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Portland is an idyllic and picturesque city in the State of Maine and is considered one of the top 10 places to live in the United States. Portland has it all and boasts gorgeous coastal scenery and a vibrant city lifestyle with a small-town feel. Best of all, Portland boasts some of the best breweries in the United States, producing some of the best craft beer in the land.
The level of brewing creativity and deep passion for quality Beer in Portland is impressive. While Belgium may be considered the apex of traditional beer and beer styles, I believe that the United States, and Portland specifically, is undoubtedly the apex of authentic craft beer.
Having consumed thousands of beers from all over the world, I find the beers produced in Portland are on another level. No matter where you go or what you order, I challenge you to find a beer you do not appreciate.
This guide will explore the Best Breweries in Portland Maine, touch on their history, see what is on the menu, and reveal why you must pop in to visit when you are in town.
Bottom Line Up Front
Portland is an incredible town featuring numerous brew rooms, taprooms, and exceptional craft breweries. The quality and love of beer in the region are evident in every sip, and the creativity displayed by local brewers is majestic.
My Top Pick for the Best Breweries in Portland goes to Foul Mouth Brewing. While Allagash Brewing Company is undoubtedly the most popular brewery in Portland, there is something magical happening at Foul Mouthed Brewery, and I love it.
The atmosphere is laid-back and peaceful, the staff is incredible, and the beers are world-class. However, it is the quality of the food that won me over. It is better than restaurant quality and made with love. Ensure you do not miss Foul Mouthed Brewery the next time you are in Portland.
Quick Overview: Top Picks at a Glance
- Bunker Brewing Company – Best Locals Brewery
- Definitive Brewing Company – Best New Brewery
- Foul Mouthed Brewing – Best Overall Brewery
- Allagash Brewing Company – Most Popular Brewery
- Battery Steele Brewing – Best Small Brewery
A Brief History of Portland Beer
Modern Portland is a trendy hotspot with a vibrant beer scene and thriving nightlife. But the beer consumed in this region comes from humble beginnings, with the first recorded brewery dating back to 1810. At this time, high-ABV liquor such as Hard Cider and Rum were the most consumed alcoholic drinks in Portland, and it was only after the civil war that beer started becoming more popular. From 1810 to 1872, 10 breweries existed in the region until State Laws forced them to close down.
Portland has a dirty little secret. Today, Beer and other alcoholic drinks are widely consumed in the region, with strong roots in modern Portland culture. But a Portland local named Neal Dow was responsible for national prohibition.
Known as the “Father of Prohibition”, Neal Dow started the groundwork in the 1850s, passing “The Maine Law” which prohibited locals from brewing alcohol with the intent to sell. The law was suppressed in 1856, allowing for the brewing of beer and limited sales of alcohol until prohibition was officially written into the State Constitution.
I am sure Neil Dow is turning in his grave because Portland has gone one-eighty, and today has one of the most breweries per capita in the United States. Many believe Portland is the original craft brewery capital of America, with around 70 quality craft, micro, and nano breweries operating in the city. That is awe-inspiring, considering only 70,000 people live in the city.
To feature in this guide, all breweries get subjected to selection criteria. The criteria include:
- World-Class Beer: Quality beer is the most important category of my selection criteria. I can confidently say that all breweries featured in this guide produce authentic and world-class craft beer, and anything below brewing excellence will not feature.
- Facilities: Spacious and comfortable facilities are imperative, paired with an effective sanitary program. I will not recommend a brewery where seating, tables, and waiting periods between rounds can become an issue.
- Service: Efficient service by friendly and knowledgeable staff is extremely important to me, and I believe it can often be the difference between having a great time, an average evening out, or a frustrating evening out. All breweries featured in this guide employ passionate and well-trained staff who are friendly and customer-focused.
- Atmosphere: A good atmosphere is imperative at a brewery, and I try to cover all bases when making recommendations. I usually include breweries with festive and joyous atmospheres for those celebrating or on a night out with mates, and breweries with a tranquil atmosphere, that are more family and pet oriented.
