PORTLAND — I wish I could take some of today’s craft beers back in time.

I don’t mean that in the “everything was better in the old days” sense. I mean, actually take a bottle of craft beer produced locally back in time.

What would people 20, or even 10 years ago think? Imagine taking a bottle of one of Oxbow’s many funky, interesting, and sometimes experimental beers back in time and handing it out in the brewery’s home-base of Newcastle, or nearby Damariscotta.

Beer 20 years ago in Maine was nothing like it is now (although to be fair, seven-year-old Chris Chase wouldn’t have had a refined beer palette). The seeds of what would become a burgeoning industry were just barely starting to poke their heads out; they never could have known the renaissance of beer to come.

I’m sure many people have already tired of hearing about the beer industry, because they “don’t like beer.” Well, these days, you may want to rethink your idea of what a beer can be.

I don’t think that was the intent of Oxbow’s Fruited Fridays, an event held occasionally at the brewery’s Portland location. It was more an excuse to showcase all the cool beer they’d been making. I checked it out with my girlfriend after work last week.

If you look at the beer menu on Fruited Friday, it doesn’t resemble the menu you’d get in most bars or breweries. Almost every item is an aged, fruited beer that sometimes looks like fruit punch in a goblet. It usually doesn’t smell like beer at all, either. Most of the time it smells like whatever fruit was put in it — strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or peaches.

Oxbow has multiple varieties of fruited beers, many of which are aged in a barrel. Some of the fruit comes from their farmhouse in Newcastle, where they grow varieties of strawberries and other fruits.

The first, and most obvious choice for consumption on a “Fruited Friday” is “First Fruits.” Made with raspberries, cherries, and Oxbow-grown strawberries, First Fruits is an “American Wild Ale,” a type of beer introduced to “wild” yeasts or bacteria.

Wild ales, in all their types, can be an acquired taste. They typically have a strong “funk” to them, with a varying sour acid taste. They can catch someone who hasn’t had them off guard if they don’t know what to expect.

Ever have a breakfast where you got a glass of orange juice, but for some reason thought it was milk, and that surprising, tangy first sip made you instantly a bit queasy because you weren’t expecting it? Drinking a wild ale can be like that if you don’t know what’s coming your way.

Get past the slight funk and First Fruits opens up flavors of raspberry, cherry, and strawberry in subtle waves. Hints of other flavors from the aging process also come through if you sit with it for a bit, like notes of vanilla and some floral flavors.

Another beer on tap was Saison Rosé, a mixed-fermentation farmhouse ale with pinot noir grape juice and aged on cherries, strawberries, and raspberries. It has a light texture, with almost a dryness to it, that is surprisingly reminiscent of the wine it takes its name from.

In addition to beer (and lobster), Maine is known for having some great wild blueberries. Hence, Oxbow’s Low Bush, a farmhouse ale with blueberries. It pours a deep purple color and reminds me of a good homemade blueberry pie.

The last beer I had that night was called Punch Brook, and it was by far my favorite. Not necessarily because of the flavor itself, but because of what it reminded me of.

Punch Brook is an unfiltered farmhouse lager aged on raspberries. The raspberries are immediately obvious as soon as you take one whiff of the beer’s aroma.

I’m not sure I can really describe the smell without using analogy. For me, it smells like a summer day from my childhood. Just outside the garden my mother would carefully tend sat a big, gnarly raspberry bush. Despite its well-worn appearance, each year it would be absolutely filled with big, juicy raspberries.

I, of course, would usually sit myself down and eat enough of them to be sick, because they were so good I didn’t heed my mom’s warning to not eat too many.

Smelling Punch Brook takes me right back to sitting near that bush, munching on raspberries as bees pollinated the flowers still blossoming. Our old dog, Abby, who has since passed away at the ripe old age of 16, would be right there, grabbing what she could from me and picking them daintily on her own.

The aroma of Punch Brook, with its strong raspberry character and hints of hay and field, shot me back to that time with incredible clarity. It also happens to taste like a delicious blend of raspberry and what I can only characterize as wheat, with a hint of sour funk to it.

Not a single one of the beers I tried at Fruited Friday even resembled a “traditional” beer. They were purple and pink and smelled of flowers and fruits.

Which is why I wish I could take them back in time and show them to people decades ago, just to see what they’d think. I’m sure a lot of people would gruffly dismiss it as “some fruity crap, what’s wrong with good old so-and-so.”

But I bet a few people would be shocked, and delighted, by just how interesting beer can be.