Tim Gallon puts the beer he makes at his Black Bear Microbrewery in Orono right within the spectrum of American craft brewing — which is, as he puts it, “pretty much everything.”
After all, the beauty of contemporary American beer is that, basically, anything goes. Want to make Belgian beers with big American hops? Go for it. Want to experiment with spices, fruit or other flavor profiles? Give it a shot! Or, like Gallon, if you want to make a variety of classic brews — a stout, an IPA, a red, a pale — you can do that too. The world is your oyster. And yes, you can make oyster beer, too.
Black Bear Brewery launched in early 2008, when Gallon, a passionate homebrewer, decided to take his beer to the next level and begin distributing it around the Bangor area. First, it was at just a few bars and stores; now, it’s a staple in draft lines in northern Maine. You can find Black Bear beers in places as far flung as Lubec, Greenville, St. Agatha and Millinocket; you can also buy it at most beer and wine stores in eastern and northern Maine.
“I’m pretty sure we’re the furthest north brewery in Maine,” said Gallon, 35, a Bangor native. “I like that that’s part of our thing. We want to be your local brewery.”
Last week — Sept. 5, to be exact — Gallon opened a tap room in downtown Orono, in the front part of his brewery, which is located in back of the Roost on Mill Street, facing the municipal parking lot. Three days a week, residents and visitors can come in for a fresh pint of one of Black Bear’s many varieties, from year-round favorites like Gearhead Ale, Pail Ale and Demon Stout, to seasonal brews such as the summertime Liquid Sunshine Ale, and the current seasonal offering, Ichabod Ale, a fall brew.
“It’s a hoppy red that’s easy to drink,” Gallon said.
The tap room hours are 4 to 8 p.m., Wednesday through Friday. For more information on Black Bear Microbrew, visit blackbearmicrobrew.com.