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. WunderLlama

    WunderLlama Poo-Bah (2,182) Dec 27, 2010 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    Maine Beer Co has Dinner and Second Dinner...I love Amato's sandwich shops for a quick lunch's been mentioned before, But Holy Donut is a definite morning stop
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  2. jhavs

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

    Burlington! A Single Pebble.

    Great Asian food and great beer.
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  3. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (435) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    Touche !
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  4. jhavs

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

    Both are great for change of pace from normal craft beer/pub food combo
  5. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (435) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    Totally agree. Bacon fried rice and Substance or Patina is a nice late night snack....
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  6. rightcoast7

    rightcoast7 Disciple (331) Apr 2, 2011 Maine

    Good call, their egg sandwiches are unreal.
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  7. pp7z

    pp7z Initiate (17) Jan 1, 2019 Massachusetts

    I ended up walking into Palace Diner...not a good spot for little ones!!! We ended up going down the street to Golden Rooster, which we enjoyed and was age appropriate!

    Hit up Industrial Way. Allagash was great. Had a 2016 FV13. Coolship Resurgam and a Rosedale Street. All were amazing. BiL got a flight with 'Martin Road' and it was a favorite among us. Battery Steele was packed, waited in line for a couple sours and 'Flume Cubed' but we were not blown away by anything. Also brought home Coolship La Mure, Coolship Balaton and Pick Your Own.

    Met up with the family at Definitive and had a sip of 'Float' which I thought tasted great; best IPA I had on Industrial.

    Elsmere was really good BBQ. Becky's this AM and then hit the beach. Went to a cool spot in Cape Elizabeth called C-Salt where I snagged a bottle of Oxbow BAFPA. Didn't have time to get to Oxbow but I'll find time later this summer to spend more than just a night.

    Thanks for all the recs we had a great couple of days!
    Glider, kinopio, AlcahueteJ and 4 others like this.
  8. AlcahueteJ

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

    Agreed, was at Definitive on Saturday, they had a strong tap list. I was really impressed with what they had.

    I think I remember really liking Orbit, and some kettle sour they had that even my non-beer drinking Dad liked.

    Which place were you at? Empire? Boda? Bao Bao?

    And was that beer Substance or Patina? Kinda looked like Substance.
  9. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (435) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    Empire - Patina
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  10. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (266) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    A Single Pebble might be my favorite place in Vermont not called Hill Farmstead.

    Back to Portland; I went to Boda last week and it was a good spot for Asian food and local beer.
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  11. AlcahueteJ

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

    Yup, solid Thai place. Good for late night food too. Or Nosh.
  12. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (126) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    Considering heading up to Pils & Love 2019 on 7/20 (turns out the wedding is a week before, so I have a weekend free). However, I don't want to drive. Does anyone have a cheap hotel recommendation or will Portland, Maine in the summertime be costly regardless? I suppose I could Uber home for $100, so there's that.
  13. yuppiescum

    yuppiescum Initiate (45) Jun 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    It's going to be expensive, you could look at airbnb's. Also, if you're headed to Boston or the NH seacoast, check the Amtrak or the Concord Coach busses.
  14. KidGalaga

    KidGalaga Initiate (71) Apr 21, 2014 Illinois

    i've got 1 dinner left to book for an upcoming trip. has anyone tried isa or sur lie?

    definitely want to try The Shop, any thoughts on Maine Oyster and Bob's Clam Hut?

    think I'm good with breweries, appreciate all the info here!
  15. ScottDawg7

    ScottDawg7 Initiate (84) Jul 27, 2015 Georgia

    Just home from first time trip to Portland. Had a great time and appreciate all the info in this thread. During stay, was able to make pit stops at Great Rhythm and Barreled Souls on way in from Boston, then Bissel Bros, Oxbow (Luppolo and Duckfat fries), Goodfire, Rising Tide, Austin St (both locations), Allagash (great value for the basic tour), Definitive (really enjoyed their brews and met employee Chris when I was at Barreled Souls, chatted again when I stopped here), Battery Steele, Foundation, Mast Landing, and Maine Beer Co. We got outside the city a couple days. Highly recommend Red's Eats north of Freeport on way to Boothbay Harbor. Lobster roll was ridiculous! Bao Bao Dumplings and Holy Donuts were also hits.
    #95 ScottDawg7, Jul 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  16. rightcoast7

    rightcoast7 Disciple (331) Apr 2, 2011 Maine

    Sadly, an Uber home will be much cheaper for you. Budget hotels in Scarborough or SoPo will run you around $200 and you’re looking at $350-400+ for anything near downtown.
    mrmattosgood likes this.
  17. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (346) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts
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  18. AlcahueteJ

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

    Well, just wanted to close this out with another trip report.

