Portal to the northernmost Atlantic State, this hilly fishing village remains a time-honored outdoorsman paradise. I originally discovered several decent Gritty Mc Duff’s brews up there during daily excursion from Portsmouth base in March ’02. Priot to the trip, I’d already reviewed a few Sea Dog, Shipyard, Geary, and Belgian-styled Allagash brews beforehand (check Beer Index).
In October ’05, discovered fabulous RSVB on Forest Avenue, scoring Maine brews by Sheepscott, Bar Harbor, Atlantic, Mc Govern’s, Carrabassett, Sebago, and Casco Bay.
But my first stop on rainy autumn ’05 eve, GRITTY MC DUFF’S, located one block up from the wharf situated in historic ‘Old Port’ district, proved equally rewarding.
Beginning in ’88 as one of America’s first brewpubs, Gritty’s expanded in ’95 with a second bar in nearby Freeport, and recently added a third in Lewiston.
Opening to a bar lined with white novelty mugs that served on both sides, the red-brick Portland-based pub had right side dining, back porch patio seating, wooden tables-chairs, plus downstairs bar, rear kitchen, and brew tanks.
Pub chow included recommended marinated lamb. Tried nutty tingly-hopped mild ale Best Brown, nitro-injected citric-hopped phenol-spiced Halloween Ale, and mellow red-fruited bitter Pale Ale alongside lamb.
Buttery floral-citric English-styled Bitter was on the mark for hop-heads.
Durable nut-roasted, black coffee-enriched Black Fly Stout offered robust change of pace.
Seasonals to look for in future include Vacationland Summer Ale, Christmas Ale, Raspberry Wheat Ale, and Scottish Ale.