Here’s another column where I tell you about a beer festival in Maine. I fear I’m becoming the boy who cried, “Beerfest!”
But here’s the deal: If you attend one brewfest this year in the great state of Maine, it should be Summer Session, the Maine Brewers’ Guild beer festival this Saturday at Thompson’s Point in Portland.
Why am I so excited about this beer festival? Let’s break down my fervor.
To begin, Summer Session brings together the largest number of Maine breweries in one brewfest. All of the big hitters will be there. I can’t even list the breweries – just know that your favorites will be pouring at Summer Session. All of them.
The impressive brewery lineup is largely because the Maine Brewers’ Guild works tirelessly to unite the Maine brewing community. As Maine Brewers’ Guild Executive Director Sean Sullivan notes, all of “Summer Session’s proceeds go to promote and develop the craft beer industry in Maine.”
There’s another reason to love this brewfest: It’s not put on by a conglomerate trying to make a quick buck off of Maine’s thriving craft brew scene. The money you spend on a ticket will be used to make Maine’s brewing landscape stronger.
In addition to the robust list of local breweries pouring at Summer Session, Saturday will feature some thrilling out-of-state guests invited to the festival by Maine breweries. I’m most intrigued by Tree House Brewing Co. out of Monson, Massachusetts. Their artfully crafted IPAs have become legendary in the craft beer world, attracting long lines at their remote brewery. They are a guest of Maine Beer Co. and share a kindred reverence for sticky hop resin.
Other notable guests are Troegs Brewing Co. of Pennsylvania (guest of Allagash), Dingle Brewing Co. of Kerry, Ireland (guest of Geaghan Brewing Company) and Lord Hobo Brewing of Woburn, Massachusetts (guest of Bissell Brothers). The guest list alone is worth the price of admission. This is the only time this year some of the beers from guest breweries will be available in Maine.
The siren song of the breweries alone should woo you into snagging a ticket to Summer Session, but if that’s not enough, let me sell you on the venue. Until last summer, Thompson’s Point was a gravelly wasteland with an ocean view. I had the pleasure of attending Sierra Nevada’s Beer Camp festival at Thompson’s Point last August, and the sprawling grounds and oceanfront surroundings made it a brilliant setting for a brewfest. The city spent the spring continuing efforts to improve this gem of a location, so it should be even better for Summer Session.
Great Maine beer? Check. Great out-of-state beer? Check. Great venue? Check. What else do you want?
Well, if all that’s not enough, there also will be a Beer School tent where attendees can learn about the craft of brewing from Maine brewers. And, of course, there will be the obligatory live bands creating a soundtrack to your afternoon of summer imbibing and food trucks to satiate your appetite.
Though I tout many brewfests in the precious inches of this column, let me urge you with an extra heft of gusto to get yourself to Thompson’s Point on Saturday to revel in the brewing bounty of Summer Session.
WHERE: Thompson’s Point Waterfront Venue, Portland
WHEN: 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday
WHO: Over 50 Breweries from Maine and Beyond
COST: $45 general admission, $60 VIP Admission
MORE INFO: summersession2015.eventbrite.com
OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS
Former Brewer and Co-Owner of Bull Jagger Brewing to Open Dirigo Brewing
Riverdam Mill, Biddeford
More Info: facebook.com/dirigobeer
It looks like the already impressive Saco-Biddeford beer-belt will grow by one more brewery later this year when Dirigo Brewing Company opens its doors. At the helm of this endeavor is Tom Bull, former brewer and co-owner of Bull Jagger Brewing, the defunct Portland brewery whose flagship beer was the crisp Portland Lager. With partner Mark Paulin, Bull looks to open Dirigo Brewing Company’s tasting room this fall.