I stopped by the Lakes Region Brew Fest in Casco on Sept. 24 on the way to some fishing in the Bethel area, and got to taste some pretty unusual offerings.

The highlight of the festival for me was the cask-conditioned Rum-Soaked-Oak Old Thumper being served by Federal Jack’s in Lower Village, Kennebunk, the birthplace of Shipyard Brewing Co.

Mike Haley, head brewer at Federal Jack’s, said the offering was brewed like typical Old Thumper but aged with an 8-inch spiral of rum-soaked oak inserted into the beer, aiming to replicate a used rum cask for fermenting.

Now, Old Thumper is my favorite Shipyard beer, and last winter, I spent a day with Haley brewing a batch of Old Thumper. So I was inclined to like this beer. And I did.

Just getting a cask-conditioned Old Thumper would be great, with the milder natural fermentation, but the rum-soaked oak added a bit of sweetness and complexity to the flavor.

This is a specialty offering, and I don’t even know if there is any left, but it’s this kind of creativity that makes it a good idea to stop in at Federal Jack’s whenever you are in the neighborhood.

Another favorite of the day was Laughing Loon Lager from Oak Pond Brewing Co. in Skowhegan. I don’t get up to Skowhegan all that often, and they don’t often ship their beer to southern Maine.

This is a dark lager with a soft and creamy mouthfeel, a lot of caramel flavor and just a bit of hoppiness. It’s another beer that’s worth the drive.

I also tried a Shag Rock Red Ale. This is another new brewery, located at Amalfi on the Water in Rockland. I had stopped there earlier this summer, and had a very good IPA and a slightly flawed Belgian Wheat. The Red Ale was better than either of the two I had had before. It was smooth and flavorful, something along the line of a Smithwick’s Irish Ale.

I also had a Belfast Bay Oatmeal Stout, and this is a better beer on draft than it is from the bottle. It had a creamy mouthfeel imparted by the oatmeal, and a good rich flavor. The Belfast Bay brew pub went out of business a few years ago, and the oatmeal stout and red ale are now contract-brewed by Shipyard.

While in the oatmeal stout mode, I had a Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout. Wolaver’s is a branch of Otter Creek Brewing Co. in Middlebury, Vt., that makes organic beers. This was another very good oatmeal stout — rich and black, with a good mouthfeel. I thought the Belfast Bay was just a bit better, but — having only one glass — I never got to taste them side by side.

I am a bit disappointed with the publicity department at Boston Beer Co. I had been told a month or so ago that the Samuel Adams Beer Lover’s Choice was going to be held at the Lakes Region Brew Fest, and it wasn’t. I haven’t found out why. But the only representation of Samuel Adams was one tap of Samuel Adams Lager at a table it shared with Woodchuck Cider.

But aside from that disappointment, I really enjoyed the Lakes Region Brew Fest. It was a great place to decompress between work and vacation.

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at: [email protected]