I need help with my brew tour: Boston or Portland?

Discussion in 'New England' started by amelialikesbeer, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. amelialikesbeer

    amelialikesbeer Initiate (11) Jan 14, 2020

    I'm planning a brew tour for a long weekend and considering a few options. Thanks to these forums, I've narrowed it down to option A) TreeHouse and then Portland or B) Treehouse and Boston (Trillium, etc)

    What are your thoughts on visiting Trillium Brewery? Also, are the Trillium beers rare or could I find cans for sale at other places?

    Note: We will be traveling by car from North Carolina with a pit stop outside of PA.

    Thanks in advance, friends!
  2. 9percenthurdle

    9percenthurdle Initiate (29) Sep 6, 2018 Massachusetts

    Portland > Boston and it isn't particularly close in my humble opinion.
    Gushue3, colby600, ichorNet and 13 others like this.
  3. Justin42

    Justin42 Aspirant (224) Apr 3, 2013 Massachusetts

    Trillium beers (with the exception of some limited BA stouts) are not rare and you should easily be able to find someone who will meet you at Treehouse for an IP trade if you want some cans.

    I agree with @9percenthurdle, Portland is an awesome spot and if I had to pick between the two (and I live in Boston) I'd take Portland. Great restaurants and you can't beat hitting Bissell Brothers and then the Industrial Park (and of course Oxbox, Novare Res, etc.)
  4. Piels25

    Piels25 Aspirant (202) Dec 17, 2013 Massachusetts

  5. RedEcho

    RedEcho Initiate (68) Oct 23, 2012 Massachusetts

    Possibly not the most popular opinion but...

    Boston is a city - not a world class metro like NYC or Tokyo but a city none the less. Fantastic Steak Houses and Seafood, luxury hotels, huge sports and music venues, etc.

    By comparison, Portland is a big town. It's literally 1/10th the size of Boston. It is only half the size of Worcester, MA and 2/3rds the size of Manchester, NH.

    Portland has some amazing restaurants and a great beer scene. The people are super nice. I love Portland, I love Maine.

    After a few days, though, I get restless there. Boston simply has more options - although you might want to clear your AmEx card because it'll cost ya.

    Oh, and Trillium doesn't distribute. No buying it at bottle shops and pretty rare on draft.
    meefmoff, Resuin, StoutElk_92 and 2 others like this.
  6. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Aspirant (220) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts

    you won't find Trillium beers in cans or bottles outside their retail sites which are in Canton and Boston. They have some draft accounts around the state, including Armsby Abbey- a great beer bar/pub in Worcester- good lunch/dinner stop option- also has Hill Farmstead on draft. If your main focus is breweries visits, then Tree House plus Portland is the better option. Portland is a charming town with lots of great breweries and food options. If you are looking for a city visit as well, then obviously Boston has a lot more to offer than Portland.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  7. cdinardo21

    cdinardo21 Initiate (45) Oct 29, 2019 Pennsylvania

    I went to Boston for the first time ever in November (which is odd, because I've pretty much traveled a ton for work and it was just one of those locations that I was never at). I can't speak to Portland, so I'll leave that to those that have been there, but I loved Boston. Loved Little Italy. Loved the history there, taht you don't get in a a lot of US cities. I think you probably can't go wrong between the two. Seems like some that are suggesting Portland over Boston are FROM Boston and probably a little complacent with how awesome it is (not a critique, it's just human nature - we'd all do the same).
  8. Justin42

    Justin42 Aspirant (224) Apr 3, 2013 Massachusetts

    A fair point, I missed the part about a "long weekend." You can fit in a lot of Portland done in a day and a half. Assuming you are coming in on Friday and leaving on a Monday, have you considered spending time in both cities? Portland is only ~90 minutes from Boston. You can even take the Amtrak and get off right by Bissell (train takes ~2 hours).
    9percenthurdle likes this.
  9. 9percenthurdle

    9percenthurdle Initiate (29) Sep 6, 2018 Massachusetts

    Fair point. I have lived in Boston for the last 10 years.

    Boston is a great town and absolutely has significantly more breadth of possible experiences (sports, music, theater, etc.), but from a "best beer experience" Portland is superior and more cost effective, at least in the winter. Ultimately I think you can have a great time at either location though.
    OffTrail and AlcahueteJ like this.
  10. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (541) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Go to Portland, and stop in Portsmouth, NH for lunch, a beer, or some shopping on the way up.
  11. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (269) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    If you have 2 or 3 days both Portland and Boston have more than enough things to fill those days and send you home happy. Obviously Boston has more non beer things to do. I don’t think there is a wrong choice.

