If you have you are a fan of the blog or have read it from time to time, you would know that I like to go on brewery tour days with my friend Steve. One Sunday afternoon at a bar with Steve watching the Patriots game we decided it was time to go on another brewery tour day. Steve and I shot around ideas on where to go in-between watching the Patriots squeaking by the Raiders. Steve and I decided that our next brewery tour day will be Portland, Maine. A few days before we set off to Maine, Steve and I decided on a handful of breweries that we might want to visit in and around Portland, Maine and on October 18th we were off!
Our first visit and tour of the day, was at Allagash Brewing Company. We arrived at Allagash Brewing Company around 10:45am and I was surprised to see that the Allagash Tap room and retail spaced was crowded...I guess everyone had the same idea as us. A brief hint if you want to go on a tour at Allagash you might want to plan ahead. The brewery has tours but they suggest you pre-registar online. The tour is free but you would like to secure your spot. Steve and I went up to the desk to see if we could sneak in on the next tour. While we waited Steve and I took this time to look around the tap room and retail space and I have to say wow! The tap room and retail space was beautiful, a lot of Allagash White had to have been sold to build that tap room. Luckily for Steve and I we were able to sneak in on the tour with two bus loads of people on the Maine Beer Tour (on a side note if you are looking to sample beer and don't want to drive there are plenty of Beer Tours like the Maine Beer Tour you can choose from). The tour at Allagash was great and the tour guide really knew his stuff!
The Allagash tour ended in the barrel room which was a cool place to end a tour and this is where we got to complete the best part of the tour...the beer sampling. Allagash is pretty generous with the samples and everybody got to try full samples of all four beers available. After the samples the tour guide brings the group back to the tap room where you can pick up some of the beer, a tap handle or other Allagash merchandise.
After we were done at Allagash, Steve and I then jumped in the car and drove 40 yards across the street to an industrial park which has three breweries located at it. Our next visit was to Foundation Brewing Company.
I was excited to visit Foundation Brewing Company, as I did a interview with them earlier this year: (http://journeytothebeerstore.blogspot.com/2014/04/joel-mahaffey-and-john-bonny-are.html). When Steve and first arrived at Foundation it was quite busy. The tap room was small but they had 4-5 beers that you could sample a 3oz -4oz sample. These samples cost $2 piece which is not a bad deal. Steve and I squeezed our way to the bar to get our first sample. We enjoyed about 3 samples before we decided to move on to the next brewery.
Our next stop on the trip was the Austin Street Brewery which was a 3 minute walk to the back side of the industrial park. Prior to this day I hadn't heard of Austin Street Brewery as it is a newer brewery in the Portland craft beer scene so needless to say I was excited to see what they had on tap!
Like Foundation Brewing Company the Austin Street Brewery had a small tap room with a brewery area open to drink and play ping pong and corn hole, which I thought was a great idea. Austin Street Brewery gets its name from where one of the owners Jake lived and where the two owners brewed and sampled beers. The day Steve and I visited Austin Street Brewery they had two beers on tap to sample and buy.
The two beers on tap were Kon-Tiki a south Pacfic Pale at 5.3% ABV and Oliver which is a Brown Ale with coffee and a 6.0% ABV. Steve and I both decided to start with Kon-Tiki. Kon-Tiki was a great beer. A similar beer would be Jack's Abby Brewing Kiwi Rising. I really liked Kon-Tiki and had another sample before trying Oliver. Before visiting our next brewery Steve and I both purchased growlers of Kon-Tiki, my only bad decision is that I should have bought two growlers...it is that good. After we finished here we made the quick walk back to the car to drop off our growlers and then made our way to the next brewery Bissell Brothers which was about a 10 yard walk from our car.
When Steve and I arrived at Bissell Brothers Brewing Company we had a to wait several minutes in line to get into the brewery tap room. The day we went Bissell Brothers had released the Substance Ale which is probably their most popular beer in 4 packs. People in the tap room and sitting outside had 2 or 3 of these 4 packs. I wanted a 4 pack to bring home to Massachusetts, however we were a litte to late as two people ahead of us bought the last 4 pack! The line kind of thinned out behind us when people heard the news. Steve and I decided to keep on track and try a beer or two of Bissell Brothers. Lucky for us we were able try the Substances Ale on draft which both Steve and I really enjoyed.
It was now after 1:00 and Steve and I decided it was now time for some food. We got in the car and in the first time in 3 hours we left the center of craft beer in Portland and headed to downtown Portland for lunch at Gritty McDuff's Brewpub for lunch. I had a bowl of chili and some mac n cheese. Our next stop after lunch was Bunker Brewing Company. I forgot to take a picture at Bunker Brewing Company but it really looks like a bunker as it is a small brick building. Steve and I each got one beer at Bunker Brewing Company. After purchasing our brews we headed out back to some picnic tables to enjoy our brews. I got an Octoberfest which I enjoyed. Bunker Brewing is kid friendly as they had a bouncy house. If I didn't just eat lunch I probably would have been in the bouncy house for a little bit. After we completed our beers at Bunker Brewing Company we drove .10 miles to our last stop of the day...Rising Tide Brewing Company.
Rising Tide was packed when we got there. Steve and I bought two 12 oz samples and made our way outside to a open table. Like at Austin Street Brewing Company, Rising Tide also had a couple of corn hole games outside that guests could play as well as a food truck on hand which I thought was a great idea. As we were sipping our samples we took notice that right next door to Rising Tide was Maine Craft Distilling. After I finished my beer I went over to Maine Craft Distilling where I had a sample of the whiskey which was pretty good. After that we decided to call it a day and make our way back to Massachusetts. Overall, it was a productive day as we visited six breweries, a brewpub and a craft distillery.