I'd like to highlight some spots that I went to, and beers that I tried, in a series of posts, starting today.
Before we even went down, the first thing I had to figure out was what my limit was in terms of bringing back beer. I even went so far as to talk to a customs agent at the airport to clarify a couple of things for me that the online rules didn't point out. Basically, in terms of beer, the rule is:
- if you stay in the US for 48 hours or more, each person is allowed to return to Canada with 8.5L of beer (no matter what the ABV is)
- if you go over that amount, you'll have to pay tax / duty on whatever the overage is, not your first 8.5L
So, that meant my wife and I were allowed to bring back 17L of beer. Problem is, many cans / bottles in the US are only marked in ounces, and not all mL/oz ratios on cans/bottles are the same... which lead to some frantic number crunching in the parking lots of a Shaw's and Christmas Tree Shops store. I don't know how picky border agents can be, but I didn't want to push my luck. Essentially, one fluid ounce is 29.5735 mL. So, a 355mL can is labeled 12 ounces, a 650mL bomber = 22 ounces, a 750mL bottle is 25.3605... wait, that's when it gets a bit dirtier. Once you hit a pint, many US bottles say "1pt" and then the ounce total. For what it's worth, a US pint is 16 US ounces. So, imagine my fun adding up pints and ounces to convert to mL and L before we returned. My initial estimations were off, and we were over by a bit, but it all worked out. Just be honest and well-documented at the border, and you'll probably be sent on your way pretty speedily.
Basically, all of the beer they carry is good, well-rated, or really really good / well-rated. It's just some refrigerated shelves on one wall, the refrigerated shelves at the ends of two rows, and one two-sided (and fairly short) row of shelving that has all their beer. The selection, especially for someone like me, from somewhere like here, is mind-blowingly good. All the Maine breweries - Allagash, Maine Brewing Company, Smuttynose, Rising Tide, etc., brewers like Dogfish Head, Jolly Pumpkin, Clown Shoes, Victory, Founders, Evil Twin... and European brews like Fantome, magnums of St. Bernardus... Christmas beers I want... meads in stoneware... just so much to pick from.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to make it to the Bier Cellar in Portland, but I wouldn't have had room for anything anyway. Next time, I'll try to balance out visits to both places.