Laughter, drinks and pingpong set the tone for a relaxed and enjoyable evening at the annual Allagash Brewing Co. Victor Ale Tasting to benefit St. Lawrence Arts and its center on Munjoy Hill.

The event was held on Wednesday at the home of Chris Akerlind. Lex Jones, “Portland’s third worst bluesman,” provided the musical entertainment while Allagash provided the beverages.

Allagash served both Victor Ale and Allagash White. The company has brewed Victor Ale in support of St. Lawrence Arts for five years.

Rob Tod, founder of the brewery, told the guests that $1 of every bottle of Victor Ale sold benefits the St. Lawrence Arts Center.

The Victor Ale at this event was brewed with St. Croix grapes picked in Falmouth last September.

“We always try to go local,” said Josh Wolf of Allagash Brewing.

He and fellow brewer Dee Dee Germain recalled the grape-picking event.

“It was fun for about the first five grapes,” Germain chuckled, “and then the rain sunk in.”

This year Allagash donated $11,000 in proceeds to the Portland arts organization. The brewery produces four tribute beers to benefit local organizations.

“It’s a diverse group we donate to: Victoria Mansion, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, St. Lawrence and a scholarship fund for pediatric nurses,” Tod said. “We hope to reach out to other organizations as we grow.”

“I was trying to remember how we got involved in this,” said Tod about the pairing of Allagash with the St. Lawrence Arts Center. “I guess it all started because of a canoe trip.”

Deirdre Nice, executive director of St. Lawrence Arts, laughed as she recalled with him the chain of events that led them from that trip to this end-of-summer event.

“We do this party annually to thank Allagash, but we need to thank the folks at Coffee By Design as well,” said Julia Kirby, development director of St. Lawrence Arts, as she identified numerous guests from the Portland-based coffee company, all wearing Beer Committee shirts. The shirts were given to people who made donations to the center. “These are $50 shirts,” joked Kirby.

Guy Gaudette, St. Lawrence board president, proudly sported the shirt as well. “This is such a vibrant area,” he said. “With St. Lawrence, we hope we are contributing to the vibrancy of the area.”

Jones sang a special song in honor of Tod and Allagash’s habit of making charitable donations. “Give it away, give it away now,” he crooned, as laughter escalated around him.

“It always amazes me that you can see this raw talent in the area,” Gaudette said, “music, theater, the talent in this area is just fabulous.”

Katrina Kent is a freelance writer who lives in Old Orchard Beach.


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