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The Great Lost Bear
Taps: 69 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
540 Forest Ave
phone: (207) 772-0300
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 100 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4
This is a great spot. Not in the center of Portland, which is probably where you'll want to spend most of your time when in town, but about a mile or so down Forest Ave. Good atmosphere, but if you go during the day it is almost pitch black inside. Lots or rooms to wander around in but there are no windows at all, although in the winter that's not as big a deal. Everything about the beer impresses: the huge selection of draft picks as well as the quality of each choice. They did not having any lagers to speak of, but the best local beers are all ales anyway. If they had a bottle list, I didn't see it, nor did I need to. Cask selection was limited to only 1 choice (Geary's pale), I guess they were having some problems. The top 10 list is a fascinating curio (Allagash White was number one when I went, but the new Geary's autumn brown ale will surely knock it off the next time they tabulate). Good food, and a big, not-outrageously-priced menu that has enough to please anybody, vegans too. Highlights from my visit: Sheepscot Pemaquid, Rocky Bay Kate's Celtic Red, Allagash Summer. All from Maine and all excellent. The 5 oz samples ($1) were a great way to taste lots of different ales without getting totally obliterated. If you do choose that route though, the beer towers are the way to go. Beer tower? Think pitcher, for the anal beer drinker. The tower looks like a very large bong. There's a cap on the top to keep air out and a little tap at the bottom. A frozen sleeve keeps the beer cool. A full tower is about 5 pints (2 liters?) for $16, and if you're a party of one they'll sell you a half tower for $8. I'd like to see these in more bars. They are neat, and they treat the beer right.
09-08-2003 19:13:42 |
More by Thrasher
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5
As others have said, this is a beer bar well worth the trip. They "respect beer," and their staff is knowledgable.
The food, up and down, is very good, and the measure of a beer bar's kitchen -- the bacon cheeseburger -- is terrific.
Maine is a great beer state, and the Bear showcases this very well. The selection of locally brewed beers never fails to impress.
If it were closer than a 90-minute drive, I would be there a lot more.
A premier beer bar in a great beer city. Great special events.
04-16-2005 14:03:24 |
More by LiamStLiam
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
If youre looking for the perfect location to get a genuine feel for Maine beer, this is your place.
The Great Lost Bear provides the cream of the microbrew crop with fifty beers on tap. Fifty beers on tap doesnt guarantee a fantastic bar experience, but the Great Lost Bear manages to represent eighteen different beer styles, and all selections are top notch brews. If you want to get a feel for an Alt, Brown Ale, Export, ESB, Fruit, IPA, Lager, Red, Wheat, or Seasonal Ale all hailing from Maine, the Great Lost Bear serves up 5 oz. samples of beer for a dollar each. I stuck with beers from Maine brewers that I haven't tasted, such as Peraquid Ale from the Sheepscot brewery and Old English Ale from Andrews Brewery. Not all Maine microbreweries bottle their beer and the Great Lost Bear also offers cask-conditioned ales. I sampled some Old Thumper on cask and it tasted like a completely different beer.
The Great Lost Bear doesnt just have a mouth-watering array of beer, but also has some divine food. After working up my appetite at the Maine rock gym about a mile away, I split some wings with my friends, ordered the Thai Chicken Noodle Soup, and devoured a Barbeque Burger. As one may surmise from my choices, the restaurant served eclectic pub fare. Im sure the wings were the best Ive tasted in Maine and the soup held its own after I added some salt and hot sauce. The burger was also first-rate.
In terms of décor, the Great Lost Bear falls somewhere between an epic Hemingway watering hole, replete with staggering yet strangely stoic characters and powerful guns, and a classic American dive bar, which shares many of the aforementioned features minus the stoicism. I especially liked the etched mirror displaying a forest hollow and an original Woodstock poster hanging near my table. The motif of the Great Bear was carried on throughout the pub, to my approval and praise. The Black bears of Maine are often buried under the rampant statewide Moose publicity, but youll not find a better mascot to embody pub ideals.
07-05-2005 15:13:46 |
More by Starchild
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
GLB, as it's come to be known in my family, is far more than a damn good place to grab a beer to me. It's a place I used to beg my dad to take me to as a child so I could eat their "Super Nachos" which at the time was a molten heap of meat, cheese, and nachos comparable to the size of my head. I still get them every time I stop in.
It was only recently that I got to go back and fully enjoy all of it's beers and given the high number of bars and restaurants in the area the GLB still dominates all of them. It has an overwhelming selection of good american beer and decent pricing on everything. The food is pretty much standard pub food but its done so well and it's given witty little names that bring your mind back to the late 60s early 70s like Chevy Chase's Love Me Tenders which beats out "chicken fingers" in my opinion.
GLB exudes a presence of local importance and tradition. It's been a staple in my family since I can remember and the same is true with nearly every Mainer in the area. If you're looking for a really unique and telling place to grab a meal or a beer in Portland then I can't help but say you'd be a fool to pass on the opportunity to stop in.
Decent food and decent beer for decent people, the very lifeblood of Maine.
10-08-2006 12:17:16 |
More by Grundle20
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Was planning to spend the day in Portland drinking in several places, but due to unforeseen circumstances (fog in Bar Harbor postponing our tour boat a day), we didn't get to Portland until 9 pm instead of noon. Oops. With enough energy for one place, we took a cab to The Great Lost Bear. Hard to compare without hitting other places, but we were very happy with the Bear as our only stop in Portland (and Becky's Diner for breakfast on the way out of town).
Well served and in the proper glasses, our waiter brought us each of the Allagash beers on the extensive draft menu. Ended the night with Clown Shoes Hoppy Feet, which was a great Black IPA. For food, the waiter steered us toward a house made veggie dinner, the Fresh Grizzly Burritto with rice, beans, cheese and veggie chili. We had started with cup of veggie chili (something we found in several NE bars, which I would love to see in the midwest more). Both were really great and topped off the night after a long day being tourists and not having really stopped to eat.
GLB clearly lives up to their reputation as a great beer bar. Our waiter was knowledgeable and helpful choosing the beers, and also got us to meal we enjoyed. After a week of travelling and eating out, we really appreciated a very honest, straight forward waiter who gave us a clear, informed opinion of beer and food when ask. Not shying away from making a statement instead of being a cheerleader for whatever a patron picks is a really great quality that is appreciated.
We liked Portland and plan to return to it and The Great Lost Bear.
07-09-2011 19:11:47 |
More by FightingEntropy
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
After reading JohnnyP's review and hearing about his stunt with the webcam, I had to stop by here. It was everything I thought it would be. A mind numbing selection of beers on tap. Everything you could imagine, especially several hard to find New England and Maine beers. We had a couple samplers, called my buddies back in Florida to spot us on the webcam. Some highlights were the Allagash White, Magic Hat # 9, Magic Hat Blind Faith and special ginger beer that I can't remember the name of. Anyway, the Great Lost Bear is worth the trip. Every beer advocate should stop here if they are in the area.
09-22-2002 14:41:29 |
More by StevieW
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I had their Wings with a Greek Salad. Both very fresh. The Salad was big and with wing platter was piled high!
Beers. I had Geary's Winter, Gearys Anniversary (cask) and a wonderful Sheepscot Boothbay Bitter (cask). All fresh, clean and very tasty.
The bar is easy to find. Lots of parking on street or in their parking lot. Big bar with very good service. The selection is large. Look for their specials, they are priced to move. This week was a Long Trail Hibernator for $2.50 a pint.
Their mix of taps change weekly. Most are Maine brewers and several other New England brewers are mixed in along with a scattered few from the rest of the US or world. They have a nice sampler tray of glasses.
I'll be back. This is a very, very good beer bar with a menu of fresh good food.
03-26-2006 14:12:30 |
More by dougnboston
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
The Great Lost Bear is one of the best drinking establishments in all of Maine...nobody will argue that.
Its not in the Old Port/Touristy section of Portland so don't look for it there, you'll need to drive to get there.
Lots of seats inside, around the bar and outside
during the short Maine summer. I always seek out a booth in the bar area.
Thursdays feature a microbrew showcse in which all the beers are $2.75 each, which can be a deal especially on the fabled Allagash night, speaking of Allagash..this is THE place to go in Maine for Allagash variety.
Service tends to be very good, food is pretty decent pub fare but lots of variety and vegetarian options.
Owners of this place are awesome and true believers, they've been promoting craft beer in Maine since almost before it existed.
03-21-2009 02:02:12 |
More by indiapaleale
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
The Great Lost Bear is an outstanding restaurant and pub. Long bar serving about 50 taps on my visit, with a dual focus on Maine breweries and Belgian beers - Allagash being the middle of that particular Venn diagram. I enjoyed a couple of their offerings on cask, which was a pleasant surprise.
Dimly lit, log-cabin-like feel indoors. Unique enough posters and such on the walls. The bathroom was uniquely filthy, enough to lower my atmosphere score, actually. The quality of the beers on tap is good - I love the local focus, and if I had to pick one country to highlight, Belgium would be it in the brewing scene. Our waiter was very nice and very prompt, but he didn't seem to know a ton about beer.
Of which there was a lot. I was only interested in probably half the menu, but that's normal. The food was outstanding, with many options for vegetarians. We loved the Great Lost Bear and would recommend it to anyone in the greater Portland area.
07-02-2010 23:29:14 |
More by BretSikkink
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
This place is awesome! Cool digs, very comfortable, great atmosphere, excellent service, amazing beer selection, REALLY good food - everything. Now, I'm normally a brewpub guy, but I'd much rather stop at the Bear when I'm in Maine. Kudos! Do not miss!
07-23-2002 13:34:17 |
More by NeroFiddled
The Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME
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