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

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

  1. cdinardo21

    cdinardo21 Initiate (45) Oct 29, 2019 Pennsylvania

    I get it. Especially with the son. The wife? Eh - she'll be annoyed, but she's not going to DIVORCE you over beer! But yes - check them out - they're all very good - Obercreek doesn't can last I was there though, so unless you have have a few drafts (aka not driving too far after) or can down a growler before it goes flat, might be the one to skip out of those three.
  2. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (277) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    Try Airbnb. I found something decently priced (much less than hotel) in the Old Port.
  3. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (277) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    Thanks! There's also Suarez, Plan B, Sloop, Industrial Arts, etc. Hadn't heard of Obercreek so thanks I'll put that one in my pocket. No shortage of breweries to choose from. And it's a 13 year old daughter, probably even less interested than a son would be in seeing dad down a draft and stand in lines for cans.
  4. 9percenthurdle

    9percenthurdle Initiate (29) Sep 6, 2018 Massachusetts

    Absolutely true in the summer. Right now you can stay at the Portland Regency, which is prime local, for about $150 a night though. The OP didn't specify what season they were planning this trip did they (if so my apologies)?
    AlcahueteJ and amelialikesbeer like this.
  5. amelialikesbeer

    amelialikesbeer Initiate (11) Jan 14, 2020

    That is cracking me up! I'll have to recruit more women to join.
  6. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Devotee (493) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina

    Would any Beer Tour Of Massachusetts be complete without a visit to Sam Adams?
  7. darkandhoppy

    darkandhoppy Aspirant (268) Dec 26, 2008 Connecticut

    Boston is "the big city". It's high paced, with endless options, crowded, and priced to match (expensive). You can have a more pleasant, low key, experience (if that's what you're looking for), in Portland. More than a weekend's worth of great breweries. Great food options. I doubt you'll be disappointed with Portland (unless you're looking for that big city experience)
  8. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (277) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    I managed to happily visit Boston without going there. Harpoon was an upgraded comparable substitute.
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  9. yuppiescum

    yuppiescum Initiate (46) Jun 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    Portland Portland Portland Portland Portland
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  10. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Devotee (493) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina

    Definitely Harpoon, but why not SA as well?
  11. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,187) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I lost count of how many times I’ve been to Portland for a weekend/long weekend in the last six years or so. Three times in 2019 alone.

    Portland has expanded its options so much in that short time. I started a word document years ago and have updated it after each trip, most recently after my trip in December (you can also find some of my old trip reports on here if you’re so inclined).

    It’s now to the point where I can’t fit everything there is to do in Portland in 3 nights, and need at least 4.

    @amelialikesbeer PM me if you want me to send you the word document. It’s a break down of breakfast, lunch and dinner spots, coffee shops, beer bars, breweries, regular bars that have fun themes (speak easy’s...etc.), and other stuff to do (if you’re there in the summer the Casco Bay Lines is cool, and Portland is a great art museum spot as well).

    The word doc has hyper links to all menus that are available, including the walking (and driving if far enough) distance from the Hampton Inn in the Old Port. I love that hotel, it’s in a clutch spot and Sebago Brewing Co. is on the first floor and is basically the hotel bar.

    I’ve sent this to multiple Beer Advocates and relatives. Basically, if it’s a weekend, go to Portland. I love Boston too, but if you have a week that would be the easy pick. For a weekend you’ll spend way too much time driving/Ubering/public transit/whatevering around to hit all the best spots.

    Portland is awesome for breweries, but the food is even better. And I live about ten minutes outside of Boston, so I’m quite familiar with both places.

    And this is how I feel about Boston...only it’s 50 times worse than Portland and more spread out. As I said above, for a weekend, Portland, for a week, Boston.

    I feel like it’s not that bad. I’ve stayed at the Westin, Holiday Inn, and Hampton all multiple times. Maybe $300-400ish a weekend night in the summer for a 2 queen bed room. As someone already mentioned, the winter is insanely cheap...and there’s no crowds and lines.

