Last time this Gal visited Gritty’s was August 1998. It was one of many stops along the way to Lemonwheel. Gritty’s is a classic after all they’ve been brewing beer since 1988. Years ago they only had the one location in Portland, Maine which was small, welcoming and just a great overall hangout. They’ve grown and now have 3 locations in Maine – Portland, Auburn and Freeport. On this visit I was checking out the Freeport location.It’s extremely easy to access as it’s located on Route 1 and just a mere half mile from Maine Beer Company. By know you know I recommend making it a mini beer crawl sort of day.Upon arrival I couldn’t believe how big the Freeport location is. The Portland location reminds me of an old English pub but this one has more of a Maine lodge feel to it. With large rooms, wood beams and accents and lots of windows allowing the natural beauty that is Maine to shine through. Upon entry there is a dining room to the right, back patio straight in front of you and the bar area with tables to the left. Naturally, I wanted to sit in the bar area. Although, after having just spent 6 hours in a car bar stools were not going to cut it so we opted for a table. However, I will say the tables in the bar area seemed oddly short. Still trying to figure that out.
Upon perusing the beer menu I immediately knew I needed to do a taster flight. However, I had another beer stop after Gritty’s plus a bit of a drive a head (although my companion was doing the rest of the driving) so I didn’t do the full flight (10 4oz beers) and opted for making my own size up. Yup, they are super accommodating. This Gal’s flight consisted of 5 Gritty McDuff’s beers.
Best Bitter 4.8% – Of course, I had to include their flag ship beer and truth be told I do enjoy a bitter. I was happy it was served at the right temperature so the malts and hop bitterness could truly be enjoyed the way the beer gods intended. A classic bitter.
Original Pub Style 4.5%
Over all it was good beer a bit light with not much to back it up but enjoyable to drink. The hops were extremely subtle.
Black Fly Stout 4.7% – You guessed it – this Gal’s favorite of the taster flight. This stout scored a perfect 100 from Beer Advocate Magazine and I understand why. Beautiful creamy head with a rich dark body. Overall it’s a lighter body dry stout that makes for easy, smooth, and enjoyable drinking.
English Wheat – Not much going on with this beer flavor wise but would be good on a hot day after mowing the lawn.
Dark IPA – Yum, malts & hops originally thought it was going to be a Black IPA so this Gal was confused by the medium chestnut coloring. I was happy to find out it’s Dark IPA which seems to be a popular style in Maine.
My companion enjoyed a mixed drink and we opted to just have appetizers since we had a grilled dinner waiting for us upon our arrival at the Cabin later. This Gal enjoyed Mushrooms with horseradish and my companion enjoyed the Pork Fries. The food menu is both meat and vegetarian friendly offering pub food as well as the local Maine cuisine.
Gritty’s is Maine institution and with 3 locations it’s worth trying to fit in a visit to at least one of them.
This Gal recently had the pleasure of spending some much needed down town in the beautiful state of Maine. Maine also happens to be home of this Gal’s favorite beer bar – The Great Lost Bear! (Please see last year’s post for a full review). Why is The Great Lost Bear my fav? Three simple reasons: 1. Great beer, 2. Great Veggie food (meat friendly too), 3. Great Music – the perfect trifecta. I’m talking kick back and relax bar atmosphere, sipping on the best of Maine beer offerings while listening to the Dead or some other great classic rock band. For this Gal it just doesn’t get any better.
On this particular visit I opted for the much loved taster round. Five 5 oz pours for $6.25. Wanted to enjoy as many beers as possible but kept in mind still had a good hour and half drive to the final destination. To help balance the intake of alcohol I enjoyed a delish house-made veggie burger that was out of this world in size and goodness!
It perfectly complimented the Taster Round which consisted of:
Summer Weizen – Smuttynose Brewing, NH 5.6%
Well done weizen style, very refreshing with a bit of tang. Good wheat presence with hints of floral and pepper. A beer perfect for kicking back and relaxing with.
