When it comes to Footbridge Brewery, a newcomer to the waterfront in Boothbay Harbor, co-owners Dan Pangburn and Nick Ullo have stuck to a tried-and-true business approach:
They’ve taken something they love and brought it to the marketplace.
The brewery at 25 Granary Way opened the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. A noon opening was planned, but timing is everything.
“We had people with their noses pressed against the door at 11:58,” Ullo said. “So we opened two minutes early.”
The idea, the two proprietors said, is to create a space not just for beer lovers but also families and friends. “The atmosphere we’ve created, it’s more of an idea of ‘Come be in your community.’”
The setup reflects that sensibility. Like any microbrewery or bar, there are stools up front for the dedicated drinkers. But there are also family-sized tables, with board and card games at the ready. On a recent early afternoon, a young family of three hung out and enjoyed their lunch.
The space is open, allowing visitors a full view of the brewing process. The state-of-the-art brewing stations, which Ullo described as BIAC (an initialism meaning “brew in a conical”), allow for an all-in-one brewing process that conserves water, promotes sterilization and allows for easier cleanup. The stations are on wheels so they can be moved wherever they need to be.
The proof, of course, is in the product. Footbridge currently offers nine varietals, across a range of palates. “Everything from an 8 percent stout to a 3 1/2 percent Gose,” Ullo said.
About that Gose ...
Pangburn and Ullo call theirs Salty Dogs. They’re proud of it, and they should be. It goes down smooth, with just the slightest touch of sour in the end notes. Because there are limits to a reporter’s research, the Boothbay Register tried just three others — the Why So Blue (a blonde ale with Maine blueberries and no sweetness whatsoever; more akin to a dry wine), the Winter Bush (a spiced white wheat balanced with coriander), and the Ovens Mouth, which features jalapenos and habaneros and will reach its highest purpose paired with burrito.
About the food ...
There’s not a food program, as yet. Ullo and Pangburn are serious about getting the brews right before stretching out. But you can bring food to the brewery. It’s encouraged, in fact.
In the meantime, the two buddies will continue brewing. The business has its origins in craft brewing the two did in Pangburn’s garage in East Boothbay. A batch would be finished, they’d throw a little party, and friends would increasingly encourage them to go wider with their ventures.
“We’d hear things like ‘I wish I could take this home’ or ‘I wish I could buy this,’” Ullo said. “It got the wheels turning.”
The more they thought about it, the two said, the more they recognized a need for a year-round gathering place. Said Pangburn: “Not only are we doing it for the brews, but for the community.”
Both owners handle brewing duties and full-time jobs. A lot of partnerships have a creative lead and a business director. The responsibilities with Footbridge are more overlapping, both with Ullo and Pangburn and with their staff. The planis to let the beer speak for itself, Pangburn said.
“I personally feel like the excitement of brewing beer is what drives the business end,” he said.
The business is open from noon to 8 p.m. daily. Also visit https://www.footbridgebrewery.com/