April 7th marks the day in 1933 when the Cullen-Harrison Act was signed into law, reversing the prohibition of selling beer in the United States. Today, (and very luckily might we add) it’s just known as National Beer Day.
With 165 active and licensed breweries in Maine, and over 16 located in Portland, National Beer Day is a big deal in a state boasting the most breweries per capita. Whether you’re a fan of the hoppiest of hoppy IPAs, or venture toward a light beer fit for welcoming warmer weather, here’s our POP-certified list of a few of the breweries, beer bars, and beer stores in Portland that have been really raising the bar.
Allagash Brewing Company: (50 Industrial Way) No newcomer to the scene, in fact, already well known across multiple state lines, Allagash Brewing Company is a certified B-Corp brewery that is striving to use beer as a force of good. Known for their Belgian-style brews, Allagash Brewing Co. is currently open for outdoor-only tasting in their winterized space. Lobster rolls and seafood eats from Bite Into Maine food truck (dubbed Food and Wine’s Maine’s Best Sandwich!!) are available on site.
Bunker Brewing Company: (17 Westfield St. D) Located in Portland’s Libbytown neighborhood, this small craft brewery is known for offering the finest ales and lagers in addition to collaborating with local artisans on small batches of quality beer. Dog-friendly, this modern craft brewery is built out of a 1920s-era garage, which on a perfect day becomes patio-friendly, heck, you may even catch their line-up of live bluegrass music during your next visit! Full and half pours are available on site.
Gritty McDuff’s: (396 Fore Street) As Maine’s Original Brew Pub and the state’s second overall brewery, it’s only right that you spend some time at Gritty McDuff’s today! Since its humble beginnings in 1988, Gritty McDuff’s has been brewing authentic English ales and has grown to become the brewery of choice for thousands of Mainers and visitors alike. Always known as the first, Gritty’s Old Port location is fittingly in the heart of the historic district. Pull up a chair at their copper-topped bar or strike up a conversation at their beer hall style tables.
Oxbow Blending & Bottling: (49 Washington Avenue) Located in Portland’s vibrant East End neighborhood, Oxbow Blending & Bottling is where Oxbow Brewing Company does just that, blend and package all of their aged beers. Home to their large urban bar and event space, Oxbow Blending & Bottling has become a cultural hub and community gathering space for both the locals and tourists. They frequently host a number of activities ranging from live music and DJ dance parties to educational events such as beer, wine, and cheese tastings. For those that don’t already know, Oxbow has partnered with the award-winning local restaurant Duckfat for their in-house food program as well as their shared outdoor space tucked down the alley of Washington Avenue. If you are really trying to make a day out of it, Oxbow has surrounded itself by other spectacular eateries, fermenters, distillers, and roasters all within walking distance.
Rising Tide: (103 Fox Street) Celebrating twelve years of great beers, Rising Tide Brewing Co. is an independent family-owned brewery that is guided by creating flavors, quality, consistency, community, and a love for all things outdoors. Anchoring Portland’s East Bayside, Each of their beers is thoughtfully crafted using the highest quality and safe brewing ingredients. You can join them on their patio or in their tasting room for fresh craft beers and delicious comfort food. They offer a wide variety of small-batch craft beers and a selection of gluten-free beverages including wine and hard cider. A treat for your well-behaved pup too, Rising Tide’s patio is dog-friendly.
The Great Lost Bear: (540 Forest Ave.) Since 1979, The Great Lost Bear has provided Portland with delicious food and one of the best on-tap selections you’ll find, boasting over 70 taps featuring local brews, craft beers from across the country, and old favorites. With daily rotating $4.99 pint specials, Short Beer Nights (24 ounce pours for the price of a pint) every Monday and Tuesday, and an extensive food selection to match their beers – this Portland classic can’t be missed!
Maps: (64 Market St.) This homey basement bar, aptly decorated with maps across its walls and ceilings, is known for its loud vinyl music, local and international beer selection, and – cakes. It’s a great stop for a local bar where you can try some of Maine’s best beers, as well as a few brews you may not have heard of, but don’t skip out on their rotating grilled cheeses and confectionaries.
Novare Res Bier Cafe: (4 Canal Plaza #1) If you are in the mood to try a beer you’ve never had before, your best bet may be to head on over to Novare Res. With 33+ taps and 400+ bottles at any given time, you’ve got a good chance of finding a new favorite at this unique Portland staple. Sample their huge collection inside at their traditional German bar tops and tables, or outside on their large, newly renovated patio area.
Three Dollar Dewey’s: (241 Commercial St.) First opening in 1980, Dewey’s is hailed as the first place in Portland to pour a pint, and despite closing its doors briefly in 2018, it has long been known as one of the best options in Portland for sampling unique and craft-brewed beers. Since reopening in March of 2019, Three Dollar Deweys has reclaimed its spot as a Portland favorite, featuring 36 tap lines, and a delicious food menu, including a large vegan selection.
The Thirsty Pig: (37 Exchange St.) Priding itself on handcrafted links and drinks, The Thirsty Pig is the go-to spot in Portland for unique, house-made sausages alongside a selection of Maine’s finest craft beers. With a food menu that rotates almost daily, and a dog-friendly patio, this is a great stop for a summertime lunch while sampling some of the best beer that Portland has to offer.
Bow Street Beverage: (495 Forest Ave.) Bow Street Beverage has made it their mission to carry every beer in every style from Maine and the rest of the beer world, and with a beer list containing over 1,300 products, they’re off to a pretty good start. They’re a great stop to pick up any of the local favorites, as well as to try something new from away. Though you may stop in for their beer list, don’t miss their tasting room, which hosts regular events and opportunities to sample the best in beers, wines and spirits.
CarHop Curbside & Delivery: (Delivery Service) Sometimes, you’re just not ready to leave the house. Trust us, we get it. Luckily, it’s 2022, and we have delivery services to bring us the best food Portland has to offer, and one local vendor takes it one step further. Hop on the CarHop website, or download their app, and they’ll deliver beer, wine and spirits directly to your door. Choose from restaurants, breweries, or retail beer stores and get your favorite drink brought to you at your home!
Old Port Spirits & Cigars: (79 Commercial St.) Providing an outstanding selection of Maine Made beer (in addition to spirits, wine, and cigars), Old Port Spirits & Cigars is locally owned and operated and does everything possible to make your visit to their store a pleasant one. Priding themselves on customer service, their friendly and knowledgeable staff is ready to assist you in selecting the perfect complement to any occasion. New selections are added nearly every day, and because they think you should be able to try any single beer, you’re never required to buy a full 6-pack or 4-pack. Really throwing down and need a keg? They can help with that, too. They can get most beers you love in a keg, just give them a day or two.
Portland Beer Hub: (320 Fore St.) Offering curated mixed cases, weekly new arrivals, and special offers, this combination taphouse and retail store in the Old Port has a 95% focus on locally made beers. Customers can enjoy a flight of four 5oz pours or full pints in the bar, make new friends, and bring home newly discovered beers from their carefully curated retail selection. Need recommendations? Hubmeister Jorgen is there to help you find or create the perfect 4 pack for a pickup or delivery.
Back Bay Supperette: (1037 Forest Avenue) Delicious brews for all tastes! Back Bay Superette offers quality craft beer sales and kegs from local breweries throughout Maine. Living by the philosophy of ““Utilitarianism – we strive to do the greatest good for the most”, their goal is to make you a lifelong member of their Friendly Discount family, and always have what you are looking for. They consider curating their beer selection a distinct opportunity to educate local customers and they continuously work to expand the availability of the local beer scene’s fantastic lineup, as well as the timeless spectrum of international craft labels.