Going West from Portland to Naples, Bethel, then Farmington, discovered three worthy brewpubs October ’05. Opened by hirsute Washingtonian Michael Bray in ’95 inside an oak-floored pine-walled old Victorian dwelling alongside Naples’ marina, BRAY’S BREWPUB proved to be an exemplary neighborhood hangout with central wood bar, right hand big screen TV, commendable food, and backroom brew kettles. Second floor dining and banquet facility also available.
Brewer Rob Prindall provided softly sunny lemon-candied Belgian-like Brandy Pond Blonde, frisky bruised-fruited orange-soured Old Church Pale Ale, sticky-malted dark-fruited Mt. Olympus Special Ale, and simple straw-wheat-dried oats-toasted peach-grapefruit-tinged Orien Oatmeal Pale Ale.
Better were audacious Yamityville Horror Sweet Potato Ale (a crossover potato-aided lager-ale blend with smooth vegetal-fruit autumnal resonance) and dry coffee-nut-thickened black chocolate-roasted caramel-burnt Pleasant Mountain Porter.
Highly recommended: busy Songo Loch Scotch Ale, gathering heather-hopped peat-smoked earthiness, black cherry bite, grape skin esters, fig notes, and surprising Band-Aid mouthfeel.