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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: March 16, 2015

Beer + Facial Hair: Bearded Brewfest at USM’s Sullivan Complex celebrates the beer/beard connection

Unlike most beer festivals, the Bearded Brewfest will include demonstrations and samples of beard products along with a facial hair competition.

Written by: Dave Patterson
Photo by Samuel Cousins

Photo by Samuel Cousins

Fact: Brewing and beards go hand and hand. Enter a tasting room in Maine and you’ll see a man in Muck boots, holding a mash paddle, and sporting a finely manicured face sweater.

It remains one of the great mysteries of the craft beer world as to why most brewers have beards. No one seems to have a good answer for this question. Maybe it’s mere coincidence. Or maybe, just maybe, there’s a secret brotherhood of brewers akin to the Freemasons, and instead of a square and compass as their emblem, they have the beard. It’s just a theory.

Of course, there are plenty of brewers who freely choose to expose the skin on the lower half of their face. And let’s not forget the talented women of brewing – of which there are many – who, as a matter of evolution, do not don facial hair.

But the fact remains beards abound in the brewing profession.

And now there is a brewfest that combines beards and brews. This Saturday, kicking off Portland’s week-long Facial Hair Fest, beer and beard lovers alike can partake in the Bearded Brewfest at the University of Southern Maine’s Sullivan Gym. Unlike most beer festivals, the Bearded Brewfest will include demonstrations and samples of beard products along with a facial hair competition.

During the 1 to 4 p.m. session, patrons can enjoy the CanAm Beard and Moustache competition (not to be confused with the Stache Pag, which takes place at the State Theater on March 27). There’s a $40 entry fee, featuring seven categories to compete in.


Bearded Brew Fest Logo


Enough about beards. The big question for judging the validity of any brewfest: How are the beers? The list looks strong, my friends. Here are a few of the confirmed offerings.

Foundation Brewing will be pouring Burnside. Though this brown ale was originally named for different reasons, Foundation noted that there’s a nice connection to General Ambrose Burnside. Now that guy had a stache!

Rising Tide Brewing will showcase Left Shark, an IPA featuring El Dorado and Nelson Sauvin hops. It’s cold fermented for a clean, lager-like finish.

Expect a dry stout from Tributary Brewing. I’m told that because head brewer Tod Mott’s beard has turned grey, he was not able to use it in this dark beer.

And if you’re a Brettanomyces fan, Allagash has you covered with Century Ale, a brett saison fermented for two years in stainless steel with a blend of traditional saison yeast and Brettanomyces. Century Ale was not brewed specifically for the Bearded Brewfest; however, Jeff Pillet-Shore of Allagash explained to me, “The beer is beard-related like all Allagash releases in the sense that – well – a great percentage of our brewers have rather lovely, well cultivated beards.”

Judging by the excitement these breweries exuded when I contacted them about the Bearded Brewfest and by the special brews they’ll be pouring on Saturday, this brewfest seems like the real deal. Whether or not you have a predilection for beards, muttonchops, fu manchus, or soul patches, what’s pouring at the Bearded Brewfest will quench your thirst for great beer.


The Bearded Brewfest

WHERE: USM Sullivan Complex, 66 Falmouth St, Portland
WHEN: Session One: 1-4pm Session Two: 5:30-8:30pm (CanAm Beard and Moustache Competition During Session One)
COST: $27.50 advance, $30 day of


Seventh Annual Beer and Cheese Tasting
Vignola Cinque Terre, 36 Wharf Street, Portland
12:30-5 p.m. Saturday
Everyone knows wine and cheese go together, but Vignola wants to illustrate that beer and cheese make a nice team as well. Expect over twenty types of cheese paired with international and domestic beers and ciders. This event will also feature beer from Allagash and Rising Tide on the ten draft lines at the restaurant. If you want in, Vignola urges you to make your reservation ASAP.

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