Cellardoor Winery – Portland, Maine Tasting Room

 

We visited Cellardoor Winery earlier this year. We visited the Tasting Room at the Point, Thompson’s Point in Portland, ME, where Bissel Brother’s Brewing recently moved to. Cellardoor Winery has their vineyard and a seasonal tasting room up in Lincolnville, Me. They have some estate wines that they released within the last few years, with all grapes grown at their vineyard. They also make more common style wines with grapes they purchase from around the world, and produce at their state of the art winery up in Lincolnville.

 

 

You can purchase a glass of wine for $8 or do a flight, a tasting of 4 different wines for $8, we both did the flight.

Pinot Gris – 2013 Harvest.
French style versus Italian. 
Good medium body, subtle sweetness, with tropical fruit flavors. ‘Crisp summer sipping wine.’ 

Trilogy – 2012 Harvest.
A medium bodied Spanish inspired blend, with a dry chocolaty finish, Megan really liked this, Mark not as much.

Cantina Rossa – 2012 Harvest.
Most similar to a Pinot noir. Very light bodied, fruit forward. A good summer wine. Very soft.

Perfect Stranger – 2013 Harvest
Mark picked this one due to him liking Cayuga. Refreshingly sweet with a tart finish, as described. Sweet from the grape, not a sugary sweet, Mark liked this. 

Prince Valiant – Malbec & merlot blend, 2013 Harvest
Slight peppery note, blackberry, cherry and black raspberry notes. 

Queen Anne Lace – 2014 Harvest
Sweetest wine. More key lime pie than green apple. It was ok, but we liked the Perfect Stranger better. 

C’est de l’or – 2012 Harvest
Maple syrup and brandy infused port style wine. Candied cherry, raspberry, nutmeg and cinnamon with a spicy finish. Sweet port style wine, also 19%.

Chenin Blanc – 2014 Harvest
This style is most common in a boxed wine, they have been “rehabilitating” it, they won awards with this. Would be g
reat with spicy foods. Personally would be too sweet to drink normally, unless pool side in the summer.

The tasting bar is huge, it seats about 50 people with room for plenty of servers to float around in the middle. The stools were very comfortable, worth noting.

They have a very large space, with a very larger bar, as noted above, a smaller secondary bar, and a large function room out back, pictured below. They told us we could peek in and check it out, very nice, and spacious.

Us after enjoying our tasting

 

Hours, Thompson’s Point

Wednesday – Saturday: 12:00 – 7:00
Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00

Sebago Brewing Company, Portland Brewpub, ME

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Our last stop during our most recent trip through Portland with Jason and Maureen was The Sebago Brewing Company – Portland Brewpub location. We figured after a long day of visiting breweries in Portland we should finish the trip off with some food, and more beers.

 

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The original Sebago Brewpub opened in 1998. After 6 years of brewing beer out of their brewpubs, they opened the main brewing and bottling facility in Gorham, ME. There are 4 brewpub locations and we visited the Portland Brewpub, right Downtown, under the Hampton Inn. It’s actually right around the corner from Shipyard.

 

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I don’t think we had actually tried Sebago beer before. Mark and Jason each ordered their own sampler tray to try all the beers they had on tap.

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Saddleback Ale – 3.9%
Light beer with a really light taste, not cheap or bad, just an ok taste that is not very flavorful.

 

Frye’s Leap IPA – 6%
Fairly standard IPA, good flavor, drinkable, but nothing outstanding.

 

Slick Nick – 7.2%
Malty, winter style beer, similar to the IPA in that it has a decent taste but nothing great. Winter style beers are not Mark’s favorite.

 

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Runabout Red – 4.4%
Fairly easy drinking amber with a malt base. Only 4.4%.

 

Royal Tar – 10.5%
Imperial stout, pretty good flavor, heavy tasting, you can tell by the taste it is a high percentage beer. Jason didn’t think it was a good beer to drink while eating, better for sipping on.

 

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Flora’s House – 4.3%
Described as ‘a love child of a pilsner and a Belgian wheat beer.’ Maureen didn’t think it was that great. Mark liked it, pretty good Belgian flavor, a little on the lighter side.

 

Imperial Small Batch – 4.2%
Fairly smooth, nutty flavor, good overall taste. Probably Mark’s favorite.

 

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2014 Barleywine – 11.1%
Heavy barleywine, not too enjoyable, bourbon barrel aged, we didn’t really like this one.

Food

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We ordered Potato Nachos as an appetizer. It was waffle fries instead of nachos, pretty good.

 

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Megan got a Caesar Salad and a Vermont Panini. The salad was ok, the panini was good.

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Mark ordered the Bacon Mac and Cheese and added chicken to it. The chicken wasn’t really added to it, it was just put right on top. He just mixed it in, it was really tasty.

 

IMG_1376Maureen got the Brewhouse Classic Burger and liked it.

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Jason ordered the Imperial Burger, a burger with a fried egg and
bacon on it. He described it as decadent.

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Megan and Maureen wanted desert, so they got a Molten Chocolate Cake to split, which they both really enjoyed.

Want to Visit?

Portland Pub Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 11am – 1am
Sunday: 11am – Midnight

Other places to visit in Portland:

Bissel Brothers

Allagash Brewing Company

Foundation Brewing

Austin Street Brewing

Urban Farm Fermentory

Shipyard Brewing Company

Austin Street Brewery, Portland, ME

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Another stop on our most recent Portland trip was Austin Street Brewery. They are located in the back of the same building as Bissell Brothers and Foundation Brewing. They are less than a year old, no bottles, just growlers and 5 oz tasting’s.

 

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Patina Pale Ale – 5.3%
Everyone liked it, reminded us of other light style IPA’s. Sometimes IPA’s and Pale Ale’s will taste similar. Floral and light, tasty, without much of a hoppy bite.

 

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Milk Stout – 6.4%
Heavy coffee smell. Dark and flavorful, coffee taste and malt flavor. Mark and Jason liked it.

 

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Crushable IPA – 3.6%
Session IPA, but not flavorful enough. You could taste the hops, but it was watered down, maybe rushed? It seemed to be lacking, none of us want a 3.6% beer.

 

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They are brewing on only a 1 barrel system. I would expect their beers to change often as they work on new recipes. They do have room to expand, when they are ready to.

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Want to visit?

Tasting room hours are:

Friday 3 – 8

Saturday 12 – 6

Visit #90! Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME

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Our third stop on our most recent trip through Portland with Jason and Maureen was Allagash Brewing. They are right across the street from Bissel Brothers, Foundation, and Austin Street Brewing or should we say they all moved in right across the street from Allagash.

 

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If you want to go for a tour, you need to book it ahead of time. The tours book up quickly, and they try to keep them a fair size- so everyone can see and hear the tour guide. The tour is free, but you have to plan ahead. We booked our tour about two weeks in advance, and booked it for four people- not yet knowing who the other two people would be! We booked for the only time slot that had spots for four people, knowing we would have company. We didn’t want the others to not be able to go. The tour includes a private tasting as well.

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Cool bar in the tap room

 

If you find that you aren’t able to book a tour, you can go to their tasting room and try some there! We were unaware that they had a tap room prior to our visit, but now know we can go anytime we are in the area!

 

Our tour guide was Thadius, a local college student, which he reminded us of several times. His fun loving personality made the tour entertaining but he was also quite knowledgeable about the brewery and was able to answer questions people had.

 

We learned a lot about Allagash while on the tour. They told us what makes them special and different, not just the typical story on how beer is made, so we liked that. We learned that 80% of what they produce is Allagash White. They are the 32nd largest brewery in the US, and still a craft brewery. Their biggest markets are LA, then Chicago and Boston.

 

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They operate a 70 barrel system right now. They expanded 2 years ago, and now they are planning to add more fermenters.

This is inside of the newest part of the brewery. This was the old exterior wall, and they left the old Allagash Brewing Company sign up.

They have a custom BrauKon system for producing as much White and Saison as they can.

 

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This newer system is more computerized, but you still need the brewer to check on things and know how to work the system. They brew 5 days a week, 24 hours a day. They have 15 brewers and over 80 employees.
How are they working to be even more eco-friendly?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
*Their spent grain goes to a local farmer, Norm, to feed to his cows.
*They also use steam energy.
*Just last year, they added a beehive on premise to use the honey in the beer. They are using the most local honey they can, and are helping the honey bee population! Another cool fact about the honey- their Accountant is the bee keeper!
*They have the least water usage of breweries, and use local water coming from Sebago Lake (just over 10miles away)

 

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Old system with Thadius

 

They still use an old 15 barrel system that Rob Tod started with back in 1995. They use this older system for their more experimental brews.

 

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They use Microstar kegs, a co-op program so when they ship full kegs to somewhere like LA, a local brewery reuses instead of shipping empty kegs back to Maine, which not only makes it easier for them, but also is more eco-friendly.

Fun fact- about 60% of their production is put into kegs. This is a lot for a brewery of this size.

 

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barrels in their barrel room. Each has the beer’s name or a code name on it.

 

An interesting sounding beer we heard about in the barrel room was the Koelschip series. The Koelschip series are sour and/or funky beers. They use wild yeast to get the sour flavor, and it takes 3-4 years to actively ferment. Megan really likes sour beers, so we will be on the lookout for any Koelschip series releases!

 

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The oldest barrel we saw.

 

These barrels were in a separate temperature controlled building to age.

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large barrels and fermenting beer

 

Allagash has a pilot system in which employees can submit recipes for brewing. Like their Saison? You can thank an employee for that! The Saison is not their first new year round beer in just about twelve years.

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a little view into how large they actually are…

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empty barrels, ready to be filled

 

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the private tasting area in the barrel room

 

Our tasting:

White – 5.2%
The first Allagash beer. We have all had this before and we have liked it. Maureen thought it was light, Megan and Mark order it out at the bar sometimes.

 

Saison – 6.1%
Recommended to have with spicy food. Light and citrusy with orange and coriander taste. Maureen said it was a titch spicy on the back of the tongue. We all liked this as well.

 

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the Saison mmmmmm

 

 

Four – Quad – 10%
Takes four months to make, uses 4 yeast and is complicated to make. Smooth and very flavorful, we all liked it. Jason liked it so much he bought a bottle there, and has bought 2 more since then.

 

Tripel – 9%
Aged in Jim Beam barrels. Light for being aged in Jim barrels. Maureen said she tasted fruit right on the tongue. Good balance of beer, flavor and fruit. Mark bought a bottle of this.

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Cooler full of brewery only beers as well as beers you will find elsewhere!

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Special Release! Midnight Brett Ale

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Midnight Brett Ale:
Megan opted to purchase this one, despite having not tried it. She understood that Brett Ales can be on the tart side, and loves trying beers like that. It had the flavor and aroma of berries and sour cherries. She was very happy to have bought two bottles. Mark had hoped for a bit more tartness.

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the tap room bar, inside the retail store

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t-shirts galore!

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have a kegerator at home?

 

We enjoyed our visit to Allagash, and liked how the tour was- it wasn’t just the “here’s how we make beer,” but what actually makes them who they are. We will certainly be back, especially to see what special releases they have!

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Want to visit?
HOURS: Monday – Saturday: 10am-5pm.
Last tour at 4pm, taps close at 4:45pm

Check their website or their facebook for any changes.

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************************************
In the area? Besides going across the street to Bissel Brothers,
Foundation and Austin Street, take the drive to:
Urban Farm Fermentory
Shipyard Brewing Co.

Bissell Brothers Brewery, Portland, ME

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Bissell Brothers Brewery is in Portland, ME, outside of the downtown area. This was our second stop on our most recent trip to Portland, after New England Distillery a mile or so down the road.

 

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They are in the same industrial building as Austin Street Brewery and Foundation Brewing Company, and right across the street from Allagash.

 

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They have only been open since 2013, but have been creating a lot of buzz. So much so that there is a limit on how much you can buy, and people wait in line for some of their special release beers. They are beginning to offer more and more beer as time allows.

 

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The beers on tap during our visit…

Substance Ale
Flagship IPA – 6.6%
Mark thought this had a really good flavor, not a hard bite of hops, but still quite flavorful with a slightly more floral taste. Jason agreed, not too bitter, good taste.

