Portland, Maine

Discuss beer travel and regional information, including the best bars and places to check out around in Canada and around the world.

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Brews Phillips
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Portland, Maine

Postby Brews Phillips » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:47 pm

The missus and I are off to the Maine coast for a week. We'll be in the Portland area, staying for a few nights in Boothbay Harbor and in Higgin's Beach. I've done the usual RB/BA search and found more than a few places that look great, like Novare Res and the Great Lost Bear. Does anyone have any other good recommendations? Maybe some beer+seafood spots! :P
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JerCraigs
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Postby JerCraigs » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:38 am

I had good luck at Downeast Beverage Co. a few years back.
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Cass
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Postby Cass » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:14 am

You can check out Allagash which I believe is in Portland. Ask for Rob Tod, who is the brewer and tell him you heard about the dinner in Toronto!
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Brews Phillips
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Postby Brews Phillips » Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:03 pm

Thanks for the tips. I passed by Downeast Beverages, but it was at the end of my trip and my trunk was already full! :-)

Allagash was a fun place. Sampled their white, dubbel, tripel and Belgian-style stout before the tour. Saw the barrel-aging room (filled with as yet unnamed but surely tasty treats) but unfortunately not the koelschip room where they open up the windows and open-ferment the beer. I saw a few barrels from this process aging in the barrel room.

Also in Portland, I went to the Great Lost Bear and Novare Res. GLB had a big selection of US taps, particularly local brews including many from Allagash. Tasty burgers as well. Unfortuately, the place is noisy and the waitress took my "hmmmm, let me think about what I'll have next" to mean I wanted the bill, so off we went.

Next stop was Novare Res, which was one of the coolest pub I've ever been too. Knowledgable staff and a cool crowd in basement of an old bank building. One of the bartenders let us poke around in the bottle storage room, which must have been an old bank vault. We went 3 nights in a row (!) and each night there were 5 or 6 new bears on the draught menu. Highlights included Meantime IPA, Rogue I2PA, and a bottle of Struise-Mikkeller :P Their bottle selction was also fascinating with a great representation of different brewing regions.

Portland has good food, too. One of the quirkier places we went to was called Duckfat, where they fry their frites in....you guessed it. Just looking at the menu gave me congestive heart failure - not content with clogging up your arteries with their frites, they actually serve poutine.

Further up the Maine coast, we stopped at a place called Lion's Pride in Brunswick. This place has 35 solid taps, of which I guestimate half are Belgian. Any place where you can start with a Pannepot is ok with me. Also had a wonderfully sour Cuvee Des Jacobins and a 2003 SN Bigfoot Barleywine. (They had two vintages on tap - 2003 and 2007). Lion's Pride will soon become a brewpub and the brewer was behind trhe bar the first night In was there. Super nice guy who gave me a taste of some 2-year old Girardin (apparently he got it as a fluke) and directions to a lobster shack!

Went to lots of other great places too, but these were definitely the highlights. All in all, we had a great time in the Portland area. Highly recommended.
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groulxsome
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Postby groulxsome » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:10 pm

Bump! (Not sure if I should just bump this or start a new thread.)

I've got a conference in Portland, Maine, in early October, so I was wondering if anyone had experience with bars and breweries in the downtown area. I know Shipyard, Allagash, and the Maine Brewing Company (Zoe, Lunch) are some key breweries (though less so Shipyard). Anyone had info on bottleshops, bars, or other breweries that are good from Maine (or have unique distribution in Maine)?
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Postby jrenihan » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:21 pm

I was in Portland briefly in August. Neither Allagash nor Maine Brewing are downtown. Allagash is perhaps a 15 minute drive from downtown, but is definitely worth a visit. Maine is further still- I didn't make it, but you can find their beers on tap and in bottle pretty easily around town, making the trip less necessary.

As mentioned earlier in the thread, Novare Res is a terrific bar (and right downtown). Great tap list and some fantastic bottles. For example, I had De Dolle's Stille Nacht Reserva as well as a Tilquin Quetsch there. I didn't go to any other bars that are notable (but went to Novare Res twice).

The two bottle shops I went to were the Bier Cellar (299 Forest, not really downtown) and Downeast Beverage Co (right downtown). Both are quite good. Bier Cellar is a better store and struck me as the place where serious beer geeks in Portland likely drop most of their money. As a result, while Downeast is less likely to get unusual or rare stuff in, it probably lasts longer on the shelves. I would recommend hitting both up.
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groulxsome
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Postby groulxsome » Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:10 pm

jrenihan wrote:I was in Portland briefly in August. Neither Allagash nor Maine Brewing are downtown. Allagash is perhaps a 15 minute drive from downtown, but is definitely worth a visit. Maine is further still- I didn't make it, but you can find their beers on tap and in bottle pretty easily around town, making the trip less necessary.

