Remember in 2012 when Mumford and Sons thundered into town with their Gentlemen of the Road Tour? Portland was one of only four U.S. tour stops. The most powerful Americana band in the world turned its eyes on our city for a night. The event was as magical as we could have hoped. It was a once in a lifetime event in Portland.
But what if I told you epic festival lightning could strike twice?
On Friday at Thompson’s Point in Portland, a second colossal bolt will strike us. Hard. The iconic brewers at Sierra Nevada have put together a rock and roll-style tour called Beer Camp Across America to celebrate the opening of their new brewing facility in Mills River, North Carolina. And they have decided to make Portland one of its seven stops.
More than 100 breweries from New England and beyond are lined up to pour in on Aug. 1.
I know, Maine already has some great beer festivals throughout the year. What makes this one so special?
Frankly, the list of brewers for Beer Camp reads like the star-studded roster for the 1985 smash hit, “We Are the World.”
When the gates open, this beer writer is running straight for the following brewers: Firestone Walker (give me some Parabola), and like a school girl screaming for Justin Bieber, I’m going to pay homage to Sierra Nevada, whose 1981-born Pale Ale ushered in the age of the American craft beer.
In addition to the impossible-to-get beers that will be at Beer Camp, Sierra Nevada collaborated with 12 of the best brewers in this country to create a one-time only 12-pack. God, I hope you got your hands on this. It’s a brilliant box of beer genius. It contains a range of styles from stouts to ales to bocks.
Drinking this 12-pack is like watching the 1976 rockumentary, “The Last Waltz,” where The Band backed up the greatest singers of their generation for a night. The music was a wonderful blend of The Band and whoever was singing at the moment. That’s what’s going on in this 12-pack.
Our hometown hero, Allagash, was part of this beer collaboration with its Belgian-style pale ale, Myron’s Walk. This pale ale has the sharp bite of Allagash’s signature yeast and spicy coriander with a hop zing finish of Sierra Nevada-inspired Citra and Mosaic hops. It’s a true marriage of Belgian and American brewing styles, and I want it year-round!
Do your best to get a ticket to Beer Camp, because like the Mumford and Sons festival on the Eastern Prom in 2012, this event will be talked about for years to come. Cheers!
Dave Patterson is a writer and musician from Cape Elizabeth. He is on Twitter:
WHEN: 5 to 10 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Thompson’s Point, Portland
HOW MUCH: $65, which includes unlimited beer samplings, souvenir tasting glass and live music
FOR TICKETS and information, go to beercamp.sierranevada.com
ALSO, starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, all the beers in the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp collaboration 12-pack will be available in $3 pours at Sebago Brewing, 211 Fore St., Portland. Proceeds benefit the Maine Brewers Guild.