Have you ever had one of those weeks where you just NEED to get away? I can’t say last week was entirely awful, but it was enough to spark a weekend away in Portland, Maine. As you get to know me, you’ll quickly learn that Maine is my ultimate source of relaxation. I love the land, the water and the culture that Portland, Maine sustains; the chill vibes and friendly neighbors always keep a smile on my face.
If you’re planning a weekend in Portland, my go-to spot is the Portland Regency. This hotel is perfectly centered amongst all the downtown excitement and makes it so that you don’t have to use your car. Besides having the perfect location, the Regency offers a comfortable stay with excellent service. The Regency’s spa is the best because they have a mix of free and paid amenities; perfect for anyone escaping on a budget. What has me coming back time-after-time are the steam rooms. The spa offers both co-ed and individual steam rooms to use at your luxury. In being totally honest, I steamed at least 3 times a day this past trip with no shame. Something about the extreme heat calms me down and sweats out all the garbage my pores are hoarding. If you are lucky enough to venture out and stay at the Regency, I highly recommend a room with a balcony; the views of the water and historic buildings add to the pleasant environment.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Portland without visiting my favorite bar/restaurant/brewery/distillery (impressive, right?!) Liquid Riot Bottling Co.. As cliche as it sounds, there is not a single thing I don’t love about Liquid Riot! When I first visited back in 2013, I immediately fell in love with with the raw design of the space. Hand-crafted wooden elements surround you with dim lighting, creating a super chill atmosphere. The bar itself has a lot of character with a very simple approach; contributing to a unique experience.
Liquid Riot not only offers beautiful hand-crafted furniture, but they offer delicious hand-crafted cocktails! Made with spirits distilled in-house, everything we tried was smooth and tasty. I’m more of a beer person so I took advantage of their in-house brews on tap. Beyond my knowledge of liking IPA’s, I know little to nothing about the art of beer. I was thankful for Shane, our bartender, who introduced me to several of their brews. Spot on with his recommendations, Shane shared his passion for beer and left me a happy camper. As for Adam, he had the help of Brie, the bar manager, who selected cocktails that satisfied Adam’s love for rum and whiskey. As a fan of neither, I hesitantly tried Adam’s drinks and was left wanting more. Well done, Liquid Riot!
My favorite beers:
- Bronze Ale – a hoppy amber with Simcoe and Chinook hops
- Cuckoo for Coconuts – Imperial porter aged on 100 lbs of house toasted coconut
- Special Ale – UK-style winter warmer – Rich, deep, and complex
Our favorite cocktails
- Haute fashioned – A Liquid Riot spin on the traditional Old Fashioned (Bourbon based)
- There is an art to this drink that is pictured below!
- Port Royale – A delicious concoction of complex flavors (Rum based)
For when the buzz is about to turn dirty
- House-made Pretzel – paired with a killer beer cheese sauce
- Belgian Fries – I recommend the curry ketchup
- Fried Dough – paired with a mocha stout sauce (I asked for a spoon when we ran out of fried dough)
- Banana Split – served with bruleed bananas which was … BANANAS!
As my buzz grew strong, I found myself blabbering about how cool it was that Liquid Riot made almost everything in-house; My excitement caught the attention of Stacey, the head honcho, who invited Adam and me to tour the brewing facility the next morning. Beyond excited, I accepted her invite and had the pleasure of meeting Terry, their head brewer. Terry was so knowledgeable about the brewing/distilling process; so much so, I think I only understood half of what he said, haha! It’s hard to put the brewery into words so I’ll let the photos do the talking. As our brief tour came to end, Terry surprised us with a sampling of their unreleased sour raspberry beer … it was AMAZING! It was my first sour beer and I think I’m hooked. If you’re a Kombucha lover definitely give it a try.
I could go on for days but I’ll stop for now. A big thank you to Stacey, Brie, Shane and Terry for a really cool weekend filled with booze and great food! If you’re in the New England area and are looking for an affordable getaway, I highly recommend Portland, Maine. There are endless shops and eateries to discover, as well as unforgettable views. Along with Liquid riot, there is a fantastic bar scene that will leave your tastebuds in a frenzy. If you’re familiar with Portland, I would love to hear about your favorite hot spots as I’m already thinking about my next visit!