One Local’s Opinion of the Top 5 Breweries in Portland, Maine. Written by Nicole Brackett.
Portland, Maine has become the best city in the country for craft beer in quality and quantity. Our food and beer scene is truly award-winning. As a beer-slinging, IPA-obsessed local I know it can be overwhelming to navigate our vast brewery scene, so I am here to help! It has been a long journey for Maine to beat out our rival for years, Vermont as most breweries per capita. It certainly was a hard year for the nation amongst these challenging COVID times, but in 2021, our brewery scene has prospered and we are now #1 in breweries per capita in the country! Read on for a deep dive into our top breweries.
Bissell Brothers Brewing-
Opened in 2013, Bissell Brothers is located in the fast-growing Thompson’s Point area of Portland. They also have a second production facility and taproom (Three Rivers) located in Milo, Maine, the founder’s hometown. Bissell has steadily become one of the top breweries to sweep the country and in my opinion, the best brewery in Portland and the state of Maine (dare I say the world). Owned by brothers Peter and Noah Bissell, their perfectly executed brews from the juiciest (D)IPA’s (Swish and Substance) to their desirable barrel-aged porter released once a year (Angels with a Filthy Soul) these brews will leave you wanting more and more even if you have to wait in line. With their exclusivity and top-notch collaboration with other titan brewers across the country, they seem to have the beer game all figured out. Bissell Brothers is a must-visit when sampling your way through Portland!
Goodfire Brewing Company-
Located on Anderson Street in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood (a thriving brewery neighborhood), you’ll find Goodfire Brewery, established in 2017 by founder David Redding. David, a practicing nephrologist here in Maine (no big deal) decided to start a separate venture and establish a thriving brewery (also no big deal). His expertise in medicine has clearly translated to his brewery journey. Prime is the brewery’s flagship beer and has a few variations-Super Prime a DIPA and double dry-hopped Prime, all great variations of the original. Take a trip to this unbelievable brewery and you will not be disappointed.
Austin Street Brewery-
No it is not located on Austin Street! The name was given to the brewery because the founders, Jake Austin and Will Fisher began to homebrew on Austin Street in Portland nearby Westbrook (fitting that Jake’s last name is also Austin). Formed in 2013, the pair initially opened their doors in a small space on Industrial Way on the border of Portland and Westbrook. Industrial Way is also home to other brewers: Allagash, Definitive, Battery Steel, Foundation, and Geary’s. Austin Street have since established a beautiful secondary tasting room on Fox Street right around the corner from Goodfire. Patina, a pale ale, is the brewery’s flagship and is always a solid go-to, but the real winner in my opinion is the Six Grain, a milk stout named for the number of grains used in the grist. If this article isn’t making you want a beer by now, you’re crazy!
Definitive Brewing Company-
Established in 2017, Definitive was opened by a group of friends and family. They have locations on Industrial Way in Portland, and in Kittery, ME. Easily one of the top breweries in the state, Definitive’s wide variety of beers are expertly done and hard to compete with. The Definitive Ale is their flagship, but a few honorable mentions include Contee, which is an easy drinking kolsch, Fallstreak, a delicious, juicy, hazy, New England style IPA, and Stuffed, a pastry stout that is oreo inspired and a truly decadent experience. Head over to Definitive to see for yourself.
Belleflower Brewing Company-
The newest addition to Portland’s brewery scene, Belleflower has launched with a bang opening in the East Bayside neighborhood. The founders Zach Page and Nick Bonadies met while helping launch Trillium Brewing Company (one of the heaviest hitting breweries in Massachusetts). Zach also worked with Lone Pine in Portland, so it’s a no brainer that when they joined forces and decided to undergo their own venture, it was a huge success. Scrugsy (the brewery’s flagship) and Hexology are two delightfully juicy New England IPA’s perfectly executed. With the founder’s years of experience in the industry, Belleflower is a must try!
Okay, you’ve made it to the end of this article so you’ve earned yourself a beer! Bottoms up and start making your plans to experience one of the best cities in the world for craft beer: Portland, Maine.
I’d love to hear your favorites too.