About

A Little Gritty History

grittys_history

Since 1988, Gritty McDuff’s has been creating fine, handcrafted ales and traditional pub fare. From our humble beginnings as a small brew pub in Portland’s Old Port, we’ve grown to become the brew pub of choice for Mainers and folks “from away”. From the start, Gritty’s was at the forefront of the brewing renaissance in the Maine. Founders Ed Stebbins and Richard Pfeffer had two simple goals in mind: to create a true, English-style pub serving fresh ales and great food, and to have fun doing it.

Ever since we opened our doors, the accolades for Gritty McDuff’s have been piling up. Gritty’s has frequently been awarded the titles of “Maine’s Best Brew Pub”, “Best Maine Microbrew” and “Best Bar” in statewide polls. Gritty’s ales have been repeat winners at the annual Real Ale Festival in Chicago and have also appeared as Featured International Selections at the Great British Beer Festival.

FAQ

Can you ship beer to me?

Sorry, Maine State Law doesn’t allow Gritty’s to ship our fine ales. Your best bet is to jump in the truck, drive to either our Portland or Freeport Brewtiques and buy your favorite Gritty’s beer. We sell 22 ounce bottles in Freeport and Portland (but not 12 ounce bottles).

Do you sell growlers?

Yes! We sell growlers of Gritty’s at all our brew pubs. We sell either glass or plastic growlers and if you bring the growler back, we’ll exchange that “used” growler for a new one. To get started just ask the bartender for a growler. One note: Maine State law doesn’t allow us to fill any growler you bring in for us to fill. We have to use our own containers. (Don’t blame us, call your state law maker!)

Do you offer organized brewery tours?

We typically don’t offer organized tours, but you can ask to see the brewery at any of our brew pubs anytime you want. Just ask the bartender or your server. If the brewers are there and they’re not at a critical stage in the brewing process, they would be happy to show you around and tell you all about their craft. In Portland, we recommend you go on one of the tours by Maine Foodie Tours!

Why aren’t your menus the same in all your locations?

We have standardized as much of the “base” menu as possible between the locations, but there are differences because all our kitchens are different sizes and have different equipment. For example, we don’t have room for a pizza oven in Portland, but Freeport and Auburn have pizza ovens because they have the space. This means we can’t offer pizza or quesadillas in Portland, but we do offer them in Freeport and Auburn. We also let the chefs in each location be creative with the seasonal menus, so those menus vary between locations. This gives the chefs an opportunity to show-off and be creative, which adds some variety to our food!

What happened to Gritty’s beer in stores?

In 2018, after 20 years in the bottling business, we made the decision to discontinue our 12oz bottling lines to focus on our pub experiences. But don’t fret! You can still bring our beer home! Visit any of our pubs and grab a 64oz growler with beer straight from the tap, or snag a 22oz bottle in our “Brewtiques” in Portland & Freeport!

How come you guys offer some beers in one location and not in the other locations?

Those crazy brewers pretty much do whatever they want! No, the straight answer is the brewers like to experiment and innovate. Based on what is currently on tap and how much tank space they have at the time, each brewery might offer a new and exciting small batch brew. If they brew enough, the brewers might share it with the other brew pubs, but that brew pub might, or might not have the tap space to offer that beer at that moment.  So the beers offered at each brew pub are constantly changing – which makes it more fun. You never know what small batch ales will be on tap.

Are your pubs dog friendly?

We love dogs but because we serve food and beer there are rules: Designated service dogs are allowed inside all our locations. “Everyday” dogs are not allowed inside any of our pubs. If your dog is well behaved and will lay quietly under your table, we allow dogs on the patio at our Portland brew pub. We’ll even be happy to bring your good boy or girl a bowl of fresh cold water! Dogs are not allowed on the deck or in the backyard at our Freeport brew pub. There are just too many children playing in the backyard or moving around the deck to offer a safe environment for them or your pet. Unfortunately, we can’t let dogs on the deck at our Auburn location either. Sorry, no cats, hamsters, boa constrictors, falcons or other pets allowed – just dogs and just on the patio in Portland.

What was the first beer you brewed and sold at Gritty’s?

That’s easy! It was “Best Bitter” and Ed and Richard brewed it, then sold it on December 21st, 1988.

What the heck is that brick thing on your logo?

That’s a brick lined, copper-topped brew kettle. There is one in every one of our brew pubs. The brew kettles are the heart and soul of what Gritty’s is all about.

What are all those mugs hanging above your bar for?

Those mugs belong to the mug club. For an annual fee the members buy a mug. The mug hangs above the bar and only the person who owns it gets to use their mug. Each mug is numbered on the bottom of the mug. In return for an annual fee, we offer the mug club members some benefits. On certain days of the week a full mug of beer only costs $2, and on non-mug club days they get roughly 21 ounces of beer for the same price as a 16 ounce pint. We also offer discounts on food and merch, go on the occasional field trip and play in the Mug Club Olympics!

When are you going to build more pubs?

We get asked this question all the time. Several factors come into play: it has to be the right time, the right location, the right building and the right market. Rest assured if we decide to build a brew pub in your area, you’ll know about it.

If you have a question that was not answered here, you can send in your question by heading to our contact page!