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Dave Patterson

Dave Patterson is a writer and musician who is thirsty for craft beer. He's been immersed in the New England beer scene for years as a patron and since 2013 as a beer writer. In his attempt to drink all the great beer America has to offer, Dave has become convinced that the Maine beer scene is among the best in the country. He can be spotted throughout the state at breweries, bars, and backyards imbibing brilliant Maine beers. It is his belief that craft beer plays an integral role in bolstering a vibrant local economy, so he urges you do your part by drinking local beer to support your community. Twitter: @PattersonWriter​

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Posted: July 14, 2016

Of all the brew fests, this one’s the best

Written by: Dave Patterson
A past Maine Brewers' Guild Summer Session at Thompson's Point. Photo courtesy of Maine Brewers' Guild

A past Maine Brewers’ Guild Summer Session at Thompson’s Point. Photo courtesy of Maine Brewers’ Guild

Picture me, a bearded 30-something of slightly doughy proportions, perched on a mountaintop with a megaphone pressed to my face shouting, “YOU HAVE TO ATTEND SUMMER SESSION: MAINE BREWERS’ GUILD 2016 BEER FEST!”

If I had a megaphone that would reach every corner of the Pine Tree State, that’s what I would do.

Throughout the year, I cover a lot of beer festivals in the inches of this column, but Summer Session – happening Saturday at Thompson’s Point – is without a doubt the best brew fest that takes place in Maine all year.

Bold statement, considering the number of great brew fests Maine plays host to, but I stand by it with the fiery dedication of Bernie fans defending their wily, gray-haired candidate.

Enough zealotry, let’s break down why Summer Session is the must-attend brew fest in Maine.

It all starts with the event’s host: The Maine Brewers’ Guild. For 30 years, the non-profit has united Maine brewers. Virtually all Maine breweries are part of the guild; this is one reason our brewing scene is so vibrant.

The guild encourages symbiotic relationships between brewers. It’s common to see them lending grains or hops or yeast or even manpower when there’s another brewer in need. The Maine Brewers’ Guild harbors the mentality that if one brewery wins, we all win. Brewers largely rally around this ethos.

What’s the result of the Maine Brewers’ Guild running Saturday’s brew fest? First, it means just about every great brewery in Maine will be there, and the brewers themselves will be pouring the beer. No other beer festival in Maine is so well attended by local breweries. The list is so vast that it would be absurd to name them all here. At the time of writing this, over 50 Maine breweries were signed up.

In addition to having world-class local beer, each local brewery is encouraged to invite an out-of-state brewer as its guest. There are at least 15 breweries from away signed up, and I expect that list has increased as we approach the event.

Attendees will also have the chance to vote in Summer Session’s Homegrown Beer Competition for which over 40 local breweries created a beer using only Maine-sourced grains. This competition highlights the impressive work being done by farmers and malt houses in the state.

But this festival is about more than beer. Maine Brewers’ Guild Executive Director Sean Sullivan explained, “This is the fest that is put on by the brewers for the brewers, and we use our insider knowledge to ensure the best experience for attendees.”

This is evident in the spacious venue the guild secured for the festival. Thompson’s Point is a sprawling setting that ensures festival-goers won’t feel cramped.

“We encourage attendees to shape the event into something they love. We welcome attendees to bring lawn chairs, lawn games (corn hole, etc.), to hang on Thompson’s Point’s great lawn and enjoy themselves throughout the event,” Sullivan said. Apparently, Summer Session is BYOC (Bring Your Own Corn hole).

There will be copious food trucks on hand to satiate your hunger, along with music from DJ Mosart 212 and Pan Fried Steel.

I may not have a megaphone to shout about this event from mountaintops, but let this column stand as my written decree that you do not want to miss Summer Session: Maine Brewers’ Guild 2016 Beer Festival.

Cheers!

Summer Session: Maine Brewers’ Guild 2016 Beer Festival

WHO: Over 50 Maine breweries and 15 out-of-state breweries will be in attendance
WHEN: 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Thompson’s Point, Portland
COST: $49 General Admission, $60 VIP Ticket
PURCHASE TICKETS: eventbrite.com


OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS

The Portland Club Hosts the 1st Annual Pig Roast Block Party
Noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, State Street, Portland. $40 per ticket.
What says summer more than a block party with local beer and a roasted pig? If you can’t make it to Summer Session, hit up The Portland Club’s block party this Saturday on State Street. The event features 16-ounce cans of Rising Tide’s Maine Island Trail Ale, a session IPA brimming with citrus and grass hop flavors. Black Tie Catering will be roasting a whole pig for the occasion, and the local band Vinyl Tap will be laying down an eclectic set.

Beer Brunch with Joe Gallant
11 a.m., Sunday, The Thirsty Pig, 37 Exchange Street, Portland.
If you’re looking for a way to recover from all that revelry at Summer Session, head to The Thirsty Pig for their Beer Brunch with music from local singer-songwriter Joe Gallant. Chef Matt will be pairing house-made sausages and other fare with locally brewed beer. The Pig, as it is affectionately known, has one of the best tap lineups in Portland, and this brunch is a great way to spend a Sunday morning.

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