Rising Tide’s Roasted Chicken Sando with greens. Photo by Leslie Bridgers

Rising Tide Brewing Co. might be considered an elder among Maine’s craft breweries, or at least an uncle-type figure, but it’s remained at the forefront of industry trends ever since it relocated from Industrial Way to Portland’s Fox Street in 2012, initiating the creation of the East Bayside brewery hub.

More recently, that’s meant joining the slew of breweries that have added kitchens to their tasting rooms, taking responsibility for – and control of – what customers eat, in-house.

Most of Rising Tide’s neighbors are still relying on food trucks to quell their customers’ hunger, and when I headed over to East Bayside on a Friday evening last month, I intended to survey which ones were parked in the area and what kind of lines they had before choosing where to eat.

It was warm for mid-May, and I was prepared to circle the block for a parking spot and wait for both beer and food, but either the tasting room scene has changed or crowds don’t show up until Memorial Day; I was able to pull right into a spot on Fox Street, and there were no lines in sight.

When I remembered that Rising Tide had started making its own food, I decided not to bother looking for a food truck and walked right through the brewery’s open garage doors and up to the bar to order.

The concise menu (branded as The Galley at Rising Tide) includes a selection of burgers and sandwiches for $8-$14, with the option to add fries or greens for another $3. There are also snacks (fries, warm pretzels, and chips and dip; $7-$9), a chicken tender basket ($14), and a salad ($9) with the option to add falafel ($5) or chicken ($7).


I thought I’d split the difference between a burger and a salad with the Roasted Chicken Sando ($13), though I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect – slices, like a roast turkey dinner, or perhaps soft shreds of meat? I added on a side of greens and convinced my dinner date, who got the falafel sandwich, to add fries, so I could try them.

We were given a pole on a stand with a number on it and sat at one of the picnic tables on the parking-lot patio, feeling a little guilty for taking such a large table for just two people. But we would have happily shared if anyone had come along, and there were plenty of other available spots to sit, from a tented area with tables to high-tops and bar stools inside the open-air tasting room.

In less than 10 minutes, a server with her hands full of food orders dropped my sandwich at the table, leaving me with the challenge of waiting politely until the rest of the order came. I had just given up and started picking at my greens when the french fries and falafel sandwich arrived.

To my pleasant surprise, the chicken came in the form of a thick, juicy hunk. Together, the tender meat and abundant toppings (sharp cheddar, bacon, greens, pickles, roasted tomatoes and dijonnaise) on a brioche bun made for a chicken sandwich that far exceeded the standard.

Falafel sandwich and fries from The Gallery at Rising Tide Brewing Co. in Portland. Photo by Leslie Bridgers

The falafel sandwich, too, was exceptional, with some heat from the harissa balanced by pickles, vinegar onions and tzatziki. And though I’d describe the fries as “McDonald’s style” in terms of cut, made with Maine potatoes and well seasoned, they were a high-quality version.

Walking into Rising Tide, I was sure I’d leave satisfied but was surprised to find such thoughtfully crafted food. As Maine breweries continue to evolve with the changing tastes and behavior of their customer base, I look forward to seeing whatever this one does next.

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