Mar 22, 2019 02:26PM
If you had three chances to name where within a car or Amtrak ride of Boston proper Indiana Jones, beers of the world, and iconic community taverns intersect within New England, could you? Anyone familiar with the rich history and public lore around Three Dollar Dewey’s in downtown Portland, Maine, which closed late last year, could.
Just ask Joe Christopher, a Maine native and owner of a string of bars, inns, and outdoor life experiences (Shipyard Brew Haus at Sugarloaf, Three Rivers Rafting). The 48-year old Father of Fun, as he’s known to friends from his years rafting down rivers and jumping out of airplanes for a living, has taken on resurrecting the iconic Portland pub as soon as early March.
Helping the bar’s legend over time, always, has been the specter of its founding owner, Alan Eames, or as he was known to the beer community (and the New York Times), the “Indiana Jones of Beer”, so dubbed from his hyped hauntings of Egyptian tombs in order to read hieroglyphics about beer in ancient times and treks through the Amazon in search of mysterious black brews. He even looked exactly like Harrison Ford and carried a whip (okay, not really).
Eames has been credited for hawking Guinness stout to the beer masses when the beer was pushing for American market share decades ago. “It is one of the great joys in this vale of tears,” he says. He was also the founding director of the American Museum of Brewing History and Fine Arts in Kentucky and a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Beer. He was woke before anyone else was. The New York Times wrote upon his death in 2007: “Mr. Eames’s favorite and perhaps most startling message was that beer is the most feminine of beverages. He said that in almost all ancient societies beer was considered a gift from a goddess, never a male god. Most often, women began the brewing process by chewing grains and spitting them into a pot to form a fermentable mass.”
After buying Gleason’s packie in Templeton, Massachusetts in the mid-1970s, Eames later whipped up the idea for Three Dollar Dewey’s Ale House in Portland as a place for “great beers from Maine and away,” according to Christopher, who maintains it will continue as such under his tenure. It’s also 2019 Portland, so expect the new “high-end pub grub” overhaul to the menu to serve the vegan and vegetarian community as much as it will the ghost of “Dr. Jones,” as it were.
“From the time its doors first opened, it was a special place for everybody that was so much fun and created many memories for so many locals,” says Christopher. “It’s the first bar in Maine to have had ‘pints’ for sale at a bar. It’s impossible over these last 40 years not to think of the place when thinking of gathering with people downtown in Portland. I want to keep that alive.”