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Monday, November 30, 2009

Maine Trip Epilogue

As we wrapped up our Thanksgiving weekend up in Maine, we decided to hit the Empire Grill for breakfast.  HBO films created a pretty cool atmosphere there.  Actually, it's kind of surreal; a fake diner created to fit the mold of the stereo typical Maine diner, now serving as a real diner and is much nicer than your typical area greasy spoon.  It strives to be authentic, and although it partially is not, it actually is, kind of.  Now that real "Maine-iacs" work and dine there. The decor, an idealized Hollywood set, the food and people, all Skowhegan. A unique place for sure...


All in all, it was the best luck I had at grabbing breakfast in the immediate area over the last three years I've been visiting in-laws in the area.  But why am I posting this on my beer blog?  Not sure, I guess it closes the loop on the over all feel of Skowhegan, minutes away from the areas barn based craft brewery and a brief walk from the only two bars (not including the bowling alley) in town.  I saw on the diner's site they had a photo of late night bar flies coming to the diner for some post bar eats.  So, I guess there's your connection.


Evening crowd "bar shift" outside of Empire Grill, Skowhegan Maine.


My wife looks on as my son gorges himself with the local fare...  
Just another one of the guys getting his fill of morning chow at Empire Grill.



Can you tell we're related?  There's a similar photo of Ed Harris and Aidan Quinn on the Empire Grill web site.


 
My wife and son in front of Empire Grill...



Later on our road trip home we stopped at the outlets in Freeport Maine to pick up some clothing for our son, and to walk the dogs.  After some tedious shopping we pulled into Gritty McDuff's for lunch.  If there was ever family friendly brew pub, Gritty's is it...


Luke, with crayon in hand, entertains himself with Hoppy McDuff 
as other children enjoy themselves behind him...


On one end of the Gritty's seating consist of long tables with bench seating.  The grumpy hostess provided us with a special seat for our boy that attached to the table.  It was cool for him, because he could saddle up to the pub table like a "big boy" without the aid of a high chair.  


My son located Hoppy McDuff, the happy hop cone on his kid's place mat.
Grumpy hostess visible in background...

 

With my son's cool intact, we selected a pulled pork sandwich for him from the kiddy menu, my wife had a Reuben, and I had a cheeseburger.  My son made the best selection, I found myself picking at his leftovers, my burger was standard bar fare, nothing to write home about, but apparently something to blog about...  My wife's chow was pretty good, but over all, the food was run of the mill.  


In case there were any doubts about the kid friendliness of Gritty's this art was on display.


I indulged in a pint of their 21 IPA...  Like all the beers I tried in Maine, this one was sweeter than I hoped for.  (Or should I say hopped for?)  Here's the promotional pitch from Gritty's...


"Gritty's 21 IPA is a unique blend of American hops with a British body utilizing English 2-Row Pale malts. This IPA starts with a hoppy aroma and taste; ending with a sweet finish. Plenty of Munich and caramalts are used to give the beer that golden hue. There are fifty-six pounds of Cascade Hops used in each 50 barrel batch that is brewed! Then we finish the beer with Willamette & Warrior Hops, (Warrior is a high-alpha acid variety of hops) All this leads to an IPA that is worthy to celebrate our 21st Anniversary!"


Maybe it was me, my tastebuds may still be recovering from a recent cold, but I think the "sweet finish" may have been slightly to sweet for me.  With that said, it have some of the hoppy flavor and aroma I was looking for, a nice golden red color, cyrstal clear, but with a limited head.  In fairness, the low head may have been due to a mad pour...  The 21 IPA was, like the burger, good but not great, just average... 



  Pretty looking pint, but the head was a little thin...  Overall a solid B.



 A brief glimps of Gritty's inner sanctum...

After a peek of the pubs brewery, I took my dogs for a walk in the back lot where they made a discovery.  Bins of expended hops and grains, most likely waiting to be disposed of.  Although they were positioned near a small pond in the back lot.  I briefly wondered if they just dumped them in the drink...  The dogs and I may never know...  When the dogs had completed their mission, the family and I high tailed it for home, thus concluding our Thanksgiving in Maine...


Christine and Leroy, the family hounds, located several bins 
full of expended grains and hops in the back lot of Gritty's during their afternoon constitutional...

1 comment:

  1. Howdy! Just stumbled across your blog while looking for information on starting into homebrew. I actually LIVE in Maine, about 2 blocks from another gritty's location. Your food and drink selections aren't actually the best they offer. The 21 IPA is their least inspiring brew imho. If you make it back to Maine, and it sounds like you might, try their Boathouse Brown or their Black Fly Stout, both much better and personal favorites of mine. Also steer clear of their burger next time and try their Sweet Potato Cheddar pork fries. Sweet potato fries, covered with pulled pork and melted cheese. Served with maple sour cream (which is an amazing and unexpected pairing) this meal sized appetizer is my favorite item on their menu!

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