Saturday, May 18, 2013
By EMMA BOUTHILLETTE
Naples was the place to be during the Maine Blues Festival a few weekends ago.
Nat Croteau of Bray’s Brewpub in Naples with a glass of the brewery’s 1492 Summer Ale.
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer
BRAY'S BREWPUB AND EATERY
WHERE: 678 Roosevelt Trail, Naples; 693-6806, braysbrewpub.com
HOURS: Open daily starting at 11:30 a.m.
SPECIALS: Like all good brewpubs, Bray's has a "mug club," which offers members a mug that holds 20 ounces of beer and a 25-cent discount off the pint price (an additional dollar less on Tuesdays and Thursdays), a T-shirt and 10 percent off Bray's merchandise.
SCENE: Walking into Bray's Brewpub is like walking into Grandma's house. The old Victorian farmhouse-turned-restaurant and pub makes you feel right at home from the second you walk through the door.
AMENITIES: Live jazz on the first Wednesday of every month, karaoke starting at 9 p.m. Thursdays, open mic starting at 8 p.m. Sundays and live bands every weekend, plus an outdoor patio for drinking during the warmer months.
My friend Melissa and I took a road trip out there to check out Bray's Brewpub and Eatery. We were lucky to find a parking spot in the dirt lot beside the restaurant, because so many people were in town for the festival.
Situated on Roosevelt Trail, the brewpub is inside an old converted Victorian farmhouse. As we walked up the wooden stairs to the front door, it felt almost as if we were visiting Grandma who still lived in a large rambling house. But inside, we found a party unfolding as blues music flowed through open windows from the outdoor biergarten.
Unfortunately, because of the blues fest, finding a seat at the bar was difficult. Just to the right of the entrance, the bar wraps around in an L-shape and has a few pub tables off to the side. The weather was nice enough to sit outside, but because of the festival, a bracelet was required to enjoy the biergarten that day. Instead, one of the friendly staff found us a small table to sit at in one of the side rooms.
I ordered a pint of hard cider for $4.50, and Melissa ordered a glass of Riesling for $6. The waitress said they didn't have a drink menu, but according to the bar's website, they offer more than 30 different beers throughout the year, with about six on tap at all times, in addition to at least 50 bottled options from around the world. If you're not into beer or need a recommendation on what beer to try, the bar staff is more than willing to help you make a decision.
Just to the left of the restaurant and pub is the brewery. If you want to do some research before visiting Bray's, the website lists all the beers brewed in regular rotation, occasional rotation, seasonally or for one night only. For the indecisive type, Bray's offers the Brewer's Annual One Night Stand. For one day in August, all of Bray's brews will flow for you to try.
While Bray's may be a little off the beaten path (it took us an hour to get there from Biddeford), it certainly has a lot to offer in addition to beverages. As I stood waiting for the ladies room, I perused the entertainment list for the month, which was a full page long. It features live entertainment every weekend with local bands. (But some of the ladies waiting with me complained that when a band is playing inside, you're basically onstage when you're waiting to use the restroom.)
The only bone I had to pick about the drinks was that my hard cider was hardly cold. It was a warm day out and I had looked forward to an icy beverage, but the cider was almost room temperature when it was brought to me. I thought maybe it was warm because the bar was busy, but my roommate said the beers are never that cold there.
Emma Bouthillette is a freelance writer who lives in Biddeford.