    Thursday in Portsmouth/Kittery:

    The weather unfortunately didn’t start cooperating until midday Friday, but that’s ok, it was raining on Thursday which was Portsmouth/Kittery.

    Portland has much more ground to cover when walking, so this worked out ok.

    Headed up for an early lunch at Lexi’s, solid burgers as always. My brother and I split a Smutty Mysterious Haze, which was serviceable. Also swung by Café Kalim while we waited for Lexi’s to open, which has solid coffee if you’re into that sort of thing.

    From there we had time to kill before check-in at the Sheraton so we headed to Stoneface. Never been there before, it was ok. Beers were honestly nothing to write home about, the space was decent, just your typical tap room. My buddy says the food is good though, so there’s that (we didn’t try the food).

    Still had time to kill so my brother and I hit up Earth Eagle which was…well it was Earth Eagle. All sorts of whacky stuff which tasted both good and bad. Nice change of pace from New England IPAs though.

    We met up with the rest of the family at Book n’ Bar and grabbed another coffee before checking in.

    Next we swung through Kittery to hit up Black Birch for dinner. Good as always, although to be honest, not as good as I remembered (it’s been a year or two I think). Had the Tributary Pils on tap which was good, not the best I’ve had, but something I’d happily drink again.

    Would have loved to go to Tributary even though I’ve been there before. Also would have liked to go to When Pigs Fly for dinner, but both of these were a bit out of the way as we wanted to head back to Portsmouth for a nightcap(s).

    Finished the evening off at Liar’s Bench, Portsmouth Brewery, and Gaslight. Nothing really memorable from any of them to be honest. I had a session Porter from Portsmouth that was decent, as was some New England-ish IPA/pale ale from Great Rhythm on tap at Gas Light.



    Ahh Portland. My personal happy place.

    I woke up the family early to get the hell out of Portsmouth to try to snag some Holy Donuts in the morning. Grabbed a half dozen and then a morning bun from Standard. Then my go-to is heading over to Bard for coffee and then splitting everything up and trying samples of each. It’s the way to go in my opinion for "breakfast" in Portland.

    We met up with my brother and Dad who were having breakfast/lunch at Boon’s, which I’d never heard. Nice little spot on the water, and my Dad loved the salmon, and my brother loved the oysters. Add another to the ever-growing list in Portland!

    Again with time to kill before check-in we decided to brewery hop. Since we were staying at the Hampton, it was close to the brewery-heavy strip that includes Lone Pine, Goodfire, Rising Tide…etc.

    We walked down to Oxbow since I missed it on my last trip. It was tempting to get some Duckfat fries, but we had lunch plans at High Roller. Beers were solid and I really like what they’ve added to the outdoor space. Picked up a bottle of 3 Barrels Deep and then checked out the new space for Austin Street.

    Love their new space, great addition to that strip. Looks like a brewery/Apple Store inside. Also went over to Rising Tide…but just to pick up some sushi at Mr. Tuna, great recommendation!

    We finished our beers and grabbed some coffee at Tandem Roastery. I had a free coffee card that I kept for about a year. I got it at Whole Foods in Medford of all places…so why not?

    Late lunch was at High Roller, I friggin’ love that lobster taco. They also had Blind Pig on tap which was a nice surprise.

    With dinner looking like it would be later in the evening my brother and I (the beer geeks in the group) walked back over towards Lonepine and Goodfire.

    I liked the Pils at Goodfire and I also enjoyed the beers at Lonepine. It was good to see Lonepine mixing it up and not just having an array of stouts and IPAs.

    We also noticed yet ANOTHER brewery is going in across the street (how many can Portland fit?). Brewery Extrava, a Belgian-focused brewery. Should be a nice non-IPA-factory addition to that space.

    Afterwards we met up with the family at the Hampton. I didn’t know that their “hotel bar” is Sebago Brewing Company. Kind of cool.

    Dinner was at Slab, but my brother and I walked over to Mash Tun first to grab a drink. We decided to be responsible and had an Austin Street Rally each before meeting up for dinner.

    Fuck I love Slab. If you haven’t got it, get the Lasagna Pizza. I also inquired if anyone has actually finished an entire Slab themselves. Apparently some people have eaten 7 slices over the course of a few hours, but no one’s finished an entire Slab. They do have a contest to see how fast someone can finish 3 hand slabs. People do it in under 10 minutes. I think I could easily do that…if you haven’t noticed, I can eat a lot of food.

    My brothers and I split off heading to Novare Res and Thirsty Pig for some nightcaps. Novare did have Surly Todd the Axe Man, but it was kicked. I found that interesting, I was curious why that beer was in town.


    Our last day was a doozy. Woke up early as usual to go breakfast hunting. More donuts at Holy Donut and of course a loaded biscuit at Tandem Bakery (different spot than the roastery, same company though). Also picked up their cinnamon roll which is also quite good. More coffee there and at Bard, gotta fuel yourself for the day you know?

    The whole family then headed to Industrial. We wanted to see our tour guide from last year, plus it was Battery Steele’s 2nd Anniversary.

    Went to Definitive first, and overall I think I liked their line-up of beers the most out of any on the trip. One of their beers my Dad even enjoyed (Diet Coke is his Julius).

    Then we waited in line at Battery Steele for some Flume Cubed cans and some pours. I honestly think I liked their Pils more than anything, including the IPAs. Flume Cubed is solid though.

    Then off to Austin Street to pick up some Patina, and finally Allagash.

    I love Allagash, they just do everything right. They treat their customers and employees like gold, and most importantly (well equally as important) their beers are top notch...and not IPAs. Chatted with our tour guide from last year and also Rob Tod. Congratulated him on his James Beard award, shot the shit for a bit, had some beers, and then picked up some Resurgam and one other sour I forget at the moment.

    Ended the brewery onslaught with Bissell for cans and a couple pours then back to the downtown for some late lunch yet again.

    This time Thirsty Pig for some dogs, sausages, and beers. Then off to Gorgeous Gelato for some late afternoon gelato and a cannoli. If you haven’t had their cannoli, I highly recommend it. They add a touch of lemon that gives the cannoli a nice slightly tart finish to it.

    My brothers and I split off again to try this new speak easy, I believe it was Blyth and Burrows. Cool little spot. You walk into the first bar, then head up to the second level where there’s some tables. You head over to the corner booth and there’s a book shelf. You push that open and then…yup, another bar! Granted it’s also open to the street in the back, which kind of ruins it, but whatever.

    After this we wanted to go to a dive bar to accommodate my Bud Light drinking brother, so we hit up the Porthole. Which was…the Porthole.

    Dinner was at Portland Lobster Company, which I’d never been to before. Nice spot on the water, great if you want some no frills sea food. My brother and I split the lobster mac n’ cheese, which actually was excellent. I had a Liquid Riot Bohemian Pils which was just ok to be honest. Of course, I’m kind of a Pils whore and a harsh critic of the style.

    Once again the three of us split off, hitting up one of our favorites, The Little Tap House. Had a flight there of some local Maine brews then walked down to Gritty’s. I felt like having a Black Fly Stout, it had been awhile. Then we went across the street to Bull Feeney’s. Never been there before.

    It’s definitely “Faneuil Hall-esque”, but the second level is cool. It looks like a library and has a nice view of the street below. Beer list isn’t too shabby either.

    Finished off back at the hotel and grabbed a flight at Sebago. Beers were surprisingly pretty good, it was a nice way to end another great trip in Portland.

    Until next time Portland!
    bruindre, jmerizio, Davl22 and 16 others like this.
  19. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (188) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    Thanks again for this thread (and last years). They are informative and enjoyable, even for those of us that go to Portland often.
    meefmoff, Nestor87 and AlcahueteJ like this.
  20. AlcahueteJ

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

    No problem, thanks for reading! I've also sent my word doc out to a few people as well.

    Kind of funny, my brother was googling things to do in Portland before the trip and it actually came up on the search.

    I also do it for myself so I remember what the heck I did, and can reference it for future trips.
    matthewp likes this.
  21. followerofmen

    followerofmen Initiate (90) Sep 9, 2012 Massachusetts

    Is there any time in your trips for anything but eating or drinking? It seems like there isn't, and perhaps that's the goal?
  22. KidGalaga

    KidGalaga Initiate (71) Apr 21, 2014 Illinois

    @AlcahueteJ many thanks for the informative recap. will be visiting portland for the first time this weekend.

    the chicagoland market is pretty solid as far as haze, and I've tried a decent amount from both coasts. will be curious to see how portland stacks up.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  23. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (126) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    Go the haze route if you must, but I'd argue most people here believe the best beers in Portland aren't NEIPA. That's not to say there aren't great examples of the style there. However, we'd mostly -- I think -- push you toward places like Allagash and Oxbow. Even if 90% of your consumption is IPAs, I hope the 10% at those two places blow your hair back.
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  24. AlcahueteJ

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

    Haha, you sound like my Mom!

