Upon landing in Maine from Egypt I quickly became accustom to hearing the name “Tim” used in relative proximity to the word “beer.”I questioned this combination, and found out that there is a store in Maine called Tim’s Little Big Store that sells top shelf beer for a vagabond’s penance. Chaya’s family is one that [...]
Upon landing in Maine from Egypt I quickly became accustom to hearing the name “Tim” used in relative proximity to the word “beer.”
I questioned this combination, and found out that there is a store in Maine called Tim’s Little Big Store that sells top shelf beer for a vagabond’s penance. Chaya’s family is one that has a good nose for bargains — “Metsieh!” — and beer rarely ever seems to be purchased outside of road trips to Tim’s.
“Tim’s Little Big Store is a little ways out there, so we usually all go together,” Chaya explained about her family’s habit of making these beer pilgrimages in groups, “We can’t go to Tim’s alone.”
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Bangor, Maine – June 21, 2009
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This became a Catch-22 sort of situation: I wanted beer, though I could not bear the thought of paying full price for what I could get for half, and we could not go to Tim’s until the family stock of beer ran low. I also did not feel comfortable drinking all the beer in the Chaya’s parent’s house all by myself in order to single handedly expedite a pilgrimage — that would not leave an idea impression for a soon-to-be son in law.
Beer is a funny substance for a traveler. In most countries, beer is a little too expensive to purchase regularly — I rarely ever even think about buying beer — but sometimes in some places you can get it for next to nothing. In Mongolia, beer sells cheaper than water — the same goes for Panama, Ecuador, and the Czech Republic. When in such places, I delight in drinking down an occasional handful of beers while ticking these words off into oblivion.
Drinking beer is enjoyable, though not so enjoyable to warrant its usual expense.
With the prospect of Tim’s Little Big Store I became excited about getting a load of good beer without hearing a great big sucking sound coming from out of my pocket. I like beer. I was excited about the idea of getting beer in America without poisoning myself with Natural Ice or Pabst’s. I was also curious about this mysterious Little Big Store that was able to sell beer so cheaply while every other store had to charge so much. I am not the sort of fellow who is very skilled at putting off my curiosity.
Soon, the beer supply in the collective household’s of Chaya’s clan began to run low, and my ears perked up one evening over dinner when the magic words, “no,” “beer,” and “Tim’s” were spoken all together in the same verbal clause. I figured that this was my chance to act, so I volunteered Chaya and I to do the dirty work, and make the pilgrimage to the Little Big Store on our own.
We then took the family orders for beer, and the next day drove out to Old Town, Maine — a half hour from Bangor. I was now getting down to the bottom of this mystery — and getting some beer.
We soon arrived at the fabled “Tim’s.” It appeared at first to be a regular convenient store, complete will chubby little Little Leaguers selling candy bars out front. Though when we walked through the door, we befell a wide open arena of beer, wine, tobacco, coffee — all the legal vices of America under one roof, being sold for bottom of the barrel prices.
A table was set up with single bottles of good beer spread out all over it. A select-your -own six pack carries a standard charge of $3.25. Chaya and I leafed through the sea of local and national micro brewed beers that usually sell for over $8 a six pack, and selected 70 or 80 of the best choices. It was thought that we were not only buying beer to restock the general house supply, but also for our wedding . . .
I asked the guy behind the counter how he could sell this beer for so cheap, and he explained that Tim’s is one of three stores in Maine permitted to sell reclaimed beer. So when a grocery store unstocks beer because it runs too close to its expiration date, it is sent to Tim’s, and sold at half price.
“Every Tuesday and Friday we get a new shipment,” the guy behind the counter proceeded to tell me.
I noted these dates, and penciled them in as the potential launch windows for any future cheap beer pilgrimages to Tim’s Little Big Store.
(editor’s note: an overzealous groom accidentally jumped the gun and drank most of this wedding beer — go figure)
The address of Tim’s Little Big Store
157 Main St
Old Town, ME 04468
Map of where Tim’s Little Big Store is located in Old Town, ME
Chaya picking out beer for the non-pregnant members of the wedding party
Cheap Beer Pilgrimage in Maine
About the Author: VBJ
I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. VBJ has written 3679 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.
VBJ is currently in: Papa Bay, Hawaii
June 28, 2009, 11:34 pm
Yes! Amazing! Just out of curiosity, how close to expiration are the beers? Can you taste the difference or are they just as delicious?
I also noticed how ridiculously cheap the beer is in Panama. Something like 25 cents in the store? Incredible.
June 29, 2009, 12:42 pm
Let the record show that Smirnhoff Ice is NOT beer. For shame, Chaya…
June 30, 2009, 10:39 pm
These are pick your own six packs. The printing on the boxes is not an indication of what we put inside them.
June 30, 2009, 10:43 pm
I never checked the actual expiration dates . . . I will and get back to you. I have not yet opened a bad one yet. Though a friend just popped one open the other day that was half empty . . . and then he got another that was filled with water haha. But these were the only two occurrences of non-perfect beer out of the 300 or so bottles of beer that I have purchased from Tim's since coming to Maine.
Yeah, the beer bottles in Panama sometimes cost more than the beer haha.
July 20, 2009, 1:33 pm
What were the other beer prices like? I'm also looking to stock up for my wedding.
July 21, 2009, 9:12 am
The rest of the beer was also very well priced. I think we paid around $8for 12 packs.
Go to Tim's, it is a great place to stock up on beer for your wedding.
We were able to buy so much beer that still had some left over. I think we only spent a little over $100 in total.
August 20, 2009, 4:39 pm
I'm a guy who has lived in Old Town all of my life. Tim's Little Big Store is a place everybody who lives in the Old Town, Orono area knows. There you can buy whatever!!!!! They have nothin' but deals!!!!! Cheap beer, cheap ciggs and a variety of everything and anything!!! The place is cool!!!! The only place i buy beer! And for the munchies try Johnny's Pizza right across the street! If tim's was a restaurant it would be called Johnny's!!!! "You'll Like it", even if your name isn't Mike!!!
November 28, 2010, 1:59 pm
Wow. That would be nice to have a store like this in Florida. Btw all this talk about how cheap beer in Panama is – looks like I know where I am planning my next trip 🙂
December 19, 2010, 8:05 am
Did you go to old town high????? What year???????? Did ms. Marley teach you to use so many exclamation marks to end your sentences??????? Or was that something you thought up all by yourself????? Were you drunk on Tims beer when you wrote this????????? I agree with everything he wrote though !!!!!!!!! Too bad reeds bakery is gone!!!!! He could have written about that too!!!!!!
December 19, 2010, 8:19 am
Ps your map is wrong…it’s not pointing to where tins store is…its actually pointing to where nude bowling is…rims is up the road at the bottom of still water ave
January 5, 2011, 6:20 pm
Wow. That would be awesome. Really the beer is thath kind of cheap? .
April 1, 2011, 1:00 am
I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays..
June 28, 2012, 7:46 pm
haha! My thoughts exactly! What is the planet coming to?
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