May 14, 2013

Beers and Patios: Porthole, Maine Beer Co., Liquid Riot

Friday was so beautiful here in Portland that I pushed for an outdoor location for happy hour. I wanted to use the opportunity to check out either Liquid Riot's new deck or the refurbished Porthole. My friends are in increasing numbers reporting to... not love the food at Liquid Riot, so we went to the Porthole. 

Just like old times, I settled into a picnic table with an Allagash White on the Porthole's porch. There stands the mini-stage where the Reggae Sunday shit show goes down, the railing where the giant seagulls perch predatorily, the big blue Shipyard umbrellas over wooden picnic tables. So not much has changed aesthetically at the Porthole. 

I ordered a half-dozen wings ($6) and took my server's recommendation of salt and vinegar flavored, while adding a side of their Buffalo sauce. The wings were excellent, crispy and fat, with a mouth-puckering seasoning dusted on them. Their Buffalo sauce seems Franks-based and would be a good choice of sauce too.

A brief rain shower prompted us to move inside, where the restaurant has been cleaned up (and certainly so in the kitchen), but I was struck by how loud it was. This is certainly not a place to go if you're trying to engage in meaningful conversation with your company. 

On Saturday, rainy day trip adventures found me coming back through Freeport for an early happy hour at the Maine Beer Co. tasting room. Located just south of downtown Freeport, the new location for Maine Beer Co. apparently is a big step up for the brewery. 

The space is clean and new, with very little clutter, which really shows you that the beer is their main focus. At the bar, you can order small tastes or flights of four or eight beers. A. and I went "all in" with eight 4-5oz. pours for $18. 

Plenty of other people were enjoying the tasting room too, and we settled into a picnic table surrounded by the happy buzz of, well, buzzed beer drinkers. 

In addition to six regular brews (Peeper, Zoe, Lunch, Mean Old Tom, King Titus, and Mo) we tried Pilot 1 - a hoppy American ale and Pilot 2 - a Saison. 

All were delicious, but I chose Peeper, Lunch, King Titus, and Pilot 2 for my softball team. 

Bonus! I even made it to Liquid Riot's deck last night, although it was decidedly not deck weather by the time I got out there. We did have the place all to ourselves, and this lovely view, which is not one I'd had the chance to appreciate before (having had no reason to wander down this private pier before).  

I hear the weather is headed back up into the 70s at the end of this week, so I'll be out on a deck for happy hour again soon.