(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser. If you are seeing this on your phone, click on the caption at the top to access the blog.)
After our three and one-half days in New York City, two days on the lake in Bridgton, Maine and then another two at Acadia National Park (click on the links to see the blog posts), we took a day and one-half driving down the beautiful coastline of Maine before spending an afternoon and evening in Portland. And the final night was in Boston.
(See the end of the post for some interesting info. on Samuel Adams Beer and a fascinating legal issue involving both coasts of the USA.)
On the morning drive we visited the Marshall Wharf Brewery in quaint Belfast. The town of a little less than 7,000 was founded in 1770 and like our Portland, the name (derived from the Northern Ireland city) was determined by a coin toss.
It’s a charming shipbuilding community built on commerce. In the early ’90’s:
“USA Today named Belfast as one of America’s culturally cool communities. Today, Belfast is that rare combination of quiet small town with an active social and cultural life that is attractive to residents and visitors alike.” Belfast website.
Janet had a Tug Pale Ale (5.0%), but I couldn’t resist and had my first German Rauchbier – a smoked malt beer – Marshall’s Deep Purple Rauchbier (6.0%).
Beer Advocate described it as:
“Smoke on the water! This Bamberg (Germany) inspired smoked ale is Bacon in a Glass (emphasis added). Very polarizing beer – you either like the style and taste or you never want to drink it again…..”
I loved it, but what bacon-stuff wouldn’t I savor – especially in the morning!
Lunch was in Camden, also on Penobscot Bay settled in the 1790’s and with a population of about 5,000:
“more than triples during the summer months, due to tourists and summer residents (and) ……….is well known for its summer community of wealthy Northeasterners, mostly from Boston, New York and Philadelphia.” Wikipedia
Another of the Sea Dog Brewpubs, offered a beautiful view from the patio.
The Ledges by the Bay – on Highway1 just outside of Rockland, Maine and right on Penobscot Bay was reminiscent of summer vacation lodging as youngsters. Although around for a long time, it was very clean, cheap – about $115 including taxes – and had a beautiful view from the balcony of our room.
Before heading into Rockland, we took a hike at the Rockland Harbor Breakwater Light House – the long rock breakwater is slightly over a mile to this still active navigation aid which was established in 1902. (It’s worth the walk to see up close.)
And we met two very interesting and friendly people on the small dock immediately below the lighthouse.
One was Amelia Magjik, who serves on the Rockland City Council:
“She came from a small coastal town in Washington state to be closer to her family in New York. Amelia comes from a professional background in community mental health….. Amelia’s personal interests include art, yoga, running, hiking, gardening, and anything involving the ocean.”
Amelia introduced her male friend to us as “John Jenkins – the next Governor of Maine.” And John, who was born in 1952, is a very interesting and charismatic individual, besides being a notable athlete: (Wikipedia)
“(he) is an American community organizer and politician who served as the first African American Mayor of Lewiston, Maine from 1994 to 1998, a Member of the Maine Senate from 1996 to 1998 and the Mayor of Auburn, Maine from 2007 to 2009.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Jenkins graduated from Bates College in 1974. While at college, he excelled in martial arts and upon graduating toured Japan competing in the Karate World Championships. He won the 1977 Championships in karate and won three other mixed martial arts championships in karate and ju-jitsu.”
Besides his political career, he is a small businessman and motivational speaker who declared as an Independent write-in candidate for Governor in 2018. Check out his website. It’s very interesting. http://peptalk.com/about-the-honorable-john-jenkins/
And I intend to take him up on his offer for a reserved seat in the gallery at his first State-of-the-State address! Meeting interesting people like Amelia and John is one of our motivations for traveling and visiting breweries!
Before dinner, the Rock Harbor Brewery and Pub, right on Main Street of this city of 7,300 beckoned.
The Pub had sixteen beers on tap and about half are brewed in-house. We split an outstanding pint of their Copperhouse ESB (6.0%) and we could understand why it is their flagship beer:
A few blocks away, an excellent dinner awaited us at Cafe Miranda (“funky, edgy and eclectic – this is not your white table cloth sort of place. We want you to laugh out loud, enjoy, engage and leave with a belly full of food that has comforted your soul.”)
And after an absolutely superb breakfast (I realize I’m using that type of adjective to describe most of our meals on the trip) at Home Kitchen Cafe (“Remember, when you’re hungry…come HOME.”) we spent two fascinating hours in the Farnsworth Art Museum.
The most outstanding aspect of this attraction was the Wyeth Center located in a beautiful church across the street.
“Exhibits focusing primarily on James Wyeth and N. C. Wyeth are presented at the ‘church’ building on Union Street, an example of adaptive re-use of the United Methodist Church, one of Rockland’s most prominent and venerable structures dating from the last quarter of the 19th century.”
We then drove the three-hours to Portland and what a change in this city from the last time we visited about seven years ago – or maybe it was just because we had great weather this time and it was a Friday night. We stayed on the harbor, which had an eclectic assortment of restaurants, galleries, bars and pubs, and nautical-related attractions.
Although we had only an afternoon and the next morning in Portland, thanks to the blog National Parks USA – a tour of Public Lands and National Parks with T – we knew we wanted to see the Portland Observatory.
On our walk to the Portland Observatory, we stopped at Rising Tide Brewery and Tasting Room. This is a family-owned business founded in 2010 by co-owners Nathan and Heather Sanborn.
I loved the fact that Heather is a lawyer and also serves in the Maine Legislature and is Past President of the Maine Brewers’ Guild.
Perhaps it was the Friday ambiance, but the patio and tasting room were rocking and the employees including those who were operating the bottling machine all appeared to be delighted to work there.
