Maine Beer Co. Releases Dinner #7 This Weekend
Book a hotel room, throw the cooler in the trunk, and zip up your fleece: Maine Beer Co. is releasing its latest batch of the double IPA Dinner this Saturday.
Doors open at 7 a.m. for the brewery-only release, and cofounder Dan Kleban anticipates it selling out that day. Since the first batch of the double dry-hopped, 8.2 percent beer came out in March 2014, Dinner’s popularity has grown so much that fans now drive for hours the day before, and sleep in their cars or pitch tents on Maine Beer’s Freeport grounds.
Kleban said staying over in a nearby hotel and claiming a spot in line by 5 or 6 a.m. is the best course of action. “We haven’t gotten to that point yet, but maybe sometime in the future we’ll set up a preferred hotel,” he joked.
On Facebook earlier this week, the brand offered some pro tips for folks planning to partake. Dress warmly—the forecast is clear, but temperatures will hover around freezing overnight on Friday, and it is only projected to get up to about 50 degrees on Saturday. Be considerate of the neighbors. And don’t pitch your tent close to the solar trackers on the property.
Kleban added that their lot will fill up; there’s a park-and-ride across from the brewery that guests can use.
Breweries all over New England contend with throngs of eager drinkers lining up for hours to try limited-availability brews, but Kleban admits the popularity of Dinner, Maine’s first double IPA, took them by surprise.
The first time, “We only brewed seven barrels of it, and didn’t tell anybody until it was ready,” he said. It still went so fast that they made 30 barrels for the second release, and have upped that to 60 barrels for Saturday.
The company also put some practices in place during the last release to smooth out and speed up the process. “There was a learning curve; we never anticipated the enthusiasm for the beer,” he said. Now, one of New England’s Top 5 breweries will have several point-of-sale systems in place; during the first Dinner release, there was only one. There will also be separate lines for people who are interested in purchasing the 12-bottle maximum, and for people who don’t want a full case.
“We’re trying to keep up with that demand. We’re not trying to play a game with people and make them wait in line,” Kleban said. “I’m flattered that people will go to these lengths to buy our beer. It’s kind of a humbling thing to see.”
There will be 800 cases of Dinner available on Saturday. Each bottle costs $8. Maine Beer’s tasting room will be open for regular business hours 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
525 U.S. Route 1, Freeport, Maine; 207-221-5711; mainebeercompany.com.