US - New England Portland, ME Guide

Discussion in 'Beer Travel, Events and Releases' started by Brez07, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. Brez07

    Brez07

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Portland, ME
    Below is a list of beer and non-beer places to check out in Portland, ME and the surrounding area

    If you have any questions or want any recommendations, feel free to message me either privately or ask away in this thread (tag me so I get an alert)
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
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  2. Brez07

    Brez07

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Portland, ME
    Bottle Shops in Portland, ME
    1. Bier Cellar: Forest Ave - they know their stuff
    2. RSVP: Forest Ave
    3. Whole Foods: Somerset St
    4. Maine Brewing Supply: Forest Ave
    5. Old Port Spirits: Old Port. Used to be Downeast Beverage. More focused on wine/spirits but still a good beer selection
    6. Maine Beer & Beverage: Monument Square
    7. Craft Beer Cellar: It's a chain with standard inventory, standard prices. Right downtown, so convenient if you're staying in the Old Port
    8. Friendly Discount: Forest Ave (near RSVP)

    Bottle Shops Near Portland
    • Lois' Natural Marketplace (Scarborough). They also have a Portland location now (India St)
    • Oak Hill Beverage (Scarborough)
    • Bootleggers (Topsham and Lisbon)

    Breweries within 15min of Portland
    (NOTE: Maine Law dictates breweries can only fill their own logo'd growlers)

    1. Allagash (Portland)
      • Tours: Sign up using link. (Hourly. Free samples are separate and don't require signing up online.)
      • Growlers: No
    2. Maine Beer Co (Freeport)
      • Tour: No
      • Growler Fills: No
    3. Rising Tide (Portland)
      • Tours: Yes, see website for times
      • Growler Fills: Yes
    4. Bunker Brewing (Portland)
      • Tours: No
      • Growler Fills: Yes
    5. Bissell Brothers (Portland)
      1. Tours: No
      2. Growler Fills: no
    6. Foundation (Portland)
      1. Tours: Yes
      2. Growler Fills: Yes
    7. Austin Street (Portland)
      1. Tours: No
      2. Growler Fills: Yes (32oz)
    8. Oxbow Tasting Room (Portland)
      1. Tours: No
      2. Growler Fills: Prefilled bottles available
    9. Fore River (South Portland)
      1. Tours: No
      2. Growler Fills: Yes (32oz)
    10. Mast Brewing (Westbrook)
      1. Tours: No
      2. Growler Fills: No
    11. Foulmouthed Brewing (South Portland)
      1. Tours: No
      2. Growler Fills: Yes
    12. Lone Pine Brewing (Portland)
      1. Tours: No
      2. Growler Fills: Yes
    13. Battery Steel (Portland)
      1. Tours: No
      2. Growler Fills: No
    The rest are definitely skippable, just keeping on here in case you have time to kill

    Geary's (Portland)
    Tours: 3p M-Fri, 1p/3p/5p on Saturday (show up early for some samples)
    Growler Fills: No?

    Shipyard (Portland)
    Tours: Hourly (basically just a video and tasting)
    Growler Fills: No

    Gritty McDuffs (Portland, Freeport and Auburn) - Brewpub - Growler Fills

    Sebago Brewing (Gorham) - Brewpub
    Free tours/tasting weekdays. Growler fills Wed-Fri 3-5p. About 25 minutes from downtown
    Other locations in downtown Portland, Scarborough (by the mall), and Kennebunk

    "Nearby" Breweries (drive times are distance from Portland):

    Baxter Brewing (Lewiston): Thurs-Sat 3-9p. Tours at 2p. 45min drive. Meh.

    Oxbow (Newcastle): The OG spot. Open for growler fills: Wed-Sun 12-7p. 1h drive. Highly recommend taking the drive out there. Cool little tap room, growler fills and the occasional bottle (BA FPA, etc)

    Portsmouth Brewery (Portsmouth, NH): Open for food/growlers 7 days a week. 1h drive.

    Tributary Brewing (Kittery): Tod Mott's new place. Wed-Sat 12-7, Sun 1-5. 45min

    Marshall Wharf (Belfast): Tasting room open Tues-Sun 11a-4p. Restaurant (Three Tides) open Tues-Sun 4-close. 2h drive.