- Menu: Great food and exceptional beer go hand in hand, and while it is not a deal breaker, I try to recommend breweries that offer some form of snacks, lunch, or supper. All breweries featured in this guide offer quality menus, with some leaning towards gourmet. You will not be disappointed.
- Parking: I try to suggest breweries with ample parking as I feel this is important for young families who may have additional luggage to cart around. However, I will not completely dismiss a brewery for lack of parking facilities, as I realize that sometimes it is out of their hands.
Best Breweries in Portland, Maine
Below is a list of the Best Breweries in Portland, Maine:
Bunker Brewing Company
Bumker Brewing Company was founded in 2011 and has recently graduated from a micro to nano brewery. The brewery is known for producing exceptional classic-style beers while preserving traditional brewing techniques. Additionally, these guys are passionate about creating small batches of quality beer while collaborating with local artisans.
What started as an old 1920-era brick garage, Bunker Brewing Company has evolved into one of the most popular breweries in Portland. The brewery offers a limited range of delicious and creative beers, such as Oatmeal Nitro Stout, LibbyTown Brown Ale, Chickadee Bitter Nitro, Evergreen India Pale Ale, and Terrarium IPA. The range of beers changes periodically, so check the website to check what quality beers are available.
The brewery features a fabulous beer room which is both retro and rustic. The atmosphere is mellow with good music and good energy. I simply adore the civil war-style beer room, but there is also a pet-friendly outside seating area. The overall experience at this brewery is excellent, but the friendly and welcoming staff steal the show. The customer service at Bunker Brewing is remarkable and welcoming, making you feel like a local. There is a decent food menu with enough delicious options to cater to all.
Pros and Cons of Bunker Brewing Company
- Exceptional and Authentic Craft Beer
- Gorgeous and Spacious Beer Room
- Collaborate with Local Artisans
- Ever-Changing Beer Menu
- Mellow Atmosphere with Great Music
- Family Oriented
- Lovely Outdoor Patio which is Dog Friendly
- Ample Parking
- It is a Popular Venue and can get Busy
- No Delivery
Beers to Sample
Barn Cat Dark Mild Nitro
Barn Cat is an exceptional English Dark Brown Ale with a modern and crafty twist. I say crafty because it is the epitome of modernized craft beer while staying true to traditional brewing practices. Barn Cat Dark Mild looks authentic and pours dark brown, with high carbonation and a medium creamy khaki head.
Barn Cat is medium-bodied and full-flavored, delivering delectable tastes and aromas of roasted malts and rich notes of creamy toffee, sweet caramel, and dark fruits. The finish is long, lingering, and well-balanced, with a mild trace of spicy hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety. Overall, an excellent example of a Nitrogen-Charged English Brown Ale. Barn Cat Dark Mild Nitro offers an AVB of 4.8%.
Barn Cat is a beer that everyone should try. It is smooth and full-flavored. Not overly sweet but an ideal after-dinner beer that pairs well with fruit and dessert. If you’re i the mood for something savory, it pairs well with grilled and roasted meats, particularly pork shank. There is a hint of spicy hops resulting in a sweet and refreshing taste. The quality graphics and branding on the Barn Cat Dark Mild Nitro Ale cans are worth mentioning too. I absolutely love craft beer.
Jubilee Barrel-Aged Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout
This version of a traditional Chocolate Milk Stout is second to none and is Bunker Brewing Company’s newest Holiday Edition Beer. There is so much going on in this beer. It looks enticing in a glass, pouring dark black with a creamy white head. There is moderate carbonation, but the bubbles are not visible due to the dark color.
Jubilee Barrel-Aged Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout is a brewing masterpiece, expertly crafted with premium roasted chocolate malts and Maine maple syrup. The brew is mixed with cherries and raspberries and then patiently aged in a mix of Maple Rum and Maple Bourbon barrels for ten months. The last stage includes conditioning on cocoa and maple syrup, resulting in a smooth and rewarding finish. Jubilee Barrel-Aged Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout offers a hefty ABV of 10%.
If you are a lover of authentic Chocolate Milk Stout, you are in for a real treat. On a good day, I can only manage two or three Chocolate Milk Stouts, but Jubilee Barrel-Aged Chocolate Chocolate Milk Stout keeps you wanting more. It is sweet but balanced by a hint of fruity tartness. The perfect winter beer when sitting around a fire, ensuring you stay warm on the inside and the outside.
Definitive Brewing Company
The Definitive Brewery perfectly captures the essence of craft beer and was founded by a group of family and friends in 2017. The brewery is one of the youngest in Portland but is earning a reputation for quality and authentic craft beer.
The Definitive Brewing Company has an extensive range of unique and creative beers and offers an ever-changing menu, collaborations with local brewers, and exquisite limited offerings. The most popular beer styles include India Pale Ale, Pale Ale, Imperial Stout, Sour Ale, Kolsch-Style Ale, Double Fruited Sour, and Double Imperial IPA.
The Definitive Brewing Company is a great place to spend an afternoon or/and evening. The atmosphere is chilled and tranquil, and there is a limited food menu. And on certain days, there are food trucks outside preparing quality dishes. It features a modern brew room which patrons have access to view and a large and spacious beer room with a gorgeous and authentic style.
There is plenty of outdoor seating, and dogs are welcome but only if on a leash. What I like about Definitive Brewing is its extensive range of authentic beers, which are always fresh and delicious.
Pros and Cons of Definitive Brewing Company
- Top-Class Brewery with an Open-Plan Brewing Room
- Extensive Range of Creative Beer-Styles
- Best New Brewery in Portland, Maine
- Spacious Beer Room
- Festive Atmosphere
- Lovely Outdoor Seating
- Pet Friendly
- Sufficient Parking
Beers to Sample
From the Sun
From The Sun by Definitive Brewing should be the benchmark for Tropical Sour Ales. Not only does it tick all the boxes but excels in all categories. It looks delicious when poured into a glass, exhibiting a delightful golden hue with moderate carbonation and a small white head.
From The Sun Tropical Sour Ale has a unique flavor profile that one would only find in a craft brewery and features coconut, mango, pineapple, and Lactose. The Lactose adds additional sweetness and contributes to a thicker mouthfeel. Delightful notes of pineapple, mango, sour skittles, and fresh piña colada all come together ideally for a thirst-quench and rewarding finish. From The Sun Tropical Sour Ale delivers an ABV of 5.3%.
From the Sun TSA is the perfect summer beer for long days on the beach or lazing around the pool. The tartness is surprisingly refreshing, and the coconut, tropical fruit, and fresh piña colada flavors give you an exotic holiday feeling. It pairs well with white meats like Mediterranean-style chicken and grilled fish.
Iron Hatchet is a remarkable DDH Double Imperial India Pale Ale, expertly brewed in collaboration with their mates from Fiden’s Brewery in New York. This DIPA is Double Dry Hopped with Galaxy Hops, ensuring bold hop aromas with intense levels of hop bitterness. It looks inviting and pours a deep golden-yellow, with low carbonation and a small white finger-sized head.
Iron Hatchet DDH India Pale Ale is full-flavored and medium-bodied, delivering bold flavors and aromas of passionfruit, freshly squeezed guava, and juicy peach. Double Dry-Hopped IPAs are notorious for intense aromas, and Iron Hatched DIPA does not disappoint. The fruit levels are through the roof and perfectly balanced by bold bitterness from the all-American Galaxy Hops. The finish is flavorful and refreshing. Iron Hatchet DDH DIPA offers an ABV of 8.5%.
Iron Hatchet is bold in every sense of the word. The flavors are intense, and hop bitterness is off the charts. It is certainly not for the faint-hearted, and the 8.5% ABV sneaks up on you and packs a punch. Iron Hatchet is a fun beer and goes down well when hanging out with your mates. It pairs with most food types, particularly sticky ribs and saucy buffalo wings.
