After our night (and early morning) at Novare Res, we were a bit slow to get moving on Saturday morning. I felt better than my little Spring Peeper but unfortunately, there was no sleeping in for either of us. We still had two more breweries in Maine before we headed back to Boston for a beer festival.
Our first stop, Shipyard Brewing’s production facility in Portland, was a big one for Merideth. I had been to Federal Jack’s, Shipyard’s original location in Kennebunkport, in 1995. Therefore, according to our rules, the Portland location didn’t count for me, but it did for Merideth. Once she tried their beer, she would be only two behind me.
It was a bit touch and go for moment. Shipyard was not a ‘drink first’ tour. It was a ‘watch a 20 minute commercial and then go see the bottling line first’ tour. Compounding our anguish was the tour guide. I am sure she is a really nice person, but she was bouncing off the walls. It didn’t help Merideth’s aching head.
We finally made it to the tasting room. Export Ale was first, followed by Chamberlain Pale Ale and then Old Thumper. Merideth was looking pretty green so we ended our Shipyard tour. But Merideth did catch one up on me.
A short drive down I-95 brought us to our second stop of the day, Run of the Mill Public House in the town of Saco. Housed in a beautifully restored old mill, exposed wood beams, wood floors and brick walls really added a nice feel to the brewpub.
I knew Run of the Mill was the sister brewery to the Liberal Cup but it was my understanding that they had different brews. Not true. Per our rules, it couldn’t count on the list. On the plus side, I did get to try the wonderful Tarbox Cream Stout which was out during our stop at the Liberal Cup.
We jumped back on I-95 South and our Maine visit was over. Within a short time we were back in Boston.
The original plan for our Boston evening was to visit a couple of our favorite places such as Cambridge Brewing, but when the chance to go to a beer festival on the final night of our trip arose, we couldn’t pass it up. After a quick dinner at the Barking Crab with a high school friend, we soon found ourselves in a trendy section of Boston’s South End standing in line for Beer Advocate’s “The Return of the Belgian Beer Fest”. Believe it or not, this was our very first beer festival on the East Coast. Not that we were worried or anything. We’ve been to punk shows on the East Coast so I figured we could handle anything the East Coasters could throw at us at a beer festival.
The session lasted three and a half hours so we had to work quickly. The obvious strategy was to try beers that we can’t get on the West Coast. So, what was my first beer? Lost Abbey’s Duck Duck Gooze. In my defense, we don’t get Lost Abbey in our beer backwater so it might as well have been an East Coast beer.
We quickly got back on the right track, trying our first ever beers from Haverhill Brewery (Haverhill, MA), Ithaca Brewery (Ithaca, NY), Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project (Cambridge, MA) and White Birch Brewing (Hookset, NH).
Plus there were brews from our favorite Boston breweries, such as Hophop, a Belgian-style Golden Ale from Harpoon and Biere du Gourd, a French Farmhouse Ale made with pumpkin from Cambridge Brewing. My favorite beer of the night: Brute from Ithaca Brewing, a Golden Sour Ale.
Just like at GABF, the time went quickly during our one session. Before we knew it, we were in a taxi on our way back to the airport hotel for a bit of sleep before our early morning flight back to San Francisco the next day.
I have to say we were pretty impressed by “The Return of the Belgian Beer Fest”. In the age of having to survive some of the mega beer fests, it is always nice to find a smallish manageable beer festival. No lines, plenty of personal space and good beer is what all festivals should strive for. Cheers to Jason and Todd for a fun time. It was a great way to end a wonderful trip.