Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine


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Beer ME – at Portland Beer Week

Portland Beer Week, a week-long series of events celebrating (and organized by) Maine’s craft beer industry and providing both education and appreciation opportunities, kicked off yesterday and runs through this Friday, November 7th.  My misfortune is that my next visit to Maine is next week – but for the rest of you, there’s no excuse for missing out on this opportunity to enjoy a good brew and support those local businesses that are the backbone of the great state of Maine.  On a playful note, this year, the local breweries are crafting specialty beers in honor of Bill Murray – see more at this link for Bill Murray Beer Week.

Nationally, craft brewing has exploded over the last several years.  Virtually all states and citizens have capitalized on and benefited from this trend and the increase in quality beer options, although some certainly more than others.  The entrepreneurial, artistic climate in Maine naturally lends itself to take advantage of this momentum, and there is no question that this boom has been a boon to Maine breweries.

Cheers! From In'finiti Fermentation

Cheers! From In’finiti Fermentation

Although the big craft beer movement is recent, when I think of craft beer in Maine, I’m taken more than 20 years back in time, to visits to Gritty McDuff’s as a little girl (where, not to worry, my dad might have enjoyed a brew or two, but I did not).  Gritty’s was founded in 1988 and their long tenure in Portland and expansion to Freeport and Auburn locations is representative of the history of Maine craft beer.  Other breweries come to mind, too, like Sebago Brewing (founded 1998) and the well-known Allagash (founded 1995).  I’m sure a Maine beer expert could name a number of other older breweries, as well.  Whether they are old (mature?) and storied or new and unique, Maine’s craft breweries offer something for everyone and are sure to satisfy.  Get out there and enjoy!

(please drink responsibly)

 


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Brew Maine: In’finiti Fermentation and Distillation

Like many states, Maine is enjoying a surge in the popularity of specialty beer and microbreweries – and I would certainly argue that Maine has been a leader in this movement.  I highly recommend that you follow @beerbabe if you’re interested in Maine beer in particular, but also microbrews in general.  If you’re into a bit of health and fitness in addition to a good brew review, check out www.lovesweatbeers.com, a blog written by my good friend, Tiffany.

This post on In’finiti Fermentation & Distillation, located on Commercial Street in the Old Port, is long long long overdue.  My apologies.  If you follow me regularly, you know we’ve (my husband and I) been in the process of moving, getting settled, and adjusting to career advancement / more demanding travel schedules, and while that has all been exciting and we’re very thankful for the opportunities we’ve been given – it also takes a lot of time!

We visited In’finiti during our trip home to Maine over the Thanksgiving holiday last year.  My best friend, E, joined Nick and me for the fun.  The In’finiti restaurant space is large, and split level – we were seated in the upper area, overlooking the bar below.  It would be hard for a space like this one not to be beautiful – with its rustic, dark wood and striking views of fermentation and distillation equipment.  The vibrant metallics contrast nicely with the ironwork and other rustic elements, creating an atmosphere of both relaxation and excitement.

Gleaming equipment... it really is pretty!

Gleaming equipment… it really is pretty!

Bar area (please excuse the poor quality phone photos)

Bar area (please excuse the poor quality phone photos)

I can imagine that during a summer day, the outdoor seating would offer a pretty spectacular view as well!

We tried several beers each before settling on final choices – and enjoyed them all.

Cheers!

Cheers!

For a meal, I ordered the lobster mac n’ cheese.  It was very good (although honestly, if you can screw up mac n’ cheese, you probably shouldn’t be running a restaurant – worse, if you could mess it up with the addition of succulent Maine lobster).  I’m happy to report that I enjoyed every bite!

Both Nick and E affirmed my observations on the atmosphere, beverages, and food.  Overall, In’finiti was a great experience for us.  It’s the sort of place where you can easily kick back with friends, or enjoy a casual date… and its location is ideal for dinner before a night on Fore Street.

Cheers!