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Visiting Portland, ME? Some ideas.

Discussion in 'US - New England' started by mathematizer, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. Seen a couple of Portland, ME threads pop up, so I thought I'd try to consolidate things.

    Bottle Stores in Portland, ME (in order of my preference.)
    1. Bier Cellar
    2. RSVP
    3. Maine Brewing Supply
    4. Downeast Beverage (in the old Port)

    Breweries in Portland, ME (in order of my preference)

    1. Allagash
    Hours: Mon - Sat 10a-5p (only open Sat seasonally)​
    Tours: Sign up using link. (11a, 12:30p, 2p, 3:30p)​
    Growler Fills: no.​
    Coolships and other "surprises" sometimes available.​
    Hours: Mon 10-2. Tues 10-2. Fri 12-4.​
    Tour: Friday @2p.​
    Growler Fills: no​
    Hours: Tues, Thurs 4-7. Fri, Sat 12-3p.​
    Tours: Fri, Sat @1p​
    Growler Fills: yes​
    4. Geary's
    Hours: Mon-Fri​
    Tours: ~2p. Call in the morning to check.​
    Growler Fills: no​
    5. Shipyard
    Hours: 7 days a week. 11 - 4p​
    Tours: hourly​
    Full Tours: Tuesdays 5:30p. Sign up in advance.​
    Growler Fills: no​

    "Nearby" Breweries (in order of distance):
    Certainly not exhaustive, but these are some of my favorites that are north of Boston.
    1. Baxter (Lewiston, ME): Cans! Thurs-Sun 12-6p. 45min drive
    2. Oxbow (Newcastle, ME): Open for growler fills: Fri 2-6p. 1h drive.
    3. Portsmouth (Portsmouth, NH): Open for food/growlers 7 days a week. 1h drive.
    4. Marshall Wharf (Belfast, ME): Open for food/growlers T-F 4p-close. 2h drive.
    5. Hill Farmstead (Greensboro Bend, VT): Cash only. Growlers/Bottles. Wed-Sat 12-5p. 3.5h drive
    6. The Alchemist (Waterbury, VT): The source of Heady Topper. Open daily, 11-7p. 4h drive
    7. Lawson's Finest Liquids (Warren, VT): 4.5h drive
    8. Dieu Du Ciel (Montreal, QC, Canada): 5.5h drive
    Portland Beer Bars:
    1. Novare Res - lots of taps and bottles, small menu (in the Old Port)
    2. Great Lost Bear: lots of taps, huge menu, kid friendly (on Forest Ave)
    3. Mama's Crowbar: smaller 'local' bar, popcorn, cash only (on the hill)
    4. Sebago Brewing Co: Brewpub with locations in Portland, Scarborough, Gorham, and Kennebunk.
    Portland has tons of places with incredible food and a handful of nice taps... a few personal favorites:
    • Duckfat: drink an oxbow/allagash with your poutine/fries. the shakes (and everything else) are good too.
    • Pai Men Miyake: ramen/sushi... the brussel sprouts are a hidden gem. Hitachino Nest + others.
    • The Thirsty Pig: local sausages and taps
    • Nosh: bacon... can get crowded.
    • LFK: new place. site lists its taps.
    those are all jeans/t-shirt friendly places.
    If you want to spend more time picking out restaurants, check out the Portland food map.

    "Nearby" Beer Bars that are worth the trip... (in order of distance)
    1. Lion's Pride (Brunswick, ME): Owned by Chris Lively of Ebenezers. Lots of taps and bottles. Novare Res gets a lot of attention in Portland, but I've had better service up here - the food is better as well. It's a nice stop if you find yourself traveling north from Portland. 30 min drive
    2. Ebenezer's (Lovell, ME): I'd go out of my way to go here, Chris Lively's service is unparalleled... Incredible. 1.5h drive
    3. I'll leave northern ME/VT/NH to people from those areas who know the places a bit better.
    Sorry in advance if I left anything out - there have been lots of changes over the last few years and I'm sure I've overlooked plenty.
  2. Uva

    Uva Initiate (20) Jul 26, 2012

    This is amazing. Someone contact the Nobel committee. Well done!
  3. Great thread thanks .
  4. jomobono

    jomobono Savant (390) Massachusetts Mar 12, 2012

    Awesome! Now all we need is one for Vermont, the Cape and Boston. Get to it! :)
    FrankLloydMike likes this.
  5. This is a top list for the Portland, short and concise with the information people will want to know. Something like this should be stickied for all those "going to Portland, what should I do" threads.
  6. kinopio

    kinopio Savant (370) Massachusetts Apr 30, 2009

    Nice thread, I was wondering if Rising Tide did growler fills so thats good to know.

