Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of beer. I’m more of a wine girl myself, but my husband absolutely loves craft beer and is pretty excited about all the options available in Portland. There is no better time for beer lovers than during the annual Portland Beer Week festivities held in Portland, Maine every fall.
We’ve put a team together, for the last three years, to compete in the Port City Running Tours (PCRT) Beer Week Scavenger Hunt which is one of the Portland Beer Week events. My husband loves beer, I love scavenger hunts, and we both love Portland, so it’s the perfect activity for us. Each year, PCRT has done a great job with mixing things up, and making it slightly different than the year before, but the basic format is:
- Each team is given an envelope containing all of the clues;
- The teams open their envelopes at the assigned kickoff time, and frantically begin trying to decipher the clues;
- Teams run around the Portland peninsula for the next three hours;
- Teams are required to collect proof at each stop on the hunt (the method of proof has varied each year);
- Once your team finishes all the stops, you rush back to the starting point and wait for the winners to be tallied.
The trivia, to determine the scavenger hunt stops, can be a challenge. Even though I’d consider my husband an expert on the local craft beer scene, and you are allowed, even encouraged, to use your smart phone, it seems like every year we still get tripped up on one or two of the clues. This usually results in us heading to a few destinations that are way out of our way, and not part of the actual hunt. I wish I could provide some insight on the best strategy to use, but we’re still figuring it out ourselves.
This past year, they added disc golf to the mix so we recruited my brother to the team, as he actually has experience with the sport, although it turned out skill wasn’t really that important as the disc golf holes were more low key and carnival like. But still, it added a new element to the hunt which was fun.
Along with the addition of disc golf, they encouraged golf themed costumes for this year’s hunt. We went all out as a team and dressed up as zombie golfers. While we didn’t win on our trivia skills and craft beer knowledge, we did take home the prize for best costume so all was not lost.
My daughter, who will soon be heading to art school, lent her expertise to our costume makeup and created some amazing zombie wounds.
For a drinking event, you end up doing a lot more walking and running than actual drinking. You’ll be so focused on finding the next clue that there’s no time to relax and hang out at each stop. It really is about speed. I’d recommend sharing drinks and moving on to the next stop.
While our goal as a team has been to crack the top ten with a strong finish, that victory continues to elude us. We even picked “Third Times A Charm” as our team name this year, but sadly it was not to be.
Win, or lose, it’s an amazing adventure and a really great way to learn about some of the fun places to go for local craft beer in Portland. Each year, we’ve discovered a new place and something that we didn’t know about Portland. I highly recommend the scavenger hunt. Be sure to get your tickets ahead of time. Check out the Portland Beer Week website or Port City Running Tours for more details.
Since learning about new locations is part of the fun of the scavenger hunt, I thought I’d share three bars, or breweries, serving craft beer that we learned about for the first time during this year’s scavenger hunt.
*We did know about Oxbow, but we had never been to their tasting room in Portland.
This information may or may not help you on future hunts, as they mix things up every year and while some places are repeated, many are not. Even if a stop is repeated from the previous year, the clue to get there is always different. That’s part of the fun.
|things to know|
|When||In the Fall | Date Varies
Late October to Early November
|Kick-Off Location||The Thirsty Pig
37 Exchange St. Portland, ME 04101
|PCRT Website||PCRT Running Tours|
|Portland Beer Week Website||Portland Beer Week|
|Favorite ♥||discovering new bars|