The 19 Best Breweries in Portland, Maine
Allagash is just the tip of the iceberg.
Even with the pandemic still afoot, Portland, Maine’s craft beer scene is hopping. The seaside city currently boasts 12.7 breweries per capita—that itself is a jump of two places since 2019—making it the third-highest in the U.S. Even during (or arguably especially during) the shutdown last year, Mainers were not about to live without their craft beer, so existing brewers and newcomers alike turned on a dime, offering curbside takeout for growlers, cases, and kegs, as well as outdoor seating to keep their businesses afloat and locals happily sipping their suds.
Meanwhile, Portland’s breweries are as much about quality as quantity. Inarguably one of the most vibrant and diverse scenes in the country, there are a ton of options—from well-known heavyweights that helped pioneer microbrewing in the ’90s (see: Allagash and Shipyard) to innovative upstarts (Foulmouthed and Batson River). You can take the Maine Beer Trail Challenge, you can take a Brew Tour Bus, or you can simply walk around a fantastic city while keeping this guide to the best breweries in Portland handy. We’ve spelled out the current COVID-19 safety regulations of each spot, and do note that masks are required inside all businesses throughout Maine. Here are the 19 best breweries in Portland.
Allagash Brewing Company
Allagash began as a one-man outfit in 1995, using modified dairy equipment. Today it produces one of the most well-known beers in the country—Allagash White—and the locale serves as an incubator of sorts for smaller breweries. We have previously praised its “impressive selection of year-round, ‘tribute’ (brewed to give back to the community), ‘coolship’ (crafted using spontaneous fermentation), and limited brews.”
The beer you shouldn’t skip: Do we have to say it? Allagash White. But the colder months call for Allagash Black and a recent release, Noctura, ages the beer in bourbon barrels with vanilla beans. The 9% ABV beer is oaky and roasty and warms you right up.
COVID-19 protocols: Every beer in Allagash’s tasting room is offered for curbside pickup via online ordering. No sit-down service or tours are currently offered, but they hope to change that come late spring.
Austin Street Brewery
After you go to Allagash, stop by Austin Street Brewery’s Industrial Way location across the street. The physical layout has echoes of Rising Tide, and its Offset IPA might serve as a nice counterpoint to the great Allagash White. The Fox Street locale offers all that, plus a rotating roster of terrific food from well known local makers, from sushi to barbecue.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: If it isn’t an Offset IPA day for you, then give the flagship hop-forward Patina Pale Ale a try. The brewery’s descriptive words of “grassy” and “Fruit Loops” seem to hit the nail on the head.
COVID-19 protocols: Both locations are open for outdoor seating, and both also offer to-go sales online or by phone.
Banded Brewing Co.
Starting in 2013, Banded lured beer geeks to Biddeford for its stellar beer and pubby, freewheeling atmosphere. Then in October of 2020, the team took the plunge and opened this spiffy new tasting room in Portland. Here you’ll find the same meticulously made brews on draft (like Alma, an ale aged in bourbon barrels with crab apples) or by the bottle and can.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: If seriously full-bodied stouts are your thing, you won’t soon forget a glass of Jolly Woodsman, made with espresso and shot through with notes of cranberry, bitter chocolate, and lively orange.
COVID-19 protocols: Indoor seating is currently closed, but heated outdoor seating is available. Curbside pickup or delivery can be ordered online.
Batson River Brewing & Distilling
What started in Kennebunkport has now also set a strong footprint in Portland. The beautiful 9,000-square-foot space opened in December 2020, boasting 18-foot ceilings, a gargantuan fireplace, and a sprawling central bar. The list of beers they craft make up for what it lacks in length with substance, in a handful of admirable IPAs and pilsners.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: Batson River’s Pearl Street Pilsner goes down easy as can be, what with its mild malt and sweet floral hints.
COVID-19 protocols: Indoor dining is available (reservations encouraged but not required). Seatings of up to four diners are limited to a two-hour dining period; parties of five to eight people are limited to two-and-a-half hours. Pickup orders can be called ahead. Local delivery services will deliver four-packs, ordered online.
Battery Steele Brewing
Co-founders Jacob Condon and Shane Noble are veterans of the local brewing world, and it shows in their constantly evolving list of superlative pale ales, pilsners, IPAs, and stouts.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: Flume is an outstanding double IPA. Named after a mountain peak, with clear flavors of mango and grapefruit, malt, and hoppiness that are all incredibly well balanced.
COVID-19 protocols: Cans are available to order in advance online and pickup at the to go window. The canopy-covered outdoor patio is open for spring, and will be expanding for the summer season.
