2 years ago Dan Pease opened a restaurant called Rock Harbor Pub nestled on Main Street in Rockland, Maine. 2 years later in 2013 Dan bought a pre-owned brewing system and turned the pub into a brewpub. Now, you can go to Rock Harbor Pub and Brewery and enjoy some amazing food as well as their own delicious beers. The pre-owned system came from Bull Jagger Brewing Company (remember the Portland Lager?).
Bull Jagger was famous for brewing lager-style beers. They used plastic conditioning tanks for their laggering yeast and retrofitted an extract brewing system for lagers. After Bull Jagger stopped brewing the plastic conditioning tanks were sold to Urban Farm Fermentory and the brewing system was bought by Dan for Rock Harbor Pub and Brewery. The tanks are nice and copper in color which stands out when you’re walking down Main Street Rockland.
This year Rock Harbor participated in the 25th Annual US National Toboggan Championships Down the Chute Beer and Wine Challenge. Rock Harbor Pub and Brewery took home an award for their Rogue Wave IPA and Imperial Stout.
Since the brewpub started brewing beer, Rock Harbor Pub and Brewery has worked together a few times with a restaurant called The Landings in Rockland to do beer and food pairing dinners. Chef Max Miller would create dishes inspired by the craft beer. These ticketed beer and food events would bring 40+ people in attendance.
So let’s get straight to the craft beer. The day I arrived at Rock Harbor was the day they just put a few new beers on tap, including the Beacon IPA which is brewed with mosaic hops (my favorite hop in the world). In fact he had 3 IPAs on tap, including the Beacon IPA. The Storm Surge IPA is the west coast style IPA, so it’s a little more bitter than the others yet still remains super drinkable. The Rogue Wave is the Doubld IPA that weighs in at 8.5% ABV that has a great malt backbone. I also tried the Breakwater Wheat Ale, the Imperial Stout, Spuce Head Stout, and Imperial Stout. The Breakwater Wheat Ale is a great example of the style that is perfect for summertime.
I’ve tried Rock Harbor’s ESB before at Great Lost Bear during Portland Beer Week for the Maine Brewers’ Guild Tap Takeover event. It was a solid English-style ESB that was super drinkable. Dan just recently brewed another batch of this and it’s currently in the fermentor. I was hoping to get to drink it again when I drove up.
Rock Harbor Pub and Brewery brews for a different demographic than Portland. I noticed that Rockland had a much more blue colored feel to it. I believe this gives Dan the freedom and limitation to brew what he wants but in a rather more tame way. You won’t see Rock Harbor put out a barrel aged sour or beer with crazy ingredients. I believe Dan said it best, “I make beer that sells that people want to drink”. The beers he makes do not often leave the city limits, which is partly due to his brewery size, although Dan is looking to expand soon.
Dan has his eye on a possible place to expand the brewery. He would keep his currently system at the pub that would make experimental and special batches of beer. The theoretical expansion would allow Rock Harbor to brew more of the beers regularly.