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Over the last two decades, Portland, Maine, has transformed from a somewhat industrial shipping port to one of the most vibrant gastronomic scenes in the country. Just as the city’s culinary star has risen, so has its craft brewing scene, which adheres to many of the same tenants. Portland, Maine breweries have been winning awards and turning heads for years.

The best breweries in Portland, Maine highlight local ingredients and the kinds of time- and labor-intensive techniques that would earn an approving nod from any follower of the Slow Food movement. On sunny weekends, the cluster of breweries around Industrial Park, located on Industrial Way, often has the vibe of a laid-back block party.

Food trucks serving everything from lobster rolls to Neapolitan-style pizzas gather while both locals and out-of-towners mingle over pints.

Here are 10 of the best breweries to check out on your next visit.

Allagash Brewing Company

Allagash Brewing Company, one of the best Portland Maine breweries

Allagash Brewing Company

Back in 1995, well before the American craft brewing movement exploded, Rod Tod opened this microbrewery in an old warehouse on Industrial Way, an industrial park outside of Portland’s center.

His flagship creation was a Belgian-style wheat ale—a crisp, slightly hazy, easy-drinking number with hints of aromatics including orange rind and coriander.

In a time when mass-produced macro lagers still dominated taprooms, it was a tough sell. To win people over to his product, Tod famously went around to local bars and offered to buy them an Allagash White.

Drinks from Allagash Brewing Company

Allagash Brewing Company Photo by Allagash Brewing on Flickr, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Since then, Allagash Brewing Company has become one of the most significant American craft breweries and gone on to help put Portland’s brewing scene on the national map. In 2019, Tod picked up a coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer.

While Allagash White remains by far their best-seller, the brewery also excels at far more niche—and labor-intensive—styles. The brewery has a separate area dedicated to wild fermentation, which includes a coolship, a traditional Belgian method of spontaneous fermentation.

The resulting beers, like Coolship Pomme, made with four types of apples from a Maine orchard and aged for two years in oak barrels, are the kinds of keepers meant to be brought out at home on special occasions.

View of Allagash Brewing Company

Allagash Brewing Company

Although the brewery is only offering virtual tours at present, all of the staff are incredibly knowledgeable and generally happy to answer even the most technical questions about brewing techniques.

Both the taproom and outdoor seating area with picnic benches have a family-friendly vibe. The draft menu often includes some of Allagash’s harder-to-find and limited-release deep-cuts, making this a real highlight for fans of the brewery.

Get yourself a beer, then sidle up to the Bite Into Maine food truck, which serves flights of lobster rolls on mini brioche buns.

Shipyard Brewing Company

Shipyard Brewing Company, one of the best Portland Maine breweries

Shipyard Brewing Company

Founded in 1994, Shipyard Brewing Company paved the way for a slew of other craft breweries that would later open up in Portland. To this day, the business remains a family-owned affair with a real streak of pride in its Maine roots.

Expect to see offerings like a Wild Maine Blueberry Pie Ale, made with the state’s beloved fruit and featuring can art that nods to the children’s classic Blueberries for Sal. Thanks to the brewery’s on-site pilot system, they’re constantly experimenting with small batches of seasonally inspired beers.

Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

Beer on tap from Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

After paying a visit to Portland’s quirky International Cryptozoology Museum, which features tongue-in-cheek artifacts and exhibits on cryptids like Bigfoot and the yeti, swing by this nearby craft brewery situated in a century-old refurbished railway building.

While most of Portland’s best-known breweries are clustered together roughly a 15-minute drive out of the city center, Bissell Brothers Brewing Co. is located right on Thompson’s Point, a scenic peninsula in the heart of the action.

Although the brewery makes everything from milk stouts to barleywines, the focus here is very much on IPAs. Expect plenty of double IPAs and hoppy pale ales, usually in the classic New England style with a haze as impenetrable as pea soup.

With more than a dozen taps that rotate daily, there’s always something new to sample here.

Bissell Brothers Brewing Co., one of the best Portland Maine breweries

Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

As a bonus, the kitchen serves up unpretentious, locavore eats that pair perfectly with an afternoon of trying different beers. Try the wings, which come in styles ranging from fermented Fresno pepper hot sauce to an agave glaze with dried chiles and toasted sesame seeds.

Other specialties include boards, made with artisanal cheeses from around Maine, charcuterie from Broad Arrow Farms, and house-made seasonal pickles. Save room for the house-made soft serve ice cream, which comes in craft beer-inspired flavors.

Austin Street Brewery

Like many people in the craft beer world, Will Fisher and Jake Austin got their start as home brewers before turning pro. In 2013, they decided to name their fledgling brewery after Austin Street, Westbrook, where they first tinkered with microbrewing.

Their first outpost is still on Industrial Way, right around the corner from Allagash, Foundation, and a handful of other heavy-hitters. Today, they’ve expanded to two locations in town with a combined 160 barrels for aging between them.

Offerings here run the gamut from the requisite New England-style IPAs to Glitter ‘N’ Grit, a shockingly pink, pleasantly tart gose brewed with dragonfruit and blood orange, and Moses, an imperial-strength saison.

Both Portland, Maine breweries are host to regular events, ranging from vinyasa-style yoga to calligraphy classes. Portland’s food truck scene is top-notch and you can expect to see regular appearances by local favorites like Cargo Pizza Company, which fires up pies to order with toppings ranging from traditional to deliciously unorthodox.

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Foundation Brewing Company

Another brewery clustered over on Industrial Way across the street from Allagash Brewing Company, Foundation Brewing Company set up shop in 2014 with a well-executed roster of classic beer styles.