    With only two days in Portland and the weather not being ideal (Friday was mostly cloudy and rainy in the morning, Saturday had risks of thundershowers in the afternoon) we just ate and drank this time around.

    Typically we do some type of boat cruise in Portland, we visited Peak's Island one year...etc. We probably would just skip Portsmouth next time and do our usual three days in Portland. That way we can dedicate one day to doing other stuff.

    But eating and drinking is also the name of the game in Portland. Portland is the food mecca of the Northeast, and now also a brewery hot spot.

    We had talked about trying to see the light house next time though.

    When we visited Vermont two summers ago we did a lot of other stuff like the Ben and Jerry's tour, Cabot cheese, cruise around Lake Champlain, visited the actual Von Trapp Lodge not just the brewery...etc.

    I think we've discussed this before, but Allagash is probably a top three brewery in the Northeast when you factor in everything (contrary to popular belief, there's more to a brewery than one's ability to brew a single style...ahem....New England IPA).
  25. KidGalaga

    KidGalaga Initiate (71) Apr 21, 2014 Illinois

    haha, yeah, i've always been a hop fiend, but i appreciate a well made beer of any style.

    i'll definitely want to try some coolship, wild rivulet, or other BA stuff from those spots.
  26. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (126) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    No better place to cure that disease than at Allagash.
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  27. Mrstiffington

    Mrstiffington Initiate (100) Jun 8, 2018 New Jersey

    You are unrivaled in your ability to eat and drink on your trips! And I’m all about eating and drinking on vacations! To echo another post, I really enjoyed your recaps from last year and this one. I visit Maine every year (usually with wife and kids so of course we do the lighthouse and other sights, etc) and hit up many of the same spots but there’s no way I could fit that much food/beer into my body! Bravo
  28. TaproomVisiter557

    TaproomVisiter557 Initiate (15) Oct 20, 2018 Massachusetts

    Your ability to have wealthy parents is unrivaled. Congratulation.
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  29. AlcahueteJ

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

    Thank! (I think)

    I assure you I always put on a few pounds from these trips. But I'm a fairly lean guy who eats very healthy and otherwise drinks more moderately. It's nice to stuff your face for a couple days and then move back to normal life.

    Ha, I also assure you my brothers and I spend a fair amount of money on these trips.

    And we absolutely pay for nearly all of the beer.

    And as @meefmoff can attest to, I'm no stranger to widly spending money.
  30. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (422) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    Thanks for all the tips and the fun write up. I don't have anything meaningful to add that hasn't already been said except this:

    I don't give a shit about donuts, but we went into Holy Donut last time we were in Portland just because we happened to be walking by and were a bit snacky:

  31. Wiffler27

    Wiffler27 Meyvn (1,289) Aug 16, 2009 New Jersey

    I'm making my first ever trip to Portland in 2 weeks. I've been looking at the variety of breweries and am foaming at the mouth.

    In regards to Bissell, their website confuses me. Their can release schedule shows what is coming out but doesn't show ALL of the available cans.

    Do they only sell 1 can variety at a time? Or will they have say 6 different cans to choose from? I want to pick up a bunch of different cans. Thanks!
  32. Mrstiffington

    Mrstiffington Initiate (100) Jun 8, 2018 New Jersey

    Their IG feed usually notes what they have available on a given day.

    Between Bissell, all the breweries on Industrial Way, Lone Pine and and the local beer stores, you’re gonna have a heavy car coming back to NJ.
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  33. jhavs

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

    Typically Substance, plus what is released, plus what is left over from previous days.

    Keep an eye on Bier Cellar and sign up for their email notifications. You can order online and pickup when you are in town. Will give you ability to get variety of stuff that was released prior to your arrival (Bissell and others)
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  34. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (435) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    Wow. I did a quick day trip yesterday to Portland for cans/drafts at Bissell w/my wife...hit up Bier Cellar to save time vs hitting Industrial way...just had a taco at the place next to Bissell. Still figure I chowed down ~1k calories in a couple of hours. How does your body handle all of that intake over a few days ? I mean I’m drooling reading your post — and I’ve got multiple screen shots from this thread in my photos for future ref....but my god man — this is jabba the hut territory we are talking....:grin:
  35. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (435) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts

    They don’t make it easy to know what cans are available...went 1ish yesterday and there was a good pre 4th crowd — they had 4 cans for sale - two hops and a couple of lagers. I think given the continued rising competition and options in the area and probably increased output - u can typically get a good variety. Agree w suggestion to hit up Bier Cellar - that’s BBs capacity relief valve and they’ve frequently had a great selection - Reciprocal/Nothing Gold over the past few weeks. Very hit or miss as they had nothing yesterday. Also if u like kegs....Bier Cellar has had some real nice beers in sixtels lately - Flume/Subby/Patina. So awesome to see this development over the past 6 months to a year.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  36. AlcahueteJ

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

    No problem man.

