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First Snow, FMB's take on a New England-style DIPA, is an enigmatic offering in that it caters to die-hard hop hunters and newbie beer explorers alike. It touts a heavy alcohol content of 8.1%, making it more of a sippa than a DIPA (awful joke, couldn't help myself,) and its bitterness rating of 90 IBUs comes across as daunting to the layman. Those of us who have braved the long and cold Northern Maine winters will understand the correlation perfectly well. And yet, despite such drastically daunting numbers, the beer is extraordinarly drinkable. Much like a sunny, windless February day that hardly breaks ten below, one finds that the drinking experience is far less harsh than initially expected. As such, it is easily one of First Mile's most popular beverages, and people come from all over the state to grab an elusive 4-pack before they disappear.

First Snow's reputation is not without warrant. At 330lbs of total grain and nearly 115 gallons of brewing liquor, it is by far the largest mash in our repertoire. It barely leaves any room in the mash tun for sparging! Nate, our assistant brewer, learned first-hand today the trials and tribulations posed by the mash-in process, while Ezra, the seasoned veteran that he is, bemusedly sat back and watched >:)

First Snow's eminence does not end with its fortuitous grain bill. It also utilizes six different hops, added at various points before and after the boil as well as during fermentation. These varied additions give First Snow its brisk bitterness, paired perfectly with a bouquet of dank, fresh hop aromas. Despite dancing precipitously at the extremes of the beer style, it somehow achieves perfect balance in the process.

"First brewed on the snowy hills of Fort Kent..." Such a lucid description almost conjures with it an out-of-body, extrasensory experience. One can almost smell, taste, feel the essence of that wintry mindscape, and the brisk freshness it implies. First Snow, brisk and fresh in its own right, is truly the physical embodiment of that scene of wintry wonder. And, since it has been brewed again today, it will once again be available on tap and in cans in-house only in two weeks' time. Mark your calendars, friends, because it won't last long!

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Anyone whose parents owned a business remembers working at said business as a kid. But, I bet your parents never owned a brewery!

This week, our beloved assistant brewer, Nate, has been gone all week on a skiing vacation. Envious as we all might be, beer has no conception of "vacation" and, alas, the show must go on in his absence.

Conveniently enough, school is out on February break this same week. Enter the Guy children! Abigail and Caleb Guy were both kind enough to come in during their week off to help Ezra with canning: Abigail, featured right, assisted with can seaming, while Caleb, featured back and center, assisted with can labeling. Not shown, but well worth mentioning, is Dylan, who also came in for two days to assist with can filling. Without their help, surely no beer would have made it into cans; however, through a great deal of teamwork, patience, and creativity, the group effort was able to package more than 40 pallets (!!) worth of beer over the course of two days.

When it comes right down to it, these small acts of kindness and generosity are what make First Mile Brewing such a beautiful enterprise.The FMB family is not one of blood, but one of blood, sweat, and tears. Success is not achieved through the efforts of one person alone, but is instead manifest by a collective effort towards one shared goal. To paraphrase a literary exemplar of teamwork: all for great beer, and great beer for all!

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This past weekend, head brewer Ezra, assistant brewer Nate, and taproom bartender Amanda represented First Mile Brewing at the Bangor on Tap beer festival on Saturday, February 8th. One of over four dozen represented brands from all over the state (and some from away,) First Mile beer was enjoyed by hundreds of eager, and eventually intoxicated, beer enthusiasts over the course of two sessions, lasting all day. The takeaway: people love FMB beer!

Having braved the trip south, through blizzard and hardship, the crew were immediately faced with trials and tribulations leading right up to the beginning of the event. Fortunately, with a bit of quick thinking, some Yankee ingenuity, a package of Hand Warmers, and a slow caffeine drip, the trio was soon pouring avidly to the multitudes of connoisseurs, excited to see what the hype about that one brewery "from up North" was all about.

First Mile Brewing featured three beer options at this event: something light (House Beer), something dark (Deviator Doppelbock), and something hoppy (Valley Haze NEIPA). All three were exceptionally popular, but the two real MVPs of the day were the spread of FMB merch, especially the hats, and (would you belive it) the rinse spigot and dump bucket, situated quite conveniently adjacent to our taps. Between the beer, the swag, and the singular sanitation station, our booth was never once empty of curious onlookers and eager tasters.

A few special thanks go out to Lubec Brewing and 2 Feet Brewing, for being exceptional neighbors, as well as Footbridge Brewing, for coming to our rescue with a roll of duct tape when our handy rinse spigot sprung a leak prior to second session! And of course, a great big huzzah to Amanda, Nate, and Ezra for representing First Mile Brewing at a wildly successful opportunity that brought some well-deserved southern exposure to our humble County-based gem.

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