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The Great Lost Bear
Taps: 69 / Bottles: -
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
540 Forest Ave
phone: (207) 772-0300
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vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.5 | $$
I want to really like this place. I live in Portland and I have tried on a number of occasions to make this place, "my place", but I can't get passed some basics that the GLB lack.
Most importantly is the selection. At a quick glance, this is the best selection in the state and possibly the region with 60 or so regional beers on tap. But I believe the GLB commits the greatest sin of bars with huge tap selections: not keeping fresh beer. I've had the Sebago Frye's Leap IPA hundreds of times, but I had it at the GLB and couldn't drink it. I even asked them to take it back because I figured it must have been the wrong beer, but they brought back the same gross smelling/tasting thing. This wasn't the first time I've received a beer that seemed "off". Now I'm too scared to try a beer I haven't had before because of the fear of hating a beer I possibly could love.
The atmosphere is kind of cool. It has the real deal version of what places like TGI Fridays go for with the "put any piece of junk up on the wall for decoration" thing. It's part charming, part dirty, which is ok. The food is fine, very fried, very cheesy.
Again, my main concern is the beer freshness. I take great pride in my state's brewing, and would hate for anyone to get the wrong impression by having one of those beers here. If you want to really taste a local brew, go to their own beer bar (Sebago Brewing Co, Gritty McDuff's, etc). Most have them, or try Novare Res.
01-18-2010 18:18:43 |
More by Fishersold
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
This place is cool. You walk in and everything is about beer, food & music. This was my first time here to Great Lost Bear and I already felt like I fit in. If I lived in the Portland area, this would be "my bar".
They had a really funny wide selection of food on the menu that happily catered to alternative diets - low-carb, veggie (hippie) - and had a great variety to choose from. Also, and I suppose more importantly, was the beer selection - about 50 taps (I didn't count) plus bottles. Two points though, the selection is VERY Maine heavy, followed through with a New England flair, and all is not as "fresh" as they want you to believe.
I tried a "sampler" which is a very cool idea for a non-brewpub to do. This way I was able to try five 4oz. samples of beer for five dollars. I asked the sever several questions about the beer, but she seemed honestly clueless - a cross between flakey and burnt-out. I tried 5 IPA's from the area, they ranged from pretty-good to almost undrinkable. My guess is that said undrinkable IPA wasn't sour when it left the brewery, thanks GLB.
After the sampler I tried a cask-conditioned beer. According to there beer menu such beers (3 on the menu that night) were naturally carbonated, unfiltered, and served at apporximatly 50-55 degrees. Lets just say what I got was force carbonated, well-filtered, cold and again, sour - plus the pint glass had a crack in it taboot.
Anyway - even with the not 100% beer night at the GLB I would more than happily go back to the place - honestly I loved it, well, except for the repeatedly sour beer.
Try the chili, it's great!
09-19-2005 22:35:00 |
More by FoolCircle
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 1.5 | selection: 4 | $$
My wife and I stopped in here while on a weekend trip to Maine. Not the best parking in the world, but fortunately we stopped in on a Monday afternoon and found a spot. Really cool atmosphere inside. Lots of beer decor all over the place. I had fun just looking around at everything. Good beer selection, too. Maybe a dozen Belgian beers on tap to go along with 50 or so micros. Five Allagashes on tap too. Five 5oz Belgian samples for $10 is a pretty good deal if you ask me. The service....*sigh*. We sat at the bar and made the mistake of asking for a minute to decide what to order. It took 10 minutes for the bartender to get back to us, and there were (and I counted) seven people at the bar. Not exactly friendly service when he got to us, too. Maybe we looked too touristy with our Portland maps and shit. Also, I ordered an Allagash Fluxus CASK, and I got a regular tap pour. I wasn't about to complain and wait 10 more minutes. It was still a damn tasty beer and I wouldn't find that on tap 'round my parts. Overall, it's a cool bar with a good tap selection, but the service we experienced could have been better. It wouldn't take much.
10-15-2009 00:42:17 |
More by mtbbaboon
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
Stopped in for lunch on our way through Portland on 07.27.07. The restaurant is seperated into many rooms as you walk in through the main entrance. Decor is of old beer memorabilia and antlers. The beer menu boasts approximately 50 taps with three casks; of mostly Maine crafts along with a large selection of other New England offerings including: Allagash, Sebago, Gritty's, Geary's, Shipyard, Bar Harbor, Sheepscot, Smuttynose, etc. Other national crafts included: DFH, Rogue, etc. Despite a reasonable selection, the best offering by far was Smutty's Big A IPA (which is a tasty brew, but far from being a "star" in a bar loaded with the amount of taps that the Bear has). Service was slow at best, and the waitress was forgetful with the beer orders. Food was what you expect for lunch at a pub, but nothing spectacular. A good place to stop in while you're in Maine, especially to sample some Maine crafts that you could not otherwise get out of the state, but not a destination in and of itself.