Foul Mouthed Brewing
Foul Mouthed Brewing is another young Portland brewery, opened in 2016 by co-founder and head brewer Craig Dilger. These guys are all about good food, good beer, and good people. In no time at all, Craig Digler and his team have produced over 100 differentiating beers. And an old auto garage in South Portland has evolved into one of the city’s favorite craft breweries.
Foul Mouthed Brewing offers a considerable range of authentic craft beers. But the brewery is famed for producing exceptional beer-style such as German-Style Session Ale, West Coast Style American IPA, Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale, Dry-Hopped American Wheat Ale, Wet-Hopped Harvest Amber Ale, Gose-Style Plum Sour, and Barrel-Aged Brown Ale.
Foul Mouthed Brewing Company is one of my all-time favorite breweries. It is small and quaint, with a lovely beer room and comfortable outdoor seating. The service is excellent, and the staff is friendly and welcoming. The beer served at this establishment is superb, but the food is what stood out to me the most.
The burgers are out of this world, but every dish that leaves the kitchen looks tantalizing. I have always considered myself a beer and pizza guy, but the combination of beer and Foul Mouthed Brewing burgers has changed my life.
Pros and Cons of Foul Mouthed Brewing
- Quality Craft Brewery
- Warm and Inviting Atmosphere
- Substantial Range of Authentic Craft Beers
- Excellent Service from Friendly Staff
- Outstanding Food
- Comfortable Outdoor Seating
- Sufficient Parking
- I cannot Find a Suitable Con at this time
Beers to Sample
Kaizen Saison is a quality interpretation of a traditional French-Style Farmhouse Ale. It has been off the menu for a few years, but this local favorite is back now, and I think it is definitely worth a mention. This fine Ale pours a light yellow/golden color with low carbonation and a small white head.
Kaizen Saison is not overly complex and offers a simple yet satisfying flavor profile, imparting tastes and aromas of freshly ground peppercorns and lemon zest. There is a mild tartness from the lemon zest, which compliments the peppercorns, followed by a dry and thirst-quenching finish. Kaizer Saison by Foulmouthed Brewing offers an ABV of 7.0%
I must admit that the descriptors on this beer might not sound as appealing as other beers produced in this region, but the result is extremely satisfying. Kaizer Saison Farmhouse Ale is a great after-work beer, to help you unwind and satisfy your thirst after a long day in the office. The simple flavor profile pairs well with most food types, particularly bar snacks and pub grub.
Sir Squirrel by Foul Mouthed Brewery is a delightful American Brown Ale, expertly crafted featuring premium roasted malts and a generous amount of hops. English Brown Ale tends to be sweet, fruity, and malty, but this American version perfectly balances the sweetness with intense hop spice and bitterness. Sir Squirrel looks appealing in a glass and pours a glorious cooper-brown color with moderate carbonation and a large off-white head.
I prefer English Brown to the American Brown Ale, but I really like this one. It is light-bodied but full of flavor. Rich notes of roasted malts, creamy toffee, chocolate, and caramel deliver an assault on your senses. Then perfectly rounded off with bold hop tastes, aromas, and a long, lingering, and bitter finish. Sir Squirrel by Foul Mouthed Brewery delivers an ABV of 5.6%.
I enjoy Dark Ales when the sun is down and the temperature cooler, particularly after supper when I can start to switch off. But the bold hop notes in Sir Squirrel Brown Ale allow for versatility, and I find that it goes down well during the day when it is warmer or at night. It pairs with pizza and pasta, especially white sauce pasta like Alfredo Fettuccine and Bacon Carbonara.
Allagash Brewing Company
Allagash Brewing Company was opened back in 1995 by Rob Tod. Rob learned his craft at the well-known Otter Creek Brewery, and after a trip to Belgium, created his version of Belgian-Style Witbier (Wheat Beer). Aptly named “Allagash White”, the recipe is now one of the most popular in Portland.
