KITTERY, Maine — A couple of the town’s native sons, and one down the street from York, will pay tribute to a body of water long-beloved by residents and visitors with a new creamy, sour beer called Chauncey.
The beer will celebrate Woodland Farms Brewery’s two-year anniversary, the Route 1 gathering spot named after a former family dairy farm on Wilson Road. Owner Patrick Rowan and General Manager Patrick Prendergast both grew up in Kittery, and found themselves working together at Cap’n Simeon’s Galley in the 1990s, when the pair also met Henry Ares, now co-owner and chef at Pepperrell Cove.
On Friday, Dec. 14, connecting their former place of work to the body of water they grew up swimming in, Woodland Farms will host a beer dinner at Pepperrell Cove’s event space called The View, a “coming full circle” story. Attendees will be toasting Chauncey, the new brew, while overlooking the mouth of Chauncey Creek, in the place Rowan and Prendergast both worked as teenagers that has since been transformed into several new businesses by Ares and others.
“I grew up bridge jumping and swimming in Chauncey Creek,” Rowan said. “We’re all about local here. Making a beer after the creek we grew up on. Last year, our anniversary beer was named after Spruce Creek.”
Rowan said he started working at Cap’n Simeon’s in 1990, where he met his best friend, Prendergast. At the time, Rowan lived within walking distance, and each day would make his way to work through the cemetery near Mitchell Primary School. Rowan and Prendergast worked as a prep cook and dishwasher.
Ares’ first job was in Cap’n Simeon’s kitchen when he was 16. He went on to stay there for 18 years. Most recently, he was part of the group of local restaurateurs who remodeled the Cap’n Simeon’s and Frisbee’s Market property into a waterfront destination for dining and leisure, now known as Pepperrell Cove.
“It’s super cool to see the transformation that has happened there,” Rowan said. “It will be the first beer dinner ever at Pepperrell, so we said we would absolutely love to be a part of all of that.”
It’s become a tradition so far for Woodland Farms to release different sour beers based on the seasons, and Rowan recently returned from a trip to Belgium inspired by their Kriek beer.
Chauncey is a cherry Berliner, made with Montmorency cherries purchased directly from King Orchard in Michigan. It starts with a taste of biscuit and crackers, Rowan said, and quickly turns to a tart, effervescent flavor. It presents as a crimson hue.
“Our target profile was high-quality rose or champagne,” he said. “A step above a canned sour beer. It has a long rich cherry flavor at the end.”
Assistant brewer Abe Henderson-Brown, who grew up in York but also spent much time swimming in Chauncey Creek, said they’ve initially brewed six barrels, “which will go pretty quick.” They plan to soon brew more, so they’ll be able to sell it in cans.
Ares and his wife, Pepperrell Cove co-owner and Chef Eides Ares, will prepare the cuisine for Friday’s beer dinner, which includes spice-rubbed chicken wings, blackened swordfish, buffalo short ribs and souffle cake. In addition to the first pour of Chauncey, diners will enjoy four other Woodland Farms beers.