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At long last (well, it felt like forever, okay?) Austin Street Brewery will be opening the doors for a grand opening of their tasting room for samples and growlers. I got a preview of some of their beer a while back, and I can say that the small-batch brews are of high quality and have an interesting and unique vision to them. The tasting room opens on Saturday, April 12 from 12-5pm and the brewery’s debut brew, Patina Pale will be on tap to sample and take home. The delicate and beautifully balanced beer is one that I look forward to tasting each time I’ve had the opportunity. In addition, there will be tasters of a different pilot beer, and the Wicked Good Food Truck (mmn, chicken and waffles!) will be on hand for tasty treats.
I never got the hang of watching basketball – too many squeaky sneakers going back and forth, so I have a tendency to ignore the “March Madness” posts on my various feeds. That was, until I ran across the Maine Madness Beer Tournament. Divided into categories for the different “regions” voting has been taking place at the different levels for several weeks. Last week, the winner – Rising Tide Brewing Company’s Maine Island Trail Ale, a.k.a. MITA (check out my review of it from last summer for a refresher on this beer’s background) beat out Allagash Curieux for the top spot. To check out the various battles (including a major upset victory over Maine Beer Company’s Lunch) can check out the full bracket here. A victory celebration will happen at Rising Tide on Tuesday from 6-7pm, where an official trophy will be presented. On the heels of this victory, though I assume it has been in planning for some time, is that MITA will be released in cans beginning on May 1st.
Sebago Brewing Company announced earlier in the week that they would continue to brew their Trekker Pale Ale as a fundraiser for their Trek Across Maine cycling team, lead by Brewer Jon Clegg for a sixth consecutive year. In addition to the beer being a fundraiser, there’s also an opportunity for anyone that wants to be brewer for a day. A limited set of 20 participants can pay $100 for the experience of brewing a production-sized batch of Trekker Pale Ale at the Gorham brewery during Brew for a Cause on April 26. Clegg will guide participants through the brewing process – and will later lead the over 30 member strong team across the Trek. Anyone participating in the hands-on experience also gets lunch, and a growler of Trekker that you brewed (once it’s done, of course!) as well as full “bragging rights.” All of the proceeds go towards the Trek, which is a fundraiser for the American Lung Association.
Sometimes on Twitter, I’ll mention something about Portland beer and get responses from Oregonians, thinking I was referring to the other Portland. Well, this time I checked twice, and this beer-centric announcement is actually for OUR Portland. Sierra Nevada, one of the largest breweries in the U.S., has announced that the Beer Camp Across America Festival will be happening in Portland Maine on August first – at the under-development location of Thompson’s point. What’s a Beer Camp Across America Festival?
Here’s what you need to know:
The tour stop in Portland will be the smallest city of seven on the list (which doesn’t include Portland Oregon). Participants can buy tickets to just one fest, or make their own beer trip around the fests with a pass for them all. This is definitely something we should be happy about – especially because it will happen because of some great legislative changes. Senate President Justin Alfond introduced a bill that simplifies the regulations affecting tastings and festival. Gov. Paul LePage signed the emergency bill, L.D. 1637, into law on Tuesday – and it makes it easier for both organizer and brewery participants to get involved. More info about the festival can be found here.
Speaking of legislation that makes it easier to be a beer geek in Maine… this week saw the end of the controversial and outdated law prohibiting the display of alcohol content by volume (ABV) on brewery and bar signage and menus. We can now be more informed consumers, thanks to Rep. Louis Luchini of Ellsworth who sponsored the bill that repealed the law, and thanks to those that spoke out in favor or more information getting to beer drinkers. I’ll raise a glass to that!