oral histories

Nancy Chandler and her late husband, Don, took over Skowhegan’s Oak Pond Brewing in 2003. Today, Chandler is one of the most experienced female brewers around. She discusses Oak Pond’s traditional approach to brewing (with their focus on German and Czech-style lagers); her current partnership with son, Adam; the brewery’s local scale; and the future of craft brewing.

Nancy and Adam

Danny McGovern has played an important role in Maine craft beer for decades, stretching back to when he opened the original Lake St. George Brewing Company in 1993. After stints at Belfast Bay Brewing and Marshall Wharf, McGovern opened Monhegan Brewing with his daughter and son-in-law in 2012. And in 2017, he completed the circle, partnering with his wife Carol, their two daughters, and their two sons-in-law to open a second version of Lake St. George Brewing in Liberty.

Lake St. George Exterior

Mother and son Patricia Krebs and Mike Barker opened Alna Hopyard and Farm in 2012. It is currently one of the few hop-growing farms in Maine. Alna is near many rural breweries and is only one hour outside of Portland. Alna Hopyard is dedicated to growing and supplying Maine craft brewers with local hops. They have over 2,400 plantings in five different hop varieties: Cascade, Centennial, Willamette, Nugget, and Fuggle.

Hop bines with space-hop containers

Kim Vandermeulen and Linda Young opened van der Brew in Winthrop, Maine, in 2018. The brewery is located within walking distance of Main Street, in an industrial building on the shore of Maranacook Lake. During the summer months, it attracts vacationers from the many nearby lakes. According to Vandermeulen, the brewery is a “community center that sells beer.”

van der Brew Kim at the Counter