Thursday, November 29, 2012

Epic Saturday in Portland, Part I

To say this past weekend was anything other than epic would be a severe understatement. While not quite a ritual, but soon it could become one, this was the second November in a row Sarah and I ventured north to Portland, ME. We typically hit Portland a few times a year, but hadn’t had an opportunity to get up there since last fall.

We knew we had a lot on our docket, so we hit the road just after 10am. Our first stop was for some food. We opted to hit When Pigs Fly Pizzeria in Kittery, ME. Our buddy Brian Aldrich of Sea Coast Beverage Lab had mentioned it a few times on his blog, and mentioned it had great food and drinks, so we set the iPhone map to Kittery.

The set up of this upscale pizza joint is incredible. They have a great line up of beers that spans from local Maine brews (Marshall Wharf Brewing Co Illegal Ale-ien), to Delaware (Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA), to Norway and Denmark. They also have draft wine if that’s your style. They also have fantastic wood grilled pizzas which we thoroughly enjoyed!

Marshall Wharf Illegal Ale-ien
DFH 120 Minute

We pointed our compass north and next headed to Rising Tide Brewing Co.’s new brewery on the outskirt of downtown Portland. I had visited their original brewery, conveniently located near Allagash, Maine Beer Co. and now Bull Jagger (which wasn’t there when we went), during the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Rally, and Nathan and Heather showed my buddy Mike and I around.


The new brewery, now located at 103 Fox Street, is a significant upgrade in terms of space, tanks, and storage. They are now distributing in Massachusetts, which we’re VERY happy to see, but the one beer we were searching for is only available at the brewery. Rising Tide brews a weizen stout called Ursa Minor that is a stout fermented with a hefeweizen yeast. Polaris is their bourbon barrel aged version of Ursa Minor that we could not get last year. It’s a 350ml corked and caged bottle (aside from Russian River, it’s one of the only one of its size to be corked & caged). Needless to say, after our sampler and a chat with Nathan and Heather, we purchased three bottles of Polaris and a bottle of Tempest (a barrel aged brown porter, brewed with local coffee).

After a brief stop at Rising Tide, we debated whether or not to make the trek to Lewiston to hit the Baxter Brewing Co. open house they were having. The discussion took five seconds before we said “Umm…yeah,” and we were once again heading north to another brewery.

To our surprise when we got to Baxter, the place was PACKED! Like, really packed. The brewery is in the process of expanding, but for the past several months has been able to sell full pints of their beers at their brewery/tasting room. They were offering flights of four of their beers, which included some brewery only Small Batch Series, for $5. We loaded up our sample paddle with Phantom Punch Winter Stout (newest canned beer), Stowaway IPA (of course), Snow Weiss (Small Batch Belgian), and The Artist (Small Batch Black IPA).

We had to take the opportunity to get a pint of fresh Baxter Brewing Co. beers from their tap line, so Sarah opted for the Stowaway IPA and I got the Phantom Punch Winter Stout. We definitely look forward to drinking more of the Stout in the upcoming months (expect a full review soon).

It was starting to get late, and we were starting to get hungry. We knew it was time to descend once again on Portland, so we began our drive back south to the city...

Part II of Epic Saturday in Portland will be posted shortly!

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