Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

The Great Lost Bear

Log in or Sign up to start rating.

109 Reviews
The Great Lost BearThe Great Lost Bear

Type: Bar, Eatery

540 Forest Ave
Portland, Maine, 04101-1507
United States

(207) 772-0300 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

Grab a complimentary copy of BeerAdvocate magazine here while supplies last.
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 51-75 | 76-100 | 101-125  | next → last
Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 184
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place was pretty damn cool. Quirky little location, nice atmosphere, tasty food and great beer selection. Ohk enough of being general, lets get down to specifics.

The place struck me a funky as soon as I got out of the car. There were no windows only fake brick ones with some bear murals on them. Walked into a dimly lit initial passage way with a semi obstructed veiw of the bar and a sense that there were tons of rooms as others have noted. Plenty of natural wood and cool clippings on the wall. We got seated in the room right across from the bar next to the door leading to the patio. Tons of cool art on the walls and no macro neon signs to be seen. Also the room was at the perfect temp for a day in the mid seventies.

The quality was great in all areas. Beer tasted fresh and everything was poured correctly. Same for the food, but more on that later.

Service was pretty good. We were seated quickly drinks were brought pretty quickly and the food was also there speedily. And the waiter always noticed when the glasses were running low.

Selection was exceptional. Geary's Summer on cask, plenty of Maine beers; Gritty's, Sebago, Stone Coast, Shipyard and Allagash and plenty from the surrounding states including Long Trail, Magic Hat and Smuttynose. The furthest american beer I could see was from Dogfish Head as they had Raison D'Etre and 60 minute IPA on tap(there was also a Dogfish Head sign in the fron lobby) There was also a helpful printout of the current tap selection at our table.

Food was great. My buffalo chicken salad was tasty and appropriately spicy(I am from Rochester). Tasted some of my bros chili and it was also good. Everything else ordered looked pretty tasty as well.

This is the place I would love to have around my neighborhood. I am very tempted to move to Portland just for this place. The atmosphere was homey and it is not in the downtown area so it probably keeps away lots of the touristy people and has a pretty loyal group of people.. Check this place out when in Portland. It will be well worth it.

 2,069 characters

Photo of Longstaff
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I love the bar area of the GLB with its one long stretch of stools and the wrap around square in the back. The selection of beer is great, but I would like to see more flavorful regional and nationwide selection along with its Maine heavy selection. The biggest, most flavorful beer the last time was Magic Hat HiPA which they were out of even though the menu said it was a recent addition. But they had Allagash White on tap which made up for it. The tap beers always seem fresh, but on the last visit the Old Thumper cask had turned vinegary and when we mentioned it to the bartender, she gave us attitude like we didn't know what we were talking about. But she was kind enough to replace it with another selection though. The food here is excellent - they make great chicken wings, burgers, and other sandwiches but you need a running start at the menu since its like 5 or 6 pages long. It was a little hot in the bar area since it was like 90 degrees outside and only one cieling fan in the bar area. A little a/c would have been nice. But still a great place for beer in Portland.

 1,085 characters

Photo of slander
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I counted roughly 51 taps, including the 3 casks and a cider. The beer menu breaks it all out for you by beer type which makes for easy reading. Currently, roughly 30 are from Maine breweries, and about another dozen and a half hail from the other New England states. That means the beer's pretty damn fresh.
They have specials nights (Mondays & Tuesdays are "short beer nights", where they serve jumbo drafts at pint prices and then there's the Thursday Showcase where they feature a specific brewery @ $1.99 a pint). You can do a taster paddle or a beer tower, they've got a weekly draft special, it's a beautiful thing.
Service was good and the place was nicely comfortable. They have dining areas along the perimeters with pleasant collectibles posters throughtout. If there's a better beerbar up North I ain't heard about it.

 849 characters

Photo of bennybrew
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

the bear is great. lots of taps. and good beers on those taps. not 20 types of bud, miller and coors. more like 30 beers from maine, 15 from new hampshire, 15 from mass, 10 from far away (europe). and they care about the beers and the lines. they won't pour a bad beer. the clean their own lines to make sure they are clean and the hardware is in good shape. the glasses are clean. the pours are good (not too much head). its a busy place but there are three people behind the bar so the pints come fairly quickly. the food is good and prices are fair. lots of beer stuf everywhere you look. no tvs though. go often.

