Batson River Fish Camp opened last year in Wells. Photos by Angie Bryan

Ever since I visited the original Batson River in Kennebunk, I’ve been a fan, later hitting the brewery and distillery’s Portland and Biddeford restaurants. Each time I was impressed by the décor, the service, the food and the drinks. The fourth location, Batson River Fish Camp in Wells, opened last year. When I finally made it there more than a year later, I was relieved to discover that it lived up to the standard I was expecting, while also having a unique feel, thanks to the fish camp theme.

The Wells location has both indoor and outdoor seating. When you walk in the door, you see a large bar in the center; tables are to the left. A small room in the back has a lounge-like feel with photos on the wall and some games. The casual vibe is a cross between a typical Maine camp and a sports bar, with a more lively crowd and atmosphere than I experienced at the other locations. The décor is less interior design and more camp, with twinkling lights on the ceiling mimicking stars and with lamps made of fish trap baskets. The wicker barstools have backs and footrests and are very comfortable, but the hooks underneath the bar are few and far between – there wasn’t one anywhere near my barstool. Music was loud, and it was pretty dark inside, but we were still able to converse and read the menu.

The Victoria’s Secret and the Berry Campy from Batson River Fish Camp.

The cocktail menus are seasonal at Batson River, which switched to more of a fall theme after our visit, so only one of the drinks my friend and I ordered is still on the menu: the $14 Berry Campy, made with vodka, strawberry, simple syrup, lemon juice and club soda. Strawberry can be a difficult flavor to make shine in a cocktail, but they nailed it. The other drink we tried, which unfortunately (but understandably, given how summery it was) is no longer on the menu, the $15 Victoria’s Secret, was the perfect blend of jalapeño-infused tequila, Combier (an orange-flavored liqueur), watermelon puree, lime juice and agave. Essentially a fancy spicy watermelon margarita, it had complex layers of flavor enhanced by the Mexican spices on the watermelon garnish.

Like the food (which they describe as new American pub fare), some cocktails are available at more than one Batson River location, while others are unique to a particular location. In addition to the Berry Campy, the current cocktail menu in Wells also has a sarsaparilla fig mule, a blackberry 75, a Tim Collins (a twist on a Tom Collins involving lavender simple syrup) and more, ranging from $14-$19. A $22 flight features all four Batson River spirits: Riparian gin, Langsford Road bourbon, Dixie Bull rum, and Clock Farm vodka. There are also three mocktail options, four $12 wines by the glass (Prosecco, Chenin blanc, chardonnay and cabernet), and a rotating Down East cider for $8.

The current beer menu has three $8 core beers (a German-style Pilsner, a cold IPA, and a New England IPA) and 10 seasonal and limited release beers for $8-$9 (right now there’s an Italian Pilsner, a New England IPA, a double IPA, a porter, a Vienna lager, a West Coast IPA, a rustic German dark lager, a Belgian witbier, a dry stout and an imperial stout). Batson River Fish Camp offers brewery tours on Fridays at 4 p.m., but you must sign up in advance.

I’m not much of a beach person, but thanks to my recent discovery of Wild Bevy Distilling and Batson River Fish Camp, I’m going to be spending a lot more time in Wells.

Retired diplomat Angie Bryan writes about Maine’s cocktail bars while making as many puns as her editor allows.

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