February 23rd, 2021
Hikes & Brews: Bluff Head Preserve and Strong Brewing Company
You’ll find Strong Brewing Company at the junction of Route 175 and Route 15 in Sedgwick. Park across the street and walk a quarter-mile west on Rope Ferry Road to the Bluff Head Preserve, 58 acres under the care of the Blue Hill Heritage Trust. Three short trail segments—Oaks, Erratic and Pine—combine for a delightful walk of 1.5 miles out to Bluff Head. The 90-foot high ledge overlooks a big bend in the tidal Bagaduce River, which flows 14 miles from its source at Walker Pond to empty into Penobscot Bay at Castine.
If a little more walking is in order, head south on Route 15 for about four miles to Cooper Farm at Caterpillar Hill, home to two miles of trails. The view of the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge over Eggemoggin Reach from the extensive blueberry fields is impressive, while the mossy spruce woods below are delightfully cool and fragrant. In late July, the berry picking is amazing.
Strong Brewing is housed in the daylight basement of the clapboard home of Mia Strong and her husband, Al, who was a homebrewer for many years. Together, this pair of admitted beer geeks decided to open a brewery as their retirement job.
The taproom is a cozy space with a few tables and chairs, while the brewing operation is behind the hanging windows to the right. At the short bar you’re likely to find Mia or son, Stephen, serving up pints and flights of ales and lagers poured from six taps. Localmotive, a California common style brew, Bale O’Hay IPA and Soulpatch Porter and are the mainstays, while in summer you’ll also find Maineiac, a double IPA, and the hoppy Rope Ferry Red, among other refreshing selections.
Enjoy your brew indoors, or better, outside at the picnic tables on the lawn or under the timber pavilion topped with a bright red roof, which regularly hosts live local music talent. There’s usually a food truck parked next door as well.
Hike: Bluff Head Preserve, bluehillheritagetrust.org 207-374-5118
— Text & Photos: Carey Kish of Mt. Desert Island. Carey is an avid beer drinker, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide, and author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast.