Another "Going to Portland" Thread: But this one's a bit different (June 2019 edition)

Discussion in 'New England' started by AlcahueteJ, Jun 10, 2019.

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  1. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,788) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    I went last summer twice, but both instances were after stopping at other places which had 90 minute waits for a table.
    Like I said, the beer is not "great" but it was not terrible. I think I got a flight to try out all the styles and then got a pint of their main IPA. The IPA is more like a Harpoon IPA than a new school option, which was fine for me. They do have a good amount of traditional styles and I think I remember enjoying the ESB as well. Hope for continued improvement, because the food offers a great option for busy tourist season.

    I agree on Goodfire. I like their IPA range including the lower ABV Minimum. I have asked them to sell me kegs a few times but they say they can't keep up for their regular business. The Minimum would be a great option for summer in the kegerator.
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  2. rightcoast7

    rightcoast7 Disciple (331) Apr 2, 2011 Maine

    Cool, I may try NRB again soon. I actually have a coupon for them, so even a better reason!
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  3. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (126) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    Because I think it’s quite possible that Exhibit A’s Goody Two Shoes is one of the better kolsch’s ive had (schlafly being the other), I think I’m picky but I did like Definitive’s. Austin Streets take was good, but it says a lot that I didn’t opt to take either to go

    EDNOSE Aspirant (223) Oct 27, 2007 Connecticut

    I must be the outlier on Oxbow. I felt you absolutely had to like some funk in your beer to enjoy the beer and the space to be incredibly dark and univiting. There was just no variety. Maybe I was there on a day that didn't represent their portfolio well. Duckfat was not quite open on my oxbow visit about a year ago so that will drive me back for another visit.

    For me Goodfire is a must. Bissell is a must. Allagash is a must. With Goodfire and Allagash on my "must" list, I can easily pop into other breweries that aren't musts but I enjoy.

    As many have said, it is such a nice problem. I work in a city with twice the population of Portland and it has exactly 2 breweries in the city proper without a brewery in any of the 4 towns that border it. Thank goodness my brother-in-law lives in Portland!
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  5. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,102) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Yes, Goody Two Shoes is excellent. I also like Devil's Purse's Kolsch.

    They were distributing the Definitive Kolsch to MA for awhile too, maybe they still are?
  6. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (126) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    I also like Devils Purse.

    Definitive was down here in MA, but for many reasons, the beer budget stayed relatively low this spring (decided to spend most of it on Notch). The beer stores I visit may have had the Definitive Kolsch, though that style isn’t the one they’re really trying to publicize on Instagram. All ‘bout dat juice on the gram, you know?
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  7. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (126) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    To be fair, I’m a big fanboy, but I’ve been there when I was lukewarm on the menu. However, I’ve found that the remedy to that is to hit the bottle list.

    As for diversity, I think you’d find that many of the beers, while sounding similar are uniquely different.

    I’d urge you to try again.
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  8. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (188) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    I'm also a fanboy but I would agree that its more diverse than it appears (though it also depends on the week/month). They have varying degrees of funk in their beers, many have zero funk like Farmhouse. The last time I was in there I had one of their smoked beers and thought it was incredible, I generally don't seek out smoked beers. The bar staff are incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. My wife loved one of their limited releases called Farmland from last year and when I was in there in March the bartender knew exactly what beer I meant and what was different about that beer vs other similar beers. She was able to help me pick out something that she thought my wife would like equally and she was spot on.

    As for dark and uninviting, I've only been there when the doors are open to the outside and sun shining in but I actually found it very inviting. Very relaxed. One of my favorite places to hang out.
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  9. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (188) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    Mystic used to a brewery where you could go and it not be an IPA factory. I like the old Mystic nearly as much as Oxbow is now.
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  10. rightcoast7

    rightcoast7 Disciple (331) Apr 2, 2011 Maine

    That’s funny, I think Oxbow’s funky stuff, mostly the wine barrel aged wilds, is incredible, while I’m fairly lukewarm on many of their stainless beers. Some are better than others. Agree on the tap room though. I like the outdoor space but the indoors is one of my least favorite in the area. And their frequent blasting of gangster rap, while I enjoy it personally, make it a tough spot to bring kids or out of town relatives.
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  11. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,102) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    They still have some good saisons on, and not that we NEED more IPAs, but their New England IPAs are generally fantastic.
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  12. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (188) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    Agree on all points, their IPA's are generally fantastic and I would still go there if they only made IPA's. Its tough to be disappointed that they made their foray into the IPA space when they are quite good, personally I think they make better IPA's than probably anyone in that area outside of maybe Lamplighter. It would be great, however, to have a brewery like Mystic that just focuses on other styles all the time. Like they say you can't have your cake and eat it too.
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  13. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (126) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    I know we're deviating a bit here, but I agree. I'd love to see a farmhouse-style brewery open closer to me. However, maybe Oxbow being an hour or so is perfect. It makes it more of an adventure, a special occasion. And it's not far enough away that I can't make the hour drive, have lunch and a beer & load up, then head home. It's essentially a two podcast drive.
  14. MattOC

    MattOC Disciple (335) Jan 13, 2013 Massachusetts

    I'd say Liechtenstein is a little more than an hour away from Oxbow.
  15. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (126) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    I've got a lead foot.
  16. MattOC

    MattOC Disciple (335) Jan 13, 2013 Massachusetts

    and the Concorde.
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  17. Gushue3

    Gushue3 Zealot (590) Jun 10, 2010 Massachusetts

    Local 188 is a breakfast spot right next to Hot Suppa, with none of the wait. Food is real good watching the open kitchen from a bar seat keeps the morning intersting

    Sur Lie has real good tapas (sweet pea hummus is fantastic) and had GTS pours last time I was there.

    Arcadia National Park has plenty of pinball, old school classic games and always decent beers. Right across the street from Slab, so a nice stop before or after a handslab.

    And I second Bao Bao Dumpling house. Chow down spot.
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  18. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,102) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Sure you can.


    I've been to Hot Suppa once, it was good. I really liked Marcy's Diner.

    But for the most part we just opt to "dessert hop" for breakfast. I'll get up early and go for a nice walk downtown picking up coffee, Holy Donuts, something from Standard Bakery, and a loaded biscuit from Tandem.

    Then we just split everything.
  19. Manfrombelmonty

    Manfrombelmonty Disciple (307) Sep 12, 2010 Massachusetts

    Ok, you got me.

    In my rage type fury I actually included Austin St when I intended to say Battery Steele.

    I quite like BS. Flume is really good and the
    Same experience last time I was there about a month or two ago.

    Little underwhelmed. Grabbed a bottle of Cletus. Just phenomenal. Shared with a friend. After each sip we stated Into each other’s glazed over eyes, and whispered such phrases as “um num num num num” at each other.
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  20. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (346) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    It does seem like they've abandoned a lot of stuff that they didn't necessarily have to, though. Like what happened to their sour/wild program? I put a 2016 Ventus in the cellar in anticipation of a vertical someday and it's gonna be a pretty shitty vertical at this rate.
  21. Sheppard

    Sheppard Meyvn (1,077) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    Feel like it’s CBC doing all the wild and sour stuff at Mystic right now.
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  22. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (188) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    Getting a bit off topic but they did just release a Gose style beer today or yesterday. Perhaps that could signal them looking at sours and wilds again? Once in a while they surprise you with something but they aren't as innovative as they once were but then again they are running a business so they need to produce what sells.
  23. rhino88888888

    rhino88888888 Initiate (110) Dec 12, 2013 Massachusetts

    They have some nice canned farmhouse options like Table Beer and Solar Glare, but the bottled saisons and wilds are now few and far between. I've got a Flor Ventus Batch 2 (2014?) in my cellar. Sounds like we need to meet up!
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  24. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,102) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Food and bars aside, here's my tentative brewery hopping plan...

    Thursday afternoon before dinner in Kittery:

    Head to Islington Street to hit up Great Rhythm, Loaded Question, and Liar's Bench

    Friday afternoon after or before lunch in Portland:

    Since the first half of the day is going to be raining, looks like this might be a good day to go brewery hopping...

    We're staying at the Hampton right near Duckfat, so it'll be easy to hit up some breweries before check-in or right after. Here's my thinking:

    Swing by Oxbow (could eat fries here too), Austin's Street's new place (never been to this location), then Goodfire/Lone Pine because why not, it's easy enough.

    Uber to Bissell since it's only about an 8 minute drive away, have a few samples and pick up some Substance.

    Saturday early afternoon:

    Uber over to Industrial to swing through Allagash, Definitive and Battery Steele.

    Then Uber over to Bissell for Reciprocal, then back to downtown Portland.

    Any suggestions are welcome!
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  25. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (126) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    If Mr. Tuna is at Austin Street, get some sushi. That's my suggestion.
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  26. papposilenus

    papposilenus Meyvn (1,206) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    Not stopping at Tributary? I can't imagine going over the bridge and not stopping there.
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  27. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,102) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I'd love to, but that might be tough to fit in. I will also have my mom and dad with me, it's a family trip. They actually don't mind going to breweries, but obviously they're not super into it like my brother and I are. And my youngest brother drinks Bud Light...sooo.

    But I'd be game for hitting up Kittery early like 3ish and going to Tributary, then heading over to Black Birch around 4:30ish (my experience is getting there earlier is better to get a table).

    What are the other three breweries in Portsmouth like, could I skip some?

    And shit, I forgot Earth Eagle (I don't feel the need to go to Portsmouth Brewery, unless I'm feeling nostalgic).
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  28. rightcoast7

    rightcoast7 Disciple (331) Apr 2, 2011 Maine

    Sounds like a super solid plan. Maybe stop at the Shop for oysters which is right by Oxbow and on your way to the other places. That way you can make a “meal” out of oysters there and fries at duck fat without stopping for a longer sit down meal.

    @mrmattosgood Mr. Tuna is great (my wife works there) but I believe they’re at AS every Saturday, not on Fridays.
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  29. HopQuest

    HopQuest Initiate (54) Feb 2, 2015 Connecticut

    Headed to Portland this weekend. I am all set for beer and food options thanks to the good folks at BA and previous stops.

    What would you suggest doing in Portland for the day? Walk the old port? Are there any nice hiking areas close by? I know that the art museum is nice. What else?
  30. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,788) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth has some nice spots to hike/walk
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  31. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,102) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Went to the Shop last year, solid place. Love the space.

    It was suggested to us by our shuttle driver from the hotel last year. We were just looking to grab some oysters before dinner at Empire Chinese. "Just grabbing oysters" isn't happening at Eventide, and J's is pretty popular too, so he suggested this new hidden gem called The Shop. Worked out great.

    I may switch up my plan and do Industrial Friday, and then do Bissell and the other breweries (Austin St., Oxbow...etc.) on Saturday because the weather will be nicer. And walking along that strip where Oxbow is would be nicer. And Bissell will have Reciprocal on Saturday.

    Of course Battery Steele's second anniversary is Saturday too...decisions, decisions.

    We may also do When Pigs Fly Thursday instead of Black Birch. When Pigs Fly is better suited to my entire family, but we'll see. It's further away, so...

    You could take a boat ride and head out to the light house.
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  32. Piels25

    Piels25 Initiate (190) Dec 17, 2013 Massachusetts

    Have you been to Stoneface? Depending on your timing, you could also grab lunch there or an afternoon snack before hitting the others.
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  33. rightcoast7

    rightcoast7 Disciple (331) Apr 2, 2011 Maine

    If looking for a quick but nice hike, try Jewel Falls. It’s about a 3-ish mile round trip to a beautiful waterfall and it’s in the city limits, part of the Portland Trails system. It’s a great way to spend a couple hours in between eating and drinking.
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  34. BRoweski30

    BRoweski30 Initiate (78) Sep 10, 2016 Massachusetts

    Between Kittery and Portland I'd try to hit up Barreled Souls in Saco. Awesome little brewery with incredible prices on BA beers. You can pop in for 30 minutes, try three to four small tasters, buy a glass, and get out for less than a $20.

    I'd also recommend Thirsty Pig for a great food/beer stop in Portland. Always a few great beers on tap and delicious sausages. Often a band at night. Can't go wrong!
  35. jbart

    jbart Devotee (445) Oct 2, 2004 Massachusetts

    Tomaso's Canteen is right by the Hampton if you want a nightcap in a sort of divey atmosphere that has a good selection of craft beer (mostly cans).
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  36. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,102) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    No actually! Not a bad idea.

    Love that place, been a bunch of times. Went there for an Oktoberfest Bash while waiting for Zwanze to open at Novare.
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  37. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (266) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    Oxbow has no variety?! They have 25+ beers available between draft, bottles and cans. Many are exceptionally unique and time consuming to make.
    Then to call Goodfire and Bissell must stops when all they have available are a few hoppy beers and a lager? You can find similarly forgettable and small draft lists at hundreds of breweries around the country.
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  38. pp7z

    pp7z Initiate (17) Jan 1, 2019 Massachusetts

    heading up to Portland from Boston tomorrow morning with wife and kids...any must stop diners/breakfast spots on the way up?? I noticed Palace Diner...worth the short detour?
  39. Rysk22

    Rysk22 Aspirant (218) Nov 12, 2014 Massachusetts

    It’s kind of far into your journey, but St Joes in Scarborough is a personal favorite. I typically hit it on the ride home
  40. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (435) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    Enjoying the dialogue on this thread. In what other city can you go to the downtown Chinese restaurant and get two local/killer beers on tap?
    AlcahueteJ and jhavs like this.
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