January 25, 2013

Festival aims to be 'Woodstock for beer geeks'

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — To say that Greg Norton, owner of the Bier Cellar on Forest Avenue, is excited about "The Festival" coming to Portland this summer "would be an understatement."

The event, scheduled for June 21 and 22, is organized by Shelton Brothers, considered the premier beer importer in the United States. Last year's inaugural festival in Worcester, Mass., drew all the rock stars of the craft beer world.

"It has the potential, as time goes on, to be basically the Woodstock for beer geeks," Norton said.

It's shaping up to be a great year for beer lovers in Portland. In addition to The Festival, beer bloggers from around the country will check out the city's craft brew scene in July, during the 2013 Beer Bloggers Conference. The conference will be held in Boston from July 26-28, and there are plans for a pre-conference excursion to Portland.

But The Festival, to be held at the Portland Co. complex, is likely to brew up the most excitement. While many other beer festivals are filled with breweries' sales and marketing staffs, beer geeks get to rub shoulders with the beer makers themselves at this one. It's like a guitar player from a garage band getting to meet Jimi Hendrix and ask him questions about his music.

"You get to meet brewers that are making the best beer in the world, from Belgium, the U.S., Denmark, Norway, on and on," Norton said. "That's really the big draw. The big names, the 'rock stars' of the craft beer world are represented by these importers."

Norton also sees the event as good for Portland, including its hotels and restaurants.

"I think it says a lot about the fact that this is becoming one of the better beer cities in the country," Norton said.

The Shelton Brothers promised on Twitter that they would release ticket information, session hours and other details "soon."

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

mgoad@pressherald.com

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