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Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Gritty McDuff's Brewing CompanyGritty McDuff's Brewing Company
BEER AVG
3.48/5
Based on:
16 Beers
1,886 Ratings
Place Score: 86
Ratings: 126
Reviews: 72
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

396 Fore St
Portland, Maine, 04101-4026
United States
phone: (207) 772-BREW

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @grittys

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 126 | Reviews: 72
Reviews by woodychandler:
Photo of woodychandler
4.8/5  rDev +26.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Ah, Gritty’s! Cue the WABAC machine. Destination: Portland, Maine, summer 1990. As we materialize on the deck of the USS Normandy (CG-60), moored in the Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard, Portland division, our hero and his shipmate, Hoos Warner, have decided to become Mug Club members for the duration of their stay while the ship is in Post-Sailaway Availability (PSA) from mid-April until early October.

During one of his early visits to Gritty’s, Woody is introduced to the resident cook, Jen, and her boyfriend, Trashman. The rest of the summer is then history, spent flitting between Gritty’s and Amigo’s (down Gritty’s back steps and across the cobblestone alley). Gene, the owner of Amigo’s was a nut case and Woody fell in love with one of his servers, (La) Deb Glanville, whose brother will kill Woody if he ever reads this. Over at Amigo’s, Woody was turned on to The Church of the Subgenius by Rev. Bob Core a.k.a. Banjo Bob and he became one of The Regulars, not to be confused with the much-despised Tourists. Woody often closed Amigo’s and then assisted with clean-up, just to avoid going back to the ship.

Days when liberty began early saw our hero on a beeline shot to Gritty’s, where he would have a mug of Pale Ale and sit for hours on end, thinking about nothing. A truly memorable occasion was when a particularly comely (and well-endowed) blonde was working the bar and one of the fellow hard-case afternoon drinkers decided that the soap opera on the television needed to be switched to something more preferable, like a test pattern. This led to a bit of serendipity as, unbeknownst to anyone at the bar, the remote was MIA. This situation meant that the server had to get a stool, stand on it, and reach waaaay up, creating a marvelous silhouette in the afternoon sun streaming through the Fore Street window. All those in attendance were riveted, mouths agape. Soon, the channel had to be changed every fifteen minutes, or so. Sexist? Yep. Chauvinistic? Aye. Piggish? Uh huh. Appealing? Without a doubt. Was she tipped handsomely throughout and at the end of her shift? You bet your sweet bippy. To this day, your humble narrator remains unsure of whether she really did not catch on, since she gave no indication that she had, or whether she played to an enthusiastic crowd of onlookers. It is a memory that, when I eventually have Alzheimer’s and the rest of my mind has fallen into the abyss, will remain with great clarity.

Back to the present. The bus from the train station dropped me off just a stone’s throw away, making it even easier for me to stop in. I entered through the basement and promptly lost my bearings, to go along with my marbles, which have been MIA for some time. Once I recovered, I passed the small downstairs bar and the brewhouse, both to my left, and ascended the steps to the bar. It seemed a bit more extensive than I remembered, with a semi-circular shape that extended into the next room, utilizing four brick archways for access and serving purposes. The place was rife with exposed brick, ducting, wood beams, an original fire door, and best of all, a copper-topped bar. Oh my! The Mug Club mugs abound on hooks above the back bar. There was a copper sign at the left of the back bar announcing house-brewed beers. Finally, there was great mural on the back wall, involving angels in the brewing process. Hell, yeah! Er, well, you get the idea. The washrooms were in the back left restaurant area. It was at that point that I realized how much I missed the place and began to choke up with nostalgia.

The beers that day included: Original Pub; Black Fly; Best Bitter; Sebago Light; Best Brown; and my pick – the Fly Bite, a blend of Black Fly stout and cider. Yum yum.

More User Reviews:
Photo of KLHBB
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 3.25 | service: 5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3

Fun place, great service. Quiet when I was there, but I can imagine this as a party place. Informal, old world pirate vibe. Beer and food are good enough, but the strength is in the brick and wood charm.

Photo of mr-jj
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Liked the ambiance - kind of reminiscent of a European brown cafe with a lot of tables shared by strangers. Food was good, service was good, beer was just okay.

Photo of KarlosT
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%

Food was ok to good, beers were poor.

Review of the beers:

Wow. Can't believe the high scores (especially for the McDuff's Halloween Ale).

Got a flight at the Gritty McDuff's in Portland ME:
Halloween Ale
Cask Best Bitter
Maine's Best IPA
Pub Style

All were exactly the same amber color, with the same head. The aroma was exactly the same, except for the Pub Style. I also had a pint of their Black Fly Stout, which fortunately did have a different color.