    The lines part does remind me. Even at its busiest the breweries in Portland don’t have the insane lines like Boston breweries do. This alone would sway me away from Boston. And in Boston this is a year long thing, not just a summer thing. You’re likely to encounter a line on a weekend afternoon/night at most popular breweries in and around Boston. Not the case in Portland unless there’s some crazy beer release.
  12. yuppiescum

    yuppiescum Initiate (46) Jun 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    I wouldn’t make it a point of emphasis for someone coming in from out of town, but let’s revisit this after they open their beer garden smack in the middle of Faneuil Marketplace.
    Witherby likes this.
  13. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,187) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I assumed that happened already. I feel that’s been in the works forever.
    Singlefinpin likes this.
  14. Sheppard

    Sheppard Meyvn (1,174) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    The only concern with Portland in the Summer is the cruise ships as they can crowd the Old Port restaurants. My recommendation if you ultimately do choose Portland is to make reservations. Alternatively, you can try to get in a restaurant, put your name in, and go to a close by bar for a drink, which is what we did when we went to Empire.
    rightcoast7 and AlcahueteJ like this.
  15. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Aspirant (277) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    Honestly, i was in Boston for a conference and Harpoon was right around the corner while Sam Adams was far away. Plus, I've never cared for Sam Adams. But really, getting to go to the original location of Trillium when they gave you free samples was the true Boston highlight for me.
    Singlefinpin and Sheppard like this.
  16. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (446) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    Just wanted to give a thumbs up to Alcahuete's list. It was super helpful the first time we went to Portland.
    mrmattosgood and AlcahueteJ like this.
  17. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (272) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    End of this month for new supposedly. I think it’s gonna be pretty sweet especially in the warmer months.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  18. mynie

    mynie Poo-Bah (4,163) Jun 22, 2004 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Portland by a mile in almost every conceivable way. Boston's got better architecture, but that's it. Portland is significantly more accessible and affordable, the traffic is way better, the restaurants are better, and the beer is much, much better.
  19. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (272) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    Let’s not go overboard. Boston is ranked as one of the most 25 important cities in the world. For the average tourist Boston has much more to offer. Obviously Allagash is better than anything in MA but half the people who go to Maine skip it because they only care about hops.
    jbarletto, meefmoff, Trull and 7 others like this.
  20. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,187) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Completely agree with all of this, except that Allagash is better than anything in MA.

    They’re probably a top 3 - 5 New England brewery for me, and I wouldn’t rank any of those 3 - 5 in any order. Just depends on what styles you’re looking for.
  21. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (140) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    I said this before on another thread, but I think we tend to be way too liberal with the term “world-class” (denoting, to me, beer that transcends styles and tastes and borders in both subjective and objective ways). In reality, there are probably under a dozen “world-class” breweries in the United States. I believe we are fortunate to have two of them in New England. Those two are Allagash and Hill Farmstead.
  22. mynie

    mynie Poo-Bah (4,163) Jun 22, 2004 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Having lived in Boston for 2 years, I can confirm that the city actually sucks really hard and Maine is much better in every way.
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  23. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (446) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

  24. kinopio

    kinopio Aspirant (272) Apr 30, 2009 Massachusetts

    My wife just read this thread and after reading your posts she replied, “what a delicate turd”.
    Sorry you don’t like Boston. Can I ask why?
  25. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,187) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    While I think this is way too strong, I've lived in this area all my life and do agree Boston proper is a bit overrated.

    I don't head into the city proper too often, and much prefer Somerville and Cambridge.
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  26. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (446) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    A fair point, though (I assume for historical reasons) Boston proper is also a lot smaller than the "proper" city limits of many other cities. The equivalent of Somerville and Cambridge in say, Chicago or LA would still be part of the city itself.

    Hell, if we mapped things Chicago's way I think Haverhill would be part of Boston :slight_smile:
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  27. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,187) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    That's fine, it's on the commuter rail. Makes sense.
    meefmoff likes this.
  28. ScottDawg7

    ScottDawg7 Initiate (84) Jul 27, 2015 Georgia

    Portland over Boston. Alot of breweries, all within very reasonable Uber distance, some grouped together (Industrial Way OR Austin St/Rising Tide/Goodfire/Lone Pine/Oxbow), easy to hit all of them in a long weekend. Bissell Bros, Mast Landing, and Maine Beer Co are sorta by themselves location wise, but still worth checking out if time allows. Easier to do alot of stuff without wasting too much time getting to/from one place to the other. Also, excellent restaurant and bar options downtown.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.