    I’m a fan of both Trillium Boston locations. And both are in neighborhoods with a ton of great bars and other stuff to do. Could hit up Trillium Fenway then hit a Red Sox game which is a short walk away since I believe you are coming in summer.
  12. StoutElk_92

    StoutElk_92 Poo-Bah (2,555) Oct 30, 2015 Massachusetts

    Why limit yourself? Go to Tree House, Trillium either in Canton if you are staying in the center of the state, or visit the restaurant in Fort Point if you want the Boston city experience, and spend a day in Portland as well. A trip to either MA brewery would be easy on the way back down from ME or on the way up. Portland is only about an hour and a half from Boston.
  13. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (364) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    I'm in the Portland camp as well.

    Trillium is good, but if the alternative is Tree House + every brewery in Portland, you're really not missing out on anything beer-wise by skipping Trillium. Go to Boston if you really want to see Boston, but Trillium alone isn't reason enough to go.
  14. cmoney13

    cmoney13 Initiate (131) Sep 9, 2017 Massachusetts

    Portland is like a 1-day thing for me, 2 if you really want to tie one on and be super gluttonous. Portland's cool and fun but as a tourist stop, it's drinking and eating. That's it.

    Boston there's a lot to do and neat things to see and fun neighborhoods.

    But if it's literally just beer you care about, can't go wrong with a couple days in Portland.
    Auror likes this.
  15. cdinardo21

    cdinardo21 Initiate (45) Oct 29, 2019 Pennsylvania

    Wouldn't necessarily disagree with this
  16. YourDigitalGrave

    YourDigitalGrave Initiate (66) Jun 5, 2019 Massachusetts

    I find it strange people are saying a long weekend is too much time for Portland and that it can be done in a day. You must really be in a rush. If you wanted to check out five breweries and a couple of dinner spots, you would do that in a day?
  17. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (277) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    I'm just shocked that an actual woman posted on Beer Advocate Forums.
  18. YourDigitalGrave

    YourDigitalGrave Initiate (66) Jun 5, 2019 Massachusetts

    I could be a woman...

    I'm not though.
    Singlefinpin likes this.
  19. EDNOSE

    EDNOSE Aspirant (226) Oct 27, 2007 Connecticut

    I would agree with this. Admittedly, I have family in Portland so I have other things besides beer when there, but I feel like I never get everywhere that I want to when I visit. The Maine shore alone and the Old Port make it worth the visit and take plenty of time much less the breweries and the eating.
    JuanFushashi, AlcahueteJ and Mkozaka like this.
  20. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (364) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    Yeah, I'm always surprised when people say stuff like that. Any town I wouldn't want to spend more than a day in is a town I wouldn't visit in the first place.
  21. brewandbbq

    brewandbbq Poo-Bah (3,114) Apr 24, 2003 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    I would hit Treehouse, load up on cans and if you're lucky some draft. Then pit-stop in Boston and load up at Trillium Fort Point, Fort Point Market, and Chinatown. Hop on 95 and spend the rest of your time in Portland. So many great concentrations of chill spots with great beer. I'd hit the big 5 on Riverside street, Uber to the Great Lost bear, then Uber to Bissell, Uber to East Bayside, then walk to the Old Port.
  22. StoutElk_92

    StoutElk_92 Poo-Bah (2,555) Oct 30, 2015 Massachusetts

    What’s in Chinatown? The food? or is there beer I’m missing? There’s good food just about everywhere, but yeah the Chinese food is very good in and around Boston.
  23. brewandbbq

    brewandbbq Poo-Bah (3,114) Apr 24, 2003 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    No beer, just recommend hitting it up.
  24. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,512) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    I would not overlook Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company ...

    As for Boston vs. Portland ... I'd flip a coin. Pros & Cons for both, you can't go wrong.

    Boston - I'm partial to Cambridge Brewing, Lamplighter, & Harpoon's Beer Hall

    Portland - I'm partial to Bissell, Allagash, Rising Tide, Oxbow, & Foulmouthed

    Beer bars & restaurants that serve good beer are a bigger convo. if you want to get into that.
    Sheppard and Trull like this.
  25. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (277) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    Why would you need to be "lucky" to get some Tree House on draft?

