Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine


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Fun in Maine: What to do this weekend?

After some snow showers on Friday, the weekend in Portland, Maine looks to be nice indeed for January – sunny, with temps in the 30s and even 40s. If you’re looking for something fun to do, here are a few ideas (thanks to mainetoday.com, The Frontier, and various other sites, for the event listings that contributed to this post!).  You can also check out Maine Today’s full listing of 11 events this weekend specifically, right here.

Portland On Tap Craft Beer Festival, Saturday, January 30th (where I’d be) – America On Tap brings you Portland On Tap this weekend with two sessions at the Cross Insurance Arena.  This event offers the opportunity to sample over 100 releases from the country’s top craft breweries, enjoy live music, and nosh on some delicious food.  The first session is from 1pm – 4pm, with the second session from 6pm – 9pm. Regular tickets are $35, and VIP are $55, but include a food voucher, t-shirt, and other upgrades (like an extra hour of festival fun).  For full details or to buy tickets, check the festival out here.  A quick look at the vendor list showed me a few Maine breweries like Allagash, Geary’s, and Gritty McDuff’s (among others), and I hope the Maine-based businesses are highlighted as they deserve to be!

Camden Winterfest, January 30th – February 7th – Camden brings you Camden Winterfest, a whirlwind week of winter events (how’s that for some alliteration?) that offer fun for the whole family.  The schedule of events includes Snow Sculpting Championships, a Polar Plunge, Snow Plow Parade, and US National Toboggan Championships – among many others!

Lost Valley Winter Duathlon, January 30th, 10am – noon – Do you love winter’s outdoor sports?  Looking to stay active and earn that Saturday night pizza and beer?  This is the event for you.  Lost Valley’s Winter Duathlon is a 10km course on which competitors nordic ski 5km, then snowshoe the remaining 5km.  Check it out here.

Oscar Nominated Shorts, Animated, February 2nd – 7th, various show times – The Frontier in Brunswick, Maine is one of my favorite entertainment venues.  Coupled with a restaurant serving exceptional food, you can’t go wrong.  Tonight’s Maine Short Film Festival is sold out, but don’t miss out on their upcoming series of showings of Oscar Nominated Shorts.

Located further Downeast?  Rockland’s The Strand Theatre features “West Side Story” this weekend, Sunday at 2pm!

Hit the Slopes: Outdoor Magazine named Sugarloaf one of the Best Winter Trips of 2016 (#truth).  If Sugarloaf is too intimidating, check out Mt. Abram Ski area – they even have a Full Moon Hike this weekend followed by live music.  Shawnee Peak night skiing is always a hit, too!

If you’re on a budget, there are still many great opportunities to get out and enjoy your community for free or at least on the cheap.  A few ideas, plus another listing gem from Maine Today:

Portland Museum of Art: Free on Fridays evenings from 5pm – 9pm – so go get some culture.

Portland Comedy Showcase: $5, 8pm on Wednesday nights at Bull Feeney’s on Fore Street.  Good for a laugh!

Trivia Night: Free, 7pm on Tuesday nights at Elements Books Coffee Bar in Biddeford.  I am loving the renaissance Biddeford is having these days – such a neat, historic town! (oh, and Elements serves beer!)

Free / inexpensive outdoor adventures abound in Maine in the winter: from snowshoeing, to cross country skiing, to sledding and ice skating – this is really what winter is all about!


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Portland Beer Week!

After two months of gluten-free eating, I can scarcely express how excited I was just to toss myself into a chair at our local watering hole on a Friday night and enjoy a beer.  Nirvana.

While my local watering hole these days is far from Portland, Maine, I’m no less enthusiastic for you lucky ducks who have a chance to experience Portland Beer Week – a mere six (yes, 6) days away!  2015 marks the 4th annual event, which runs from Sunday, November 1st – Saturday, November 7th.

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Portland Beer Week is more than just a celebration of the high quality beer being brewed in Maine, it is a celebration of all things related to beer – from the beverage itself, to the glass, to the bar.  With this in mind, I particularly appreciate the “Superlatives” contest being introduced this year, where beer and bar lovers can cast their votes on everything from the ‘Surliest Delivery Driver’ to the ‘Best Beer Blogger.’ (Carla gets my vote! Check her out @beerbabe on twitter)

The participant and event lists are looooong, which is great news for people like me, who like variety.  There are so, so many interesting events, and you can check them all out here, but those that I’d love most to attend are listed here (I’ll only hate you a little if you go… and please send pics and reviews):

  • Local 188 & Bunker Brewing Tap Takeover:  all week while supplies last
  • Rising Tide Tap Takeover at The Great Lost Bear: Sunday, 11/1 at 5pm – a must do!
  • Cider Night at The Thirsty Pig: Tuesday, 11/3 at 4pm – I enjoy a good cider nearly as much as a good brew!
  • Free Introduction to Home Brewing Class at Maine Brewing Supply: Wednesday, 11/4
  • Shipyard Beer Dinner at new restaurant 953 Congress Street: Monday, 11/2 at 6:30pm (ticketed event – limited space)
  • Allagash Mega Bash at The Great Lost Bear: Friday, 11/6 at 5pm – two Maine powerhouses come together!
Enjoying a Maine craft brew - Allagash White - while supporting my Pats... and prepping for a cookout!

Old shot: Enjoying a Maine craft brew – Allagash White – while supporting my Pats… and prepping for a cookout!

Those are just my top picks – there are many incredible options… and you can tell things get especially “thirsty” on Thursday.  Attend one or many, but get out and about and enjoy this booming part of the local economy!

Bottoms up! #207beerweek


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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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Like Beer? Head to The Festival in Portland, Maine

Today, I’m following up my post on Blacksmiths Winery with a post about craft beer and a great opportunity to enjoy it, and the great city of Portland, this weekend at The Festival.  Brought to you by the Shelton Brothers, The Festival features three tasting sessions with brews and brewers from all over the world.  What makes this festival different (and worth the ticket price) is that it focuses on showcasing small, craft brewers and cideries from all over the world – and the people who make them will actually be there to meet you and talk with you.  In addition, session attendance is limited to no more than 1,200 people per session, so you’re less crowded and the brewers have more time to talk with you.

The sessions begin tomorrow, June 21st, with Session 1 running from 6:30pm – 10:30pm, and Sessions 2 and 3 on Saturday, June 22nd, from 1pm – 5pm and 6:30pm – 10:30pm, respectively.  The event is being held at the Portland Yacht Services Building, 58 Fore St., Portland, Maine.  Among the brewers participating, there are several local businesses: Maine Beer Co, Maine Mead Works, Allagash (a personal favorite!), Oxbow, Rising Tide, Bull Jagger, and Marshall Wharf.

Yum!

Yum!

Food vendors include The Thirsty Pig (a favorite of my mom’s – and eventually, a topic on this blog), Bite Into Maine, Pizza Pie on the Fly, Hella Good Tacos, Binga’s Wingas, and Small Axe.

For more information, check out this great article from the Portland Press Herald, by Meredith Goad, or visit the event website.

I only wish I had known about this event sooner!  Keeping track of it for next year (even if it’s not in Maine)!

It appears that Saturday afternoon’s Session 2 is sold out… but follow the link below for tickets to Session 1 and 3:

Buy tickets here!