And they have a robust selection of very good unpasteurized and unfiltered beers using local ingredients. Their Ishmael Copper Ale (4.9%) with both Mt. Hood and Cascade hops reminded us that we would be back in the Northwest in 48 hours….
The Portland Observatory
Erected in 1807 it’s located at the highest elevation in Portland, thereby presenting incredible views. The formidable structure is the only remaining historic maritime signal station in the United States.
While we listened to our guide’s fascinating briefing on both the history and the structural aspects, we climbed to the top for a magnificent 360 degree view.
On the walk back to the hotel, we passed another brew pub – Sebago Brewing – which had an attractive brewpub, but the fact that it was in the ground floor of an Embassy Suites Hotel shot the ambiance.
This locally-owned brewery is twenty years old and crafts about eleven beers which are served in its four brewpubs and tasting room at the brewery in Gorham, Maine.
Since the last Rising Tide beer we had was only 4.9 ABV and we were walking, we each had a pint with Janet downing a Frye’s Leap IPA (6.0%) – “golden color and unique and intense aroma dry-hopped of pine and grapefruit.”
The beer was named for the cliff which legend has Captain Joseph Frye jumped off in an 1785 effort to escape Native Americans chasing him. He swam across the channel to what became known as Frye Island.
I wanted to try a red ale so I had a pint of Runabout Red (4.4%). It was good and perhaps the hops did “glide on my palate with every sip!”
The next morning we drove to Cape Elizabeth on the southern tip of Portland to visit the stunning Portland Head Light – one of three lighthouses in Portland. It was foggy, but a breathtaking sight.
Our final stop before leaving Portland was just to check out Shipyard Brewing, also a family owned brewery in Portland – and another of the tasting rooms or brewpubs within a few blocks of our hotel.
After the two-hour drive to our hotel near Boston’s Logan Airport, we took an afternoon T (Massachusetts Bay Transportation System) into the North Side to our favorite Boston restaurant – Giacomo’s Ristorante – which is only a block away from the historic Old North Church.
We got there before it opened at 5:00 – no reservations and already a waiting line – but the wait was only 45 minutes rather than the 60 to 90 which is customary. The hostess was still like the drill sergeant as we remembered
It’s a cracker-box but we lucked out (as we did the last time a few years ago) and got to sit at the two places at the corner of the serving bar so we could see the kitchen and get a better view of the enthused customers feasting on Italian food.
And I might add, there is nothing better when in Boston than downing a Sam Adams Octoberfest (5.3%) – even if it is bottled – especially when you are having Linguini with Scallops.
The trek back to the T took us by the bustling Haymarket Public Market and a stop for one last brewski on our trip before we headed back.
Like just about any institution in Boston, the Market has historic roots:
” Although sellers of fresh produce have clustered in the current-day Haymarket location since around 1830, merchants of various sorts started congregating in the general vicinity as early as the 1600’s.”
And what better way to toast what had been a wonderful trip than having another Samuel Adams – draft this time – at Durty Nelly’s.
This notable watering hole, right next to the Market and which asserts it was established about 1850 also claims to be “Boston’s friendliest dive bar.” (It may well be.)
Now you purists who might scoff at quaffing two beers produced by Boston Beer Co. after we spent the prior ten days drinking local Maine micro-brews.
According to Craft Beer.com, Boston Beer Co. is the second largest craft brewery in the US and Samuel Adams Beer is distributed in all 50 states. At least it was a start-up in 1984, still makes efforts to assist small businesses and they make great beer…..
Besides, drinking Samuel Adams in Boston seems patriotic to me. If there were a macro-brewery named Paul Revere, I would be drinking their beer too.
Interestingly enough, one of Boston Beer’s controversies involved Portland, Oregon Radio Station KEX and my friend and former Mayor Sam Adams in a 2007 dispute that the Wall Street Journal labeled “Sam Adams v Sam Adams.”
Note: Sam, the former Mayor has a Beerchasing history. First, in 2013 we visited Portland’s Tug Boat Brewery (Unfortunately after operating for twenty-eight years, Tugboat was forced to close in 2017 because of incidents related to a fire in the hotel above the brewery.)
Then in 2014, we hit Beer Mongers. (See reviews by clicking on the links)
The lawsuit evidently settled and although it did not set new precedents in Intellectual Property case law, it is interesting to look back:
“……the Boston Beer Company demanded that control of the domain names “samadamsformayor.com” and “mayorsamadams.com” be turned over to the company.
The domains had been purchased by an employee of the Portland, Oregon radio station NewsRadio 1190 KEX for the campaign of Portland mayoral candidate, Sam Adams. In a cease-and-desist letter, the company (Boston Beer) expressed concern that consumers might confuse the mayoral candidate with their beer.
In an interview with the Associated Press the company said it was willing to discuss Adams’ use of his name on his Web sites, “probably for the length of the time the election is being held.”
Brouhaha Involving Two Elected Officials!
Sam Adams v Samuel Adams
Sam, the then mayoral candidate, is now Director of US Climate Initiatives at the World Resources Institute .
According to a 10/23/2007 Oregonian article entitled “A Battle Brews,” reported: “Commissioner Sam Adams is bemused. ‘They say they’ve been using this trademark since 1984. I’ve been using it since 1963.”‘ (Sam is 55 years old….)
One wonders how the 18th century statesman and Founding Father would view this frivolous legal maneuver by his namesake Brewery given his concern over more weighty issues such as the Boston Massacre, the Stamp Act and drafting the Articles of Confederation.
And so our eleven-day trip to the East Coast ended. We reflected back on the great people we met, the marvelous scenery, the phenomenal food and, of course, the splendid beer in diverse bars and breweries with character and spirit.
Now it’s back to Portland, Oregon’s abundant Beerchasing (and Oregon micro-brews) establishments which need to be explored…..