“We brew beers the way we would want to enjoy beers,” says David Rowland, co-owner and brewmaster at York’s SoMe Brewing Company, just a 20-minute drive south from Cliff House Maine.
It’s a philosophy that has taken the brewery far in the last three years, with flagships like the Apostrophe IPA, Whoopie Pie milk stout, and Crystal Persuasion double pale ale making a distinct impact in the New England craft beer scene.
Inside the brewery on Route 1, almost everything was crafted by Rowland and his father using local wood—from the enormous slab of pine that serves as a bar to the white pine tables. The atmosphere is quaint and warm, unlike many of the industrial breweries that are popular today, with skateboards, skis, and snowboards lining the walls and live music filling the taproom every Friday night.
As for the beer, the inspiration starts with Maine. The brewery’s name is actually a play on Southern Maine, although it is pronounced “some.”
From mountain biking to surfing to skiing, you’ll see traces of the New England lifestyle everywhere from the flavor profile of a beer to the name. The ever-popular Whoopie Pie Stout, aged on cocoa nibs and vanilla beans and named for the official state treat, was actually a suggestion from Rowland’s wife, and as he says, “She told me what she wanted, and I made it.” Then there is the Agamenticus Amber, a reference to the nearby mountain, and the Tail Whip IPA that takes its name from mountain biking. (Tail Whip is also Rowland’s favorite, at least for the moment—“It’s usually whatever is the newest beer.”)
Rowland also comes up with new brewing ideas while playing music with his father. But perhaps the biggest inspiration is the SoMe team’s collective taste buds. They have a passion for older styles as well as modern IPAs, calling SoMe Brewing a hop-forward brewery.
The up-and-coming brewery actually got its start when Rowland’s teaching position in Northern New Jersey was cut. He had been home brewing for years, and when he went to work with his father in contracting following the loss, the two began to brew together. (Now, Rowland brews while his father runs the business side of the equation.)
“The best thing that ever happened to me was losing my teaching job,” says Rowland. “We forged through and opened the brewery, and almost three years later we are currently planning a second brewery.”
York was a perfect fit for SoMe Brewing, and not just because there had never been a brewery in the coastal town before. Rowland and his wife’s family had been vacationing in York for years, and everything seemed to fall into place when they decided to move into a spot overlooking the wetlands, brewing tanks in tow.
A tasting experience at SoMe Brewing is a learning experience too. After teaching for 10 years, Rowland hasn’t quite kicked the habit of sharing his knowledge with those around him. “I’m always aneducator at heart,” he says, while touching on some beer history. “These days you have to be not only an educator but an evangelist with craft beer to get the message out there. We’re local, we’re small, and we’re trying to make better beer than the big guys.”
Along with planning a second brewery and trying to brew enough beer for the masses (which they can’t), the team at SoMe Brewing is preparing to release a three-year anniversary beer. The imperial is a barrel-aged version of the Whoopie Pie Stout called Big Whoop, and it’s over 9% alcohol by volume after aging in a bourbon barrel for three months.
SoMe Brewing Company will stay open throughout the winter season with pints and flights in the tasting room and growlers and beers to go. You can also enjoy the Whoopie Pie Stout in The Tiller restaurant at Cliff House and try some of the brewery’s most well-known creations in local bars around Maine, New Hampshire, and even Boston.