    I'm asking because this is a road trip we're taking this summer...VA to Tree House to Maine and back via Tree House and the Hudson Valley (skipping Boston altogether.)
  26. MattOC

    MattOC Disciple (368) Jan 13, 2013 Massachusetts

    Because depending on the day you visit, the bar may be closed right at open per retail page. So, if you're looking to get in and out, draft may not be available.

    *Wednesday - Friday the bar may be closed right at open if there is a lengthy line to ensure we can move guests quickly through the line. We do not know if or when this will be in advance. Please follow @treehousebrewco on Twitter for real-time updates. Limits and availability may change at any time.
    AlcahueteJ and Sheppard like this.
  27. Justin42

    Justin42 Aspirant (224) Apr 3, 2013 Massachusetts

    They only do draft on certain days
  28. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (277) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    Thanks. I'd be coming around 5 on a Saturday. Are cans typically still available later in the day on a Saturday?
  29. Sheppard

    Sheppard Meyvn (1,167) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    Yes. They might run out of a certain beer, but generally they'll have several options. They're going through a phase where beers are lasting longer (like a certain brewery near us), but without the severe quality drop off.
  30. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (445) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    I think this post gets at the main difference between the two:

    1. If you like to go someplace manageable where everything of interest is a moderate walk or a short drive from where you're staying, go to Portland.

    2. If you like to go someplace where the world's your oyster and you're happy taking public transport, uber, and long-ish drives to get places, go to Boston.
  31. robo55

    robo55 Initiate (62) Oct 29, 2015 Massachusetts

    How can you make an assertion like this and don’t even live in MA? TH quality has absolutely dropped off once they scaled up. The last part of the can is back of the throat burn brutal and Julius is a skeleton of its former self.
  32. redbill

    redbill Initiate (21) Nov 29, 2018 Massachusetts

    Portland. IMO: Trillium isn't worth the detour you'd need to make between Treehouse -> Portland.

    I prefer smaller walkable cities to Boston, though...
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  33. cdinardo21

    cdinardo21 Initiate (45) Oct 29, 2019 Pennsylvania

  34. cdinardo21

    cdinardo21 Initiate (45) Oct 29, 2019 Pennsylvania

    If you're going to Hudson Valley, you might as well hit up EQ and Obercreek - they're all within 20 minutes of each other, and excellent.
  35. cdinardo21

    cdinardo21 Initiate (45) Oct 29, 2019 Pennsylvania

    I think the word "severe" plays into it - I've found that if you live in MA, you tend to greatly lament greatness not being as great. I read it all the time in the TH and Trillium threads. Some of you, I feel, don't know how lucky you are. I naturally assumed, even when I had my first TH recently, that it would be good, and on par with some of the better breweries here in Pittsburgh - it still destroyed them - I love Dancing Gnome, but TH is a notch above. Trillium is still a notch above. And that's no knock on Gnome. I do believe you when you say that before they scaled up, the brews were better. But they're still fantastic - I'm just sorry I'll never get to know just HOW great it was back in the day.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  36. rightcoast7

    rightcoast7 Disciple (336) Apr 2, 2011 Maine

    I agree, that’s kind of an odd take. I live here and still don’t get around to nearly as many spots as I’d like. My wife and I are always agonizing over which awesome spots to hit every time we go out.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  37. Jcorn

    Jcorn Disciple (356) Jun 17, 2015 Massachusetts

    Boston is great but I love Portland, even outside of it's outstanding beer scene. It's just a cool little city to walk around in. But fair warning, the cost to stay in Old Port (the cool part of the city) is ridiculous. Hotels in Boston aren't cheap but Portland is on another level from my experience.
  38. ClarkstonMark

    ClarkstonMark Initiate (86) Feb 21, 2016 Michigan

    you'll be able to leave with 10+ cases of cans any 5PM Saturday lol
  39. Sheppard

    Sheppard Meyvn (1,167) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    I used to live in MA. I am up there frequently...
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  40. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (277) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    Thanks. I meant "The Hudson Valley", not Hudson Valley Brewing specifically. I'll have to see which Hudson Valley breweries it makes sense to hit on the drive, so that I'm not too far off the highway, crisscrossing back and forth. My beer loving wife only has a certain amount of patience for my beer tourism, and my 13 year old has none.

    Thankfully, Tree House and Portland are right there on our route. :slight_smile: