PORTLAND, ME | ROUND-UP
MAINE BEER COMPANY
Friday afternoon, I roll into Maine Beer Company, a 15-barrel microbrewery that’s two years young. Brewer Dan Kleban tells me to grab a glass and open a bottle of their Peeper Ale, a very hoppy, very drinkable American style ale.
After the tour, Kleban explains why Mainers love their craft beer.
“Mainers in general are willing to pay premium for an artisanal product, whether it’s food or beer,” says Kleban. “I don’t know if it’s a New England ‘get your hands dirty’ thing, but people appreciate it.”
“I don’t know if it’s a New England ‘get your hands dirty’ thing, but people appreciate it.”
And this is truer than ever—Rising Tide and Bull Brewing Company are in the same industrial complex as MBC and Allagash is up the street.
“As a group of brewers, we’re trying to get the word out that there is a second generation of craft breweries doing new, different things.”
As I leave Kleban, he’s off to drink on a boat with his distributor—so Maine!
MAINE BEER CO.
1 Industrial Way, Unit 3, Portland, ME
THE GREAT LOST BEAR
Maybe because I spent a chunk of the day driving around Portland like a grizzly in need of a GPS, but this bar feels like home—a home with 69 taps and four cask-conditioned hand pumps.
For about 25 years, The Bear has been supporting Maine microbreweries and establishing itself as one of the best places in the state—hell, the country—to get a beer. It’s still a low-key place though, packed with Maine kitsch and memorabilia and friends kicking back on a Friday night.
one of the best places in the state—hell, the country—to get a beer.
And they offer 5-ounce tasters ($1.25), so I work my way through the Maine brews and let the cozy, craft beer-soaked atmosphere draw me in like a great bear hug.
GREAT LOST BEAR
540 Forest Ave., Portland, ME
NOVARE RES BIER CAFÉ
A cavernous bar with long beer hall style tables, 25 rotating taps, over 500 bottles and a beautiful beer garden, Novare Res is a beer geek’s mecca in Portland’s Old Port.
a beer geek’s mecca
Bartender Tony recommends the Allagash Blonde, brewed by Kevin Watson, who used to be a part-time Novare Res bartender. He also gets me a glass of Rising Tide Daymark, a floral, dry hopped pale ale made with Maine-grown rye.
The Belgian selection is staggering and there’s a room in the back with a fireplace and two leather couches. You could bunker out here all winter, drink three different beers a day and still not have tried everything. Challenge accepted.
NOVARE RES BIER CAFÉ
4 Canal Plaza, Portland, ME
Food and craft beer are allied in Portland and Duck Fat is one of the many Portland restaurants to take hold of the scene. As the name suggests, they fry their frites in duck fat, and it’s heaven in a paper cone.
Duck Fat also has three Maine beers on tap—MBC Spring Peeper, Allagash White and Marshall Wharf Tug, a pale ale brewed up in Belfast.
“That really is the way life should be.”
Maine also knows how beer should be—well-crafted, delicious and made by good people.
43 Middle St., Portland, ME