Black Fly Stout – Gritty McDuff’s 4.1%
Yes, I repeated a beer from last year’s visit to the Bear. Just goes to show how much I enjoy this particular stout. (last year’s review This stout was ridiculously smooth, light in body but packed with big roasty goodness. It runs in the Irish Stout family but enjoyed it more than the typical Irish Stout because of the full malty flavors.)
Atlantic Bar Harbor Brown 5.2%
I love Brown Ales and will tend to order one whenever I see the style represented on a beer menu which in my opinion is not often enough. This particular brown has a good roasty quality of nuts and malts while maintaining a light body. Not the best brown this Gal has had but enjoyable just the same.
Hampshire Special Ale – Geary’s 7%
Maine in a glass! Wonderfully toasted malts, caramel and toffee balanced perfectly by the hops with hints of ginger and coriander make this ale a real pleasure to sip on. The perfect ambassador for Maine beers.
Confluence – Allagash 7.5%
Wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered this little delight but I was pleasantly surprised by how incredibly smooth this ale is. All sorts of wonderfulness going on that results in a sweet and spicy harmony. One can detect hints of pepper and apricot along with the hops and malt. However, there’s no mistaking that one is drinking a Belgian style strong ale.
That was the end of my wonderful New England Sampling but I couldn’t leave without a quick taste of a little treasure I spotted on tap for the Goose Island Tap Takeover happening later that night….
Bourbon County Stout – Goose Island 14.2% (ON TAP)
Liquid Gold – Strong Liquid Gold. This style isn’t for everyone but for those of us that like the style Goose Island nailed it. Once you get past the bourbon taste you can pick out hints of vanilla, chocolate and smoke.
Sadly it was time to wrap up what is happily becoming my yearly pilgrimage to my personal Mecca, The Great Lost Bear.
Now as much as this Gal wanted to linger at the Bear there was another quick stop that just had to be made and was only a mere 8 minutes down the road from The Great Lost Bear.
One of this Gal’s favorite Brewery’s, so much so I once had an amazing pet I named after the brewery – Allagash.
I had the pleasure of visiting this brewery many moons ago when Allagash was in its infancy stage. It was just a small brewery with no real tasting area and I don’t think they even offered tours then. They seemed pretty surprised when my companion and I showed up to buy some beer that day.
Boy, how things have changed. My jaw hit the floor when I saw the brewery, it’s huge; as is the tasting room. It’s also, very welcoming. There is a lovely outside patio area to hang out and enjoy your beers with a rustic Maine feel to it. Inside has a much more contemporary industrial look and feel with a long tasting bar and several tables for relaxing at. There is Allagash swag for sale all around the tasting room without it having an obnoxious in your face buy me feel to it. It was just there if you wanted to check it out. There was also a cold case with beer for sale. Even the bathrooms are cool! The tasting room is really set up for relaxing and hanging out.
The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable and greeted us upon entering and couldn’t believe I had been there so long ago. The other surprise besides the growth of the brewery was that the tasting round was completely FREE!
On this particular day the tasting round consisted of the:
White – Allagash 5%
The white has been a go to beer for me for some time. It’s just so refreshing and such a pleasure to drink. It’s a beautiful representation of a Belgian wheat beer with a good unity of wheat, coriander and orange.
Saison – Allagash 6.1%
This Gal loves a Saison! Great balance of rye, pepper and citrus with a lovely yeasty cloudy presence to it. (Four packs of the Saison and Black where purchased for later enjoyment.)
Dubbel – Allagash 7%
A classic – Hints of chocolate and nuts mixed with malty goodness that add up to a slice of Belgian heaven.
Fluxus – Allagash 8.8%
I don’t remember trying the Fluxus before and it continually changes. This year’s Fluxus is an interesting combination of malts with hints of honey and finishes with a slight earthy pine taste without any one flavor being overpowering but rather complimenting each other.
Now it really was time to continue on thy way – great start to a great vacation. This Gal highly recommends a stop at Allagash Brewing Company next time you find yourself in Portland, Maine followed by some lunch at The Great Lost Bear.