I iterated between their Halloween Ale, their IPA, and their Cask Bitter. All were exactly the same, except that the Cask Bitter was slightly warmer.

When I suggested to the waitress that the beers might have been mis-poured, she said that they were correct, that she was also a bartender, and that she could tell from the color of the pours.

Assuming what I drank was correct ...

I found the beer was watery, and it was as though they used poor quality water. All their beers had an off after-taste ... as though their was a Gritty McDuffs flavor they added to all their beers (including their stout)

Mouth feel was watery. And a little evervescent ... a slight bite from the c02. Interesting, even the cask best bitter had a slight CO2 bite to it.

Very sorry I went to this pub. Food was ok. But the beers were mediocre to poor.

Perhaps I did something to offend our waitress ??

Photo of hudsonheat
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Foods okay, beers are what they are. Decent place to watch the game.

Photo of aking32753
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

get the sampler a platter of apps than you can decide what beer you like for a pint

Photo of fitzy84
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.25

On my trip to Portland, I decided to stop by Gritty McDuff's. Upon entering the establishment, there is a bar area with a downstairs, an entrance to sit out in the back cobblestone street, and a long dining room area where you can sit yourself on long refectory tables. The atmosphere of the place was definitely social in what appeared to be a classic pub-style environment, with wood and brick making up the interior designs of the place. I ordered the fish and chips for my supper, and although the portions seemed small, I was satisfied by the meal. For drinks, I had the Original Pub Style beer and then the Black Fly Stout. The Pub Style beer was my favorite of the two. Service was a bit slow and our waitress took awhile for some drink orders. However, I noticed she was the only wait staff in our room, so that may have been the main problem.

I have always liked Gritty's beers, so it was a fun to finally eat at their pub in Portland

Photo of beergoot
2.42/5  rDev -36.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1.25 | selection: 3

My wife and I stopped in for a beer (for me) and ice tea and water (for her).

The atmosphere was typical dark yet inviting interior with wood paneling and some large windows in the rear. However, that was about the highlight for us.

The server seemed to have an attitude, didn't come across as friendly or seemed overly concerned about our needs. My beer (the Best Brown) was weak and lacking in malt character. Worst of all was when we paid our bill ($7.16), we got shortchanged about fifty cents. We didn't make waves, just left without any tip. I won't say the waitress deliberately stiffed us (accidents do happen), but couple that minor experience with our server's lousy, unfriendly demeanor and the poor quality of the single beer I had left us glad to leave. Perhaps we would have stayed for another round of beverages if we felt welcome, but we had had enough.

Perhaps if I find myself in the area again I'll try the place once again - different people and different beers, but our single experience left us cold.

Photo of TTripp725
4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.75

When you walk in to this location you kind of get the feel of walking in to a prohibition speak easy, but also like you are walking into a traditional "pirate bar" one that you see with like captian hook being present. The atmosphere is awesome and the layout of the location is excellent. I have been to this place several times and with several different people and each time our seating location fit the mood and we weren't disappointed.

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is the second time I've been to gritty's and return there for their tasty food and beer, convenient location (literally across from a parking garage), and because I've never paid for beer while being there (host insists on paying). The beer lineup boasts 5-6 different house draught beers that range from their lighter summer seasonal to their black fly stout. The food is great as well, but is definitely still pub cuisine (burgers, shepards pie). Unfortunately, their selection beyond the beers they make themselves is limited.
The place is packed every time I've stopped in (Friday/Saturday evening) and there is also live music.
A party of 9 drinking only rang up a $31 tab, which beats most surrounding establishments. It's a must stop in Portland and an easy walk to both novare res and the thirsty pig.

Photo of DrStiffington
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I stop here for lunch every Fall when I visit Maine. It has a great New England atmosphere. I usually sit at the bar with a book or watch ESPN on a flat screen and try the sampler, then select a pint or two while the wife and kids do other things in Portland. Their beers are good, not exceptional. They are worth chceking out for sure, though. The place has very tasty pub food. Nothing fancy, but enjoyable nonetheless. There's a kids menu, so lunch with the family is no problem. They have a little store right next door where you can buy their beers bottled or in growlers.

Photo of OtherShoe2
4/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Great location and atmosphere. Some seating issues, as this place fills up in a hurry, with a few picnic tables in back. Well lit, not overly loud.

Decent brew, with some standards from the brewery on tap, plus some new features. Good selection of standard pub styles. Beer was the right temp and not overly carbonated. Had a Black IPA, and not sure if this was a guest from Maine Beer Week or not. But it was suggested by the waitstaff, and that was helpful.

