Fore River Brewing Company | Lygonia IPA
Maine, the easternmost state in the United States, is commonly known for its rocky coastline, fresh lobsters, and, more recently, its booming craft beer industry. Portland, the state’s largest city, is home to many of the area’s most popular breweries. However, just over the bridge, nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood, lies Fore River Brewing Company.
Fore River Brewing Company was the first brewery to open in South Portland and was founded in 2015. Co-owned by John Legassey and TJ Hansen, the brewery was established in a converted salt shed, where the warm and inviting tasting room features all handmade wooden furniture and a traditional wood stove, evocative of the rustic Maine experience. And yet, Fore River Brewing Company blends the rustic and historical coziness with an exciting and modern beer line up and branding, which mirrors how Maine merges its historic charm with contemporary culture.
The neighborhood of South Portland in which Fore River calls home is known as Lygonia. The name Lygonia dates back to the pre-colonial era. Prior to becoming a state, two provinces divided the land that would later become Maine. According to The New England Quarterly’s “The Rise and Fall of the Province of Lygonia,” the northern region was known as The Province of Mayne and the southern region was known as The Province of Lygonia. In 1658, both “became subject to the government of Massachusetts Bay” (Farber, 2009). Taking note of the area’s rich history, Fore River Brewing Company names many of their beers after local landmarks, neighborhoods, or historical figures — one of which is their Lygonia IPA.
Lygonia IPA is one of Fore River Brewing Company’s first beers. It features Vic Secret and Mosaic hops that give it a bold aroma of stone fruit and tropical citrus. The wheat and oatmeal included in the grain bill create a smooth, full body that balances the aggressive fruitiness. When poured, Lygonia has a notable head of foam that dissipates quickly to a thin ring of small bubbles that cling to the edge of the glass. The beer is soft orange in color with a rich haze. In taking the first sip, the flavor of tropical fruit is immediately apparent. It is quickly followed by a light bitterness on the finish, making this a well-balanced and pleasing New England IPA.
With a name steeped in the complex history of the area, and with a style and art that is both modern and refreshing, Lygonia stays true to the Fore River aesthetic. Many breweries are now making a New England IPA, and Lygonia is an exceptional example of the style. The artwork on the can is clean with lots of white space, a stroke of bold fire-engine red, and weighted san serif contemporary fonts. Included in the art is the silhouette of a flock of birds in flight. They may be a nod to the murder of crows that reside in the neighborhood cemetery, where the gates that are believed to be an original entrance to Lygonia still stand.