BrewReview: Nonesuch River Brewing
By Nick Nannicelli
Nonesuch River Brewing - Scarborough, ME
BeerSeekers on the Job: Nick and Brandon
When people think of the Maine brewery scene, they immediately go to Portland. And rightfully so. Portland is arguably the best city for craft beer lovers on the east coast, but there are hidden gems to be found outside the city limits.
One of these breweries that seemingly grows more popular by the day is Nonesuch River Brewing in Scarborough. NRB is about a 10-minute drive from Portland and is next to, you guessed it, the Nonesuch River.
Opened in 2017, NRB is the first and only brewery in Scarborough, and it also boasts a full bar and kitchen which can be rare to see in the world of craft brewing. Although (as of this blog) they have started to distribute locally, we still think it is worth the trip to the source.
One thing we love about breweries is that they come in all shapes and sizes. NRB separates itself in that it was designed with events in mind. A large, two-story post-and-beam-style building makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a ski lodge and/or upscale barn.
Upon entering you are presented with a horseshoe bar in the center of the room with large windows allowing tons of natural light to flood in from multiple sides.
Upstairs there is a covered balcony with plenty of seating as well. We happened to be there on a gorgeous Sunday, so needless to say we were a little late to get a table up top.
Given the beautiful weather, we sat at one of the picnic tables they had set up that wraps around the side of the building, which had been added to meet the demand and requirements for outdoor seating (NRB did a great job of making sure all social distancing practices were in place).
NRB blends rustic, country feels with modernism extremely well. You walk in and immediately notice it’s wooden everything - beams, floors, tables, etc. But it’s all brand new and spotless.
And one of the most unique features of this place is the exceptionally high ceiling inside, coupled with string lighting just overhead that travels from beam to beam and makes you feel like you’re outdoors.
When I walked inside, another thing I noticed was that the typical brewery smell (if you’ve been to a few breweries, you know what I’m talking about) was non-existent. Personally I don't mind that smell, but because their space is so large, all the brewing equipment is in a completely different room sealed off from the restaurant portion of the space. Plenty of breweries use this same concept as well, but 9 times out of 10 they are your bigger, more well-known craft brewers.
Overall, I loved the setup and I can see why this would be an amazing place to host an event. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I would urge you to take the virtual tour on their website to really get a feel for the layout of NRB. Now onto the beer!
Both Brandon and I agreed that the beer at Nonesuch was pretty good. The day we went there were 10 options on the menu, and we got to try nearly all of them by ordering a couple flights. We were able to find several standouts that we really enjoyed on the menu, which I’ll get to in a second.
The variety was certainly there. The menu featured three different IPAs (which we really liked), a couple darker beers, an Irish Red, a Cream Ale and a couple blondes - ideal for anyone who isn’t sure about their beer preferences.
However one thing I noticed about the beer menu was that only one of NRB’s offerings (the Double IPA) had an alcohol content greater than 6%. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re considering staying around for a little while to enjoy the excellent weather outside like we did.
Brandon and I have pretty similar tastes in beer, and we agreed on a lot this day in terms of both the beer and what was easily our Double-Take Pick, which may surprise a few of you BeerSeekers.
Pulled Pork Poutine
Fried Chicken Sandwich
Our Double-Take Pick is usually reserved for the beer that pleasantly surprised us. And this isn’t a knock on the beer by any means. I was actually a huge fan and the Double IPA that stood out with a blast of hops initially and an extremely smooth finish. This is all about how incredible the food was.
Poutine: I ordered a small which was recommended by our server, and she was spot on. The portion size was perfect for an individual.
I understand poutine isn’t for everyone, and I’ve had poutine that is just fries with a few measly toppings, which can be a huge letdown. This dish was so loaded with pulled pork that it became a meal more than it was an appetizer.
Fried Chicken Sandwich: No, I didn't eat both that day. But my girlfriend ordered this so I was thankfully able to try it.
The sandwich comes with pickled Jalapenos and spicy mayo which gives it a tangy but not too spicy flavor. Add the coleslaw and large piece of fried chicken breast for the additional crunch and it is one hell of a sandwich.
Nick and Brandon’s Pick
Sap Hound Maple Cream Ale (cream ale - 5.2%)
Touch of sweetness
Front and center in the picture above, this beer could moonlight as my Double-Take Pick as well, because I was genuinely shocked how much I enjoyed it.
I'm not usually a cream ale fan, but the addition of local maple syrup was intriguing so I felt I needed to branch out. I'm pretty glad I did.
The maple wasn't overpowering in any way, which was a pleasant surprise. Sometimes in similar brews you get an over-the-top molasses sweetness that takes away from the other flavors, and that was not the case here.
And at 5.2% it's in a good range of not being too strong yet not too light either. I'll definitely recommend this beer for anyone looking to change it up from their norm who enjoys a bit of sweetness in their beer.
Nonesuch's menu mentions that maybe it's time to bring the breakfast beer back, and after trying this I personally think that's a good idea!
All of us have friends and family who aren’t “beer drinkers,” so getting them to come to a brewery with us can occasionally be...challenging. What we love about NRB is that this place bridges the gap by being a full (and incredible) restaurant and brewery. Whether you're having beers with the boys, lunch with the family, are on a date, or even hosting a major event (you know, post-Covid), NRB is a perfect spot to do it all.
It’s a great location to spend an afternoon just outside Portland and enjoy quality beer with quality people. NRB is a place we will certainly be going back to.
Check out Nonesuch River Brewing online by visiting their website, and find them on social media @nonesuchriverbrewing. Cheers, BeerSeekers!