    Holy Donut with the potato base is a different beast. Last year I tried “the other donut place” Hi Fi Donuts, as it was suggested by my Lyft driver.

    They do some whacky stuff, but they’re just regular donuts, so if you’re not a huge donut guy, it’s not worth it. Plus Holy Donut is just better in my opinion.

    Their bacon cheddar donut is basically a breakfast sandwich wrapped in fried dough. It’s my favorite from Holy Donut.

    I also saw a place that’s at least new to me, called Beer House. It’s right by the Hampton Inn.

    They had all kinds of Maine cans, stuff from Bissell and Austin Street among others.

    AND...they also had a bar with a great tap list.

    Cool place.

    It’s a bit deceiving, I split ALOT with my brother, from food to drafts to flights.

    For example the loaded biscuit from Tandem is split with my family, so is the morning bun, and the cannoli.

    Dinner at Portland Lobster was split with my brother.

    Don’t get me wrong though, I eat full meals and drink full beers too. A burger at Lexis, a lasagna pizza slice and hand slab at Slab, an XL gelato at Gorgeous, a hot dog and sausage at Thirsty Pig...

    This trip we didn’t take one Uber though, so that helped. I think 20K+ steps per day.

    Last year when I came back from Portland I was 18 pounds heavier than when I left. But that’s deceiving, it’s comparing my morning weight when I left with my weight in the afternoon when I returned. I was already down 9 lbs. the next morning.

    When all the water comes off I typically put on 2-3 lbs. which takes maybe a month or two to come off. Totally worth it though.

    Bear in mind I’m sadly not drinking and eating all I actually could...I’ve had some SERIOUS drinking and eating feats back in my 20s. One example is after a full day of eating putting back three Pu Pu platters at Golden Light plus a side of fried rice in the wee hours of the morning. It was my birthday and Chinese food is my favorite food (not that Golden Light was even remotely good Chinese food).

    I remember treating myself to a Rochefort 10 at Redbones that day. Redbones was the only beer bar in Davis back then, and Rochefort 10 was still a big deal to give you an idea of how long ago this was.

    But I’m not a big guy. I’m about 166-168 lbs. right now. I can just eat a lot and I eat (and drink) fast too (I try not to). One time at Bickfords I had an entire Big Apple with ice cream/whipped cream on top in 38 seconds. That wasn’t on purpose either.
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  37. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (422) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    I believe we have now blown AlcahueteJ's cover (as well as the source of his vast wealth):
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  38. cmoney13

    cmoney13 Initiate (132) Sep 9, 2017 Massachusetts

    potato base? bacon cheddar?

    I won't knock it til I try it, but I am extremely skeptical.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  39. AlcahueteJ

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

    It basically tastes like fried dough wrapped around bacon and cheddar.
  40. KidGalaga

    KidGalaga Initiate (71) Apr 21, 2014 Illinois

    Great first trip to Portland in the books.

    Not too surprising, but the highlight was Bissell. Had HTFFATT and Reciprocal at multiple spots, and also hit up the Blowin' Smoke release. Here's to Feeling Fine is the best NEIPA I've had in a very long time.

    Also tried Goodfire, Austin Street, Battery Steele, Foundation, and Definitive.

    Definitive was my favorite, but still not enough to warrant buying cans. The rest were completely average overall, so I echo what robocop astutely pointed out on page 1.

    Allagash was super busy, but was able to try nancy and bought a few different coolships to go.

    In terms of oysters, Eventide > Maine > The Shop, and Fore Street is just really darn good. Best mussel dish we've ever had. Of the "newer" spots, both Sur Lie and Chaval had their moments, but both meals were too underseasond and unbalanced for us.

    Novare Res, Mash Tun, and Great Lost Bear all had their moments, but the surprise out of left field was Alisson's in Kennebunkport having Horus Hazelnut Harris on tap. What a delicious and completely unexpected treat!
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