Words and Photos by Gretchen Powers
Twenty minutes south of the Toad&Co Store in Freeport, Maine lies the beer capitol of Maine: Portland. When a commitment free afternoon presented itself midsummer, I called up my friend Giuliana and we charted our course for a beer-tasctic day. We discussed matters of the utmost concern (specifically which brewery to sample) and found that sometimes lots of options can really complicate things! We narrowed it down to two local favorites: Bissell Brothers Brewery or Lone Pine Brewery. A simple flip of a coin had us heading in the direction of Lone Pine Brewery. As we were en route, I learned that one of my favorite Portland food trucks, Tacos Del Seoul, was heading for Lone Pine at the same time. Talk about a match made in heaven! Side note, Lone Pine Brewery is positioned right off the Eastern promenade and is great for dogs. My dog Ella happens to love it there, and gets tons of belly scratches from everyone we meet.
Both Guliana and I sported our Toad and Co. Swifty Vent Tanks and Sun Kissed Pull On Shorts for the afternoon’s excursion. Let me just say, this combo has quickly become my go-to outfit of the summer. Regardless of the low-key occasion, it’s perfect. The high neckline of the tank covers whichever sports bra I wear and keeps my chest from getting burnt. The stretchy, lightweight material is breathable and quick to dry – perfect for a sweaty back after biking with a backpack. And the shorts are a game-changer. With a super stretchy wide waist band, they accommodate even my most beer-filled afternoons, and with fabric so lightweight and breathable it’s easy to forget you are wearing anything else at all. The front pockets and zippered back pocket take these shorts from cute to useful and I don them for all kinds of summer activities from backyard barbecues, to kayaks, to tennis to biking to breweries.
We hopped on bike paths from different parts of town (Giuliana coming from Back Cove and I near the wharf at Commercial Street) and rendezvoused on the Eastern Promenade. We swung around the tip of the Portland Peninsula to arrive at the Bayside neighborhood brewery. The Portland Trail System has a convenient digital map so you can plan your ride before hopping on one of the many trails in the Portland area. But of course, winging it is always fine too!
My partner Kaleigh met us at Lone Pine with Ella and we enjoyed some Korean style tacos and a flight of beer. Giuliana loved the Tessellation Double IPA, while Kaleigh’s favorite was the Portland Pale Ale and I preferred the Brightside IPA. When we finished our flight sampler, we decided it was time for some tacos! Kaleigh and I often joke that Mexican and Asian style foods are the best for bringing people together – whether someone is gluten free, vegetarian or has another food restriction, there is usually something for everyone. On this particular afternoon, I was really feeling tacos but Taco Del Seoul also has really good rice bowls if you’re so inclined. Ella loves food trucks in general – so many opportunities for unintentional scraps on the ground! With our bellies stuffed full of Korean beef and pale ale, we hefted ourselves back onto our bikes and pedaled slowly home.
It was nice to spend a leisurely afternoon at one brewery and one food truck, but there are so many options for great food and beer in the Portland area. If you’re into craft beer, add Maine Beer Co., Allagash Brewing Co., Rising Tide Brewing Co., and Foundation brewing Co to your list. Aside from Tacos Del Seoul, I would recommend El Corazon for delish mexican food, Urban Sugar for donuts and other tasty treats, and Mami Japanese Street Food for all-time Japanese fusion cuisine.