We parked behind Shipyard Brewing at 1:20pm. When we checked in with Shipyard, they only do tastings on the hour. I’ve never had a Shipyard beer I liked, so we pressed on to Sebago Brewing. Sebago was in the fancy brand of craft beer we have encountered in New England, with several brewpubs around the area. Their doppelbock was extraordinary- a little fruitiness up front, nice malt character, and a clean finish.
Gritty McDuff’s claims to be Maine’s oldest brewpub, serving a lineup of primarily English style ales. They also have several establishments in the area, and the downtown location had a bourbon barrel aged IPA on draft which was delightful. Their cask bitter and house-made cider were well done to style and delicious. Novare Res is not a brewery, but a bier garten similar to Thirsty Monk’s in Asheville. They had an all-Belgian lineup, comfortable leather couches around a fire, and a quiet, chill atmosphere on an otherwise busy Saturday afternoon. The ambiance was unbeatable, and revived us for the other half of our stumble.
Rising Tide and Bunker Beer can be spoken of in the same breath. They are both warehouse breweries with a hop-dominated lineup and a cool, open friendly atmosphere. The beer was really not to our liking, and it was hard to decide if they were even to style. Not our beer scene- there was nowhere to sit or quietly enjoy your beer- but apparently quite popular with the locals.
Our last boozy stop was Maine Mead Works which was simply amazing. A free tasting of nearly a dozen meads. Most remarkably, their mead didn’t have that typical honey flavour- it was much more smooth and blended. They say this is due to their process of continuous fermentation, whereby some honey is added to an existing fermentation. The large number of yeast rapidly and more thoroughly metabolize the honey, making the flavour more smooth. We bought four bottles and wish we could have bought more. The tea mead was one of the most interesting and delicious things we have ever tasted.
At the end of our stumble, we went to Dobra Tea to have a nice wind down and sober up. Dobra is a staple of ours when we visit Asheville, and this is the second location we encountered in this trip. They have quiet, elevated areas where you can have hushed conversation over a perfectly brewed cup of tea- excellent for alcohol metabolism. Portland Maine had some nice hits and a few misses, but the ability to experience so many different producers in a short walkable area was great fun for us and we would recommend you visit.