Portland, Maine is craft brew heaven. It is the home to Allagash Brewing Company, the state's largest brewery with an impressive tap room. Allagash offers unique Belgian brews made of wheat and flavored with Curaçao orange peel, coriander and other spices.
What's not to like?!
We've been to Allagash on previous trips and ventured to Bellflower Brewery last week. On the way we drove through "brewery row" as I like to call it. Rows of breweries serving hoppy and flavorful beer.
Brewing in Maine dates back to the 1700s when milk and water were unsafe to drink, ale was not. This is when Maine was part of Massachusetts and the young and old all drank ale to stay hydrated. In 1855, the Rum Riots broke out when the people in Portland got wind that rum was stashed in City Hall, leading to the death of a protester when the militia fired into the crowds.
By the end of the 1800s prohibition had forced brewing underground in the campuses of Bowdoin, Bates College, and University of Maine. By 1934, prohibition had ended and beer started to come back to Maine but it took a few years for good beer to emerge. By 2010, there were 90 breweries in Maine aided by Jimmy Carter legalizing home brewing a few decades before.
By 2016, the brewing industry hit 228M per year with a 40%+ growth predicted in the coming three years. It is estimated that beer related tourist activities now hit 2B per year.
In 2021, Maine has reached the distinction of having the highest number of breweries per capita. Add to that lobster rolls to die for and mouth-watering American and ethnic cuisines to know why Portland was Bon Appétit's 2018 Restaurant City of the Year.
Put Portland on your travel list. You will love the brews, food, and views. Cheers!