George

I love Gale White’s story. A nuclear physicist who dramatically changed careers, he selected Maine for that life-changing experience, going first to Bar Harbor (which was far too crowded for him) and then being directed to Lubec by a knowledgeable bartender, where Gale purchased a small breakfast place,

and met and married a local lady, Mcginley Jones, a massage therapist. Then he opened his own brewery three years ago, brewing 30 gallons a week initially, and expanding to 240 gallons a week today. They began serving food and now remain open all year long, Thursday through Sunday nights, with live music every night.

I can tell you it is unusual for any restaurant in Lubec to stay open during the winter, and that’s just one of the ways you’ll recognize Gale and Mcginley’s commitment to this beautiful oceanside town where my mom grew up.

We owe a Bar Harbor bartender, who even got out a map to make sure Gale got to the right place, for directing Gale to Lubec, because he is contributing so much to this community. And the community stepped up big time to help him, doing everything from painting the restaurant’s walls to donating old things from long-gone Lubec stores.

Gale is especially enthusiastic about the farmers who are now growing organic grains and hops for his brewery. His restaurant features organic foods, with many sourced locally.

Linda and I enjoyed a Saturday night there, including the fantastic music of the O’McCrelli band. Our vivacious and knowledgeable server, Emily, let us know that her Dad, Jim O’Neil, was in the band, and is also an artist with a gallery in North Lubec. Other band members are Kara McCrimmon and John Viselli.

When we entered the brewery every seat was taken, from the picnic tables to the bar to the couches and chairs. You can eat and drink at any of these, but we were lucky as a table for two opened up while we were talking with Mcginley and we grabbed it.

Gale’s beers are raw and unfiltered, and I enjoyed his “Bailey’s Mistake” — a black ale ($5) with local hops which I have enjoyed here before. My appetizer of Portuguese Sausage and Kale Soup ($7 for a cup) was a tasty blend of Tide Mill Farm’s organic kielbasa and hot sausage, roasted potatoes, onions, garlic, herbs and spices, in chicken broth. All that added taste, but I think I especially enjoyed it because the soup included his beer, Day’s First Light, an English bitter.

Gale’s menu is short, but decisions are still tough. I opted for the haddock cakes ($10), a special that night, and the two cakes were perfectly cooked and topped with a tasty sauce. And I have to say I also loved Linda’s pizza, which would have drawn us back later in the week, but Gale and his crew took a well deserved week off for an end-of-summer vacation.

Linda

We planned to get to the Lubec Brewing Company for dinner on the first night of our vacation. It was lucky for us as they were closing for a week starting the next day. So at 6 p.m. the place was packed.

Long picnic tables allow customers to visit, and there’s a large lounge area with couches, comfy chairs, area rugs, a gas fireplace and plants. One can eat, drink and enjoy the entertainment from anywhere you’d like. The music of the O’McCrelli Band was outstanding and the backdrop to a real community atmosphere. Yes, the tourists mixed in with the locals, and those of us “from away” were able to take home memories of a wonderful night out.

A quote from their menu announces, “We are a slow food Public House, so please allow for Real Life cooking time.” I wondered, who on earth would want to hurry through a meal here?

I enjoyed a Day’s First Light beer with an appetizer on special that night of Artichoke Dip. This artichoke dip was unlike those found everywhere else. This was a small serving (and the appropriate size, if you are in hopes of consuming more), of a homemade creamy, cheesy sauce with spinach and artichokes. Alongside were thin crusty slices of sourdough bread. It was perfect.

The pizza option had me hooked once I read, “organic housemade pizza from 5 p.m. until we run out.” Enough said. But beyond that they use the spent barley (from the brewing process) for flavor and nutrition and use a nine-generation starter originating in South Africa.

I ordered the pizza with Mediterranean toppings of artichoke, black olives and Tide Mill Farms feta cheese. Both George and I agreed this was amazing pizza. Combined with the small plates we started with, it was just the right amount of food for the two of us.

The Lubec Brewing Company (like many restaurants in Lubec) closes early. Food orders are taken until 7:30 p.m. and last call is at 8:30. Work around those hours and get there for good food and a great experience.

We spent a wonderful week at Lubec Bay Cottages in south Lubec, birding the sandbar for migrating sea birds, hiking our favorite ocean-side trails, visiting West Quoddy Lighthouse, Campobello and also relaxing. It’s impossible not to relax in Lubec!

Visit George’s website — georgesmithmaine.com — for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed by town in the “Best of Maine” section.