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In 2020, craft beer captured $22.2 billion or 12.3% of the nation’s beer market. During the fall, everything comes up with pumpkin spice, including beer. Could maple rival pumpkin as a seasonal favorite? To find out which states spend the most on maple infused alcoholic beverages, check out MapleMAPS (Market Assessment and Planning System), a free interactive tool to help maple producers identify market opportunities in the United States.

The Science

Maple flavor can be imparted to beer in a variety of ways:

  • Replace the water with maple sap.
  • Use a dark & robust grade for maximum flavor.
  • Add syrup after boiling as an adjunct.
  • Add maple syrup during secondary fermentation.
  • Use maple as priming sugar during carbonation.
  • Age beer in maple bourbon barrels.
  • Use fenugreek seed at bottling for aroma.

The Cornell Maple Program conducted 36 different trials to discover the best way to brew beer with maple syrup. Check out this quick read or this Cornell research report on maple beer.

The Brewers

Rising Tide Brewing Company in Portland is the only Maine brewery that participates in Maine Maple Sunday, where they sell Nature’s Gold, a golden ale, along with quarts of maple syrup from their supplier. When the brewery decided to make a maple beer, they reached out through a personal connection to Balsam Ridge a Christmas tree farm owned by Dewey and Sharon Lloy about 25 miles away in Raymond. The farm’s maple syrup is incorporated into Nature’s Gold at the end of the boil. According to owner Heather Sanborn, the popularity of the beer extends way past the sugar season. “We have a fall batch in the tanks right now because we think it goes particularly well with Thanksgiving pie and Christmas cookies!” We’ll drink to that!
Looking to partner with a local brewer? Find your craft brewery on the website for the Brewers Association.
From an email by the University of Maine.