The first full week of November is approaching and that can only mean one thing. It’s not Election Day, or the final exodus of summer tourists from the Old Port, or even Axl Rose’s cold November rain. This week, my thirsty friends, is all about the sixth annual Portland Beer Week, the sprawling celebration of this city’s beer scene. From Sunday to Sunday, Portland’s world-class beer culture flexes its muscles with 45 inspired events inside the city limits. From beer fests to laser tag, curling to triathlons, Portland Beer Week proves why the original Portland deserves the crown of Best Beer City in America. I want to take this moment to reflect on craft beer culture. Specifically, the types of craft beer drinkers that haunt tasting rooms and basement pubs throughout the beer world. These cheeky descriptions are not to disparage — nay, they are to celebrate the dominance of craft beer while having some good, old-fashioned fun. (As a reference, I’m a mix of the first two. I’m working on it.)
MORE ON BEER WEEK:
The Maine(Today) Event
Foundation Brewing and MaineToday Present: Monday is the New Weekend Beer Release Party, Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., 5-9 p.m. Monday
Extend your weekend with Monday is the New Weekend. Patrons can bowl for prizes that include a room and dinner at the Westin, tickets to St. Vincent at the State Theatre and swag from Foundation Brewing – all while supporting the nonprofit Portland Trails. In addition to rolling rocks and releasing your inner Lebowski on a Monday evening, enjoy food from Bayside Bowl and limited-release The Weekender session IPA from Foundation Brewing, made exclusively for this event.
The Weekender was hopped with generous doses of Azacca, Cascade, Citra, Columbus and Magnum hops. This beer gushes aromatic notes of grapefruit and cantaloupe when poured into a glass. It has a sunrise gold appearance, and the first sip releases lush flavors of mango and pineapple with dank undertones and a refreshing lemongrass finish. At 4.5 percent, The Weekender is great for weekend days or a Monday night beer and has a surprisingly full mouthfeel. Enjoy this session IPA at this event and look for limited can releases at local beer stores. Part of the proceeds from the sale of The Weekender will benefit Portland Trails.
Other Portland Beer Week highlights:
Sunday: Blind IPA Tasting, noon to 1 p.m., The Thirsty Pig, 37 Exchange St.
Two years ago, I nearly identified all 10 samples of Maine IPAs that are part of this blind tasting. This is my year! Correctly identify all the Maine IPAs on this sampler and win Portland Beer Week fame.
Monday: Salvage BBQ Pro Am, 6 to 9 p.m., 919 Congress St., $35 per ticket
In this Portland Beer Week staple, professional brewers invite homebrewers into their breweries to make an experimental beer. Patrons sample beers from the dozen entries and vote on their favorites.
Tuesday: Taco Tip-Toe, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., citywide
This event is billed as a taco crawl. Ten Portland restaurants are hosting taco-and-beer pairings throughout the day. The titillating combinations include a duck tongue taco from Central Provisions paired with Allagash Avancé.
Wednesday: Blind Pilot Event, 5-10 p.m., Slab Sicilian Street Kitchen, 25 Preble St.
Seven Maine breweries each made a beer using the same yeast strain, alcohol content and standard reference method, and you pick the winner. This event offers a great chance to see brewers get creative with limited ingredients.
Thursday: Beer Drinker’s Triathlon, 6-9 p.m., 33 Elmwood Ave., Westbrook, $15 per participant
There’s nothing better than leisure sports and beer drinking. This triathlon includes cornhole, candlepin bowling and a blind beer tasting. Pre-register your teams to reserve your slot.
Friday: Maine Brew Bus Tour and Pour Takeover, Lone Pine Brewery, 219 Anderson St., $50
Hop on the Maine Brew Bus with a tour of local breweries guided by members of Lone Pine Brewing. The tour ends with a tasting at Lone Pine, where members of the Maine Brew Bus team will be pouring.
Saturday: Where the Wild Biers Are, noon to 1 a.m., Novare Res Bier Cafe, 4 Canal Plaza
No establishment has done more for Portland’s thriving beer scene than Novare Res. This event features an array of wild ales and sour beers from Maine and around the world, as well as foraged eats and wild-game meats.
Nov. 12: Maine Brewers’ Guild Presents: Freshman Orientation, 3-5 p.m., Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., $35 per ticket
This is one of my favorite events every year. Maine’s newest breweries pour a selection of their beers all afternoon, while participants have the chance to talk directly to the brewers. Celebrating Maine’s newest breweries is the perfect way to end another exhilarating Portland Beer Week.