The beers produced at the Allagash Brewing Co are massively influenced by Belgian-style beers. And I have a sneaky suspicion that it is Rob Tod’s, first love. However, the brewery is ridiculously versatile and produces an outstanding range of IPA, Stout, Maine-Grown Golden Ale, Session Ale, Pale Ale, Barrel-Aged Chocolate Stout, Dark Ale, and Dry-Hopped IPA-style beers.
Allagash Brewing Company is officially the most popular brewery in Portland, Maine, and for good reason. An institution in the region, it has been at the forefront of the American craft beer revolution, constantly pushing the envelope to create new and desirable beers for its loyal customers. Except for deliveries, this brewery ticks all the boxes and is a great venue to unwind and enjoy a few cold ones.
Pros and Cons of Allagash Brewing Company
- World-Class Brewery
- Outstanding Range of Unique and Creative Beers
- Authentic Industrial-Rustic Beer Room
- Spacious and Comfortable Outside Seating
- Good Menu
- Excellent Service and Friendly Staff
- Dog Friendly
- Sufficient Parking
- No Deliveries
Beers to Sample
Allagash White is the signature beer of the brewery. The beer that started it all and a beer that has stood the test of time. Allagash White is an award-winning Belgian-inspired beer. It’s expertly crafted, featuring wheat, coriander, and prized curaçao orange peels. Although it is called Allagash White, it pours an appealing light-golden color with high carbonation and a large chunky head.
Allagash White displays a simple yet inviting flavor profile, gently imparting notes of citrus and spice. It is sweeter than you expect but well-balanced by intense hop spice and bitterness. The finish is smooth and refreshing. it delivers an ABV of 5.2%.
Allagash White should be the first beer you sample when you arrive at the brewery. Not only is it a historic Allagash beer, but it tastes damn good too. It is smooth, refreshing, easy to drink, and goes down like soda pop. It’s an anytime beer and pairs with most food types. I enjoy a couple of Allagash Whites when barbequing with my mates.
Haunted House is a modern version of a Dark Ale, and it is fair to say that Allagash Brewing has changed the rules. Traditionally, Ales are known to be sweet, malty, and fruity. But this example is generously hopped with Saaz, Chinook, and Crystal Hops.
Premium Blackprinz Malt and roasted barley, result in a bold malt character and a dark chocolate hue. Haunted House pours dark brown, with high carbonation and a large khaki head.
The Haunted House Dark Ale recipe was derived from Allagash House Beer and the brewery’s infatuation with dark Porter-style beer. The end product is superb, delivering rich tastes and aromas of coffee beans and roasted barley. The trio of hops ensures a refreshing and thirst-quenching finish with a mild trace of hop bitterness. Haunted House Dark Ale offers an ABV of 6.6%
Haunted House falls into the same category as Sir Squirrel Brown Ale by FoulMouthed Brewing. An ideal after-dinner drink, but the generous amount of hops contributes a freshness that can be enjoyed during the day. Haunted House pairs well with roasted meats and home-cooked vegetables but can also be enjoyed with light meals such as tacos and burritos.
Battery Steele Brewing
Battery Steele Brewing was founded in 2014 by Shane Noble and Jacob Condon. Before opening Battery Steele Brewing, the duo accumulated more than 25 years of brewing expertise. The brewery was born in an old barn, and success was instant, requiring expansion to their current address at Industrial way.
Battery Steele Brewing are whole-heartedly committed to preserving the legacy of Maine Craft Beer, and you can certainly taste it in their range of authentic craft beers. The brewery is known for producing a remarkable and over-the-top TIPA (Triple India Pale Ale) once a year. But feature Double Fruited Sour, DIPA, Pale Ale, American Pale Ale, Imperial Stout, Bavarian Helles, and Bohemian Pilsners-style beers on their menu.