    Barreled Souls (Saco): Just off the highway, pretty chill spot. Wed-Thurs 4-10p, Fri 4p-12a, Sat 12p-12a, Sun 12-8p. Likely will have food truck on site. 20 min.

    Banded Horn (Biddeford): Samples and growlers, foosball/ping pong/cornhole. W-Th 4-9p, Fri 4-10p, Sat 12-10p, Sun 12-8p. 25 min.

    Gneiss Brewing (Limerick): kinda out there (1 hr) but they have some decent beers. Also a great disc golf course in the area if that's your thing

    Funky Bow (Lyman): Also making decent beers. They have a weekly party (Friday) with free pizza and growler fills. 35-40 min.

    Portland Beer Bars: (in no order. very different scenes.)
    1. Novare Res: lots of taps and bottles, small menu (in the Old Port)
    2. Great Lost Bear: lots of taps, huge food menu, kid friendly (Forest Ave)
    3. Little Tap House: Stop by for happy hour (4-6p) for a beer+app pairing. If you like it, stay for dinner. Nice selection of locals and other craft beers.
    4. Liquid Riot (formerly In'finiti Fermentation and Distillation): Brewpub/Distillery. Food's a little pricey, but beers are definitely reasonably priced. Growlers and crowlers.
    5. The King's Head: Gastropub opened by the bartender from Blackback in Waterbury, VT; right near Liquid Riot. Sunday brunch at 10a. Draft list has been consistently impressive and food is tasty (albeit a little pricey)
    Restaurants:

    There's no way I can do this section justice, I've mentioned a few already in the beer bar section. This food blog does the best job compiling restaurant information. From Eritrean to Indian... the food scene here is booming. That said, some restaurants (jeans/tshirt friendly) stand out for their selection of taps. Here are a few personal favorites:
    • Duckfat: poutine, duckfat fries, charcuterie, or artisan shakes, salads, and paninis
    • Pai Men Miyake: ramen/sushi... the brussel sprouts and pork buns are incredible
    • The Thirsty Pig: local sausages and taps. Grab a bite and drink here before walking down the alley to Novare Res.
    • Nosh: check out the bacon dusted menu here. Can get crowded/loud.
    • LFK: Good burger, little hipstery but nice selection of local and domestic taps.
    • Eventide : Raw Oysters, Lobster Rolls, expect a wait
    Pizza: because everyone loves it
    • Otto's - best slice in town (IMO). Multiple locations, 2 downtown. Happy hour 4-6p, buy a beer and get a slice for free (1pp)
    • Slab - 1lb hand slab FTW. Cool outdoor patio with picnic tables and legit tap list
    • Portland Pie - multiple locations, 1 downtown. Solid pizza for a reasonable price. Tap list is usually lackluster though.
    Reubens: keeping this to those I have ticked

    • Little Tap House - A reuben egg roll. It's alright, but come on man! 6/10
    • Nosh - 7/10 (expected better from a place with bacon dusted fries)
    • Sebago Brewing - 7/10 (one of the better things on the menu)
    • LFK - served on a pretzel roll, so technically not a reuben. Roll throws the whole sandwich off. 5/10
    • Ebenezer's Brewpub (Brunswick) - No. Just... no. 3/10, and that's being generous.
    • Miss Portland Diner - highly recommended, 8.5/10
    • When Pigs Fly Pizzeria (Kittery) - really good sandwich, but bread not toasted/buttered. 6/10 as is, could be 9+/10 bread used properly
    • Po'Boy & Pickles - solid, on the way to/from Industrial Way, but plenty of other better sandwiches on the menu. 6.5/10
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  3. Brez07

    Brez07

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Portland, ME
    "Nearby" Beer Bars that are worth the trip... (in order of distance)
    1. Ebenezer's Brewpub (formerly Lions Pride) (Brunswick, ME): Owned by Chris Lively of Ebenezers. Much different vibe than Lions Pride. Tap is only Lively Brewing beers, food is mediocre (at least the sandwiches; have not tried entrees). 30 min drive.
    2. Ebenezer's (Lovell, ME): Chris Lively's service is unparalleled... if he is there. Still a great place to go once, but kinda need to know someone there to get the full experience. Consistently great beer, food, and overall experience. 1.5h drive
    3. Nocturnem (Bangor, ME): Havent been here yet... but if you happen to be in the area... let us know what you think! 2 hour drive
    4. Three Tides/Marshall Wharf (Belfast, ME): Brewpub, previously mentioned. Lovely small coastal town. You can find some of their beers in Portland; head on up if you like what you tried. Growlers available at the brewery, which is next door to the restaurant
    Non-Beer Activities:

    Not everyone wants to spend their time jumping from one beer destination to another. Here are a few other options that have been recommended in past threads.

