Tuesday, March 11, 2014
First, a little name dropping.
You may have heard 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 told me Friday that one of the exciting new participants this year will be Armand Debelder, an authentic lambik blender from Drie Fonteinen in Belgium.
You’ll find an official short list of other participants who have already signed on at the end of this post, courtesy of Shelton Brothers. They’re expecting around 75 brewers in all.
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 30 days 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 so far:
Brewer: Jean Van Roy
Brewery: Drie Fonteinen
Brewer: Armand Debelder
Brewer: Brian Stumke
Brewery: Jolly Pumpkin
Brewer: Ron Jeffries
Brewer: Kjetil Jikiun
Brewer: Juan Antonio Rodriguez
Brewer: Mikkel Borg Bjergso
Brewery: Evil Twin
Brewer: Jeppe Jarnit Bjergso
Brewery: De Molen
Brewer: Menno Olivier
Brewer: James Brodie
Brewery: Dieu du Ciel
Brewer: Jean-Francois Ravel
Brewery: Freigeist Bierkultur
Brewer: Stephane Sauer
Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.