Federal Jack's Restaurant & Brew Pub
Ratings: 41 | Reviews: 35 | Display Reviews Only:
3.7/5 rDev -2.6%
In Maine, hiding mostly. From work, and things worklike, and things like worklike. I need a breather from all the time on the road, so I'll pack up the car and get on the road, makes sense. Visiting nomadic college friends who at the 11th hour, opted not to wander farther to Alaska (and there was my hook for the barleywine festival next January). Might as well get my play on while I can...
Tucked on the end of a simple complex on the river Kennebunkebunk. And around the backside. And upstairs. And in. Seems they've got some room up here but you're ushered to one side. I'm going to say 2 dozen mismatched tables, squares, 'tangles, longies, hightops, and a few booths; much of it with crazy views over the river from the big bay windows, some of them blinded or you'd be.
Red walls over yellow slat wood lowers, and windows and trim all around. Wood floorings with faux tile area around the bar, exposed ducts and slat wood ceilings with some kind of framing, holding track spots or not, and wall mounted lamps. Drop cone lamps & quisps on the flipside center, and a few cooling spinnys. Walls done with nautical prints & paintings, including one of a guy riding a giant lobster, which technically qualifies, I guess. And a large logo piece with Federal Jack himself holding a pint with this "Yeaaah man!" expression over the wall of windows up front where they do bands and karaoke (of which I am glad to have caught neither). 4 x 8 blackboard on the far wall listing events & tap list, and flatscreens everywhere for all angles.
Slat wood topped "U" shaped bar with a slight lip in the center of the room seating 18 or so. Some booze welled below and shelved on something of a barback, and a horizontal "Home of Shipyard Ales" sign above. Oh, that explains some things. Ceramic mug club mugs run in rows from heavy chained racks overhead. Shirts & bottles displayed on the backside of the backside. A barometer mounted next to me at the bar reads between "Fair" and "Chance" on the heels of the rain I've been driving through for the last 4 hours.
2 row towers of 8 each below the bar with glassware stacked in between, and a live handpump on the end. You can do a sampler of 3, 5 or everything. You know me; I'll go with anything that's everything. Sampler is dealt loaded surrounding the menu card. 7 standards (Goat Island Light, lightly everything; Taint Town Pale Ale, made with actual taints, buttery and eeew; Brown Ale, an English Brown with a pleasant maltiness, similar to others; Blue Fin Stout, soft, silky, roasty goodness on nitro; Fuggles IPA, bitter, tastes, I don't know, meh; Old Thumper, English Bitter, decent balance, not bad; Shipyard Export Ale, malty okayness with hop something), 3 seasonals (Sirius Summer Wheat, an American Wheat, crisp & pleasant; Sunfish Wheat, on peach, which you can smell from New Hampshire, it's peach soda, it's too much, make it stop!), and a cask offering (Independence Ale, good hoppiness, the 'tender called it a Pale Ale, I don't think it is). The Brown Ale, Blue Fin Stout, Sirius Summer Wheat & Independence Ale were the best of the lot.
Started with a cup of the New England Clam Chowder. It was good, but you're in New England, so it had damn well better be. And then something something, I'm thinking the spicy stir fry done chicken. There were vegetables & rice 'cause that's how stir fry works. It was tasty but not so terribly spicy. I wanted the heat!
Had a look around. Past the bar counter space off the end of the bar lies a rear gaming room holding 4 pool tables, Big Buck Hunter, Phil's Golf Game (live), Daytona USA, a Roller Coaster Tycoon pinball machine, and a Galaga/Ms. Pac Man/Frogger unholy trinity machine. The walls adorned with Shipyard logo pieces proudly boasting their Ringwoodedness (They oughtn't). Acoustic Dave Matthews currently Crashing here. And out front, a porch of sorts for not being inside and the other side of the restaurant not open yet. But soon, oh yes, soon. And now sitting back at the bar, having some fun with Bobtender and the regular folks. It's a good crowd this rainy Monday night. Food was good and some of the beers I did quite like, but others, no. I might drink some of them again, but others, no. Comfortable place with nice views, I do dig looking down the river. As such is Maine.
09-22-2010 19:20:42 | More by slander
4.05/5 rDev +6.6%
Pulled off I-95 for a lunch stop before heading north to Portland. Its summer tourist season, so I expected a slow trip get to the brewpub. I was right. Others stated it was hard to locate, but I saw the sign for the strip mall and headed towards the back.
Located on the second floor, it is a bright room with loads of windows overlooking the harbor. Very scenic. Outdoor seating was available but it was a bit cool so no one was there. The bar was made of light colored wood and had about 15 stools. Many people were eating lunch at tables, including lots of kids with parents.
The back room has a pool table and Soprano's pinball machine. There were 10 beers on tap - a lite, export ale, pale ale, brown, Old Thumper, Old Thumper casked conditioned, fuggles IPA, summer wheat, raspberry wheat, and stout. The few pints my wife and I had were decent. Most were drinking the Shipyard beers, but a one patron was drinking a Bud Lite.
Food was pretty good. I had the fried clams and the wife enjoyed the signature mussel dish and the clam chowder. We tried the homemade rootbeer too - very good.
The two bartenders were very friendly and conversational. We talked about Portland and we got some recommendations for good eats and drinking places. They seemed to understand the offerings at the brewpub.
We spent about 2 hours here and had a nice time. Stopped in the gift store below for a quick look. They have growlers and variety 12 packs available. Plenty of t-shirts too.This place is worth a stop if you are travelling through this lovely state. Nice and scenic.