Their core collection includes a malt-forward brown ale, a pair of hoppy IPAs, a pale ale, and a pilsner brewed with Bavarian hops. There’s also a selection of aged saisons, barleywines, and sours from their cellar, plus rotating limited-release specials that go a bit more out of the box.

The best thing about visiting the taproom here is the staff, who are all happy to geek out about the finer points of fermentation.

In addition to beer, the brewery has its own on-site pizzeria specializing in Detroit-style pies. Specialty options include a riff on a Coney Island dog, with sliced hot dogs, yellow mustard, and raw onion; a Buffalo chicken pizza with gorgonzola, buffalo sauce, and a garnish of celery, chives, and aioli; and a Mexican-inspired number with chorizo, mole, black beans, and avocado crema.

Bunker Brewing Co

Located inside a handsomely revamped red brick building with a patio space, Bunker Brewing Co. is a friendly, low-key hangout favored by locals. The craft brewery has been a fixture in town for more than a decade and plays host to all sorts of events ranging from book talks with local authors to live bluegrass, jazz, and other musical performances.

The brewery offers a number of styles, which rotate regularly. The requisite hazy IPAs are there, of course, but you’ll also find options like deep, dark porters aged in maple-rum barrels or a classic German Bock, inspired by the hearty, high-ABV beers that once sustained Paulaner monks through their annual Lenten fast.

Both children and dogs are welcome in the taproom, which adds to the convivial atmosphere.

Goodfire Brewing Company

People hanging out at the Goodfire Brewing Company

Goodfire Brewing Company

First opened in 2017 in the East Bayside neighborhood, Goodfire Brewing Company has built up a reputation for hop-forward New England-style IPAs and double IPAs, plus a modest assortment of other styles. One of the fan favorites that’s often on draft is the Vic Secret IPA, which comes bursting with big tropical flavors like passionfruit and mango courtesy of a heady dose of hops.

Unlike some of the craft breweries in town, which double as restaurants or local taverns, Goodfire Brewing Company keeps it simple by sticking to what it does really well: brewing beer. The taproom, which has a view of the brewery itself, is a great place to hang out in for an afternoon.

As with many other breweries, it also gets somewhat regular visits by local food trucks like Truckin Pizza, which hauls its wood-burning oven around to whip up pizzas with toppings like crispy bacon, shaved Brussels sprouts, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, and a drizzle of hot honey.

Foulmouthed Brewing

Situated across the Casco Bay Bridge the Old Port waterfront, Foulmouthed Brewing is a crowd pleaser. There’s a solid menu of comfort food including items like a pretzel made with spent brewer’s grains and beer cheese, and smash patty burgers featuring locally sourced beef from Solo Cucina.

Order a glass of Blue Balls, a heady 12% ABV Belgian-style dark strong with Maine blueberries or The Way A Pale Ale Should Be, which uses locally sourced malts. If one or more members of your party aren’t big beer drinkers, the Maple Old Fashioned, with Maine maple syrup, is a smooth alternative.

Battery Steele Brewing

Yet another brewery on Industrial Way, Battery Steele Brewing occupies what used to be a barn. Shane Noble and Jacob Condon transformed the space into a welcoming, rustic spot with 13 taps pouring up IPAs, pale ales, and kettle sours by the pint. Swing by for samples and to stock up on cans to take home.

As with the other breweries on Industrial Way, Battery Steele Brewing sees regular appearances by top-notch food trucks from around Portland. The roster rotates constantly and the quality tends to be impressively high.

Some of the local favorites include BP Shuck Shack, which will shuck pristine, raw Maine oysters to order, Smokey & Brines, which serves locally cured charcuterie and pickles, and Tacos Del Seoul, serving Korean-Mexican fusion tacos and burritos.

Oxbow Blending & Bottling

Since opening its farmhouse brewery in Newcastle, Maine, Oxbow Brewing Company has become one of the state’s most ambitious breweries. The focus here is on traditional European-style brewing techniques that highlight the terroir and microfauna of the brewery’s surroundings.

Think: mixed-fermentation hybrids like Albarrique, a farmhouse ale brewed with Riesling grape juice and apricots, then aged in barrels, or Beautiful Buzz, a saison de miel brewed and conditioned with Maine wildflower honey,

Heading out to rural Newcastle is a bit of a trek, which is why locals here were thrilled with the arrival of Oxbow Blending & Bottling right on one of Portland’s liveliest areas in the East End.

Since Oxbow specializes in styles that require careful blending and barrel-aging, they needed a suitably large space to store them all. This 10,000-square-foot warehouse holds more than 200 oak barrels, plus an event space, taproom, and a gallery showcasing works by local artists.

Best of all, the patio outside serves food by the team at Duckfat, a Portland favorite known for its Belgian-style frites fried until they’re shatteringly crisp in, of course, duck fat. There’s also an extensive wine list and a selection of Amaro.

Lone Pine Brewing Company

With more than a dozen draft lines, plus an extensive selection of cans and bottles, Lone Pine Brewing Company is another serious stalwart in Portland’s craft beer scene.

As expected, the lineup includes a number of hazy IPAs, including the murky 8.1% ABV Oh-J, which visually resembles its namesake juice and derives its heady notes of citrus from Amarillo and Centennial Falconer’s Flight hops rather than actual oranges.

Keep an eye out in particular for boozy pastry stouts brewed with leftovers from Holy Donuts, a Portland institution known for their potato doughnuts.

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Aerial view of Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine

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