For the past nine years, local beer brewers and beer drinkers have gathered at the area’s largest party, the Maine Lakes Brew Fest, for the best Maine-made brews, microbrews and local wines.

This year marks the 10th annual Maine Lakes Brew Fest, and it will take place on the beach at Point Sebago Resort on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The fest is a way to raise money for the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, and is the chamber’s largest fundraiser of the year.

Since its inception in 2003, the Maine Lakes Brew Fest has attracted brewers, beer drinkers and vendors from all over New England.

“We have about 28 brewers right now and 15 food vendors,” said Barbara Clark, director of the chamber.

The fest will also feature two wine vendors, live entertainment with Sharon Buck and Dixon Road and Tux Burke as master of ceremonies and entertainer. There will also be a craft fair put on by local crafters.

“People come from many different places, not just Maine,” Clark said of those who attend. “Some people come from southern New England.”

Clark anticipates the fest this year will be bigger and better than in years past.

“It grows every year. Because it is a unique event in our region, it’s very popular. People like to come and be outside. With 28 brewers, they get to have a taste of a lot of craft beers,” she said.

Last year, more than 3,000 people attended the fest. At the first fest 10 years ago, 300 people attended, Clark said.

Mike Bray, co-owner of Bray’s Brew Pub and Eatery in Naples, said he, along with other local brewers, were instrumental in organizing the festival 10 years ago, and that he’s glad to see how much it has grown. He said he particularly enjoys the location at Point Sebago because, “there’s a lot more room out there and it’s a nice spot by the water.”

For the first two years, the brew fest took place “on the green” in Casco Village in downtown Casco.

“We’ve attended the brew fest since its inception,” said Sonja LaRochelle, co-owner of Bray’s, and Mike Bray’s fiance?. “We look forward to having a lot more people attending.”

Participating in the brew fest, said Bray, “definitely helps our business. We are a neighborhood brewpub. After the festival, a lot of people stop at our place,” located on Roosevelt Trail in Naples.

“It’s nice to see a lot of our regular customers there, as well as new faces. And it’s always nice to see the other brewers because we don’t get together all that often,” he said.

Bray said this year he will be bringing four different beers to the fest, including Yammityville Horror, a sweet potato ale; Old Church Pale Ale, Bray’s first brew; a keg of Songo Loch Scotch Ale; and a cask-conditioned (naturally carbonated) beer, though Bray isn’t sure which one yet.

“It will probably be something ‘hoppy,’” Bray said.

Money raised at the brew fest through ticket sales goes toward the chamber to support businesses and other community events for the 13 towns the chamber serves.

While the fest is not “kid-friendly,” people do bring their children, Clark said, and “non-drinking” tickets are available for $5. No pets are allowed.

Those who attend must be 21 years or older to drink and must bring an ID, said Clark.

A CLOSER LOOK

Tickets for the Maine Lakes Brew Fest, Saturday, Sept. 28, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., at Point Sebago Resort, can be purchased at the gate for $30, online at www.mainelakesbrewfest.com or the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber office, 101 Portland Road in Bridgton.

Participating Brewers

Allagash Brewing Co.

Andrews Brewing Co.

Baxter Brewing Co.

Blacksmiths Winery

Brays Brewing Co.

Crooked River Meadery

D.L. Geary Brewing Co.

Kennebunkport Brewing/Federal Jacks

Funky Bow Brewery

Mass Bay Brewing AKA

Harpoon Brewery

Kennebec River Brewery

Longtrail Brewing Co.

Narragansett Brewing Co.

Otter Creek Brewing

Pennessewassee Brewing Co.

Rising Tide Brewing

The Run Of The Mill

Tuckerman Brewing

Sam Adams/Boston Beer

Sea Dog Brewing

Sebago Brewing Co.

Shipyard Brewing

Green Mountain

Vermont Woodchuck Hard Cider


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