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Claire Jeffers

Claire Jeffers is a freelance writer living in Portland, Maine. Follow her on Twitter: @claireeats

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Posted: July 21, 2015

Bray’s Brewpub in Naples oozes charm (and lots of beer) in an old Victorian farmhouse

Written by: Claire Jeffers
Claire Jeffers photo

Claire Jeffers photo

Bray’s Brewpub in Naples is one of just a couple dozen brewpubs in the state, among an ever-growing number of craft breweries (more than 60 at last count). Save for only a few brewpubs that sell their beer elsewhere (Gritty’s, Sebago, Sea Dog), places like Bray’s have retained a loyal local following for beer that can be found nowhere else but on site.

Which is why it was disappointing to find out Bray’s brews weren’t available on a recent visit.


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The tap list included 10 beers (one mead and one cider) that were an even split between local brews and from-away beer, such as Delerium Tremens from Belgium, Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout from Colorado and the Henniker Whipple Wheat from New Hampshire. And yet not one of Bray’s 30 varieties of ales – nine house brews are almost always in regular rotation (or so the menu says). The bartender said they’d had a few busy weeks in a row and expects to have beer flowing again within the week.

Bray’s well-loved mug club features hand-thrown mugs created by Zwellyn Pottery. 200 members and counting. Claire Jeffers photo

Bray’s well-loved mug club features hand-thrown mugs created by Zwellyn Pottery. 200 members and counting. Claire Jeffers photo

Located in an old Victorian farmhouse on Roosevelt Trail (at the intersection of routes 302 and 35), Bray’s celebrates 20 years this fall, but the house has a longstanding history harkening back to the 1700s when the site was used as an inn and tavern for travelers coming to and from Portland. The floors creak, the ceilings hang low, and the old house, in its rickety, dust-laden charm, seems to stretch out into sequestered rooms, and up wobbly, narrow staircases.

The biggest space at Bray’s can be found outside, where a fenced-in lawn hosts picnic tables, oak barrel countertops, and a fire pit. There’s also a separate bar outside, as well as a BBQ shack, and ample covered seating.

The large outdoor seating area. Claire Jeffers photo

The large outdoor seating area. Claire Jeffers photo

Despite the absence of Bray’s house brews on a sunny weekend in July, it’s clear this Lakes Region establishment is a local mainstay, with nightly entertainment, live music, and even karaoke every Thursday at 9:30 p.m. The crowd is mostly locals, but a spotting of area vacationers popped in for lunch after a swim in the lake, and a couple of families snacked on wings and sliders in the sun-filled dining room.

However, a second and final disappointment at Bray’s goes to the restrooms. One paper towel dispenser was nearly detached from the wall, and toilet paper was strewn about on the floor. The bathrooms are otherwise operable, but do not at all reflect the old world vibe and charm of Bray’s historic house.

Service is upbeat, somewhat quick, and knowledgeable about what’s on tap.

Bray’s Brewpub

678 Roosevelt Trail, Naples | 207-693-6806 | braysbrewpub.com

HOURS: Daily 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. lunch; 5 to 9 p.m. dinner; Pub menu available all day until 9:30 p.m. Bray’s happy hour runs Monday-Friday from 4-6 p.m. and all day Sunday featuring drink discounts and several cheap eats.

AMENITIES: Huge outdoors space with plenty of seats, fire pit, one fully-stocked bar, one barbeque shack, stage for live music, mug club

PARKING: Large dirt parking lot

BOTTOM LINE: Bray’s Brewpub in Naples oozes charm (and lots of beer) in an old Victorian farmhouse at the intersection of routes 302 and 35. Open seven days a week, with nightly specials and entertainment, this is a neighborhood pub with a great outdoor space and a wide selection of beer. Stop in for dinner, or for lunch and a brewski.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes

 

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