Saturday was the first official day of summer, I took the family to Acadia National Park so the boys could play on Sand Beach, we drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain and stopped at Thunderhole only to find that the tide was out and things were pretty quiet. The weather was perfect, there were no cruise ships at port and the crowds were pretty light, we couldn’t ask for a better day to be on the island.
We headed into town to grab lunch and walk around, the new Bar Harbor Beer Works had been recommended to us so that was our planned stop.
Bar Harbor Beer Works is located on the main stretch, across the road from Cool as a Moose, I don’t remember what the restaurant was there before but they have added an upstairs deck so there is over and under deck seating. I did not go inside to check things out; we instead grabbed a seat on the top deck. There are tables in the center of the deck that seat four people and some along the sides that seat two, plenty of Atlantic Brewing umbrellas to add relief from the sun as well as an outdoor bar with stools.
The Beer Works beer menu lists 33 beers on draft, 16 were local Maine brews, 2 were Domestics, 2 were ciders and there was 1 gluten free option but the menu didn’t denote the fact that it was a gluten free option. They also offer a wide variety of bottles and cans.
The food menu appeared to be mostly pub fare with a more elaborate dinner menu and a sprinkling of seafood dishes. Be aware that before heading in for a meal that the prices are a bit high, which I suppose should be expected of Bar Harbor in general. We had 1 appetizer, 1 lunch meal, 1 kid’s meal, the smallest order of chicken tenders, 3 beers and 1 soda for two adults and one child which tallied up to be a $70+ lunch. The food was good, not great. My wife loved the kettle chips and roll that the fish sandwich came on but was less than impressed with the amount of fish on the sandwich. The chicken tenders I ordered showed up lukewarm at best, had they been any cooler I would have sent them back. The only meal I can’t complain about was my son’s fish and chips which ended up being a bit more than he could eat even after running around on the beach.
Next door to the restaurant and accessible from inside is the One Off Pub which is a small room with a bar, 5 beers on tap that are not available in the restaurant and a small walk in humidor on the far end. I only poked my head in for a second, when I asked what was on tap I was handed a drink menu from the restaurant, which confused me since I was in the pub. There were only 4 beers on at the time, Geaghan’s Smiling Irish Bastard which isn’t a limited batch as it’s part of their core lineup, a Lemonade beer from Allagash that I’m not familiar with, Peak Organic Ginger Saison and a bourbon barrel aged cider. I asked a couple question and the bartender seemed confused so I headed back to my table.
It seems that the staff of the Bar Harbor Beer Works needs some training, after my experience in the One Off Pub I sat back down at the table and ordered a second beer, Rocky Coast IPA, to which I was informed that they hadn’t updated their beer menu and they didn’t have that on tap anymore. That’s fine, frustrating because I’ve never had the Rocky Coast IPA but not a problem, the waitress then attempted to recommend a substitute IPA from the menu, which is always appreciated when the person doing the recommending has a clue. The two suggestions I was given to replace the IPA were Geary’s Hampshire Special Ale (an English Style Strong Ale) and Baxter Brewing Tarnation (a California Common). The better two options at the time would have been Atlantic Brewing’s IPA because hey, why not support the local brewery and Peak Organic’s Fresh Cut, not an IPA but the Dry Hopped Pilsener would have been a fine substitute, Fresh Cut was what I ended up ordering.
Overall Bar Harbor Beer Works was ok, it was a bit pricey for my taste but that being said, I would most definitely stop in there for a beer and an appetizer, chill out on the deck, it’s a nice place to sit and socialize. They obviously have some bugs to work out, I would be ashamed to operate a business called “Beer Works” with an extensive craft beer menu and my wait staff and bartenders are not knowledgeable about the product. Hopefully with some time they’ll iron everything out, there is a lot of potential there.