(NEWS CENTER) -- Breweries with tasting rooms are popular spots for Maine beer lovers. Whether sampling a new creation or sipping a favorite brew, those places have a lot to offer on the drink side of things, but when customers get hungry for a meal, that presents challenges for establishments without kitchens.
Having food trucks swing by during tasting hours is an increasingly popular solution to that problem, but many Maine breweries are taking it a step further and coming up with creative ways to feed you while you feed your need for the newest craft beers.
Lone Pine Brewing Company on Anderson street in Portland is built for tanks and tubes, not for providing tasty treats, so finding a reliable source of sustenance is key to keeping benches full of customers.
Enter Eaux, a New Orleans style food truck that's only a few weeks old. Unlike other food trucks that come and go, Eaux plans to set up at Lone Pine each day that it is open for business.
"This has been a partnership that we've cultivated from the start and are very proud to continue to cultivate," says Lone Pine's co-founder, Tom Madden, "We want to make sure that when people know they are coming here for beer, they know they are going to have a reliable source of food as well."
Chef Evan Richardson makes his meals at Fork Food Lab, and serves them up at this cart during tasting room hours. He puts a lot of thought into Eaux's offerings, tailoring them to taste good alongside Lone Pines' products. Both business owners say it's a mutually beneficial relationship that provides a well-rounded experience that customers can come to expect: when you think of Lone Pine, eating at Eaux may also pop into your mind, and vice versa.
Across town at Thompson's Point, you don't even have to walk outside of Bissell Brothers' taproom to grab a bite, all thanks to a hole in the wall.
Bissell Brothers started pouring in 2013 at its original location on Industrial Way in Portland. Managers say making good beer was the focus, and they found fans who weren't in a rush to head out.
"They're hanging around, they're tasting beer," says Bissell Brothers' Taproom Manager, James Krams. "With tasting you might have two or three five ounce drinks, so you're here for an extended period of time. With that, it's nice to have some food as well."
The brewery moved to its Thompson's Point location a year ago knowing that Big J's Chicken Shack was also part of the plan for the area. The window that connects the two spots allows both places to focus on doing what they do best. Managers say customers can't get enough of the convenience.
Spreading the love among local establishments is also a philosophy of Biddeford's Dirigo Brewing Company. There's always fresh popcorn available, and food trucks also stop by, but if you want something different, you're welcome to get it delivered.
"I think Biddeford is in its own 'Biddesance' now, in it's Renaissance," says Molly Bull, co-owner of Dirigo Brewing Company.
Menus from newrestaurants, plus established local landmarks, are posted on a bulletin board, encouraging customers to try the local fare instead of grabbing dinner out of town.
"It helps us become good neighbors with our fellow business people and we want to encourage their business, and our customers are always interested in having food when they come to a brewery, so we like to be able to tell them yes," says Bull.
Keeping chefs cooking and brewers brewing, and leaving customers satiated and smiling.