James Kimball (left) toasts a beer with Scott Fraser. submitted photo

BETHEL — Saturday, Oct. 17, Steam Mill Brewery on Mechanic Street will officially reopen at noon under partial new ownership. There will be a soft opening on October 16 from 4 to 8 p.m.

On October first, Albany resident James Kimball officially bought previous owner Brent Angevine’s fifty percent share of the brewery. Angevine, along with lifelong friend Scott Fraser, achieved their dream of opening a brewery when Steam Mill first opened its doors in July 2018. In June of this year, Angevine passed away unexpectedly, leaving the status of the brewery unknown for the time being.

The grand reopening will include the band “The Cobblestones”, well known to the area, who will be performing outside Steam Mill that Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m.

People are still not allowed to go inside unless they are buying merchandise or getting a growler filled.

Hours following the grand reopening weekend will be Thursday and Friday 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. The brewery plans to operate on those hours every week, barring any significant changes with COVID-19.

Fraser will still be involved with Steam Mill, working behind the scenes and covering shifts, but called Kimball the brewery’s “primary face.”

Kimball’s experience in the restaurant and bar industry is extensive. He’s held numerous bartending jobs in Montana and in several restaurants in Maine. In Idaho, he served as Food and Beverage Manager at Coeur D’Alene Resort and as an Assistant Manager at the Gozzer Ranch/Lake Club.

“He has a ton of front-of-house experience,” Fraser said.

Where Kimball needed training was on the brewing end of things and that’s where Fraser came in. He’s helped teach Kimball the brewing process in-house, spending 16 hours some days working to perfect each recipe and fill all barrels.

“It’s mostly learning the steps and getting a feel for the equipment,” Kimball said.

At the grand re-opening their will be six beers on tap; C-Surplus, Whitecap Blueberry, Harvest Party, Pine Hill Porter, Screw Auger Stout and Alder River Red Ale.

Fraser said the brewery’s New England IPA , “jeepah” will be ready the following week.

Kimball said he plans to add on a new beer almost every week. He also said the brewery is paired with OUT Maine and is selling pride (rainbow) decals and with every decal sold, $1 goes toward help for LGBTQ youth. A “pride” beer is going to be available in November, according to Kimball.

Prior to taking part-ownership of Steam Mill Kimball had been employed in Vermont, but when COVID-19 hit, that shook things up for him.

“The opportunity just kind of came,” Kimball said of taking over. He acknowledged that the circumstances were not good, considering Angevine’s sudden passing, but both him and Fraser felt the need to carry on Angevine’s work.

“This is a passion project, Brent and I always said that. This was Brent’s dream,” Fraser said. “I love being able to make great beer for people and have them come in and enjoy it.”

The brewery will continue selling bottled beer and growlers and also has a bunch of new merchandise, including t-shirts, long sleeves, stickers, glasses, flannels, sweatshirts, memberships, and beanie hats. Kimball is currently working on making it possible for people to purchase items online.

Kimball is a 2009 graduate of Telstar and 2012 graduate of Southern Maine Community College, where he earned an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts.

“Our goal is to make good beer. We have the original recipes and equipment and we buy the same ingredients,” Fraser said. “I hope we can make Brent proud.”

For information on updates, hours and more, people can visit the brewery’s Facebook and Instagram pages.


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