2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Marshall Wharf Brewing Company, Belfast, ME (July 3rd, Brewery Stop #20) The 20th brewery visited during the cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) was the Marshall Wharf Brewing Company in Belfast Maine. After a full day of driving north, we arrived late at our hosts Eric and Deanna’s house in rural Maine (just outside of Belfast). We ended up sleeping in a little bit and drove into Belfast to walk around the harbor a little bit and find some lunch. While it’s a small quaint town, there are a few really good restaurants by the waterfront in downtown Belfast, and we were able to try a few of them.
When we discovered this brewery, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that they specialize in one-off beers. They do offer some smaller plates and sandwiches from the Three Tides Restaurant (as you can see on their chalkboard), but we just wanted to try their beer. As you can see from the pictures, the brewery is sort of tucked out of the way next to the restaurant and parking lot in the ‘basement’ of a larger building. Some of the brew kettles are visible from the outside (large picture windows) as well as the seating area inside the bar. They can and keg some of their beers as well as offer growler fills and on-site drafts.
The location is somewhat small and more of a production facility than a full fledged bar as we have experienced at most breweries to this point on the trip. The server was really excited to hear about our cross country beer discovery road trip so far and gave us a great run down on their operation and what they are doing with their current line up of beers. We ordered the samplers and talked about the use of local resources and ingredients with her. She wasn’t sure if the grains they were using were from the east coast or not (definately not local), but the additional ingredients such as oysters, cranberries, and kelp are from Maine.
I wasn’t quite sure if the brewery was an off-shoot of the restaurant, or if it came about as a symbiotic relationship between the two. Regardless, it seems to work for them and I applaud their efforts to provide the local scene with some unique and challenging beers. It’s great to see micro breweries be successful and from what they show on their website, their beers are distributed around Maine, as far away as Portland at some bars and restaurants.
Regarding the beer available, they brew a wide range of styles with a few using local and odd ingredients. They had eight drafts that we sampled between the four of us, and each of us had at least one beer we really enjoyed. Reviews go right to left in the picture. While most of the beers were darker and a bit challenging (not really for the beginner beer drinkers), the standard beer styles they poured – stout, pale ale, and IPA were above average. I would like to point out that the seasonal and one-offs were really unique and worth trying if you ever have the chance. The more memorable beers for me were: Sea Kelp infused Scotch Ale, Oyster Stout (ten dozen live oysters used in the boil), and a Molasses Baltic Porter.
Marshall Wharf Brewing Company / Three Tides Restaurant
40 Marshall Wharf
Belfast, ME 04915
|Weisse Grip Hefeweizen
Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. • Hefeweizen • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.6% • 3 SRM
Cloudy bright yellow with a minimal white head that dropped off quickly. The nose is yeasty, lemon, clove and some fruit/flowers. The front to mid mouth-feel is a little dry yeast like, some hops are present (floral), with banana and clove spices expressed towards the mid/back. The mid-bodied, mild carbonation does this heffe right.
|Tug Pale Ale
Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. • American Pale Ale (APA) • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5% • 16 SRM
Copper and orange hued draft, some tight white bubbly foam, and a slight floral hop profile on the nose. The front mouth is really malty and bitter with a nice long-tooth hop grassy/citrus presence. The mid to back is a bit thin, low carbonation, and lingering fresh cut grass bitters.
Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. • American Pale Ale (APA) • IBU: ?? • ABV: 6.8% • 4 SRM
Clear, bright sunny yellow hue draft with a solid white bubbly head that had decent retention and some spidery lacing on the rim. The nose is grassy and citrus with some sweet malt notes. This beer is a little bit of an odd-ball, it’s got the yeast presence of a Kolsch with super hops with a thin body and sharp end, but the malts really hold it together with plenty of crackery grains expressed.
|Little Mayhem Stout
Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. • American Stout • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5% • 30+ SRM
Draft is dark chocolate/brown hued with a slight off-white head that lasted through the sample. Nose is coffee, cocoa, to smoked wet wood. The front mouth is pretty sharp with bitters (cocoa) and old coffee grinds (espresso?). The mid to back has good carbonation and dried fruits with some slight sweet caramel malts. It’s solid bodied, chewy, with slight smoke presence front to back which isn’t typical in stouts.
|Pemaquid Oyster Stout
Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. • English Stout • IBU: ?? • ABV: 6% • 40+ SRM
Dark brown to black, nice frothy tan head that had some lingering lacing on the rim. The nose is sweet cocoa and coffee with some secondary burned sugars. The front mouth is cocoa (bitters) and dark roasted coffee (espresso). The oysters barely show up in the mid to back with some lingering creamy vibes to carry the heavy cocoa and coffee notes.
|Wrecking Ball Baltic Porter
Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. • Baltic Porter • IBU: ?? • ABV: 9% • 40+ SRM
Solid black/brown hue draft, tan head with good retnention and lots of mushy lacing on the rim. The nose is rich, sweet, earthy and has hints of roasted grains. The front to mid mouth is solid roasted grains, tobacco, bitter chocolates and burned molasses. The mid to back express more of the sugars/molasses with hints of the alcohol present. Finishes really nice with a pleasant baltic roasted/burned/ashy bitter profile.
|Deep Purple Rauchbier
Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. • Rauchbier • IBU: ?? • ABV: 8% • 30+ SRM
Nice semi-clear dark amber/brown draft, head is minimal which dropped quickly, left little to no lacing. The nose is burned carboard/wood, with sweet caramel/toffee notes. The front mouth is really sweet and toasted malt forward. Mid is chewy, lots of carbonation, solid bodied, earthy/acidic hop notes expressed. The back is shows off more of the smoke and slight dry hops drop off the after taste.
|Sea Belt (MacFindlay Scotch Ale infused dried Maine sugar kelp)
Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. • Scotch Ale • IBU: ?? • ABV: 8% • 30+ SRM
NOTE: Collab with Maine Fresh Sea Farms and the Sea Grant Institute of Maine
Dark clear red/mahogany draft with a nice white foamy head that lingered till the end, some ring-like lacing on the rim. The nose is sweet malts, some dried fruit is expressed, some smoke. The front mouth is a bit shocking at first, sweet breads (grain build) are followed with a strong ocean water/kelp flavor profile. The mid to back has the smoked grain, dried fruit sweets, and some lingering salts from the ocean water sticking around. The mid-bodied beer had good carbonation, somewhat chewy and the smoke lingered well past the swallow.