A bill being proposed in the Maine State Legislature is set to go before the Regulatory Fairness Board next week that, if it passes, will allow off premise retailers to sell refillable containers of beer from kegs. Eric Mihan of Bangor Wine & Cheese Company on Hammond Street in downtown Bangor wrote the bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Geoff Gratwick of Bangor, after learning that the existing laws were not specific enough to allow for the selling of growlers, as the large glass containers are commonly called. If the bill passes, Mihan and other retailers will be able to sell growlers of any beer they wish, though Mihan mostly intends to offer growlers of small batch Maine-made craft beer. More than 20 other states across the country already allow retailers to offer growlers. This is Mihan’s third bill he has written and presented before the legislature; the other two bills were one in 2011 that struck down the requirement that there be curtains covering the windows while a beer or wine tasting was going on, and one in 2012 that struck down the long list of required labels that had to be present at beer or wine tastings. The Regulatory Fairness Board will hear the bill on Wednesday, April 24.
Food & Wine Magazine’s April issue featured the culinary adventurers of Portland’s Pocket Brunch in its list of 10 New American Artisans We Love. Pocket Brunch, the brainchild of Josh and Katie Potocki, Joel Beauchamp, Nathaniel Meiklejohn, Petra Simmons and Erin McNally, has since August of 2012 created monthly daytime feasts for sold out crowds, with themes ranging from German, Cajun or French Canadian cuisine, to a six-course “Game of Thrones” inspired meal. Pocket Brunch has not yet set a date for its next offering; tickets routinely sell out in less than 48 hours, so it behooves you to sign up for the mailing list and jump on it quickly, if you want to experience it.
Some changes in the Bangor area dining scene. First, the bad news. Luna Bar & Grill, the longtime Bangor eatery owned by Paul Noonan, will be closed for several months beginning May 18. Noonan over the winter suffered a house fire, and in lieu of trying to run the restaurant he’s decided to close for a few months, do some renovations, and get his personal affairs in order. Noonan plans to re-open sometime in mid-September. Now, for the good news – brunch is finally making its way to Bangor, after years of there being no restaurant in the area being willing to offer up the treasured midday meal. Seasons on Main in Bangor is offering brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, and the Family Dog in downtown Orono is offering a jazz brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., also on Sundays. Seasons says it will offer ham, prime rib and other carved meats, as well as souffles and house-made breads. The Family Dog has omelets and stuffed French toast, among other brunch options, and has recently installed a full coffee bar using Matt’s Wood Roasted Coffee. They are now offering specialty cereal milk lattes, made with milk soaked in various favorite breakfast cereals, and also now offer a selection of Shain’s of Maine Ice Cream.