    Coffee Shops
    1. The Starbucks in the old port features a Clover machine for the super coffee nerds... I'm a big fan of the local shops though - Bard, Arabica, Speckled Ax, Crema. All of those are in Portland's old port. Don't forget about Tandem Coffee, original location around the corner from Rising Tide and also a bakery/coffee shop located on Congress
    Scenic/Lobster/Maine/Other:
    • Lobster Shack at Two Lights
    • Fort Williams (and Bite Into Maine's Lobster Rolls)
    • Good late night/drunk food at Blue Rooster in the Old Port... between Novare Res and Liquid Riot.
    • Stop by Standard Baking Co for a Morning Bun or Ham and Cheese Croissant, then drive over to check out the view on the Eastern Promenade
    • Shopping in Freeport (home of LL Bean and many outlets right downtown; Maine Beer Co, Grittys, Cold River Vodka just outside of downtown)
    • Depending on the season... check out the Portland Sea Dogs (baseball), Pirates (hockey), or Red Claws (basketball)
    • The Maine Office of Tourism has a nice collection of ideas as well.
    • Bayside Bowl for Bowling (and nice beer/food)
    • Ice Cream... Gorgeous Gelato and Mount Desert Island (in Portland)... or Willard Scoops near Willard Beach in South Portland. Red's Dairy Freeze is the place to hit if you venture out to Fort Williams.
    • Soakology is a foot soak place my wife likes to take her friends when they visit. Book ahead.
    James Beard Award Winning Chefs/Restaurants (not updated since original posting):

    • Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier of Arrows (Ogunquit) and MC Perkins (Ogunquit)
    • Rob Evans former owner of Hugo's, current owner of Duckfat
    • Melissa Kelly of Primo (Rockland)
    • Sam Hayward of Fore Street (Portland)
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
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  4. Brez07

    Brez07

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Portland, ME
    Wanted to post a few recommendations that hit multiple spots in one:

    Industrial Park (Allagash -> Foundation -> Battery Steel -> Austin Street)

    Just awesome. Free tour and/or free tasters at Allagash, then hang out across the street at the 3 small guys on the block. Pretty much always a food truck at one of them. Geary's and New England Distilling are also out here.

    East Bayside Crawl (Rising Tide -> Maine Craft Distilling -> Lone Pine -> One Eye Open)

    Really fun Friday or Saturday plan. All are a short walking distance from each other. You can also add in Urban Farm Fermentory for ciders/kombucha (just around the corner) or walk about 10 minutes to get to Maine Mead Works and the Oxbow Tasting room

    Thompson's Point (Bissell)

    Right now it's just Bissell, but they are sandwiched by Cellar Door Winery and Stroudwater Distillery, with Big J's (fried chicken joint) squeezed in. Always has a food truck or two as well. Bunker Brewing is about 5 minutes away.

    North of Portland (Ebenezer's Pub -> Oxbow -> Marshall Wharf)

    Stop in for lunch at Ebenezer's Pub before heading to Oxbow for samples and growlers. Once you've had your fill, continue up to Marshall Wharf for dinner. I would recommend staying the night up in Belfast vs. making the 2 hour trip back to Portland

    South of Portland (Barreled Souls -> Banded Horn -> Palace Diner)

    Technically only two breweries, but definitely an awesome time. Palace Diner is very unassuming, but take my word for it - the place is legit (chef used to work at Hugo's). Add-ons for this would be Run of the Mill (decent food, decent beer) and Element's Coffee Shop (books, coffee and beer in the same spot)

    Portsmouth

    Downtown - Portsmouth Brewery, Earth Eagle
    Just outside of town - Smuttynose, Red Hook
    15-20 minutes away - Deciduous Brewing, Throwback Brewery


    There are also a "beer bus" that take you to breweries in Portland (and surrounding areas):
    http://www.themainebrewbus.com/
    (sorry, I haven't tried it)
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  5. ilovermont

    ilovermont

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2013
    Nice list. Thanks for compiling/sharing.
     
