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Dave Patterson

Dave Patterson is a writer and musician who is thirsty for craft beer. He's been immersed in the New England beer scene for years as a patron and since 2013 as a beer writer. In his attempt to drink all the great beer America has to offer, Dave has become convinced that the Maine beer scene is among the best in the country. He can be spotted throughout the state at breweries, bars, and backyards imbibing brilliant Maine beers. It is his belief that craft beer plays an integral role in bolstering a vibrant local economy, so he urges you do your part by drinking local beer to support your community. Twitter: @PattersonWriter​

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Posted: June 3, 2016

Exploring Old Port Festival? Refresh yourself with a Maine beer

Written by: Dave Patterson
Novare Res

Beer at Novare Res Photo by Dave Patterson

If there’s a better day in Portland than Old Port Festival, I haven’t found it. The street food is brilliant, the six stages of live music are raucous and the people watching is never better. To cap it all off, there are a myriad of beer bars in which to grab a world-class pint of Maine beer.

Here are my picks for the bars and beers that will slake your thirst at this year’s Old Port Fest.

Novare Res Bier Café is a must-visit establishment. With a sprawling deck and a beer menu that will knock your socks off, I make it a point to toss back a pint here every year during Portland’s street festival. Novare Res is known for their Belgian-leaning beer menu. I suggest ordering a Farmhouse Pale Ale from Oxbow while you bask in the sun on Novare’s patio. Oxbow makes this hoppy saison with notes of hay and refined funk, along with fresh citrus notes from the American hops.

The Thirsty Pig

The back deck at The Thirsty Pig Photo by Dave Patterson

Just across the street from Novare Res, The Thirsty Pig will host another Old Port Fest party with Bissell Brother’s Brewing. Last year, the back deck overflowed with craft beer lovers tossing back hoppy brews and getting down to hip-hop from the live DJ. This year, expect the same. My pick for this party is The Substance, Bissell Brother’s flagship beer. This IPA gushes with dank, citrus hop aroma and flavor. It will also be one of your first chances to drink Bissell beer brewed at their new brewery at Thompson’s Point.

Sebago Brewing

Two Simmer Downs at Sebago Brewing Photo by Dave Patterson

Though they have limited outdoor seating, Sebago Brewing Company’s Fore Street brewpub is always a stop for me during Old Port Fest. I usually head to Sebago later in the afternoon, when I need a break from the cacophonous streets and blazing sun. The Old Port Fest beer of choice at Sebago is Simmer Down, hands down. This session IPA is so jam-packed with fresh mango and bubblegum flavors from the Mosaic hops that you won’t believe it’s only 4.9 percent alcohol by volume.

As the kick drum beat of the day’s final band echoes against Portland’s brick buildings, there are a couple of stops you might want to make before you head home.

If you’re heading up the hill toward Congress Street, grab a pint at Little Tap House. One of Portland’s premiere beer bars, Little Tap House carries an extensive lineup of Maine beer. Try Maine Beer Company Peeper, an American Pale Ale with citrus and grass notes that will be a refreshing ending to your day.

Heading down the hill to Commercial Street? I recommend stopping in at The King’s Head for a beer. This beer bar has an impressive draft list of local beers and hard-to-get beers from away. Since their draft list is subject to change, ask the bartender for a recommendation.

Couple your Old Port Festival activities with Maine beer, and you’re destined for a day in the city we all love!


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