    I would recommend the restaurant Grace. They usually have a few good locals on tap. But its the restaurant itself that is special as its in an old church. Neat place.
    mathematizer likes this.
  7. I'm already starting to think of small things I forgot to include:

    Breweries in Portland
    Bunker Brewing Co - Open Tues 4-7 (sometimes 5-9... it changes). Small batches. Growler Fills.​
    Peak's Organic Brewing Company - No tours/hours listed on site.​
    Gritty McDuff's - Brewpub - Growler Fills​

    Other Breweries near Portland with Growler Fills
    I haven't tried most of these. I believe I've seen some make it to taps at the Great Lost Bear.
    (credit to the insurance guy's blog)
    Bottle Shops
    • Whole Foods Market
    • Maine Beer & Beverage Co (in the public market house)
    Bottle Shops Near Portland (I'm sure others could provide better recs here)
    Question on Growlers for other Mainers... can you bring your own to all of these? I read somewhere that Hill Farmstead will fill nonclear growlers, and I believe I saw on Oxbow's page that they want you to use their own growler... I'm interested in other people's input, as growler fills from brewers are relatively new to Maine.
    DrEntropy likes this.
  8. Good spot! I've only been there twice, but this is a solid rec for the atmosphere. I remember my wife enjoying the mixed drinks. The food menu changes but is online here.

    First visit: allagash white and gnocchi
    Second visit: allagash white and lobster mac & cheese
  9. dasenebler

    dasenebler Savant (470) Maine Jan 26, 2008

    Remember, Sebago has what they call "brewpubs", but all the beer is brewed at a brewery (20bbl) in Gorham, about 20min west of Portland. They also give a fun, stepping-over-hoses tour, weekdays only. Just something to keep in mind when you make your Portland beer trips. Cheers
  10. ToasterChef

    ToasterChef Savant (450) Maine Mar 26, 2008

    A note on your growlers list: Freeport Brewing doesn't sell/fill growlers at their brewery, as SoPo doesn't allow it. You can only find them pre-filled in a few stores in Freeport.

    Sheepscott Valley Brewing in Whitefield sells and fills growlers on site and in local bottle shops.
  11. imfrommichigan

    imfrommichigan Savant (460) Utah Jul 12, 2012

    mathematizer! Thank you for creating this thread. This is going to make my trip way easier for me. I appreciate your time and effort!

    PS... does anybody know if Marshall Wharf does growler fills on their Chaos Chaos or Sexy Chaos? Those beers intrigue me.
  12. Lukaduke

    Lukaduke Aficionado (160) Maine May 22, 2012

    Good thread being a portland resident myself... dont sleep on Oxbow ! Worth the trip.
    dciBA and BlueRogue like this.
  13. meigs3

    meigs3 Aficionado (205) Alabama Nov 21, 2009

    You guys and girls are great!!! We are going to Portland then up to PEI (Ann of Green Gables!) on June 20 and returning through P'land on the 30th! Thanks for all of the good advice. We are looking forward to lobsters and beer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  14. polishkaz

    polishkaz Savant (455) Connecticut May 30, 2011

    What about Blue Lobster?

    Great info, wish I had more time in the area around The Festival.
    FrankLloydMike and BlueRogue like this.
  15. LostTraveler

    LostTraveler Savant (375) Maine Oct 28, 2011

    This should be a sticky and then other cities too for the regions. I would mention to check out Urban Farm Fermentory is kinda cool to check out, as is Maine Mead Works. Not exactly beer but kinda cool if in the area to check out too.
    mathematizer likes this.
  16. What a difference a year makes.

    Lots to update. Breweries have opened/closed/expanded/moved. The food scene continues to grow (food trucks and more.)

    I ought to rewrite this post to provide updates and consolidate information. Maybe I'll find the time to do so sometime this summer.
    LostTraveler likes this.
  17. Any suggestions as to 2-3 non beer things to do (in addition to the beer things), e.g., walk downtown, get a cup of coffee, beaches, piers, etc.
    mathematizer likes this.
  18. Definitely walk in the old port and include a stop at the harbor fish market if that appeals to you even a little... Really neat place.

    Coffee: 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, especially Bard and Arabica. A new place called Crema recently opened and has been making some buzz. The Portland food map website will have reviews on those and others. All of those are in the old port.

    Sight seeing: two lights lobster shack for delicious lobster rolls and a great view (little ways south of Portland). For a great water view in Portland, take a ride on the eastern promenade... You can get right down to the water if you want.

    The Portland Museum of Art is free on Fridays, nice exhibits. The first Friday of each month features a lot of activity in the old port (street music, dancing, and art)

    See what's playing at the State Theatre while you're in town.. Or if you're looking for a different vibe, there's Gingko Blue (jazz/blues) and a handful of other music venues.

    Outside of shops in the old port theres outlet shopping in Freeport (ll bean is open 24/7)... Or the maine mall in south Portland.

    Soakology is a tea/foot soak place that my wife will often take her friends who visit from far away and are looking to relax.

    Bayside Bowl is a good spot for bowling that's right in Portland...

    Ice cream options abound... Gorgeous gelato and Mt Desert island are my favorites.

    Tons of options, if you have specific interests/hobbies let us know, I'm sure folks on here could easily add to these suggestions or tailor them more to fit you.
    bluetieman likes this.
  19. Another great day activity is a ferry ride to peaks island (they leave frequently from the Casco bay ferry terminal) when you get out there, you can toss some money in a can and grab a bike to ride around. It's a small island (with a year round community). It's a nice/scenic ride on both the boat and the bike.

    The mail boat ferry ride (same terminal) is another option - it's a bit longer and the prices were great when I went a few years ago.
  20. .
    And you can drink on the ferries ;)
  21. An update for Lion's Pride will be in order soon when they change the name and it becomes a brewpub with house beers and local guest taps. Brewing on the house system is underway now.
  22. Brez07

    Brez07 Initiate (0) Maine Sep 29, 2009

    For great coffee - Speckled Axe on Congress St and Tandem Coffee in East Bayside (right next to Bunker Brewing)
    FrankLloydMike likes this.
  23. What a post! Great information. Thanks. Glad you included Gritty's. One of my favorites in Portland.
  24. The law states something to the effect that the growler has to be "unique to the brewery". Which means you have to purchase theirs and use it for refills.

    The law: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_124th/chappdfs/PUBLIC167.pdf
  25. There are tons of great coffee places (and excellent restaurants) around Portland, but one I'd particularly recommend is Tandem, directly next door (or in front of) Bunker Brewing in Bayside. Bunker was a very cool place to hang out for a sampler and a pint, and following it up with a coffee at Tandem really made for an excellent afternoon when I was there last Saturday. I'd highly recommend it--Rising Tide is also only about a block away.
  26. Lukaduke

    Lukaduke Aficionado (160) Maine May 22, 2012


    You can add Lois' Natural in Scarborough to the list of places to get some good bottles of beer ! Right on Route One just down the road from Oak Hill.
  27. Would love an update. I'll be in Freeport/Portland this weekend for a college graduation/family reunion. I know MBC is in Freeport now and Infiniti Fermentation exists. Any other major changes?
  28. Does Infiniti Fermentation post a taplist anywhere? Quick check of Facebook/their website didn't lead me anywhere.
  29. I don't know if they post their taplist anywhere online, but I just wanted to update that I visited a few weekends ago and really enjoyed the place. I was a bit put off by the food prices that I saw online, and we didn't eat there, but the beers were very reasonably priced and very good quality, all around--not my favorite beers in New England, but very good, and easily one of (if not the) best brewpubs in Maine in terms of beer. I look forward to enjoying some more, especially on the deck by the water in nicer weather, next time I'm up.
    Auror likes this.
  30. I was at Infiniti during the Master Brewers Weekend earlier this month when Urbain Coutteau of DeStruise was around. He did a collab brew at Infiniti with the house brewer, Greg (?) Abbot, and another with Tod Mott. The house is a Flanders Red, and Tod's was a...wanna say quad, but I had so many DeStruise beers in 2 days that my memory is not serving me well now. It's called "Mott's Sauce." Infiniti will have several new house beers on tap between now and summer. Loved the food, but it's decidedly my kind of fare. Between them and Novare, there is something for every beer-geek!
    FrankLloydMike likes this.
  31. Thanks for the feedback. Do they do guest taps or all house?
  32. They have guest taps(usual Maine suspects) but their house beers are priced much better.

    Hoping to get in there this weekend to try some Headstache, an IPA collaboration with Oxbow
    Auror likes this.
  33. beerinmaine

    beerinmaine Aficionado (225) Maine Jun 20, 2009

    Another update, Rising Tide and Bunker both have expanded hours:

    Rising Tide
    Tue: 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    Thu: 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    Fri - Sat: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Rising Tide has a new tasting room in the brewery and food trucks every Saturday for the summer.
    Bunker:
    Fri: 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
    Sat: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Auror likes this.
  34. Howdy

    Any suggestions for places to stay in/ around Portland? Nothing too expensive.

    Thanx
  35. wdarcy77

    wdarcy77 Initiate (0) Massachusetts Nov 27, 2008

    A nice walk or bus ride (across the street from the inn) to Downtown Portland.
    http://www.innatstjohn.com/
    FrankLloydMike likes this.
  36. Thanx for the info looks nice.

    Enjoy
  37. Just wanted to add that I've stayed at the Inn at St. John several times, and in terms of location and value, you can't beat it in Portland... most rooms don't have their own bathroom (with shared, single-person bathrooms down the hall), but it's very clean, the staff is very friendly, it's an easy walk or bus ride into the center of town, and it's way way cheaper than anything else available on the peninsula, which is the heart of the city. Enjoy your visit!

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