SOUTH THOMASTON—It may be the end of the summer season for tourists to Maine, but Waterman’s Beach Brewing is just getting started.
General Manager Heath Curtis just opened the oceanfront brewery for Labor Day weekend to an enthusiastic crowd of locals, visitors and fans of Waterman’s Beach Lobster. But first, a little back story, so it all makes sense.
Three years ago, Waterman’s Beach Lobster, a family-owned lobster pound, announced it was closing for good after 30 years in the business. Curtis’s mother, Sandy Manahan, and his aunt Lorri Cousens had been running the shack after Curtis’s grandmother had started the business, but in 2016, the family had decided it was time to retire. However, they didn’t want to sell the property in order to keep the family name and its brand intact.
Curtis, a scallop fisherman, and self-described “avid beer drinker” had renewed plans for the space, along with his brothers, Todd Curtis and Josh Faulkingham.
“Everybody loves a good beer, so I got to thinking, why not build a brewery on the property?” he said. “It was a joint interest for the whole family. And what a great place for it. The vision took off from there.”
The three and a half-barrel system is housed right next to the lobster shack and who should be right in the service window taking orders for fresh lobster rolls? Sandy Manahan.
“My mom wasn’t really planning on re-opening Waterman’s Beach Lobster,” Curtis admitted. “She came out of retirement this summer. But, the focus is not on re-opening Waterman’s Beach Lobster, it’s really just some really good food to go along with our beer offerings.”
Note to die-hard fans of Waterman’s Beach Lobster: you can once again get your lobster fix.
While Curtis’s background was in fishing, he needed a brewmaster. He found Brad Frost through a chance meeting at a bar in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
“It always starts by meeting at a bar, doesn’t it?” he said. “I’m sitting next to him and saw this tattoo of Maine on his hand. I was scalloping offshore at the time and kind of homesick for Maine so we got talking and he told me what he did for a living and I told him I needed a guy like him for my new business.”
Frost, whose experience included starting the Rock Harbor Brewing Co., eventually joined Waterman’s Beach Brewery, but even before he committed, Curtis was already building the brewery from the ground up.
“We had all of the equipment ready. I gave Brad free-range and told him what I kind of liked, and we just took it from there.”
The set up is very similar to Manahan’s lobster station in the back. A customer can order one of Waterman’s Beach Brewery’s three beers—a blueberry wheat, a pale ale or an IPA, but has to pay in cash. There is an ATM on the premise. Customers can sit under the cover of a roofed-in deck and enjoy the view or they can walk past the rows of lobster traps and grab a seat outside. Some people can even come up in their skiffs and beach it to get a brew.
“We’re going to put enclosures and some propane heat in there when the weather gets cooler and try to stay open as long as we can, maybe into November,” said Curtis.
Locals have been thrilled to see the new business open, to try some of the brews and have access to fresh seafood.
“Oh my God, people are loving it,” said Curtis. “We had people from far and wide come by on our opening weekend.”
The brewery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 2 to 7 p.m.
For more information visit their Facebook page.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org