There is another beer with the city's name on it, but don't be misled; the only brewery now truly native to Belfast, Maine, is Marshall Wharf. With a rotating showcase of more than 40 varieties to its name – everything from a low-alcohol kolsch to a very hoppy IPA – not to mention a warm welcome and well-liked location, it's got plenty to offer.
Just a few blocks from Main Street, but right in the thick of the city's new Front Street development, Marshall Wharf has a rough-around-the-edges tasting room (at the time of writing open 11am-4pm Monday to Friday) in a building shared with brewing tanks; a beer garden complete with a large free-standing wood-fed stove-pipe heater; and serves in a next-door restaurant called Three Tides, with an inside bar and expansive terrance. All of this is right at the edge of Penobscot Bay's narrow northern tip.
To my taste, some of the beer – including the flagship Tug Pale Ale (5% abv) – lacked the complex body of other notable craft brews, but the malty Cant Dog Imperial IPA (10% abv) and oaky Sexy Chaos Russian Imperial Stout (11% abv), for example, were excellent. Taken as a whole, though, especially from a $6 sampler of any five beers, I came away mightily pleased with the whole beer experience, including the variety and artistry.
That said, I regret not having tried any of the single-malt whiskey, aged-and-conditioned beers that I later learned are the real thing. They're top of the list for next time.