water used to brew a batch of beer for a couple days, then blended into the beer during primary fermentation. Other beers call for adding similarly steeped water directly into the brite tank, where the beer is conditioned after primary fermentation. Still others add brewed coffee just before the beer is bottled and sent off to market. Each method imparts coffee characteristics in different ways, in the same way different methods of brewing coffee result in a different cup of joe. And that can all take a backseat to how much coffee is used, which can mean the difference between subtle coffee notes and a beer that tastes like a latte.

The majority of coffee beers on Maine brewers’ taps are stouts and porters, which makes sense. Those are styles that already have the bitter, roast flavors that many people associate with coffee. The addition of coffee simply accentuates and amplifies them.

The coffee-beer connection is also a chance for brewers to collaborate with local coffee roasters, craftsmen and women who work in an environment not dissimilar from a craft brewery. Even when they aren’t working together directly, the use of locally-roasted coffee drives business through the doors of these Maine producers. The superhero team-up has led to great beers like Waypoint (from Rising Tide and Tandem Coffee), Joe Stout (Bag and Kettle and Carrabassett Coffee), Jolly Woodsman (Banded Horn and Speckled Ax), Happy Dog (Marshall Wharf and Green Tree Coffee), and Mr. Grumpy Pants (Norway Brewing and Coffee By Design).

In addition to offerings that are brewed first and foremost as coffee beers, a number of Maine brewers have won over drinkers with coffee-infused versions of their regular lineups. Foundation’s Burnside, already a sweet and nutty brown ale, takes on a deep coffee complexity when infused with coffee. Loads of other local brews – like Barreled Souls Quaker State, Austin Street Six Grain, Oxbow Townline Porter, and Saco River Old Course, to name just a few – tinker with their darker beers by adding brewed coffee or roasted coffee beans before pouring.

While the marriage of coffee and dark beers feels natural, brewers have discovered that java can be added to other styles with surprising – and impressive – results. Peak Organic’s Espresso Amber, which debuted in 2008, combines organic, fair-trade espresso with the toasty malt and slightly fruity flavors of an amber ale. Rather than overpower the beer, the coffee adds rich, roasty notes and a whiff of coffee in the nose.

Limerick’s Gneiss Brewing occasionally adds cold brew concentrate to Delta, a Dunkelweizen (a dark wheat, German-style beer). The result brings rich, roast coffee flavor to the bread and banana notes of a dunkel, creating a complex and unique beer. Strong Brewing also brews a dunkel with coffee, their 44 Kaffee Weisse. The legendary brewers at Allagash created James Bean by infusing a bourbon barrel aged, Belgian-style strong ale with cold press coffee from Speckled Ax. It all comes together in a beer bursting with caramel, coffee, bourbon, and berry flavors.

Maine’s brewing scene even has a limited edition brew that pays tribute to the infamous Allen’s Coffee Brandy. Since 2013, Ellen’s Coffee Stout has been brewed by Bar Harbor’s Atlantic Brewing Company. Coffee from Crooked Porch Coffee, milk sugar, and Madagascar vanilla make for a sweet and creamy stout that recalls the milk-and-brandy cocktail favored by Allen’s biggest fans.

Text: Josh Christie


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