  6. Lutter

    Lutter

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    I used to go to Maine all the time with my mom when I was a kid (aunt lived in Freeport). Love the place... need to go visit.
     
  7. Beerologist

    Beerologist

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2013
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Thanks for putting this together, either headed to VT or Portland this weekend. Still deciding but this may push me towards Portland. Makes for an easy stop at Blue Lobster on the way too.
     
  8. lambandtunaphish

    lambandtunaphish

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Links/tips posted here are great and should be helpful for me these next few days.
    Heading up to Portland Sunday (possibly stopping in Portsmouth on the way up) and staying until Tuesday. Anything that Me and my girlfriend MUST do? Schedule is pretty open, so I figured I'd ask.
     
  9. Brez07

    Brez07

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Portland, ME
    Good timing for your trip. It's Portland Beer Week. Go to portlandbeerweek.org for a list of events

    Must do? Tour Allagash and visit Novare. I'd day if you had time swing up to Oxbow, but I think they are open just Wed-Sat

    Downtown Monday happy hour 3-6p, pretty much every place does cheap good drafts and apps (to mention a few - Davids, Corner Room, Grill Room, North Point)
     
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  10. Brez07

    Brez07

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Portland, ME
    Sourfest at Novare tomorrow, 11/9/13.

    I'm pretty sure I'm just talking to myself at this point.
     
  11. lambandtunaphish

    lambandtunaphish

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I'll talk back and just give my quick trip recap. Thanks again for putting these suggestions here.
    • Stayed at Hampton Inn, which made for an easy walk wherever we wanted to go
    • Went to Novare twice and thought it was a really cool place. Basically just drank Maine locals since they had tons on for beer week
    • Allagash tour was obviously great. Grabbed my 4 coolships. Kind of sucks that you have to buy a full case of the house beer, which I didn't do
    • Stopped at Maine Mead Works. Small samples of probably 10 or so things. Bought a few of their Ram Island Iced Tea bottles, a cider and apple mead, since the girlfriend enjoyed these a lot.
    • Duck Fat - stopped there for lunch right before we left. The paninis we had were great.
    • Pasta at Paciarino was pretty awesome
     
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  12. Brez07

    Brez07

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Location:
    Portland, ME
    Haha, thanks. I was mostly joking about how I think I'm the only Mainer on BT...

    Love that Ram Island Iced Tea mead (aka crack tea). There will often times be a bunch of tasty beers at Novare and I will still opt for that
     
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  13. claaark13

    claaark13

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2013
    Location:
    Westfield, IN
    The lobster shack is really cool. I'll go there again in an instant if I'm ever in Portland.
     
  14. Apetaster

    Apetaster

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2013
    Just visited the Great Lost Bear this week. Very solid taplist, reasonable bottle prices and fun menu (very good burgers.)
     
  15. Any Mainers aware if there are still Midnight Brett/Resurgam bottles at the shop? Will be passing through very close to 5 tomorrow and trying to figure out if I need to be driving fast enough to make it before they close.
     
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  16. JBPortland

    JBPortland

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Location:
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Should be plenty of Resurgam left for a few more days if not longer, as well as Midnight Brett. Midnight Brett will actually hit distro too (according to their fb) and depending on your local stores you may be able to get it cheaper than at the brewery for $15. Both are limit 4.
     
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  17. JBPortland

    JBPortland

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Location:
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Just as a follow up to my previous post for anyone checking this thread, Resurgam sold out over the past weekend. As always, call the brewery ahead of time.
     
  18. lambandtunaphish

    lambandtunaphish

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Anyone wake up early for the Allagash Red Howes release? If they have it on tap for samples, any thoughts on the beer?
     
  19. JBPortland

    JBPortland

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Location:
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Strolled in around 1pm, still a few cases left on the floor. Grabbed a taster, wasn't going in to it with much expectations but it definitely was a pleasant surprise. Pretty good stuff. The cranberry is balanced pretty damn well. Nice roasty fruity finish. If you like fruit stouts I see no reason why you wouldn't like this. 17.99 for a 750, 2pp.
     
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  20. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2013
    Location:
    Chiraq
    thanks for the list of stuff won't need to ask questions.... Heading to Portland the first weekend of March. My annual VT trip but only staying one night in waterbury this year and then heading to Portland for a coupe of days...