Even though they were busy, the food and brew came quick. Big plus. Tables were full of dishes needing to be cleared, and you seat yourself, but that seems to work.

Decent prices and good value. Burgers, full meals, fish n chips, good range of pub grub appetizers. Nothing unique, but when you walk in, you know what you are getting. Location alone is a draw, and this should be a stop.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Gritty’s is smack dab in the middle of the touristy area of Portland’s Old Port. And yet it feels more local than anything else, what with the cozy and spacious space inside, the communal tables (as in Novare Res, this must be a Portland thing) and the double-sided bar filled with Portlanders. We sat by the windows looking into Fore Street- good people watching!

Cozy, comfortable, lovable. Mellow and not loud at all on a Saturday evening. The wife and I had a great time here. Service was very good too; I enjoyed the pretty servers dressed in Halloween costumes (devil horns, Mickey Mouse ears, hot booties).

Selection was good alright- seven taps and two casks. 21 IPA, Pub Style, Bitter (cask), Claws Ale, Halloween, Halloween (cask), Halloween (nitro), Black Fly Stout (nitro)… I had the Halloween Cask (amazing!) and Black Fly nitro (good). The wife had the IPA, which is VERY British, and the Bitter.

Beers here are generally like being back in the UK, you know. Classic cask, “real ale” flavors. Nothing crazy, no imperials or barleywines or barreling here.

Prices are alright good ($4.50 for a pint, $3.50 for a half-pint that was almost a full one) and service was very good. Add the amazing ambience and the great music (Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson) and we’ve got a brewpub I would come back in an instant, even if the beer is not groundbreaking.

Photo of rfgetz
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Nice feel from the exposed brick and worn wood interior, feels very late 1800s seaport rustic and plays right into the view of the port from its rear windows. Long bar in each of the two large rooms, ample table seating throughout provided in adjacent room, even a small storefront for growlers and bottles in an adjacent door from the outside. 400 or so numbered ceramic mugs hang over the main bar for their members.

Beers lean heavily english and all present some level of easy bitterness, leafy british hops and woody ringwood yeast. Fans not used to the style or more Americanized takes may think many of the beers are lifeless. Service was spotty with the single bartender on our side seemingly paying more attention to the regulars than tourists.

Photo of 86sportster883
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Stopped in here on my way back from a Maine Brewers festival on Sebago lake. Portland, ME is a great seaport town and Gritty's is just the type of laid back, quality brewpub that you would hope to find in such a place. Two beers on cask (1/2 dozend on tap), an English Mild and their IPA. Both were very good and the food was outstanding. I had the seafood mac & cheese off the seasonal menu and it was deliciously light but completely filling. The bar staff was friendly, the selection was decent and the atmosphere was relaxing, comfortable and inviting. Definitely worth a visit when visiting the area.

Photo of SevaTse
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Cool building in the Old Port section of downtown Portland with lots of exposed brick inside and ample ceilings. The bar is in the middle, and the action takes place on either side of it. Great view from the windows opposite of the entry way.
They have a full line of Gritty's offerings on tap, and some rotating cask(s). To me the most enjoyable was the stout.
The crowd is mainly tourists(late summer weekend afternoon), with some locals stopping in during shopping.
Def. would recommend making a stop while exploring the area.

Photo of Boto
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Located in downtown Portland, just off the harbor. They have expanded from the original many years ago and now have a fairly large seating area. The most charm is in the original bar area upstairs. The bar is topped in copper, which is quite nice. Lots of exposed brick in this old building, which ads to the charm. The food is fairly standard bar fare, yet there is local flavor to it. Lobster is available in some of the dishes. I had some popcorn shrimp for lunch which were good. My friend had a Reuben which he liked. I have been on other occasions and have always had good food. The beers are decent enough, but not spectacular. It seems as if the bottle versions (contract brewed) aren’t quite as good as the ones brewed on the premises. Definitely worth the trip.

Photo of Cmack15
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I like the location of this spot a lot its down by the water and has some outdoor seating. We sat at a long table with a bench and shared it with strangers. Ordered a sampler and got to try all the beers they had on tap which I believe was about 9 or so. Also had some appetizers and the food was really good. Service was good and vibe was cool. The beers were decent nothing spectacular but if your looking for a fun family friendly spot to have a beer or two this is the place to go. Worth a visit check it out.
Cheers

Photo of gdrydenc
3.26/5  rDev -14.2%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3

Atmosphere is average during the day and atrocious at night. It's one of the most popular bars in the Old Port, so of course it is always crowded.

Quality of beer is actually quite good. They brew their own downstairs, so it's always fresh and awesome.