As mentioned earlier in the thread, Novare Res is a terrific bar (and right downtown). Great tap list and some fantastic bottles. For example, I had De Dolle's Stille Nacht Reserva as well as a Tilquin Quetsch there. I didn't go to any other bars that are notable (but went to Novare Res twice).

The two bottle shops I went to were the Bier Cellar (299 Forest, not really downtown) and Downeast Beverage Co (right downtown). Both are quite good. Bier Cellar is a better store and struck me as the place where serious beer geeks in Portland likely drop most of their money. As a result, while Downeast is less likely to get unusual or rare stuff in, it probably lasts longer on the shelves. I would recommend hitting both up.
Ren


Thanks! Yah, I know both the breweries I listed are out of town, I was moreso wondering if there were any other local breweries worth seeking out on tap/bottle. I'm there for work mostly, so I won't have a lot of time to explore and drink, so the bottle shops are key for me. Google tells me Downeast Beverage is "8 secs" from my hotel, so I'll likely be visiting there... Novare Res will be on my list unless I end up doing conference things in the evening, ideally I could make Novare Res a conference thing...
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Postby jrenihan » Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:13 pm

Shipyard is right downtown, but I didn't check it out as I have not been too impressed by any of their beers that have made it to the LCBO.
I saw at least 2 or 3 other brewpubs around town, but did not actually check them out. But I guarantee that, just walking around, you will run into at least a couple of places that brew their own beer.
Ren
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Brews Phillips
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Postby Brews Phillips » Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:30 pm

The folks who run Novare Res have apparently opened a brewpub/distillery called Infiniti, also downtown.

http://thebollard.com/2013/03/10/to-inf ... nd-beyond/

If you manage to check t out, please post a review. I'm itching to get back to Portland at some point.
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Postby rejtable » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:55 am

Was just there a few months ago...

Novare Res of course.
The brewpub by the NR folks is called Infinity. Food was only so-so for me, but the limited beer options were really, really good. They didn't have the distillery up and running yet, as I recall. It's right along the waterfront.
For bottles, I bought a few on the bottle shop right on the water front, can't remember the name, but I really stocked up at the Whole Foods. Top notch, and they had, as far as I know, the full lineup of Maine beer.
The Shipyard tour is kinda fun, low comittment.

I also had beer/meals at..
Thirsty Pig. It's kinda right across from the Novare Res courtyard. Pretty solid tap selection, and my sausage was great.
Great Lost Bear. Reasonably solid tap list, a bit out of the way. The décor didn't dot it for me, but I was with my kids who did like it.

All in all, a great city. Halifax with US zip codes.
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groulxsome
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Postby groulxsome » Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:26 pm

Thanks again for the tips guys! Just wrapping up my conference weekend down here and wanted to give a few updates.

Novare Res was excellent. Classic beer cellar kind of bar with a huge tap list. Tried to stick to the local taps, but that bottle list was hard to turn down. I was a little surprised that the Cantillon prices were higher than Beer Bistro in Toronto, though pints down here are criminally cheep ($5!). Pretty decent food, I just grabbed a bánh mi sandwich.

The next night I hit up In'finiti Fermentation & Distillation, which I totally loved. Tried samplers 4 oz of everything they had and everything was solid (like 3.5 or 4 out of 5 type good). I liked the food a lot, actually. I had the fish and "crisps" which I'm usually pretty picky with and really liked them a lot. Love their low abv "table beer" and session IPAs a lot.

I bought beer at the Whole Foods, which was excellent for local beer, and Downeast which was also great. Got a few imports that I had always wanted to try (Fantome, Tilquin, Pannepot), found a fresh bottle of Stone's best by earlier today that was bottled on Sunday.

Local breweries to watch for are Oxbow (not in bottles many places, found their farmhouse on tap at In'finiti), Rising Tide (big Whole Foods isle display), and Marshall Wharf (who are also hard to find, but found some cans of Ace Hole at Downeast). Plus the regular Maine Brewing Co (at Whole Foods in abundance) and Allagash (though I didn't pick any of their stuff up because they were all quite pricy, nothing at Downeast that was not at Whole Foods).

Anyway, great city! Oddly reminded me of being home in St. John's, though the people here actually have adorable accents and, well, they actually eat lobster (which I never had growing up in NL). Like, lobster stuff is everywhere! Had a lobstah roll at Portland Lobster Co, who, despite being a tourist type place, still had a great tap list!

Edit: Just hit The Thirsty Pig. It's like wvrst type ordering and food quality in a place with a Cloak and Dagger kind of vibe (kinda, grungy but welcoming). Pints are like $5 and there are lots of craft taps (12+ lots of Maine Brewing, Smutty Nose, Alligash). They have happy hour 4-7 weekdays where Shipyard pints go down to $2.50, which is just silly if you, you know, ever wanted to get wrecked in Portland. It's a little more grungy than the other places discussed here, but I liked it well enough. I'd likely be a place that I'd go a lot if I lived here (but I go to the Cloak a lot, like wvrst, and would kill for either of those places to have $5). Pint + Dog + Side = $13.

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