Battery Steele Brewing is a classic Industrial Way Brewery, featuring a lovely beer room with a rustic outdoor seating area. By no means the best-looking brewery in town, but the chilled atmosphere, quality beer, and friendly service go a long way. There are cozy fire pits outside for those cold winter evenings and a great place to hang out when the weather is at its worst.
Pros and Cons of Battery Steele Brewing
- Authentic Industrial Portland Brewery
- Top-Class Beers
- Gorgeous Brew Room
- Lovely Beer Room
- Rustic Outdoor Seating
- Ample Parking
- Small but Nice
- No Food is Available from the Brewery. But Food Trucks are almost Always Outside
Beers to Sample
Golden Path is a delightful Bohemian-Style Pilsner, expertly brewed with premium Pilsner Malt, Saaz Hops, and a classic Czechoslovakian Yeast Strain. The result is a refreshing and easy-to-drink Pilsner that pours a gorgeous color with medium carbonation and a medium-sized white head.
Golden Path Bohemian Pilsner displays a simple taste profile, delivering tastes and aromas of toasted bread, fresh yeast, spice, and herbs.
It is 100% unfiltered and perfectly lagered for a crisp, smooth, and thirst-quenching finish. Golden Path Bohemian Pilsner offers an ABV of 5%.
Golden Path is a great summer beer that will keep you refreshed on hot days. I enjoy Bohemian-Style Beers, and this Pilsner is up there with the best of them. It is a fun beer, that can be enjoyed anytime, with just about any type of food.
Flume is a superb and intensely hopped Double India Pale Ale and happens to be the flagship IPA of the Brewery. It is brewed with quality British malts and all-natural oats and wheat, featuring a magical blend of mosaic and Citra hops. Flume DIPA pours a dark hazy-gold color with low carbonation and a tiny white head.
Flume DIPA is full-flavored and medium-bodied, imparting powerful notes of citrus zest, tropical fruits, and resinous pine. The addition of oats and wheat to the brew contributes to a delightful and velvety soft mouthfeel. Typical of Double IPAs, there is intense hop bitterness, but Flume DIPA exhibits some malt character which works well, complimented silky smooth and memorable finish. Flume Double IPA offers an ABV of 8.0%.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is the oldest craft brewery in Portland, Maine?
Answer: Founded in 1983, D.L. Geary’s Brewery is the oldest craft brewery in Portland and Maine. When D.L. Geary’s first started brewing authentic Portland beer, they were one of just 13 craft breweries in the United States. Today, there are around 70 breweries in Portland and an estimated 10 000 craft breweries in the U.S.
Question: Which is the most popular brewery in Portland, Maine?
Answer: The Allagash Brewing Company is the most popular brewery in Portland ME. Opened in 1995, the brewery is well-known for producing exceptional Belgian-Style Beers and family-style service.
Question: What is the most popular beer in Portland, Maine?
Answer: Allagash White by Allagash Brewing Company is the most popular beer in Portland, with Flume DIPA by Battery Steele Brewing coming in a close second. Allagash White is a superb wheat beer and an original Portland recipe inspired by Belgian-style beer and brewing techniques.
Question: What beer style is Portland famous for?
Answer: Anyone who lives in Portland, Maine, and those who have visited, will know that India Pale Ale is the most popular beer style and a staple in the region. Portland natives love hops and hop-forward beers.
Conclusion: Best Breweries in Portland Maine
Portland boasts numerous brew rooms, taprooms, and exceptional craft breweries. The quality and love of beer in the region are evident in every sip, and the creativity displayed by local brewers is majestic.
Once you’ve worked your way through this list, there are so many more fantastic breweries to check out.
Breweries like Maine Beer Company, Rising Tide Brewing Company, and Oxbow Brewing Company have helped put Portland on the map in recent years, and are worth a visit as well.
My Top Pick for the Best Breweries in Portland goes to Foul Mouth Brewing. While Allagash Brewing Company is undoubtedly the most popular brewery in the city, Foul Mouthed Brewing has my heart. Swing by next time you’re in Portland and try one of their life-changing burgers.