A new Portland Beer Week event showcases new breweries in a fast-paced “Freshman Orientation” format.
In the last year, we’ve seen the opening of many breweries. This “freshman class” are already producing some of Maine’s most popular and highly-rated beers, and are definitely worth getting to know. So when Sean Sullivan, head of the Maine Brewers Guild, first told me about his idea for this Portland Beer Week event, I started grinning from ear to ear.
So what is it? Just another beer fest? Oh, no. This is so much better.
First, you’ve got twelve new breweries (listed to the right) that are all in one place, and not scattered about the state, each bringing their beer to showcase. And the format is unique – you’ll be placed with your first “class” when the bell rings, and you’ll get a taste of the first brewery’s beer – and a chance to get to know your classmates. At the next bell, you’ll go to your next “class” until you’ve seen every one. This speed-dating style event ensures that you get a taste of everything, and keeps you with the same people throughout, so it’s easy to discuss things and even meet some new people. At the end of the event you can proudly declare you’ve tasted beer from every brewery that opened in 2014.
A note from the teachers:
Don’t be tardy – this event starts promptly at noon when the bell rings and you’ll join fellow pupils to head to your first class! From there you’ll rotate around the venue, from ‘class’ to ‘class’ with the bell to guide you – spending quality ‘class’ time with reps from each brewery – learning about their background, the styles of beer they brew, their plans for the future, and of course, sampling their beer. With many of these breweries not distributing beyond their local region, this will be a unique opportunity to sample beers from our state’s ‘Class of 2014′ and enjoy the hell out of a Sunday afternoon…and still get home in time for the Pats game!
This event is also the beginning of an ongoing series of “Beer School” themed events scheduled for the upcoming year by the Brewers Guild, a schedule of which will be officially announced at this event. Attendees will get a calendar of events – and from what I’ve been leaked so far they involve great breweries and are very creative in their execution. They include tastings, educational sessions, and chances to participate in the brewing process.
I don’t like to play favorites, but I think this might be the event I’m looking forward to most for Portland Beer Week. The tickets, which are $30 are limited and for sale online at mainebrewersguild.bpt.me – to me, it’s totally worth the cost to have the chance to interact with 12 breweries and try their beer in a fun setting. I hope to see you in homeroom on Sunday! (More Portland Beer Week events: Portland Beer Week Nov. 1-7: home brewing competitions, beer manicures and IPA tastings.)