June 20, 2013

What to look for at this year's Festival

What's so special about the beers that will be at The Festival?

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The Saturday afternoon session of The Festival is very close to being sold out, but there are still tickets available for the evening sessions Friday and Saturday. Both of those sessions will be held from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 per session. Both Saturday sessions are available for a bundled price of $95.

Go to the-festival.us to view all the options.

Designated driver tickets are available for $8. Free non-alcoholic drinks will be provided to those wearing the designated driver wristband.

Profits from the event are being used to defray the travel costs of the more than 70 brewers, mead and cider makers who will be there. In addition, $2 from each ticket will be donated to the Portland chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Food vendors will be The Thirsty Pig, the Bite into Maine lobster roll food truck, Pizza Pie on the Fly, Hella Good Tacos, Binga's Wingas and Small Axe food truck.

Maine Beer Tours will be offering a free shuttle bus on Saturday between The Festival venue and several popular Portland brew pubs.

We asked co-organizer Dan Shelton to point out a few of the brews that are particularly rare or unique and explain why they always have the longest lines at beer festivals:

Cantillon is one of the two most authentic producers of the world's oldest beer style -- sour lambic beer from the area around Brussels, Belgium.

3 Fonteinen is the other one of the two most authentic producers of lambic.

Struise Brouwers, also from Belgium, is often at the top of the list of the best brewers in the world on beer-rating websites due to its great variety of strong, small-batch beers.

Dieu du Ciel from Montreal is a brewpub that is also always at the top of the list because of its wide range of unusual beers, beginning with the first-ever imperial coffee stout, a style since copied all over the world.

Mikkeller is more than a brewery. It's a beer designery that is popular from Maine to Hawaii, and puts out hundreds of imaginative, experimental and uncompromising beers every year. 

These American breweries are sought-after for their creative beers, but they are hard to find because they're made in such small batches:

Anchorage Brewing (Alaska)

Hill Farmstead (Vermont)

Jolly Pumpkin (Michigan)

Prairie Brewing (Oklahoma)

Jester King (Texas)

St. Somewhere Brewery (Florida) 

Three breweries from relatively new craft-brewing countries will make their U.S. debuts at The Festival:

Tocalmatto (Italy)

Rappi Bier Factory (Switzerland)

Marina (Spain) 

Finally, here are just a few of the many special beers that have been created especially for The Festival, which won't be seen anywhere else (at least for now):

3 Fonteinen Intense Red, a cherry lambic with more cherries added than scientists had heretofore thought possible.

De Ranke XXX Bitter, an extra-hoppy version of the famous XX Bitter, from Belgium, dry-hopped with additional Hallertauer Mittlefrueh hops.

Kerkom Hop Verdomme, another hoppy benchmark from a hop-loving farmhouse brewer in Belgium.

-- Meredith Goad

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