Portland, Maine. It’s enough to be its own sentence because it stands alone. The shopping, the food, the atmosphere, the beer; it all makes Portland one of my favorite places to visit. The last time we spent time up north, was three years ago, which meant this blog was still in its formative stage. It existed, but I had NO CLUE what I was doing. I did, however, write a post about the Allagash story and what it meant about not giving up, if you’re curious to see how my posts have developed with time.
Since then, and the implementation of our monthly Brew Dog features, I knew I had to find a brewery in Portland that had a dog on staff that I could feature. Thus, I began my searching. It’s no small feat, considering the sheer number of breweries in the Portland, Maine region! This is a small rant, but a rant nonetheless. If you have a “contact us” portion of your website, but fail to respond to a person’s email, don’t bother having the option for someone to reach out! I noticed, in my sleuthing, a few breweries that had staff members with four legs and paws, but only the awesome folks at Lone Pine Brewing indulged me by providing a reply.
That said, I’m kind of glad no one else responded, because our experience at Lone Pine was above and beyond any experience we might have had elsewhere, and I’m not just saying that to be nice or because I love their dog named Dublin, it’s a genuine sentiment.
Tom Madden was the kind soul who read my email that was sent to Lone Pine Brewing. He happens to be Dublin’s human but he’s also the co-founder and head brewer. We set up a date & time to meet and I began counting down the days. Our visit was scheduled for 11:30, which allowed us time to grab breakfast at The Holy Donut (to be sung to the tune of “Holy Diver,” by Dio if you’ve been married to the heavy metal fan for as long as I have). We also had time to swing by the Planet Dog flagship store, which meant I touched all the things and picked up a fancy new artichoke (or hop if you flip it upside down) toy for Dublin.
We arrived at the brewery just as Tom and Dublin were pulling up. We said our hellos, and I got to give Dublin some hello scritches before entering the building. Our introductions allowed us to see the nice outdoor seating area that is set-up near the front entrance. Once we were inside, we made our way to the back of the brewery “where the magic is made,” if we were watching an episode of Cribs, at least. Once in the back, we noticed something very important was missing. Tanks! You know, the things where water, hops, and barley come together to form the nectar of the Gods, beer.
The absence of tanks was for a good reason. The brewing will be taking place in a new location which will allow for larger capacity tanks which means, more beer. Say it with me, “hooray beer!” While the brewing will be happening elsewhere, the tasting room is staying put in its current location. It happens to be one of the stops on the Maine Brew Bus, it’s well established, and now that the tanks are gone, it frees up space to rearrange the tasting area to accommodate more guests.
As we were standing in the spot that once held tanks, we took the time to talk about dog friendly breweries, and the quandary they sometimes create for breweries. Breweries want to create an environment that is welcoming for guests and that includes guests that have tiny humans in tow or pups. That said, sometimes things happen at breweries that result in the decision for dogs (and sometimes children, but that’s a different post) to no longer be allowed. It’s a difficult decision, and one that isn’t taken lightly. When some breweries in a region allow dogs, and others do not, that can result in push-back by patrons and some challenging conversations.
It’s helpful for breweries to have similar responses to the push-back, which is why this subject has been a topic of conversation at brewers guild meetings in the past. I mentioned before, there are a ton of breweries in the Portland, Maine region, so they do get together to discuss trends they’re observing, regulatory issues and how to address them, upcoming events, collaboration opportunities, and their policies.
There’s a mixture of dog friendly and non-dog friendly breweries in the Portland, Maine region. Be aware when researching places to visit and always contact the brewery in advance of your visit to verify that the information on their site is accurate. Sometimes policies change and sites aren’t updated.
Dublin's cool collar is from Cycle Dog, which personalizes gear for breweries!
Lone Pine Brewing is one of the breweries in Portland that is dog friendly. The resident Brew Dog, Dublin, helps to make humans and pups comfortable by spreading joy and doing some tricks (if there are treats involved). As always, dogs help make beer taste better.
Let’s talk about Dublin. He’s a mix of a little bit of everything, but somewhere in the collection of genes is some bully breed, you can tell by his smile and ears. His brother was adopted at the same time Dublin was adopted by Dublin’s human uncle. Yay family! Dublin’s sweet disposition means he can make friends with everyone, and he does whenever he’s in the brewery with Tom!
Tom is a recovering financier, so I’d like to think that Dublin’s role is CFO (Chief Friendliness Officer). He helps to keep the books in order, but his best role is spending time with his human and patrons of the brewery. His smile is pretty darn hard to resist.
Wouldn’t it be funny if I didn’t actually talk about the beer at Lone Pine Brewing? Well, maybe to me but not to them, and probably not to you. The beer lineup is awesome. Their Portland Pale Ale is their flagship beverage, but there are also IPAs and Double IPAs along with a stout brewed with mushrooms called “Chaga,” and a rotation of sours (I tried their Raspberry Sour called “Sparkler”). I wish I had tried their stout with mushrooms, but I guess that just means we’ll have to go back. I’ve had one at a different brewery and the earthiness mixed with chocolate and coffee undertones of a stout was an awesome combo.
We brought home some four packs of the “Sparkler” sour and the “Diamond Unicorn” Double IPA. We enjoyed some in our hotel while watching a crazy thunderstorm outside when we were still on vacation. We also brought some to a concert yesterday and I think I can say with confidence, we had the best lineup of beer for tailgating compared to our fellow concertgoers! The beer is out of this world and I can’t wait to head back to visit again and try some more.
I want to thank the folks at Lone Pine Brewing for their incredible hospitality, their beer, and Dublin! It was a highlight to our vacation and I am thankful for them taking the time out of their schedule to take us around the brewery, introduce us to Dublin, and sharing beer with us.