“So this is our Flume Double IPA,” Shane Noble begins, “you can take the bigger glass.”
We’re off to a good start at Battery Steele Brewing Company, the newest addition to the One Industrial Way complex, alongside Austin Street and Foundation. The brewery is named for the titular WWII-era gun battery fortification out on Peaks Island. The fort is a spooky, powerful place, you can get lost in the tunnels and find pitch-black darkness at noon. “It’s a pretty weird spot that I’ve always gone back to,” Noble explains.
Noble started the brewery recently with his friend and business partner Jake Condon. Jake functions as Operations Manager/co-owner, with Shane in place as Head Brewer/co-owner.
Battery Steele has come out swinging with a 10bbl brewhouse system and a couple 20bbl fermentors. They’ve done a wonderful job of integrating a tasting room space into their bay at the Way. I enjoyed the aforementioned DIPA, Flume, which is hopped with lupulin powder from Citra and Mosaic. The guys also poured me Kineo, their IPA, which is oozing with South Pacific hops (namely a shitload of Vic Secret, Motueka, and Wai-iti). It’s bright, tropical, and pretty gorgeous.
They’ve started selling 4-packs of 16oz cans of each of those two beers, with more on the horizon. They also make a Biere de Garde and a seasonally rotating malt-focused offering (as of this writing it was Telos, a big stout, but that may soon change as we head into Spring).
I sat down with Shane and Jake, to talk about the early days of their new project.
Before Battery Steele opened their latest tap room, lines would form whenever the "beer window" was opened, offering cans of their brews to go. Photo from Battery Steele Brewing.
Phoenix: So how did you guys come together and decide to start this project?
Shane: I’ve been brewing for ten years commercially, Jake has been running front-of-the-house at a brewery for fifteen years, so it came pretty naturally to us. We lucked out with this awesome spot, and here we are. We started planning this about a year and a half ago so we made a lot of things happen in a short amount of time.
Jake: I started at Gritty’s in ‘01, and was there until last October. Started out in the brewery, waited tables, sat on the Door, barback, bartender, manager, and then eventually up to GM.
Phoenix: Does Battery Steele have plans for distribution of kegs or cans any time soon? Or will you just be selling out of the brewery for the time being?
Jake: It’s one of the unknowns we have now. We need to first lock down a proper amount that we can sell out of here that can service the people that come to the Park. But yes, eventually we do want to have logs out to the public, and have cans at select spots around town.
Phoenix: Any plans for anything funky or sour, any wild beers coming eventually?
Shane: Yeah, we’re gonna start putting stuff in barrels, but you won’t see that for a very long time.
Phoenix: As it should be.
Shane: But yes, we have every intention on cranking out some funky beers.
Phoenix: As you were looking for a location, did you have your eye on a spot here at One Industrial, or were you just interested in whatever was available and a good fit?
Shane: We wanted to be here, for sure. We looked a couple other places but then, you know you come out here on a Saturday and for a new guy there’s no better place to be. The exposure you’re going to get here, you’re not going to get that anywhere else. We lucked out that one unit was opening up.
Phoenix: As a young brewery, where do you guys find your inspiration? Any Maine beers that are particularly influential?
Shane: We have such an amazing cross section of beers here in Maine, the whole scene is an inspiration, really. There are so many good IPAs, from Bissell, from Foundation, from Austin Street. And then the other side, funky and sour beers, Oxbow, Allagash. Everybody has been doing such good stuff that every place is an inspiration for me. There’s just so much good beer around.
Battery Steele is located right next to Austin Street on the back side of One Industrial Way. They’re on Wednesday-Saturday 12-7, and Sundays 12-5.