Peter Bissell bounds through the industrial space with soaring ceilings and brightly painted graffiti-splashed walls and smiles. “This is going to be Maine’s largest tasting room,” says the co-owner of Portland’s popular Bissell Brothers with equal parts pride and excitement.
A year ago Peter and his brother Noah decided to move their craft brewery from Industrial Way to the city’s emerging Thompson’s Point neighborhood. The anchor tenant, on this former factory row jutting into the Fore River, brews its first batch of ale next week.
As crews readied the shiny, new barrel system Wednesday, the co-owner was confident he made the right call. “We are so lucky to be here, in on the ground floor.”
That ground floor consists of a 2,000-square-foot tasting room with loft seating, a bar and retail shop. In the back, brewing and canning takes place in the remaining 8,500-square feet. “This allows us to increase production by 40 percent, become more efficient and meet demand,” said Peter, who handles the business end, his brother Noah is the brewer.
Their new, roomy headquarters allows the brothers to brew more of their flagship Substance as well as soon-to-come new releases like Nothing Gold double IPA and Dangol, a lime and corn ale set to drop July 4th. In early June they open to the public.
“We had a good thing going on Industrial Way, but we were ready to take it to the next level,” said Peter. “Once you get too comfortable, you need to make a move.”
Speaking of getting comfy, in a corner of the tasting room a vestibule will dispense fried chicken and other fun, beer-friendly fare from Jason Loring’s newest venture Big J’s. Located adjacent to the brewery, food will be served through a window directly from the kitchen.
Sandwiched between Cellardoor at The Point, the soon-to-open take-out joint, and a hop from Stroutwater Distillery, Bissell Brothers cracks the can on what some are already calling “Portland’s new party block.”
An outdoor deck with drink rails will be THE perch for pre or post cavorting before concerts like The Lumineers, Ray LaMontagne and Bob Dylan held at The Point this summer. Says Peter, “the sunsets from the deck won’t hurt either.”