NORWAY — Microbrewed beer in a garden? One small Western Maine community is in. 

Norway Brewing Co. has exceeded its fundraising goal after more than 100 people contributed in excess of $11,000 to a crowdfunding campaign.

Though the brewery won’t open until late fall, the funds mean it can go forward with plans to build a 100-person beer garden outside its premises at 237 Main St. next spring. The business is in the former trolley depot building.

Owner and brewer Charles Magne Melhus said this will give them the gift that keeps on giving: beer, outside, for years to come. 

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” Melhus said. “We did what we set out to do, which is give the residents of the community a sense of ownership in this.” 

Contributions came with perks. While a donation of $25 came with everlasting gratitude, for $100 the brewery has promised growlers, take-away glass containers brimming with beer, as well as a pair of tulip-shaped glasses to the 31 people who made the donations. 


Two people met the $1,000 mark. The reward? Mug-club membership, swag and the right to affix their name on the brewery’s large stainless-steel tanks full of fermenting beer.  

The project calls for tearing up part of the parking lot and laying down permeable paving blocks, walling in the outdoor drinking area and installing plants, lights and furniture. In addition to the beer garden, the brewery hopes to use any leftover proceeds to buy arched windows and brewery equipment. 

Born in the country of Norway, Melhus and wife, Erika, grew up in Maine before returning overseas. Before moving back to Maine to raise their family, Magne brewed at Lervig Aktiebryggeri, a Norwegian brewery, and Erika worked at a beer bar. 

In January, the couple announced plans to open the town’s first microbrewery and small-plate restaurant, and in March, bought a historic rail depot. Earlier this spring, they announced their first “official” beer was a collaboration with another brewery — from Estonia. 

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