Portland’s BBQ, Blues and Brews A Great First Night in the City

Blues Brews and BBQ in Portland Maine
Blues Brews and BBQ in Portland Maine

We arrived in Portland around 7:30 last night, and wasted no time–we wanted to get over to the BBQ and Blues tent on the harbor. There were 500 people and

Gansett's Red Sox guy.
The ‘Gansett guy would look great in a Red Sox uniform.

we were told that five of the restaurants expected to serve samples of their grilled meats were no shows.  But there were plenty of other friendly vendors, waiting to dole out a dollop of their spicy pork, thin sliced lamb, or latest brew, poured into our commemorative cups.

A blues band belted out tunes as we queued up, and there was a fun spirit.  The wines were mostly of the quaffing variety, including Rex Giant, a brand known for its big bottles and another brand we’d never heard of called Ohh-la-la.  The man behind this table quickly established that his pour was a lighthearted one—the 5% alcohol rose, blanc and red all came in soda-type liter bottles with beer bottle caps. It was clear that once you open a bottle of Ohh-la-la, you’re drinking it all right then and there.

Some of the food was excellent–but unfortunately for Mary, it was nearly all beef, pork or lamb. We couldn’t find any vendors grilling chicken or turkey. Her habit of never eating red meat would be tested–she finally gave in and tried the Maine-grown lamb slices, from a farm in nearby Windham, ME.  Like all of the festivities of the Harvest on the Harbor festival, the event last night was sold out.

A server at the Narragansett Brewing Co. table looked like he should be playing for the 2013 Red Sox, he had the ZZ Top beard, and he served me their Octoberfest, a hearty quaff.  I was surprised that it was made by these guys who are famous for their laid back low alcohol flagship lager, but it was pretty good. Today we  will return to the docks and they will open up the other tent–so instead of tasting with 500 we’ll be tasting in a larger room with 1000.