I have been a Boston resident for the better part of the last decade, but I was born, raised, and attended undergrad in the great state of Maine. My parents still live up in Maine and I have strong ties to my alma mater, so I make somewhat frequent trips up north. These trips often necessitate a stop for a meal. My lovely wife and I quickly grew weary of the chain restaurant options at rest stops and decided to get a little more adventurous. We researched places to stop where we could get a better quality meal along with some local flavor (translation: local craft beer). This led to stops at a number of brewpubs on the I-95/Rt-1 corridor in northern New Hampshire and Southern Maine. One of our favorites has been Gritty McDuff’s, particularly their location in Freeport. Gritty McDuff’s is located right off of 295 in Freeport, an easy on and off from the highway. The building features two sizeable dining rooms and bars, featuring small tables with chairs and larger beer-hall style tables. The décor celebrates the history of Gritty’s along with some old-school beer memorabilia. They serve a full menu featuring sandwiches, salads, pizzas, along with many other staples of American bar food. Everything is done well, they clearly use fresh ingredients and care about quality. Service is usually strong, the staff is knowledgeable and quick to offer recommendations or make accommodations based on diet or taste.
Gritty McDuff’s is a brewpub, and this is a beer blog, so their beer is a key piece. Gritty’s features all of their in-house beers on draft. This includes their year round IPA, pub style, best bitter and best brown ales. Gritty’s also makes seasonal beers. This Thanksgiving they were pouring their Christmas Ale, a hearty and well balanced ESB. They also feature 1-2 beers on cask, where the beer undergoes secondary fermentation and carbonation right in the cask, the traditional way of serving English style ales. The advantage of going to a brewpub, like Gritty’s, is that they have fresh beer on cask. I was excited to see Black Fly Stout, one of my personal favorites, on nitro, giving it the creamy mouthfeel that made Irish style stouts famous. Overall Gritty McDuff’s in Freeport is a great place to stop by if you’re in the area or driving through. Grab something to eat, a fresh pint, and then head onto one of the most famous shopping areas in New England (downtown Freeport) for some of your Christmas shopping!