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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: June 17, 2016

Two great craft beer festivals to choose from Saturday

Written by: Dave Patterson
After the run at the 2015 Craft Brew Races at Payson Park. The festivities at last year's Great Falls Brewfest in Lewiston, below. Photo by Dave Patterson

After the run at the 2015 Craft Brew Races at Payson Park. The festivities at last year’s Great Falls Brewfest in Lewiston, below. Photo by Dave Patterson

Some weeks are tough for craft beer lovers in Maine. Not because there’s nothing going on. Nay, the burden is that some weeks there are too many great beer events to attend.

We find ourselves in one of those weeks.

This Saturday, two of the summer’s most enjoyable beer festivals are taking place concurrently. Craft Brew Races features a 5k run around Portland’s Back Cove followed by a brewfest in Edward Payson Park. While just up the highway in Lewiston, Baxter Brewing Company hosts the Third Annual Great Falls Brewfest.

Having attended both events last year, I want to tell you to go to both brewfests, but, lo, I cannot. The question then isn’t: Are you going to attend one of these festivals? (Of course you are, you’re not a monster.) The real question is: Which one do you attend?

Here’s a breakdown of each event to help you solve this brewfest conundrum.

Normally, craft beer festivals help me pack a few more pounds onto my doughy craft beer body. Craft Brew Races, however, encourages festival-goers to partake in a run around the picturesque Back Cove trail. In April, I started training for the 5k to fully embrace the Craft Brew Races experience. The training has been, well, hard, but I should be ready to jog the 3.1 miles before I start filling my tasting glass with Maine beer.

The post-5k festival features over 40 breweries from Maine. The list includes Foundation Brewing, Tributary Brewing, Liquid Riot and Oxbow Brewing. You’ll also get a chance to sample beer from Maine’s newest breweries: Mast Landing Brewing, Lone Pine Brewing, Fore River Brewing, and Dirigo Brewing.

In addition to the great lineup of Maine breweries, Craft Brew Races offers live music, cornhole and the relaxed vibe of people in running clothes (and even costumes) after a run.

Now for Great Falls Brewfest, a brilliant beer festival in a great location.

Surrounded by the brick buildings erected during this country’s Industrial Revolution, Simard-Payne Memorial Park is a superb setting. This wide-open field offers plenty of room for patrons to spread out and enjoy endless samples of craft beer.

Great Falls Brewfest has a large stage that will feature Girls, Guns and Glory. The Boston-based band played at last year’s brewfest, and their Americana-charged sound paired nicely with crisp Maine beer.

The spacious locale also allows for cornhole, a disc golf hole, a graffiti wall and plenty of food trucks to satiate your belly between beer samples.

While some breweries are pouring beer at both festivals, most are not. This is where your decision gets real hard. Great Falls Brewfest plays host to Bissell Brothers, Austin Street, Barreled Souls, Bear Bones Brewing and the brewfest organizer, Baxter Brewing Company, none of whom will be pouring at Craft Brew Races. This brewfest also offers beer from out-of-state breweries like Left Hand, Dogfish and Green Flash Brewing.

This weekend’s onerous decision is one of those “good problems” people talk about — it illustrates how lush Maine’s beer scene truly is. However, a problem’s still a problem. Godspeed as you choose between Craft Brew Races and the Third Annual Great Falls Brewfest.



Craft Brew Races 5k Run and Brewfest

 WHEN: Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Edward Payson Park, Portland
 BREWERIES: 40-plus breweries Including Foundation Brewing, Tributary Brewing, Liquid Riot, Oxbow Brewing, Mast Landing, Lone Pine Brewing and Fore River Brewing

Baxter Brewing Presents the Third Annual Great Falls Brewfest

WHEN: 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Simard-Payne Memorial Park, Lewiston
BREWERIES: 30-plus breweries, including Bissell Brothers Brewing, Austin Street Brewing, Barreled Souls, Bear Bones Brewing and Baxter Brewing Company


 Maine Beer Company Tap Takeover at Ri Ra Irish Pub
Noon to close Saturday, 72 Commercial St., Portland
You might equate Ri Ra most closely with Guinness, but this Saturday the Irish pub teams up with Maine Beer Company to serve American-style hoppy beers. This tap takeover will feature five taps dedicated to the Freeport brewery. Lunch, Zoe, MO, Beer II and A Tiny Something Beautiful will all be flowing Saturday. One dollar from each pint sold will be donated to Friends of Casco Bay. Live music and plenty of hop-forward Maine Beer Company brews sounds like a good way to spend a day.

Orono Brewing Company expands to downtown Bangor
26 State St., Bangor.
If you’ve tried Orono Brewing Company’s lineup of artfully crafted beers, then you know just how good this brewery is. OBC is expanding their operations to include a tasting room, pilot brewery, barrel room and wild beer program in downtown Bangor. Their cozy Orono brewery and tasting room will continue to produce the majority of OBC’s beers, while the Bangor facility will allow head brewer Asa Marsh-Sachs to innovate and play with new beers and ingredients. Make the trip to the Bangor area to experience what’s brewing at OBC.

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