By now word is out that “The Festival,” the hot new beer festival organized by Shelton Brothers importers, is coming to Portland in June for its second year of bringing together the best brewers and the most devoted beer geeks. (Last year’s inaugural festival was held in Worcester, Mass.)
Shelton said in a recent phone interview that one of the exciting new participants this year will be Armand Debelder, an authentic lambik blender from Drie Fonteinen in Belgium. He’s expecting around 75 brewers in all to attend the event, which has been called a Woodstock festival for beer lovers
Dan Shelton said he expects to announce the date that tickets will go on sale sometime in the next two to four weeks. The news will come through Beer Advocate, Shelton Brothers, 12 Percent Imports and the website for “The Festival.”
Then, about a month later, tickets will go on sale through Eventbrite, and they are expected to go fast, perhaps in a day or less.
“We want to be careful that everybody has an equal opportunity to get a ticket,” Shelton said. “It’s going to be limited, we’re thinking, to about 1,000 people for each session …The people who really are most excited about it, we presume, will get their orders in quick and won’t be disappointed.”
There will be three sessions (two on Saturday), and the price will probably stay the same as last year — $60 a session, “which is high but didn’t cover our expenses last year,” Shelton said. “We’re hoping people will understand if it stays at $60. We want to try not to raise it, but we’re pretty sure we can’t lower it.”
Shelton said that this year, there probably will not be any weekend passes covering all three sessions for sale.
Asked why he chose Portland as a venue, Shelton said the Worcester location was not available this year, and they really wanted to keep the festival in New England. He likes the idea of having “The Festival” in a smaller city that can be a destination for people from all over the country — a place where festival goers won’t be crowded out by locals like they might be in Boston or New York.
“We have good connections in Portland,” he said. “We’re very good friends with Novare Res, for example, and some other places. We’ve been to Portland, we love Portland. It’s obviously a classic New England setting. And we decided to make part of the festival’s persona New England.
“And, of course, Portland is a great beer city, one of the best beer cities in New England, I’m sure. It just seemed natural, and we didn’t really think of any other place.”
So who’s coming? Shelton said they’ve already had some RSVPs. Here’s the list of participants so far:
Brewer: Jean Van Roy
Brewery: Drie Fonteinen
Brewer: Armand Debelder
Brewer: Juan Antonio Rodriguez
Brewery: Evil Twin
Brewer: Jeppe Jarnit Bjergso
Brewer: Mikkel Borg Bjergso
Brewery: Jolly Pumpkin
Brewer: Ron Jeffries
Brewer: Brian Stumke
Brewer: Kjetil Jikiun
Brewery: De Molen
Brewer: Menno Olivier
Brewer: James Brodie
Brewery: Dieu du Ciel
Brewer: Jean-Francois Ravel
Brewery: Freigeist Bierkultur
Brewer: Stephane Sauer
Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: