Marshall Wharf Brewing Company / Three Tides Restaurant
Active Beers: 54
Beer Ratings: 784
Beer Avg: 3.82
Taps: 17 / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 29 | Reviews: 18 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by sprucetip:
4.63/5 rDev +4.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Maine has a pretty kickass craft brew scene, especially considering its small population and depressed economy. Alllagash, obviously, maintains a prominent position in this rapidly evolving beer culture. Beer bars such as Ebenezer's and the Great Lost Bear are legendary either on this site or with the local populace, and the Lion's Pride and Novare Res are certain to gain similar status.
There is another one that should be on the regional, if not national, radar screen, and that is Marshall Wharf Brewing Company and the associated Three Tides Restaurant in Belfast.
I had been there once before, the night before their annual late winter/early spring break shut down in 2009, and was very impressed with the beer, atmosphere and service. I looked forward to returning, and was somewhat surprised that so few seemed to be in the know. Passing through in January on a Sunday night, we were denied the privilege of a visit as they are closed on Sundays and Mondays.
This last weekend we made a purposeful visit to Belfast, partly because of my desire to re-check the Marshall Wharf brews. Went there as part of a foursome. While the gals poked around some local shops, my buddy and I went to the brewery, as the restaurant, where the full glasses are served, didn't open til 4. We had free samples of the beer available in growlers at the time, and watched a steady flow of locals come in and fill up gowlers. We also learned that the brewery had suffered a flood from a storm surge over the winter, and was just getting back on its feet.
Later at the bar, the owner David said they were actually in the process of an expansion that would double their capacity, and were just waiting on an insurance check from the flood to get that moving again. Three Tides has 12 taps, and had 11 flowing the other day. They ranged from the light and dry but sharply hoppy Tug Pale (at 4.3% nearly legitimately a "session" beer as peer Ding and the Brits) to the big, bold bastards upwards of 11% such Chaos Chaos Imperial Stout and the R2 D9 Barleywhine (one with 10 months on it, the latter with 14 as per David).
Everything I tasted was at least good, if not better, and they cover a wide range of the style spectrum, including a big dopplebock, IIPA, a couple of different APA, and second running (5.0%) of the Chaos Chaos stout on nitro, and something called Illegal Ale-Ien, a hard to classify, high gravity "kolsch-wheat hybrid" weighing in at 7.2%. Asked about the the 7.2% "Kolsch", David said, in so many words, that they were doing that to screw with people, as it is their lightest colored beer. He said it is common to be asked "what is your lightest beer?" They have the lightest abv in the Tug Pale at 4.3%, but it is pretty hopped up. And then there is the lightest in color, the 7.2 Ale-ien described above. He said they intentionally made the Ale-ien light colored and high gravity so that they make the "lightest" beer selection less straight forward for folks. Left unstated, but fairly clear to me, was the opportunity for beer education and advocacy opened up in such a situation.
Prices are reasonable, full pints (limit 2) of the higher abv beers were never more than $8, and half pints were available as well. A five beer sampler is $6, and they are happy to let you sample before ordering. Additionally, when having to make the tough call between one high gravity nightcap and another, a little nip of the one not chosen can be provided with a polite request. So that's why the perfect score for service.
The place is very loose, the locals friendly, and the whole town has a great sense of community. The kitchen is tiny and menu mostly tapas and smaller plates, but even a big guy should be able to get his belly full. There are only about 5 or 6 tables, and when the place opened at 4 the first dinner seating was all reserved, and there wasn't much left for the second. So reservations are suggested if you want to eat there. Generally a good sign about the food. We all enjoyed the food.
Atmosphere, again, is super loose and friendly. Earlier David's wife made a comment about a dance party after they closed at midnight. I didn't know if it was flippant or serious. We saw them and their daughters the next day at a Maine Maple Sunday sugar shack event, and she said we shoulda stayed for the dance party.
Looking forward to my next visit to Belfast, and if they ever get around to bottling, it will be good news for New England. For now, if you can't get up to Balfast, look for it at Great Lost Bear and Novare Res in Portland.
03-29-2010 12:51:48 | More by sprucetip
More User Reviews:
Marshall Wharf Brewing Company / Three Tides Restaurant in Belfast, ME
96 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.