Bissell Brothers Brewing Co
It began as a beer without a space of its own—initially offered through The Thirsty Pig, now Bissell Brothers produces roughly 10,000 barrels a year in its Libbytown space—a 100-year-old former railway building. It can also claim the unique distinction of producing a beer the The Rock’s assistant flew into town to get. Keep an eye on the release schedule for upcoming beers.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: The brewery’s flagship is The Substance Ale, a bright but hop-heavy IPA with some piney, caramel notes. Or, as we’ve previously noted, Baby Genius Session Ale is one you can drink all summer long.
COVID-19 protocols: The tasting room is closed until late spring, but curbside pickup via the drive-thru—masks must still be worn—and delivery (with a $55 minimum) within the area are both on offer.
Bunker Brewing Co
Just a short walk from Bissell Brothers is another alliterative spot, Bunker Brewing, a rad space that features a record player connected to a PA system, an outdoor dog-friendly patio, and frequent guest pop-ups. Bunker’s flagship lager is the Machine Czech Pilz, a crisp take on a Bohemian-style pilsner from the Czech Republic.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: We love a good session lager and the 4.7%-ABV Salad Daze fits the bill with its late-kelle and dry-hopped additions of Citra for a fruity and crushable result.
COVID-19 protocols: Indoor seating is closed for the time being, but outdoor seating requires no reservations and for chilly days, heated huts with limited seating are also available.
Definitive Brewing Company
A relative newcomer to Portland’s brewing landscape, Definitive quickly became a go-to for the beer menu’s remarkable breadth and creativity and its spacious and low-key tasting room when it opened in 2018. It’s also across the street from Allagash and steps away from Foundation, Battery Steele, and Austin Street Breweries, making it a must-stop along any beer tour.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: Come for the fruity sours and session ales (Citrus Raindrops is a refreshing session redolent of blood orange and lime), stay for the dark, dessert-centric creations, like Double Stuffed—a smooth milk stout made with chocolate cookies.
COVID-19 protocols: The indoor tasting room is open, as is the outdoor patio. Order inside at the main bar and savor your brew at a table, or order ahead online for pickup. Delivery is also available to certain zip codes.
A brewpub that has something for everyone, Foulmouthed Brewing features several options that can change quite quickly. Since its 2016 inception, Foulmouthed has produced nearly 100 different beers—everything from German lagers to saisons—and somehow manages to perfect every style.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: Grawlix features hops locally grown from The Hop Yard, and is named for the comic-book term used when profanity is replaced by various characters.
COVID-19 protocols: Indoor service is currently closed, but you can call ahead to place a curbside order, or order online through local delivery services.
Foundation Brewing Company
After going to Allagash and Austin, you should swing by Foundation Brewing, which covers a lot of ground in terms of what it offers—lagers, brown ales, IPAs, and more—and it covers that ground well. One of its most popular products is Epiphany, which is aggressively hopped in the kettle and fermentor for an aromatic citrus and pine flavor that lacks any strong bitterness. As the brewery says: “East or West Coast? No. This is a Maine IPA.”
The beer you shouldn’t skip: After you’ve sampled Epiphany, cap off your experience with a Burnside, a brown ale that gives off notes of coffee, toffee, and chocolate.
COVID-19 protocols: The indoor taproom is closed, but the full-size patio is open now (with tents, heaters, and fire pits) and beer can be pre-ordered for pickup.
Goodfire Brewing Company
With an emphasis on hop-forward ales, the brewers at Goodfire churn out an impressive array of pilsners (like Chime, an extra pale, American-style ale with plenty of malt body), porters, sours, and IPAs (see: Prime, the Company’s first can release, and a smooth number if there ever was one). Meanwhile, the cans’ sassy graphics are almost as much fun as drinking the stuff.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: For sour fans, it’s tough not to crave Full Twang, a high-acid and tannic yield of plumminess and tart cherry.
COVID-19 protocols: There’s curbside pickup, ordered in advance online. The tasting room, however, remains closed until further notice.
Liquid Riot Bottling Company
Don’t let the gastropub decor/menu and ambitious cocktail list fool you into thinking that the beer here is anything but solid. Everything’s brewed on-site by brothers Eric and Ian Michaud, and their team keeps a pretense-free vibe continuously going.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: The sour brown ales are simply terrific—especially the Raspy Trouble, full of tart raspberry and chocolate hits.
COVID-19 protocols: The indoor dining room and waterfront deck are open, and all of their cans and bottles of beer can be ordered online for curbside pickup or delivery service.
Lone Pine Brewing
Across the street from the fantastic Maine Tool Library, Lone Pine is a cozy space in a cozy corner of the East End with friendly staff that is currently producing roughly 13,000 barrels per year. Lone Pine’s flagship beer is the aptly named Portland Pale Ale, which is remarkably light with flavors of stone fruit and citrus.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: Don’t miss out on the brewery’s animal-themed DIPA series, which includes Diamond Unicorn, Quantum Cuddle Kitten, and Space Metal Dinosaur. The latter is a 7.8% ABV beer brewed with rye malt and exuding flavors of melon and orange zest.
