Although we're working our way from north to south for this list, it's pretty fitting that Portland, Maine, is at the top. One thing worth noting about Portland: there are so many good breweries that you might struggle hitting even half of them in a week's time.
The breweries in Portland are dispersed regionally a little bit, but there are three main concentrations to plan on hitting: the industrial park in Westbrook, the neighborhood of East Bayside, and Thompson's Point.
The industrial park in Westbrook encompasses Austin Street, Allagash, Battery Steele, and Foundation breweries, among others.
This area is a 15 minute drive from downtown Portland, and well worth the trip. My friends and I like to call this building in the Westbrook Industrial Park the "brewing incubator.” Many excellent breweries made their start here, including Maine Beer Company (now in Freeport, near LL Bean) and Bissell Brothers.
The current residents include Austin Street (try the "Patina" Pale Ale), Battery Steele, which was started by the folks who used to run Gritty McDuffs and the legendary Allagash Brewing, one of the original breweries in the area.
Beer to not miss: Austin Street Florens – if you can find it!
The neighborhood of East Bayside is home to Good Fire Brewing, Lone Pine, Rising Tide, and Urban Farms Fermentory. This area of the city is more accessible from downtown (only around a 5 minute cab ride) and the breweries here each seem to have a specialty. Our favorite brewery is also the newest: Good Fire Brewing, which focuses on hop-forward IPAs. Urban Farm Fermentory is also a great spot to check out if you like hard cider and kombucha. Their cider is known to be very dry, not sweet.
Beer to not miss: UFF Dry Cider, especially paired with local oysters!
Thompson's Point is home to an awesome outdoor music venue as well as some of the best breweries in Maine (and possibly the East Coast). Started by brothers Noah and Peter Bissell, Bissell Brothers Brewery focuses on fresh, hoppy beers served in tallboy cans. Brews like Swish (a double IPA), The Substance (their flagship IPA) and Baby Genius (a Session Ale) make fans line up before opening to get their hands on cans. You can grab some grub next door in their new and modern tasting room while you sip on some awesome beers, or give the International Cryptozoology Museum a visit.
Beer to not miss: Baby Genius. With its low ABV and very light yet full of flavor, Baby Genius is the perfect summer beer.