06-21-2005 23:54:30 | More by Gavage
3.44/5 rDev -9.5%
My wife and I had drinks here on the first night (Sat) of our long weekend in Kennebunkport. It was nighttime, but the bar is on the second floor, and I can imagine the view must be pretty nice on a clear day. Inside, it's pretty generic looking. Very plain colors, no real decorations. Televisions scattered about for sports, and pool tables off in their own room. We grabbed two seats at the bar. There were 10 beers on tap, plus a cask. We had a few rounds, and I founds the beers to be average, on par for Shipyard. I had the pale ale on cask, then the stout, and finished with the brown (on sale). My wife tried the sunfish wheat, which was oddly fruity. The pale and the stout were OK, but the brown was watery. Service was fine, as it was busy but our waiter got to us when we could. Prices were cheap, $4 pints and $3 for the brown. There was supposed to be a live band at 10pm, but we overheard the drummer at 10:30 say they could not set up until some diners moved from their tables. We took off before the music started.
05-31-2011 03:13:47 | More by morebeergood
3.98/5 rDev +4.7%
This is the hangout of the irrepresible JohnnyP. It's a nice, open, airy place, with a great view of the Marina. The outdoor, 2nd floor patio must be great in summer. They had about 9 of their biers on tap here, which is a very nice thing, yet the quality of the bier did not overly impress me. The "cask" porter was not hand-pulled, and it was from a metal keg and served much too cold. The have a decent menu, and the chili was tasty (yet nowhere near hot enough for me). A buffalo chicken sammich hit the spot, too, though it was a bit small for the price. Still worth a visit, imo.
atmosphere: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
11-04-2002 06:40:52 | More by Bierman9
3.73/5 rDev -1.8%
Not a bad little stop if you are on your way to Portland, fresh tasting beers. The Bluefin was top notch though the cask was not even a cask beer as I did not even see a proper beer engine and the cask porter tasted a bit green and was served way too cold.
The food was sadly just ok, steamed mussels were the best but the clam chowder and haddock sandwich could have used some work. Other than that it is certainly worth a visit for a couple of pints.
11-04-2002 06:25:58 | More by Jason
3.43/5 rDev -9.7%
A lunch stop with some fellow BeerAdvocate.com'ers before the Maine fest ...
Atmosphere was a bit bright, ultra-clean and geared toward an older / family crowd. View of the water was pretty damn cool. Service was good, but lacked any real beer knowledge.
Beer selection was good, seemed to have about 8 on-tap, all of which were served way too cold, including the cask which was conditioned in a normal keg (so it wasn't really a cask beer). Still, the beer was pretty tasty and fresh.
Food was okay. Loved the steamed clams, but the clam chowder had pratically no meat (more like a potato chowder). Haddock sandwich was medicore, not all that fresh and was served with too much bread.
Brewing system was on the ground floor, but closed off. Got a glimpse at the old-school Grundy tanks, which looked like lunar landing vehicles. Nice!
Federal Jack's is a bit off the beaten path ... but the birth place of Shipyard beers is worth a visit. Good place to have lunch, perhaps, but not a place that I'd hang out drinking in.
11-04-2002 07:11:36 | More by Todd
3.78/5 rDev -0.5%
This is a big pub with plenty of space and television coverage throughout the bar, dining area and pool room. Great views of the harbor from this second floor pub, right there with outside deck seating available. Friendly and knowledgeable staff, quick service and fair brews on the 9 taps and one cask ale. I was offered samples and had a delicious bowl of New England clam chowder to boot. It's got lots of windows to enjoy the view of the boats and water, bright and cheerful with modest but attractive seaside decor. A very enjoyable visit with decent brews. I would agree it may be more about the views and setting here than the beer, but I will be happy to revisit some day. A suitable place for family as well as a hang out with the guys.
04-25-2010 16:53:56 | More by Durge
3.7/5 rDev -2.6%
Stopped in on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The place is in a kind of strip mall, but upstairs and overlooking the harbor. It's bright, clean, and the view is wonderful. There's seating at tables, as well as in the bar area. Nice U-shaped bar. A pool table behind the bar and plenty of TVs. There were 10 beers on tap, as well as a cask-conditioned beer. Growlers were available.
The beers are OK, not great. My wife had a Pumpkinhead, which she liked. I had a Taint Town Ale (cask), which was fair, and the Longfellow Winter, which was a lot better. One of my favorite beers, Prelude< won't be out until December.
Service was quick and efficient, without being obtrusive.
We had a couple sandwiches, which were good but a little pricey. Dinner entrees looked to be a lot more expensive.
This was a great place to enjoy some beer on a sunny day.
11-19-2006 13:58:44 | More by lordofthewiens
3.43/5 rDev -9.7%
This place gets top notch credit for atmosphere. Though it sits in the back of some fake strip mall, the view looking over the harbor and boats is worth a stroll.
Service was a bit slow. We first checked out the bar, and the tender was slow and/or rude. Never got a drink before the table was ready. Wasn't sure if he didn't know what he was doing or was ignoring us for some reason. The waitress we had was just about average in every way.
Beers were okay. As with a lot of the Maine brews, seemed to be Ringwooded. Sessionable and nice to enjoy on the warm afternoon. Nice to stop by, but enjoy food somewhere else in prissyville before stopping off for a drink at sunset.
08-17-2006 12:50:14 | More by Dithyramb
Federal Jack's Restaurant & Brew Pub in Kennebunk, ME
87 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.