The Maine Brewers Festival is going to cause some problems. Fourteen brewers are appearing, and you get only 12 beer tickets, each good for a 4-ounce glass of beer. And there definitely are more than a dozen beers that I want to try.

But let’s get the details out of the way first.

The main event of the festival comes in two sections Saturday at the Portland Expo, 239 Park Ave. The price for tickets is $32, available at The first session runs from 1:30 to 5 p.m., and the second from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Doors open a half-hour before the actual event.

Those who want a calmer event should attend the Evening with the Brewers VIP session from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Atlantic Room of the Portland Regency Hotel and Spa, 20 Milk St.

Five beers from Gritty McDuff’s, Shipyard and Sebago will be paired with a five-course meal prepared by executive chef Alan Cook and organized by Ed Stebbins from Gritty’s and Jason Silevinac of Shipyard.

I attended Evening with the Brewers last year, and it not only was a great meal with great beer, but I learned a lot as the brewers discussed the products that were being served.


There are a maximum of 70 tickets being sold for the dinner, but there were still some available as of Tuesday. Tickets for the dinner are $69. You can buy a combo ticket that includes both the VIP dinner and one of the two Saturday sessions for $99.

On Saturday, you will be able to meet some of the brewers, but any conversations will require loud voices. It gets a bit noisy, making it more of a party than a formal dinner.

The entertainment schedule is strong. Jonathan Edwards, a highly respected singer-songwriter now living in Maine, is the headliner, which makes me think I might have to let my attention wander a bit from the beer and listen to him sing. The other two acts are Stephen B. Jones and Amy Allen, both local and well-respected musicians.

I am already planning my drinking for Saturday.

The beer I absolutely have to get — probably the first of the evening while my palate is still good — will be the Cooledge Oatmeal Stout from Geary’s. It was the first of the company’s special editions marking the company’s 25th anniversary, and I missed it. I have since heard it is great, and if I don’t drink it Saturday, I might not get another chance.

The second stop will probably be at the Baxter booth. The Lewiston company has just come out with its third beer, Amber Road, and I have yet to try some.


Oxbow, the new brewery from Newcastle I wrote about last week, is offering a Smoked Chocolate Stout that sounds superb, and an Imperial American Saison. I have had neither, and they are tempting.

Since I have been traveling, I have yet to try Sebago’s 2011 Barleywine, so I should stop there. Bar Harbor Brewing is going to have two special offerings. Peak Organic is going to have a Continually Hopped IPA, which I haven’t heard of before, and its Pomegranate Wheat, which I have seen on its website but never actually found.

Allagash is offering several interesting beers, including one called a Firkin of Interlude that I should taste just for the name and a Bourbon Barrel Black that is the kind of beer I usually like. And I don’t think I have had their Mattina Rossa, either.

Overall, there are about 80 different beers scheduled to be on tap. It might help to go with friends so you can at least sip a few of the beers you can’t drink yourself.

That sounds like a plan I should try.

Tom Atwell is a freelance writer. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:


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