Gritty McDuff’s, Portland and Freeport, Maine, USA

Gritty McDuff’s Brewpub, Portland

I got to visit both the Portland and Freeport locations of the oldest brewpub in Maine within 24 hours. I am glad to say the brew in each is fine even if the setting of the Freeport pub is a bit rough. It is a bit like drinking in an old storage shed though – to be very fair – it is clearly a summer spot and dropping in during a late winter snow storm did not show it to its best. I liked the food in both spots.





If I was in Freeport again I probably would stop in for a stout but if you are heading to visit just one, go to Portland. In each you can see bench seating which is fairly common in New England and Atlantic Canada but less so as you move west. Superb. Their use of rolled raw barley creates a creamy mouthfeel that out strips Guinness anyday. It is like melted ice cream…ok…it reminds me of melted ice cream with a pin-fine nitro beige head above black malt roasty double devon. It is exceptional.





I also tried the Scotch Ale in the Freeport location and was similarly impressed. I sometime wonder about the style and whether you can put anything in it you want as long as it has less hops and a black malt roughness. This offering has an orangey hue as well as that flavour in the mouth – a nod to Scotch seville marmadade? The fruitiness is counteracted with the rough black malt, subdued green hop and a slight smokey feel. With an additional tangy edge, the overall effect is slightly Belgian and slightly Scots. Very nice and at 6.3% a wee methodical ale worth deconstructing over an afternoon’s sip.

So definitely worth the visit for the ales, Portland for the ales and the location. Gritty’s also bottles its own – or at least has it contract brewed somewhere – which you can pick up pretty much anywhere in southern Maine. I think I brought a quart of Black Fly home for further study. Below are some shots from the Freeport location which you can click on for a larger view.

One thought on “Gritty McDuff’s, Portland and Freeport, Maine, USA”

  1. [Original comments…]

    Julia – April 22, 2005 11:55 AM
    I realized that THIS is the brewpub my parents, grandma, and I went to back in June 2003. I couldn’t remember the name and, sorry to say, I can’t remember what beer we had. I do remember that my grandmother was pleased that they had Black Velvet available and asked for a BV & water. They brought her a pint of whisky & water. Needless to say, my grandma was a very happy woman that warm, sunny day!

    Alan – April 22, 2005 7:54 PM

    The bottled Black Fly lacks the creaminess that the nitro pour gives from the pump but it is still superb – a rich walnut tone comes out amongst the smooth roastiness.

    Chris Russell – July 6, 2006 5:39 PM
    Freeport Gritty’s kind of rough? Just a bunch of Mainers hanging out drinking pints. The only rough part about Gritty’s Freeport is leaving 🙂

    JIM’n’VAL – February 26, 2007 4:39 AM
    I don’t kow \ siet kom bow leh mea fey

    your beer is the bee’s knees

    p.s. Ned shcneebly

    porter man – February 26, 2007 4:41 AM
    black fly is the bees knees

    val – February 26, 2007 4:44 AM
    Halloween Ale is way better.

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