Well if that isn't the most overused opening line, but I figured it was an apt start to this wonderful adventure to the northeast.
Here's a little background to our story, my brother recently started dating a girl from Maine. Since she is a craft beer enthusiast she has a knowledge some great locales. As dating goes, sharing special locations of fond memories is part of the process. Fortunately, she invited myself and some others to take a trip through memory lane in Portsmouth, ME and Kittery, NH. Thus begins our excursion.
When we first pulled into the rustic town of Portsmouth, we were enthralled by the "Olde" style buildings and shops along the main streets. I love these old port towns. After finding a parking spot, we walked to our first location Portsmouth Brewery.
Inside is long, narrow and two tiered, with a bar on the right upper level. Straight to the back right is where the magic happens. The brewery is behind tall glass frames to observe the brewing process if you so choose.
We sat in the back left at the "large party" table. I started off light with a bowl of clam chowder and spinach arugula salad. The salad was accompanied by a Bleu Cheese spread on toast and a warm pretzel bun. The chowder was great in consistency and deliciously hearty, but it seemed to lack the clam flavor overall. The salad was absolutely savory.
I will save the descriptions and a full detail of the brewery for another time. I hope if you are in the area you can visit, and if not, then please make the trip.
Earth Eagle Brewings
One might almost miss it since its located down an alley towards the end of a street. The little yellow sign, and the orange and red paint do make it stand out, if you are looking. It's a small venue, with a bar and kitchen, and a few tables and stools. Looking around you'll see memorabilia, art and other trinkets.
Earth Eagle Brewings (which I hope to write more about), specialize in sours but that's not all they have. I loved when we first walked in and a tall bearded local holding up a growler looks at me and says "This is some great beeya." Then proceeds to get a refill. While most of my party weren't partial to the beer, I enjoyed the variety, complexity and flavors of the brews.
If you are looking for inexpensive sampling, this is not the place. At $11 a flight I was a bit skeptical and really hoped it was worth the cost, and I was not disappointed.
My top three were: Crabapple Ambrosia, Nocturnal and Anarchist. If you do not like sours, or licorice or are not adventurous at all this might not be the place. But with friendly and local brewers who love what they do, and innovative beer, to me this is definite a must visit.
Also, part of the same complex you will find A&G Homebrew Supply. I picked up some yeast for my hard ciders while there.
A Couple of sites along the way
As memory lane was nearing its end, we went to our final brewery of the day, Tributary Brewing.
I enjoyed this place, the live music, the viewing windows into the crisp clean brewery, and the mellow atmosphere. I could immediately tell the locals loved the place, and just came to let loose and relax.
It's a decent sized facility, and they loved to tell you about the beer. You can even bring your k-9 companions into the main area.
Sadly, this was our last brewery of the day, but was surely not our last stop. I mean, really, we cannot survive on beer alone. Onward to dinner, and our final destination Black Birch!
It's a small location, and gets a bit cramped, but for good reason! Have you ever teared up while trying just a bite of a meal? I don't mean because of spice either, I mean total emotional overdrive based on the succulence of a meal? Have you ever just treasured each savory morsel of not only your main course, but everything that came to the table? That is what you will be heading for when you visit.
The creativity alone is admirable. They serve an item called "the Daily Devil." If you do not like deviled eggs, you will still enjoy these! With different varieties every day there's bound to be something you will like. I particularly reveled in the sweet potato pie deviled egg complete with mini toasted marshmallows. So if you want great local cuisine with some artisan flare this is a hands down MUST GO.
Beer? "But do they have beer" you say? But of course! Though I would recommend this place with or without beer, they are a craft beer central for their area. Complete with crafts from local New England breweries, and imported crafts like MOA. If you aren't into beer, please consult a doctor, but in the meantime they do provide a variety of wine and cocktail options.
I hope you enjoyed this little review of my trip to Maine. If you are in the area, or would like to plan a trip seek out these locations. If you have been to any other local Maine or New Hampshire breweries and restaurants, feel free to leave a suggestion and description. Meanwhile, enjoy local and keep reading!