 

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Single Hop Pale Ale
Lemondrop – 5%
Smooth, fairly light flavor, especially after Substance. Only a hint of lemon, all 4 of us expected more lemon. Good overall taste.

 

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The tap room is a little small, especially since they are so popular, but certainly not the smallest we’ve been in. It has a cool feeling though, people talking, having fun, music playing, a pinball machine you can play.

 

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Graffiti style artwork cover the walls

 

 

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Steel barrels with wooden tops for tables

 

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They usually have a limit for the beer they are selling, and most people in there had purchased their limit of four 4 packs. They recently expanded their brewing capacity by 66% and are just starting to see that extra capacity coming out.

 

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The 4 packs of Substance sell for $13, which is on the expensive side. It is good beer, but we won’t be buying too much of it at that price.

 

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They have a small area for merch and swag.

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The disappointing thing was there were only 2 beers on tap for us to try. Looking at facebook this past week, they have three in cans this weekend- so we expect more to come!

Want to visit?
Check out their facebook before heading out for special releases. It is good to know, in case you want the special release or want to avoid the crowds. We have heard of over one hour waits on a release day!

 

 

New England Distilling, Portland, ME

 

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New England Distilling is located in Portland, ME. This was our first stop on our most recent trip to Portland. We went up with Mark’s brother Jason and his fiancée Maureen.

 

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New England Distilling was started in 2011 and in 2012 started releasing Gin, Rum and Rye Whiskey. They are working on a Bourbon Whiskey now, but that will not be ready for at least a year and a half.

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Ned is the owner and distiller at New England Distilling, NED for short. He is a 6th generation distiller with family history in distilling going back 150 years to Sherwood Whiskey being made in Maryland.

 

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Original Sherwood Whiskey bottle…

 

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with a prescription on the back! This was used during Prohibition.

 

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Old pictures and bottle from the family history.

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Matt explaining the distilling process

 

The whiskey and gin are both grain based, and are first made into a distillers beer. They take special care in this process, it is where the flavor starts. The rum is made from a sugar water base.

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Rum fermenting

 

Each batch size is about 450 – 500 gallons. They ferment on the grains, which is not done while making beer because it can spoil or alter the flavor.

 

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Grain shaker machine

 

They give all the spent grains to a local farmer to feed the cows.

 

The still they use is not a super high efficient still, but it keeps more of the flavor.

 

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They have 2 copper stills

 

They run the whiskey and rum through the still 2 times at different temperatures. They run the gin through a third time with extra botanicals added for flavor.

 

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They use charred, white American oak barrels. They can only use them once, by law, to make American whiskey. A lot of the flavor comes from the barrel, and the charring in particular. The charring helps to release natural flavors and sugars from the wood.

 

They are considering making a non-American style whiskey so they don’t have to turn over barrels so quickly.

 

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Maureen tasting the rum

 

Eight Bells Rum
This is a New England style rum. It starts with molasses, instead of sugar cane which is used in Caribbean rums. The rum is aged in the barrels for 22 months.

The name Eight Bells comes from the bells rung during a duty period upon a ship. The bell was run at every half hour interval for a four hour duty period. Once the eighth bell pattern was complete, your duty was. End of duty meant time for your rum portion!

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The Eight Bells logo is a Winslow Homer painting. They were given permission to use it from the Museum of Art in Portland.

 

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Gunpowder Rye Whiskey
This is a Maryland style rye whiskey, there is no corn used to make this.

 

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It is aged in the barrels for 12 – 15 months in the smaller barrels, 2 years in the 53 gallon barrels.

 

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Grains in the whiskey

 

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Mark and Megan tasting

 

 

Ingenium Gin
The Gin has a floral smell and a floral taste, along with the gin taste. Good balances of flavor, not too much juniper. Both Jason and Megan purchased a bottle of gin!

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Gin

 

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Jason and Maureen having fun

 

 

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Hand bottling ‘machine’

 

IMG_1192They have a lot of stuff in their little gift shop.

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Candle holder made from wine barrel staves

 

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Want to visit?

 

Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 12-4
Saturday 10-4
Tours on the hour

Check out their facebook page for more information!

Other places we have visited in Portland:

Urban Farm Fermentory

Shipyard Brewing Company