Monday, January 25, 2010

Food, now beer

What’s going on with Portland, Maine? Nationally recognized magazines continue lining up to sing their praises about the amazing culinary diversity Portland possesses, and now the latest aria now cites Portland for its craft beer.

Maine's closest thing to a city first gets written up late in the summer in renowned food mag, Bon Appétit, knighting Portland as “Foodiest Small Town in America.” So what if city folk consider a place with 60,000 people a small town? Size is relative, I guess.

Then in September, NY Times food writer, Julia Moskin, spent a week eating her way around town. Her article was effusive about the cornucopia of innovatively great restaurants in what I'd call Maine's only city—most of them new and decidedly offbeat.

Good food needs good grog to wash it down with. Along comes another respected publication, The Atlantic, and this time, writer Clay Risen, trumpets Portland’s beer and breweries. Allagash gets mentioned, along with Shipyard, and Peak Organic. Several drinking establishments like usual suspects Gritty’s and Sebago Brewing get a mention. So does Novare Res, which I have yet to try, but plan to do soon.

Portsmouth gets a mention for Smuttynose, a craft brew I really like. Risen notes it as a strategic “pit stop” on that two-hour drive between Portland, and Boston to the south. I concur, as I’ve had some great times involving food and drink in Portsmouth.

Maine’s winters are long, and given today’s blast of rain and wind, fickle and unpredictable, but Portland and other communities up and down the state's landscape offer up a wealth of places to eat and drink away our darkest season.

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