In its twenty-first year, Allagash Brewing Company is showing no signs of fatigue. While many breweries who have been around as long as Allagash rest on their laurels, owner Rob Tod and head brewer Jason Perkins have maintained a youthful hunger for innovation.
Already in 2016, the Portland brewery has introduced two new beers to its year-round lineup: Sixteen Counties, a hoppy Belgian beer made with 100-percent Maine-sourced grains, and Little Brett, an ale brewed with Brettanomyces yeast and Mosaic hops.
Both beers are on the cutting edge of what’s happening now in craft beer — no surprise coming from a brewery that has been breaking new ground since the ’90s.
On Saturday, you can celebrate Allagash’s illustrious past and its 2016 brewing triumphs with the second annual Allagash Brewing Street Fair in the Industrial Way neighborhood. This year’s street fair will include beer from seven Maine breweries and four out-of-state brewhouses, live music, food trucks and even a Pinewood Derby for kids.
Last summer, Allagash threw its first street fair to celebrate its 20th anniversary by closing down the One Industrial Way neighborhood. It was such a great experience for festival-goers and the brewery that they decided it should be an annual tradition.
This year, patrons can enjoy beer from Industrial Way breweries Austin Street Brewery, Foundation Brewing and Geary’s Brewing, along with Allagash. Though Bissell Brothers recently left Industrial Way for Thompson’s Point, it will be getting back together with its former neighbors for Saturday’s street fair. Maine Beer Company and Rising Tide Brewing will also be pouring beers on Saturday.
That’s a stellar lineup of local beer.
Four impressive out-of-state breweries will also be on hand: Bell’s Brewing (Michigan), Jester King Brewery (Texas), Odell Brewing (Colorado), and Wicked Weed Brewing (North Carolina). None of these breweries currently distribute to Maine, so having access to them is alone worth the price of admission.
When asked how Allagash chose which out-of-state breweries to invite to the event, Jill Perry, the company’s head of retail operations, said, “it was sort of like, ‘Well, what would we like to drink?’
She added: “We are really excited and honored to being hosting the four we’ve got coming.”
One change from last year’s event is that attendants will be allowed to roam the street fair freely with pours of beers from Maine breweries, instead of being restricted to a beer garden while drinking. This makes it easier to check out all of the day’s activities. Because of state regulations, beer from out-of-state breweries must be consumed in a designated beer tent.
It’s important to note, however, that Allagash’s street fair is not only about the beer.
“We don’t know of any other festivals or fairs that are quite as diverse in terms of the range of activities and offerings for all ages,” Perry said. “We really think this is an event that pretty much anyone can enjoy. You don’t have to be a beer lover, although it certainly doesn’t hurt.”
In addition to the Pinewood Derby, kids can enjoy face painting, craft stations and a scavenger hunt. There will also be craft vendors, including Grain and Gear, Maine Leather Co., Sea Bags and Lighthouse Studios. The list of food vendors is lengthy and features a wide array of offerings from the likes of Love Kupcakes, Pizza By Fire, Salvage BBQ and La Crème Chocolate. The music highlights a diverse range of local bands, such as Micromasse and Zeme Libre. And there will even be performances by Circus Maine and The Portland Ballet.
Come thirsty, come hungry, and come ready to be entertained, because Allagash Brewing Company’s Street Fair will scratch all your festival itches.
WHEN: Saturday, 1 to 6 p.m. (VIP session begins at noon)
WHERE: Industrial Way, Portland
BEER: Seven Maine breweries and four out of state breweries, including Allagash Brewing, Austin Street Brewery, Foundation Brewing, Maine Beer Company, Bell’s Brewing, Jester King Brewery, Odell Brewing and Wicked Weed Brewing
ENTERTAINMENT: Expect kids activities, local crafters, local food vendors, music and even a circus show.
HOW MUCH: $20 per adult for general admission, $50 per adult for VIP access
MORE INFO: allagash.com/street-fair
OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS
Maine Breweries Make Collaboration Beers for Wheels of Souls Tour
July 15, Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, Bangor. Concert Tickets: waterfrontconcerts.com/events/2016/tedeschi-trucks-band
Five Maine breweries have partnered up with the bands on the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Wheel of Soul tour to create collaboration beers for the Bangor tour stop on July 15. Geaghan Brothers, Sebago, Orono, Gneiss and Rising Tide breweries have each teamed up with a band on the tour to create a beer that captures the essence of the brewery and the band. Rising Tide Brewing, for example, collaborated with the North Mississippi Allstars to create Hop Down Mama, a session IPA brewed with El Dorado, Amarillo and Cascade hops. This tour is already off the hook, so the addition of beer from these great Maine breweries will take it to 11. Just another reason to get your tickets to the show.
Orono Brewing Company Releases Cans
Available for purchase at the brewery, 20 Main St, Orono. oronobrewing.com
You may have noticed that I’ve been mentioning Orono Brewing Company more and more in the inches of this column. And for good reason. OBC is one of the best craft breweries in Maine. I’m pleased to report that it is adding a canning line to the brewery. Expect two brewery-only can releases each month from OBC. The first release will be its flagship IPA, Ozone IPA. This beer is brimming with citrus goodness, and I can only imagine how juicy it will smell and taste coming out of a can.