Rising Tide Brewery: Portland’s Best New Bar

Rising Tide 2I’m unapologetically breaking my moratorium on writing about beer and beer joints.  Why?  Life’s too short not to indulge our passions.  Some people love the symphony, I love beer.  I’ll never quite fit into the sports coat I bought for high table dinners at Oxford.  I’m a low table kind of guy.

Now on to the point of this post: Rising Tide Brewing Co. being a place you need to visit.

Yesterday, filled to the brim with Springtime zeal, I found myself walking down Franklin St. with three friends on a quest to see what the hub bub surrounding Rising Tide Brewing Co.’s facilities in Portland’s Back Bay is all about.  And what is it about?  An open warehouse setting where you can buy inexpensive pitchers of brilliantly-crafted beer poured from four tap lines and wander dreamily around the stainless steel mash tuns and fermenters where the ancient art of beer alchemy takes place.

They make two of the best new beers on the ever-growing Maine microbrew scene.  Daymark is a drink-me-all-day American Pale Ale.  If this were ten years ago, this would have been a big hop IPA.  But it’s not ten years ago.  It’s 2013, and the American beer drinking palate has changed.  In the hop-crazed world we live in, Rising Tide has crafted the big winner, Zephyr.  Floral.  Citrusy.  Bitter with the right balance of malt.

Rising Tide 1Here’s what makes this brewery Portland’s best new bar.  They have cornhole.  Nothing revolutionary, but playing cornhole in a working brewery is wondrous.  The foursome I was with played three epic matches in the middle of the brewery.  All the while, other patrons filled growlers and eight-ounce glasses of $2 beer (do the math, it’s cheaper than buying a pint of Rising Tide anywhere else in Portland).  The Maine Beer bus brought a busload of people, and we just kept playing.  While tossing, I set my beer on top of a keg of Daymark next to me.  They really open up the brewery to the public.

At no point did I feel like I was imposing or being watched to ensure I didn’t break something really expensive.  Their casa, really was my casa.

My friend Tim said to me between cornhole tosses, “This is the best bar in Portland.”

I took a gulp of Daymark, wiped the foam from my upper lip, and said, “You know, you’re right.”

Our exchange was interrupted by the sound of a bag slapping against the cornhole board at our feet.  I whooped as my partner got us one point closer to victory.

Hopefully the situation Rising Tide has right now on Fox St. doesn’t change anytime soon.

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