Service is much like the atmosphere.

Selection is good for their beers, not so great for anything else.

If you're looking to make a trip out, make sure you do some before 8PM or else you'll be crammed against every other person who lives in Portland.

Photo of Chincino
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Portland Maine seems to be a mecca of places to try good beer. I visited Gritty MCDuff's Brewing Company in September 2010. We just happened upon the place while walking around Portland trying to find another beer bar. Sebago was also close by.

The atmosphere of this place was good. It had benches to sit on and it was family-style so you could sit with others and it was a homey atmosphere. The place reminded me of places or "biergartens" I visited in Bavaria and the Czech Republic.

We split appetizers including ale battered mushrooms which were good.

We split a beer sampler which I believe had six beer samples in it. The beer selection was average.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. I wouldn't go to Portland just to go to Gritty McDuff's, but in my opinion it is worth checking out if you're in Portland.

Photo of sccala
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

Being in a city that has some stiff competition to attract beer loving patrons, Gritty's is doing pretty good, a little better than OK. It's a feel good atmosphere that encourages patrons to intermingle, with their family style bench seating on one side of the bar, which I like the idea of...reminds me of a German biergarten. The selection of beer is limited, but that's understandable being a brewhouse. They do have 2 or 3 beers on cask to choose from at all times. the food is predictable, but good. Reasonable prices. I'd only go once per visit to Portland, because there are so many other good beery places to visit within 5 minutes or less of walking distance.

Photo of Duhast500
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Set just a few blocks from the waterfront, Gritty McDuff's was just one of the places on my list to visit when vacationing in Portland, ME. I seeked it out for a late lunch after just arriving in town and was happy to find it on a tourist map. The wait staff was pretty welcoming and friendly and had a decent amount of knowledge of the beers featured. The menu was quite good for a brewpub and my meal was quite good and the portion size was great. It didn't get too loud while I sat back and enjoyed my lunch but I'm sure it would be different on a game night or other event. The beer I chose was an IPA and was nice and fresh. I will be making sure to stop in when in the area again.

Photo of blackie
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

chose to sit on the small outdoor patio on the lower level, on the cobblestone side street behind the building, the inner bar area was rustic and heavily wooden, dimly lit old school pub feel, lots of activity on the street, young crowd on a Friday night, never made it upstairs, the outdoor setting and physical aspects of the bar were nice, but the intangible atmosphere wasn't anything special

seven taps advertised, mostly traditional English styles or adaptations, though my first choice was only available upstairs so I settled for the 21 IPA, the seasonal was some sort of summer ale, no casks downstairs either, lesson learned - go upstairs, standard pint servings $4

service was about what you'd expect from a busy bar, met basic needs well but nothing beyond that

wasn't really much to make us stick around, a quick pint here and we moved elsewhere

Photo of e12pilot
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5

In Portland for dinner, chose Gritty's from the reviews here. Open seating. Cool. Sat by the window and was greated quickly.

Ordered a 21 IPA, good quality IPA with a good amount of hops. Thinking this was a good choice at this point, we'll see how the food is.

Was going to order a turkey club, but at the last second decided to try the summer special they had on the menu called: "Lobster Rolls". Sounds good, never had it before, can't be that bad right? Order comes, it looks like some crazed fisherman has stuffed lobster into a hotdog bun, ok a Maine hot dog, I'll bite.

AMAZING

Instantly start thinking, it said "market price" on the menu, how expensive would a second round of these hot dogs really cost? Order another round of the dogs, this is worth whatever the market deems reasonable.

Waiting for the bill now, regardless of the cost it was worth it.

Come here if you are in Portland, order the lobster rolls, amazing.

Photo of morebeergood
3.64/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

We went to Gritty McDuff's on a Saturday night to watch some of the Sox game and the Celt's playoff game. The place is split into two, with the bar on one side, and beer hall bench-like tables on the other side. We grabbed a small barrel table for two. There are a few tvs around that had the games on. We got round one from the bar, and round two from a waitress. Both times we were served quickly. It got loud in here quickly, and when the house band started, you knew it was a noisy Saturday night. For beers, I tried the 1896 Wood Island Old Ale and the Best Bitter on cask, while my wife had the Lake Trout Stout and the Pale Ale. All were good choices. I also like when cask beers are the same price as a normal pint. All three of my visits here have been on weekend nights, so I would be curious to try this place on an off night to grab some food and get a real sense of the atmosphere. Gritty's is a fun place to stop at in Portland if you want to have a pint at one of the state's most popular craft brewpubs.

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Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company in Portland, ME
86 out of 100 based on 126 ratings.