Portland, Maine. Is there any better New England city for foodies? Burlington is a close second, in my opinion, but Portland has stolen my heart. We’ve been twice already this summer and have two more trips planned in the next month. If I weren’t tied to New Hampshire, I would move there in a heartbeat. I love that it’s a fairly small city, with a population of about 60,000, but still has the feel and culture of a bigger city.
We always go for the food and beer, but there are so many different things to do in Portland. From brewery tours to lighthouses, to shopping, there’s really something for everyone.
We ate and drank our way through this gorgeous city recently and here’s how it went down.
BISSELL BROTHERS BREWING
Any time we visit Portland, we always stop at Bissell Brothers. They moved their operation to Thompson’s Point earlier this year, featuring a beautiful tap room where you can enjoy samples or full pours of their hop-forward offerings. They typically have can releases Wednesday through Saturday, but unfortunately, do not offer growler fills.
Bissel’s new location is huge compared to their old digs on Industrial drive, with lots of indoor seating, tall ceilings, and tons of natural light. There’s plenty of parking and almost always a local food truck offering amazing, local street food.
For a complete listing of Bissell’s hoppy beers, check out their website, but here’s a rundown of my favorites:
The Substance – dank American IPA with 6.6% ABV and Bissell’s flagship beer
Baby Genius – 4% ABV American Blonde Ale
Lux – tropical 5.1% Rye Ale
Reciprocal – 7.3% American Pale IPA
Swish – 8% American Double IPA. In my top 10 beers of all time. Dank IPA perfection.
Nothing Gold – 8.2% American Double IPA. Juicy, hazy goodness.
EVENTIDE OYSTER CO.
We started the food crawl portion of our trip at Eventide Oyster co, a fun, busy little oyster bar, where they serve fresh seafood, cocktails, wine, and beer. They offer picnic table seating and a few tables outside as well.
What was supposed to be a quick stop for a few oysters turned into a full on New England clam bake. Lobster tail, huge, tender mussels, steamed clams, potatoes, salt pork, and hard boiled egg. Oh, and butter. Lots of it!
Their brown butter lobster roll was by far the best I’ve ever had and the tuna crudo was exceptional and refreshing. And of course we had to order a dozen local oysters with cocktail sauce, kim chee mignonette, and picked red onion.
Every time we go to Portland, we hear about this hidden gem. Finding the place is half the fun. Lincoln’s has a secret entrance and once you figure out how to get in, you can enjoy anything on the menu for $5. It has a dark, speakeasy type atmosphere, local beers, and offers live entertainment several nights a week.
Beer, grilled cheese, vinyl, and cake. Need I say more? This maps themes bar specializes in local beer, homemade (amazing) cake, and grilled cheese. Oh, and they have a massive collection of classic Brittish punk vinyl. We try to stop here every time we’re in town.
Nosh was our last stop on our food and bar crawl, and what a perfect way to end the evening. After a long day of walking and drinking, all I wanted was a big burger and fries. I decided to go with the Mac ‘N Stack — a cheeseburger with fried mac and cheese patties as the bun. My life is now complete.
And of course I got fries too. I highly recommend you try the bacon dusted french fries with chipotle mayo. Pure pork and potato heaven.
One of my favorite Portland brunch spots is Outliers Eatery. I enjoy sitting on their small deck, sipping a spicy Bloody Mary. Every time I’ve been they have a great playlist of 90’s music that my inner child can’t get enough of.
Outliers Candian Bacon Eggs Benedict is possibly the best I’ve ever had. Since I tend to drink a lot of calories (ahem IPA’s and bloody Marys), I usually avoid carbs, but I never skip the homefries here. They are too damn good to pass up.
Update: Sadly, Outlier’s Eatery has closed since this post was published. Check out one of my recommendations below for brunch and bloodies instead.
A few other favorites and some to be reviewed in my next Portland post:
Duckfat for craft brews and delicious poutine
Central Provisions for amazing Bloody Marys and small plates
King’s Head Pub for a quick bite and amazing tap list
Novare Res for the best craft beer bottle list in Portland
Liquid Riot for great brews and fantastic charcuterie