Friday, July 19, 2013

Portland Maine Brewery Day!

When we were heading to Portland, we knew we wanted to check out some of the local brews!  After our tasty treats from Standard Baking Company it was time to hit up some breweries.  Our first stop was Shipyard Brewing Company, the biggest of the breweries we were visiting.

Nick ready to taste!

I had read that the tour mostly consisted of a video rather than an actual tour, but was willing to sit through the 10 minute video in order to enjoy the tasting.  I actually learned a couple of good things, like the fact that Shipyard actually does a lot of contract brewing for local craft brewers who don't have their own space. After a quick view of the bottling facility, it was time to get our taste on.

They had all their seasonal favorites including the Portland Sea Dog Blueberry and Pumpkin Head (Nick's favorite!).  My favorite was actually the Old Thumper - the Non-Traditional English Bitter something I don't see in most bars.

While bigger and more commercial than other breweries in Portland, it was a great stop and smack dab in the middle of the city, making it easy for those of us who do not have access to a car.  That, and the Pumpkin Head of course!

From there, we walked across to the East Bayside area of Portland to Rising Tide Brewery's new(ish) home.  Originally, Rising Tide was out near Allagash, but recently got a great truck warehouse that was fully plumbed with drains and all the necessary things for a brewery.

Rising Tide
When I walked in I was surprised by how it was literally a warehouse space with very little division in it.  That, however, did not prevent anyone from having fun and enjoying the tasting and playing a few games of corn hole.

Brewery Space
More Beer
Corn Hole
We took a tour of the space and I was surprised by how new everything was.  I think it was then that I realized Rising Tide is really only in its infancy.  Based on the quality and taste of their beer, however, I'm sure we will be seeing them in more and more stores nearby.  We walked out with a bottle of Ishmael, the copper-ale, but if we had more space in our bags we would have taken more.

Our next and final stop was based on a recommendation we got from the bartender at Novare Res Bier Cafe - HoneyMaker Mead.  Having never had mead, I was totally intrigued.  Mead is one of the oldest wines and made from honey.  Taking the base fermented honey, HoneyMarker infuses the mead with all sorts of delicious flavors from hops, to spices, to blueberry, to lavender.   

All the Meads
This tasting definitely felt more like Napa than beer tasting, complete with wine glasses filled with pretty colors.  When tasting the mead I could not believe how different each flavor was, it took on each fruit or herb with which it was infused.

Mead Menu
Turns out, I love Mead!  Not shocking I suppose. We left with a bottle of Lavender and two bottles of their special Spiced Mead.  The spiced mead tasted like fall in a glass and something we are saving to add to a mulled wine or hot apple cider.  Turns out I just did not have my eyes open when shopping for alcohol because HoneyMarker is available from a bunch of local places, including Boston Wine Exchange among others.  If you happen to see it, I would definitely recommend buying a bottle (or two).

A bit sauced after a full day of tasting....
Hard to believe but we only hit up a few of the breweries Portland had to offer.  One of the big places we skipped out on was Allagash because it is located a bit outside the downtown area.  We asked around and a cab would have been about $50 round trip or we could have done a brewery bus tour but we figured we had plenty to see and do without a guided tour - for our next trip, I guess!

We had a blast and did not feel like we missed out at all.  We really enjoyed seeing one more commercial place (Shipyard) and exploring the smaller local places.  I cannot wait to see how Rising Tide and HoneyMaker take off in the future - their products are delicious.

If you are up for a quick weekend away, Portland is a great destination with plenty to see, eat and drink.  Nick and I will certainly we heading back.


  1. I'm not the biggest beer drinker but I would love to try the different flavored Mead!

  2. you guys looks so relaxed and happy. what a great day of beer tasting!

  3. Honeymaker sounds so cool. What a great find!

  4. I love Shipyard! I definitely need a Portland trip soon.


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