Trail to pub

The stunning glacial landscapes of Maine’s Lakes and Mountains region beckon outdoor adventurers who love exploring the vast rocky terrain, swimming in alpine lakes, and bagging peaks. The region is home to ten of Maine’s tallest mountains. Those who like to chase their hikes with a cold beer will find plenty of breweries, too, thanks to Maine’s booming craft brew scene.

Whether your go-to brew is a hoppy IPA or a smooth porter, this list will guide you to some of the best local breweries within 30 minutes of one of Maine’s top mountain trails. From short hikes that lead right to a pub to all-day summit treks that end with ales at altitude, we have the perfect trail and ale pairing for you.

Tumbledown Mountain to Tumbledown Brewing

Tumbledown Mountain’s alpine ponds, bald summits, and high cliffs offer unmatched hiking. Follow the steep, 4.4-mile Brook Trail to Tumbledown Pond—adding on a summit quest if your feeling adventurous. Stop for a swim and snack at the pond before continuing to Tumbledown Ridge Trail to bag the peak. Take in broad wilderness views from the summit before returning to the base, or turn around and return the way you came.

After you’ve worked up a sweat, celebrate your summit with a craft brew that shares its name with the mountain you conquered, Tumbledown Red, or the challenge you accomplished, Peak Bagger. Most of Tumbledown Brewing’s beers are available on draft, canned, and in growlers for taking to go. Try the 207 Pale Ale, made exclusively with Maine-grown hops and malt for real local flavor.

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Robert's Farm Preserve to Norway Brewing Company

Once the site of a renowned dairy farm, Robert’s Farm Preserve is now home to a trail system that winds through the old property along Lake Pennesseewassee. Hike on eight miles of trails past the farm’s pond, orchards, and remnants of stone walls. In winter, explore the snow-covered landscape on three groomed cross-country ski trails for beginners to experts.

Once you’ve wandered through the woods, drive five minutes to the town of Norway for après at Norway Brewing Company, a family-owned microbrewery. Sit and sip in the outdoor beer garden during warmer months, or drink and dine inside from their made-in-Maine food menu. If you like your beer hoppy, try the Lust for Gold American IPA or the Mr. Grumpypants Oatmeal Stout if you’re craving something heartier.

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Androscoggin Riverlands State Park to Rusty Bus Brewing

Explore 2,675 acres along Maine’s third-largest river via the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park’s vast trail system. Petitions from the people of Maine saved this land from development in the 1980s, and it’s now a year-round recreation hotspot.

Walk the easy 4.5-mile Homestead Loop along the river, passing the foundations of homes that lined the shore before the construction of Gulf Island Dam destroyed the buildings. For a more challenging climb, hike up the steep 6.85-mile Ridge Trail and be rewarded with broad views of the Androscoggin River.

After hiking, drive 20 minutes to downtown Lewiston for a craft beer from an independent brewery, Rusty Bus Brewing. Try a Kin’s Cream Ale or New England Pale Ale in a casual environment where visitors and locals alike can kick back and socialize.

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Jockey Cap to Saco River Brewery

Start with a quick—but worthwhile—hike up to Jockey Cap Rock. This 15-minute amble through the trees first passes a tiny cave, ending just .2 miles farther at a massive granite rock which was deposited in the valley by a glacier thousands of years ago, and over time the forest grew up around it. Once the site of Maine’s first ski hill, people now climb Jockey Cap for its 360-degree views of Fryeburg and the White Mountains. Identify the distant peaks with a panoramic landscape compass that sits atop a stone monument on the rock.

Return the way you came and take a five-minute jaunt beyond the trail for your post-hike reward: a local beer! You won’t find a brewery closer to a trail than Saco River Brewery. Pop by in your hiking gear for a flight of craft brews served on their signature river paddles. Try the Pine Tree Pale poured from a tree branch tap handle to keep with the day’s forest theme, or sip the ever-changing Flip-Flop, an experimental IPA brewed with different hop varieties.

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Grafton Notch State Park to Sunday River Brewing

Climb to the top of Maine’s third tallest mountain on Old Speck Trail, a tough hike, in Grafton Notch State Park. You’ll follow the famed Appalachian Trail’s white blazes for most of the 7-mile round-trip journey through the rugged Mahoosuc Mountain Range. Atop the 4,180-foot summit, climb up the open observation tower to look out at New Hampshire’s Presidential peaks.

After your hike, drive 10 miles to Sunday River Brewing Company, a casual brewery, and restaurant on the road to Sunday River Ski Resort. Refuel with a Maine lobster roll and refreshing Mountain Mama IPA on the patio, or sip on a very dark Jamacian Stout on colder days. (Tip: Grab a hearty burger or artisan pizza to go with your brew. You’ve earned them after that hike!)

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Little Bigelow to The Bag & Kettle

Venture deep into the Bigelow Preserve and trek through dense forest along the Appalachian Trail to the 3,040-foot summit of Little Bigelow on this rewarding 6.2-mile round-trip hike. Put in another 1.4-mile side trip to visit an AT lean-to then follow the brook to The Tubs, a cascading series of pools you can cool off in on a hot day.

Once the trekking’s done, après on the mountain at The Bag & Kettle, affectionately known as just The Bag, a Sugarloaf Mountain Resort institution for over 50 years. Don’t leave without tasting this English pub’s traditional English brown ale paired with legendary Bag Burger. Voted one of the top five burgers in the world by Skiing magazine, this classic is served with a secret sauce, all the fixings, and a generous side of curly fries.

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Based on content originally written by Jenny Willden for RootsRated in partnership with Maine’s Lakes and Mountains Tourism Council.

ways to adventure

Plan Your Trip

Maine’s Lakes and Mountains offers a variety of resources to help you plan your next visit, including an annual visitor’s guide, stand alone map, and the new Adventure Guide App.

Visitor's Guide

Our Free Visitor's Guide will help inspire your next adventure along our mountain trails, lakes, scenic byways, bustling towns and more.

Map of the Region

Companion to the Visitor Guide, our dual-sided planning map will help you find your way to adventure in every season throughout the region.

Adventure Guide App

The App will point the way to all kinds of adventures, experiences and destinations in Maine’s Lakes and Mountains with GPS location maps and alerts.

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