Review of Gritty McDuff's

[ME Flag]

Easy to find on foot in Portland, Maine's historic Old Port District, Gritty McDuff's seemed a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. A new outdoor patio was popular with patrons but not with the wait-staff that had to service that area from the inside copper-clad bar. Open since 1988, the cozy brick and wood interior combined with a CD sound system made for a relaxing atmosphere. Although smoking was allowed the more middle-aged crowd seemed less inclined to light up then the more nicotine-addicted clientele often found around college hangouts. The dozen lacquered wood picnic tables provided indoor seating for those sampling the pub-style food on the menu. The medium-sized wooden bar was packed with customers trying the draft beers and ciders as well as the full selection of liquors. No sampler platter is available so you'll need to try a pint of everything!

The IPA was a dark amber color with a light body along with an estery and hoppy flavor. The McDuff's Best Bitter was a clear amber color with a light body, light malt flavor but hoppy flavor balance, and definite hoppy aftertaste. The seasonal Raspberry gave and intense fruity aroma along with a golden appearance, sweet fruity flavor, medium body, and tart finish. The Light Ale was a gold color, light-bodied with a hoppy flavor. The McDuff's Brown was a light brown color with very light body, malty flavor and very clean finish. The Portland Head Lights Pale Ale appeared dark gold in color, with a very light body, even flavor balance, and all flavors on the subtle side. The Black Fly Stout was expectedly opaque in appearance with a nice head, creamy mouthfeel, decent body, and dry chocolaty flavor.

Tours are offered Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 2 PM and by request. The small, space-efficient brewhouse is definitely worth visiting. Regulars can even take advantage of the Mug Club and its ceramic drinking vessels. The two "beer engine" handles used for drawing cask-conditioned brews was a nice surprise. One TV offers visual diversion for those so inclined. Although two steps marked the entrance of the large merchandise room, overall, the establishment was wheelchair-navigable. In addition to the usual logo'd clothing, five liter cans of select beers were available to go. Even in the summer high tourist season no price gouging was evident with $2.75 pints or $4.75 and keep the glass.

Gritty McDuff's
396 Fore Street
[HP symbol] Portland, Maine 04101

Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - July, 1996.

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