 616 characters

Photo of Bierman9
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This is one of my favorite bier-bars anywhere. Can be viewed as having a bit of a divey aspect to it, what with Christmas lights and odds 'n' ends stuck to the walls, but it's really a gem. Many bier-related items like trays, cans, coasters also dominate the decor. They serve 50-plus (is that the right number?) draft biers, with the majority being fresh Maine biers. Nothing like Geary's Hampshire or Gritty's Halloween from cask! Service is quite good, though if you don't want a lemon in your Hefeweizen you'd best be letting them know beforehand! Otherwise, "major faux pas!". Food is varied, tasty and comes in ample portions. A MUST visit if you're in the area!

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.5
atmosphere: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$


 778 characters

Photo of Todd
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The "Great Lost Bear." Just the name alone peaks the interest enough for a visit to this fine beer bar.

The atomosphere is my style. Warm, inviting, dimly lit and sectioned off into little cozy areas. You truly get the feeling that you're in a bear cave. Service wise, everyone seemed attentive and quite friendly, with some beer knowlege thrown in.

Food goes a bit beyond your typical pub menu, and then into overkill in some cases. My favourite is the "Super Burger" ... a big ass burger topped with chili, 4 cheese sauce, mushroom sauce, bacon and a fried egg. Also comes with fixings and a side of their fried chips. Just pick-up your fork and knife and attack it.

Now as far as the beer goes, there must be around 60 +/- beers available. Bottle to tap to cask, and most of them are native to Maine. Hampshire Ale on cask? I'm sold! Most impressive and the quality of the beer and pours is superb.

Great Lost Bear is an absolute must if you are in the area, and by far one of the greatest beer bars in New England ... Tell them BeerAdvocate.com sent you.

 1,070 characters

Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.8/5  rDev +13.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

As far as Portland and local and regional beers (on tap to boot) are concerned, this is the place to be. More than 50 beers on tap, probably 75% from Maine, nothing else is even close.
As noted by JohnnyP, they offer specials on different nights, Mondays and Tuesdays are "short" beer nights with all on tap offerings being poured in 23 oz. glasses (JohnnyP mistakenly said 20 oz.) for the 16 oz. price.
Thursday night is Showcase beer night, usually featuring offerings from a single brewery for $2 a pint. Ocassionally, the Thursday showcase may feature a style of beer, such as the recent Oktoberfest night when all beers of a style are $2. No matter what the special is expect a crowded festive atmosphere and drawings for prizes such as glasses, t-shirts, hats and other brewery souvenirs on these nights. Tomorrow night, Thursday October 17th, will be a great one as we can expect David Geary himself to be pouring Geary's Hampshire for the "Hello Hampshire, goodbye Summer Ale" night. I just hope I can find a seat at the bar.
The food here is pretty good pub fare, with a good sized menu featuring something for everyone including vegetarians, and the service is very good and friendly.
If you are a BeerAdvocate visiting Portland and can only stop at one place, this is the one to hit.

 1,300 characters

Photo of StevieW
4.58/5  rDev +8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

After reading JohnnyP's review and hearing about his stunt with the webcam, I had to stop by here. It was everything I thought it would be. A mind numbing selection of beers on tap. Everything you could imagine, especially several hard to find New England and Maine beers. We had a couple samplers, called my buddies back in Florida to spot us on the webcam. Some highlights were the Allagash White, Magic Hat # 9, Magic Hat Blind Faith and special ginger beer that I can't remember the name of. Anyway, the Great Lost Bear is worth the trip. Every beer advocate should stop here if they are in the area.

 604 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This place is awesome! Cool digs, very comfortable, great atmosphere, excellent service, amazing beer selection, REALLY good food - everything. Now, I'm normally a brewpub guy, but I'd much rather stop at the Bear when I'm in Maine. Kudos! Do not miss!

 252 characters

firstprev| 51-75 | 76-100 | 101-125  | next → last
The Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME
4.23 out of 5 based on 184 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!