COVID-19 protocols: Curbside pickup is available, and the tasting room is open for outdoor patio service only. Tables are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Maine Beer Company
A bit off the beaten Portland path (plan on a 20-minute drive) sits one brewery that’s become a regional, if not national, destination. “Do what's right. Make great beer. Have fun.” is the longstanding motto here. And indeed, the company gives 1% of its gross annual sales to environmental causes and partners consistently with local environmental organizations. That, plus the headquarters’ rural setting, have made it a magnet for beer-loving nature enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the beer enjoys its own distinctions; the eight on-tap brews are constantly revolving, but usually eclipsed with constant orders for Lunch, its classic (and luscious) IPA.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: Besides the widely loved Lunch, there’s also Dinner, a double IPA that’s rightfully lauded for its spicy, fruity undertones and malty, sweet aromatics.
COVID-19 protocols: The taproom is open, as is the sunny patio—both serving beer plus pizza and salads with reservations. Bottles and cases can be ordered online for curbside pickup.
Mast Landing Brewing
Set significantly apart from the crowded streets of Portland, Mast Landing has made a name for itself since it opened in 2015. It has its enviable selection of IPAs and Kolsches to thank for that—standouts like the well-balanced Saccarappa with its tropical notes, and the bright and floral Everybody/Everywhere. The place also has its own food truck called Mainstay, which on weekends whips up homemade sandwiches and other beer-friendly fixings (the confit chicken wings are killer).
The beer you shouldn’t skip: Milk stout fans shouldn’t bypass Gunner’s Daughter, a dark, chocolatey, and malty brew laced with notes of peanut butter, but doesn’t contain peanuts.
COVID-19 protocols: The indoor tasting room is open with limited seating, and outdoors are picnic tables. Outdoor igloos can also be reserved in advance. Curbside pickup and local delivery are also available.
Oxbow Blending and Bottling
Nearly 50 miles southwest of its original home base/farm of operations is Oxbow’s Portland outpost, which houses more than 200 oak barrels and dozens of stainless steel tanks. Production focuses on mixed-fermentation or sour beers that require extended aging, like the Surfer Rosa, which is a subtly funky choice. The taproom itself shares its courtyard with a Duckfat stand—aka New England fry and poutine royalty—and, inside, local art fills the walls and a Ms. Pacman beckons in the corner.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: To take advantage of everything Oxbow is known for, try the Barrel-Aged Farmhouse Pale Ale, an American-hopped, mixed-fermentation saison aged in oak barrels.
COVID-19 protocols: Order for curbside pickup online. The tasting room is currently closed with no opening date yet.
Rising Tide Brewing Company
The minimalist, garage-like space of Rising Tide feels fitting for a family-owned brewery that keeps its focus on local ingredients. Take Daymark, a bright crisp pale ale that uses local rye malt for a hint of spice.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: Daymark is worth your time, but take a look at Mountainside, too, a slightly hazy, tropical IPA that feels more appropriate for the wintertime and gives off notes of pineapple and grapefruit.
COVID-19 protocols: Order online for curbside pickup, or head to the outdoor patio, which bravely stayed open all winter, with seating options that include open tables around a firepit and bubble tents.
The Shipyard Brewing Company
Founded in 1994, Shipyard Brewing Company is considered to be one of the forerunners of modern craft brewing in Maine. (The other is Allagash.) The brewery produces more than 100,000 barrels per year and is available in 40 states in the United States. The Shipyard XXXX IPA drinks light with a low-lying flavor of grapefruit, as well as a slightly sour finish.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: Shipyard does consistently good pumpkin beer but, in the winter, try the Blue Fin Stout, a smooth and dry brew with notes of coffee, espresso, and chocolate.
COVID-19 protocols: The tasting room is open to a limited number of visitors—no reservations required. Beer is sold inside, and curbside if you call ahead and place your order.
Urban Farm Fermentory
Seasonal and local ingredients are in the spotlight at this adventurous spot, and a panoply of flavor options result. Beyond beer, Urban Farm also brews kombucha, cider, mead, and a fermented green tea called jun. In all drinks, expect to taste traces of those ingredients the brewing team has foraged—everything from seaweed and ghost peppers to red beets and turmeric. It’s a stone’s throw from Lone Pine Brewing Company, so plan ahead and hit both.
The beer you shouldn’t skip: The Chaga Stout perfectly embodies what makes Urban Farm unique—the earthy brew is made with Blue Ox malt and locally foraged Chaga mushrooms.
COVID-19 protocols: The indoor tasting room is open, serving food and drink Fridays and Saturdays, and outdoor seating is also available all other days (no food is served outside). Curbside pickup and local delivery is offered through online ordering.