Abe and Heather Furth and Mark Horton didn’t have to look very hard to find a brewmaster for the brewery they planned to open. The Orono-based business partners only had to take a stroll down Central Street in downtown Bangor to find the right guy: Asa Marsh-Sachs, longtime manager and “brewmaster general” at Bangor DIY shop Central Street Farmhouse.

“We went in there to ask about brewing in general, but as it turned out, Asa himself was exactly who we were looking for,” said Abe Furth, who with his wife and business partner, Heather, also owns Woodman’s Bar & Grill in Orono and both the Orono and Bangor locations of Verve Burritos. “He was really right under our noses. He loves beer, he knows beer, he’s got an amazing work ethic, and he’s also turned out to be a great friend.”

Last week, Orono Brewing Co., the fruits of nearly a decade worth of dreams and a year’s worth of hard work, opened at 20 Main St. in downtown Orono, pouring the first four flagship beers made by Marsh-Sachs since he left Central Street Farmhouse over the summer to work for the new brewery.

The Furths and Horton found their brewmaster, and Marsh-Sachs, a native of Sidney who has lived in Bangor since 2010, finally has a place to put a decade’s worth of brewing experience to practice.

“Working for a brewery is something I’ve always wanted to do, but so often those jobs are just droning away in a factory, making the same thing every day,” said Marsh-Sachs, 29. “This is a perfect job, though. I get to be creative … I get to explore the science of beer making, and also the art of it.”

Those beers include two that always will be available at both the Orono tap room and at Woodman’s, and, in the future, occasionally at places like Nocturnem Drafthaus and The Big Easy in Bangor. Two of them, Excursion Stout and AOK Kolsch, will permanently replace Guinness and Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap at Woodman’s — the former a smooth, easy-drinking stout made with oatmeal, with a similar mouthfeel and head to Guinness; the latter a dry, crisp, simple American pilsner.

The other initial Orono Brewing offerings include the Lightning Tree IPA, an aromatic, citrusy IPA made with five different kinds of hops, but with a dry finish. This isn’t a “hop bomb.” An early crowd favorite, White Nitro Cream Ale is a pilsner that drinks like a stout — a pale amber color with a very light hop flavor, but a texture that’s velvety and creamy, and a distinct malty complexity. All four beers are what’s known as “sessionable” — all range between a manageable 4.2 and 6.3 percent alcohol by volume.

Marsh-Sachs also offers several tap room-only specialty kegs, such as two versions of Excursion Stout, one with Carrabassett Coffee beans added, and one with cacao nibs added. Same basic beer, two totally different tastes. OBC also uses in its beers oats and rye from Skowhegan-based Maine Grains and barley grown in Aroostook County.

Marsh-Sachs has many more styles of beer planned for the future, including a rye IPA, a porter and a pumpkin beer that he promises won’t be anything like the sweet, syrupy pumpkin beers many people are used to.

“I will never make a sweet beer,” said Marsh-Sachs. “I want to make the beers that I want to drink. I have experience in a lot of different styles. I like eclectic beer. And I pride myself on making very drinkable beers … If I don’t like it, I’m not making it.”

Abe and Heather Furth and Mark Horton had thoughts about opening a brewery as far back as when Woodman’s first opened in 2005.

“We always thought it would be really cool to have beers made in house to offer,” said Abe Furth. “But between opening Woodman’s and then both locations of Verve, those plans just stayed on the back burner for a long time. But now, the time was just right … People have gotten much more educated about beer in general. At Woodman’s, we used to only have two rotating taps. This year, we’ll have 13.”

OBC joins fellow Bangor-area breweries Geaghan’s, Black Bear, Sea Dog, Friar’s and Penobscot Bay as the sixth brewery overall and the third in three years to open in Greater Bangor. In Orono specifically, beer lovers can now enjoy a mini beer crawl — sample brews at the Black Bear and OBC tap rooms, each within a few hundred feet of each other, and then try one of those rotating craft beers at Woodman’s.

“There seems to be a real drive here to make really high-quality beer. It’s not just about making money,” said Marsh-Sachs. “Everybody is really supportive of one another. Geaghan’s and Foundation Brewing [in Portland] helped us get off the ground so much.”

OBC’s tap room took months of renovation, after former tenants Dr. Records moved to Bangor after 30 years in business. It’s a cozy, comfortable space, with a long copper bar, plentiful outdoor seating for warmer months, and a BYOV set up: Bring your own vinyl records, to play on the turntable just behind the tap lines — a slight nod to the space’s former tenants. There’s also a small but tasty menu of snacks, including several flatbread sandwiches, gourmet macaroni and cheese and soft baked pretzels.

Orono Brewing Co. is open from 3 to 10 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays, 3 p.m. to midnight Thursdays and Fridays, noon to midnight Saturdays, and noon to 7 p.m. Sundays. Growlers can be purchased in house. For information, like Orono Brewing Company on Facebook.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.