DAMARISCOTTA—Most people associate Maine breweries with beer, but outliers such as Maine Booch Brewing, are sizzling up the craft brew scene with the fizzy flavors of kombucha normally associated with the health and wellness crowd.
Business partners Chauncey Erskin and Shea Quill opened Maine Booch Brewing the summer of 2021, styling out the building at 85 Parking Lot Lane, formerly Van Lloyd’s Bistro.
Erskin, who grew up in Bristol, had experience working with live cultures since his days at college. He turned that hobby during the COVID-19 lockdowns into a full-fledged brewery.
“I was fermenting and making 25 gallon batches in my guest bedroom,” he said. “My friends tried it and enjoyed it so with all of the free time I had during the lockdowns, I decided to go for it.”
‘Booch, short for alcoholic kombucha, is made the traditional way by introducing a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) into a green tea. Erskin then mixes it with organic cane sugar from Brazil.
Fermenting the SCOBIES in bourbon barrels, Erskin uses stainless steel barrels to streamline the process.
“The process produces trace amounts of alcohol, but then we take the fermented kombucha and add more sugar and a champagne yeast,” he said. “So, really, it’s like a champagne kombucha.”
The result of the second fermentation which they brand the “Naked” is aged in spent bourbon barrels and picks up the oak, which reflects the flavor profile. To Erskin it tastes like “an effervescent, organic hard seltzer but with more body.”
“At the beginning, we experimented and created a lot of flavors, but now we’re going to release certain flavors strategically,” he said. “We use all organic ingredients and are currently pouring the Aloha, a ginger and hibiscus flavor, a IPB, double-dry hopped ‘booch with Citra and Mosiac hops, typically used in New England style IPAs, and we mix it up on the third flavor–you have to come down and try it.”
So, the third flavor is under lock-and-key?
“Yeah, you have to stop by to find out,” he said.
“I like to thank the community for their support and for being patrons; it’s been really nice,” he added.
Erskin, who also has a full-time job managing the catalogue of the Mexicali Blues website, has expanded the business hours even more since opening last year. Now they’re open in the afternoon/evenings from Thursday to Monday.
For more information visit: Maine Booch Brewing