USA Today survey says Portland’s beer status is rising

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USA Today has thrown down the gauntlet (or is it the growler?) and is searching for the top 10 beer towns in the country.

Portland, Maine is one of a handful of cities vying for the coveted reader’s choice title.

Yes, there is death and destruction tearing up the world, but let’s pause for a second to help Portland in its plight for beer dominance. Every vote counts!

Maine’s largest was selected thanks to Allagash Brewing Co. and In’Finiti Fermentation and Distillation — two diverse operations on opposite sides of town. Allagash is the darling of the craft beer world, Infiniti a relative Commercial Street newcomer with a rustically hip interior and inventive elixirs (beer schnapps anyone?) on tap.

With so much happening in Portland’s ale axis, I called Don Littlefield of The Maine Brew Bus for some fresh perspective.

Does one of the drivers of the scene agree that Portland’s beer status is rising?

“Our company has been around now for two years. In the time since we started, the city has gone from seven breweries to over a dozen now,” said Littlefield. “Every time a new one opens, there are people that are eager to travel to it.”

Taking a break from shuttling tourists fresh from a cruise ship in Portland Harbor to Sebago Brewing Co. in Gorham, he noted that this rising tide (pun intended Bayside brewery) is lifting all boats. “That resurgence is extending to the legacy breweries too. Sebago has done a lot over a year and a half to retool its beers to modern palates,” said Littlefield, the brew bus assistant principal. “They are working hard to stay up with the times. Allagash has an awful lot to do with it, but Rising Tide has done well and they have not even turned four years old.”

Littlefield also said jobs for brewers and hopheads are suddenly plentiful in the state.

So why is Portland trailing behind Bend, Oregon and Grand Rapids, Michigan on the USA Today survey right now? Do your part beer lovers and vote with your steins. Let’s give Portland the buzz it deserves.

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.