Ah, Route 1, the Old Post Road. It has such a romantic ring to it, right? The passage of letters through love and war along America’s oldest thoroughfare.

So, I don’t know if bummer’s the right word, but a frown emerges turning into the new Shops at Long Bank in Kennebunk. With garish white lines on black asphalt and a matrix of perfectly mulched poplars that grid the lot, the advent of the strip mall sure is a lame response to Maine’s wild heart.

It starts to get better as soon as I step out of the ride. The salt air that fills the nose is a wacky sensory twist to this sterile section of the highway, a lotus perfume that cushions the corporate manicure. Besides, it’s ever grounding to remember that I’m here to drink beer and have fun. And Sebago Brewing always comes through.

It’s a dripping 90 degrees, but I know there’s ice-cold beer inside. Inside Sebago’s new location, it’s a whole different world. There are ruddy-cheeked merry men aplenty. Ladies too, but you get the feeling that while the ladies linger in the surrounding shops, the men may be scrambling for reasons to check e-mail/down pints.

The cavernous space features generous tall-backed booths like the seats at Disney World’s Haunted Mansion. Today, they’re filled with families. With a Hannaford across the way and this ideal watering hole as an inarguable highlight, it’s more clear why the developers put convenience at such a premium. With one parking spot, you can kill a lot of birds. With this tall Frye’s Leap IPA, though, I’m going to hone in on just killing brain cells.

 

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.