07-30-2007 14:36:31 |
More by NEhophead
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
I heard so many accolades about this place that I had to give it a try while I was in Portland. At first look I couldn't beleive this place had gotten so many rave reviews, it is dark and plain looking, but after a look at the beer and food selection, I changed my mind. good beer service and the food was nothing spectacular but perfectly fine for a bar. I ordered a Cod sandwich which I had no complaints about, and my wife's pesto chicken sandwich was pretty good too. the menu is actually pretty sizeable. Definitely a fun place, worth going back next time i'm in Portland.
Update: after another visit I have to take the food score down a notch, worst nacho's I've ever had at a restaurant. Beer still delicious though, definitely the best selection in the vicinity.
05-17-2008 20:47:25 |
More by evanackerman
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Only had a few 5oz samples of beer here while bar hopping, but did not feel like this was a home for true beer afficionadoes. Though they had a very large number of beers on tap (65), what they had on tap was not exactly the best beers of each style. I love that you can order 5oz tasters- $1 each for american, $2 each for belgian, though. If I had ordered a pint of some of the very dissappointing beers I had, I would have been pissed. This place appeals to more than just the the beer nut crowd, especially considering they have Schlitz on tap for $1.99. A very big selection, but did not have the feel of a bar that is dedicated to the best in beer.
09-27-2009 21:21:29 |
More by markipa1
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Visited for a beer or two on a Friday night. Crowded and very warm to the point of sweating. We had a space outside of the bar and were surprised when twice, we were offered seats at the bar by a couple who knew we came in ahead of them and then from a couple who were leaving. Nice people in Maine, can't see that happening in most places in CT. If only the staff, or one in particular, were as nice.
We sat at the bar and were overlooked a couple of times, not offered a menu, and then when glasses were empty, the bartender asked only one of us what we wanted. When she came back 5 minutes later and poured the beer and placed it in front of us she looked past us. Maybe it was the crowd, maybe it was just a bad night but it was a crappy experience.
That said, the beer selection was fantastic and inspiring. I had no idea there was that much home grown beer in the state when I realized that almost all of the beers on tap, probably 30-40, came from Maine! I had the Grand Cru and the Black Bear Porter, my gf stood by her favorite, 60 Minute. I wish the state of CT could boast that many home growns all served in the same place.
I can only dream of Hooker, Cambridge, and Willie Brew on tap in the same bar!
01-08-2007 02:29:56 |
More by klee44
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$$
Just stopped for a couple pints while in town today. Thought I might get lunch, too, but when I saw the prices I thought better of it (e.g. an order of chicken wings is over $10).
I showed up just after opening and had to wait at the bar almost 10 minutes before even seeing the bartender. After that the service was better. The beer list offers something for everyone. I had the "$2.95 pint special" which was Geary's Summer followed up with a North Coast Scrimshaw, which I had just seen at the local beer store, but had never had. From the store I remember it being a pale ale, but they had it listed under the lager category. I figured I'd try it out to see what it really was. Tasted like a pale ale to me. I ordered a side of fries, which came out remarkably quick, but unfortunately lukewarm and slightly soggy, like they were the last bits from the last batch fried up.
Just a quick visit. I'll go back, for sure. Until then I'll be saving my nickels and dimes to help cover the cost of a meal here.
08-26-2009 22:25:04 |
More by snowranger05
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
A big old style bar and restaurant not far from downtown Portland. Many taps, lots of selection of what comes through, not all of it great, but some of it not bad. Environment not bad to have a beer by day, but there were nicer in terms of more modern or snazzy places to have beer by night. Service was fine, though understaffed.Prices were fair so that one can have their fill of beer a fraction of the big cities. A go to place for bar food but lots of beer. Cask occasionally on.Worth a stop if in area seeing the brewers.
08-16-2012 20:41:05 |
More by northyorksammy
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
On my past trip to Portland I decided to visit this place after reading about it here and talking to the locals. At first glance it seems the place seems lighter than what people have said and the bar had a nice atmosphere and a knowledgeable bartender. I was impressed with the array of local craft beer selection. We had samplers of their Hefe selection, Belgian selection and IPA selection and had a tough time deciding which was the best between the Belgian and IPA selection. I wish they had other craft beers from VT and New Hampshire. The food selection was actually pretty good as was the quality. I would probably go back if I am in the Portland area again.
07-14-2008 02:52:10 |
More by Hokies
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The Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME