Mast Landing’s Freeport location will be the site of a lager takeover on July 22 as part of the brewery’s Wavy Days Festival. Photo by Ben Lisle

Mast Landing Brewing Co. next week is hosting a multi-day beer jamboree that will feature over 40 out-of-state breweries, alongside a handful of Maine’s best.

While the first-ever Wavy Days Festival is an opportunity for local drinkers to try a lot of great new beer from some of the country’s best breweries, it also figures to be something more than that, for drinkers and brewers alike.

“We anticipate lots of connections and community-building,” said Gene Buonaccorsi, Mast Landing’s director of marketing, “whether it’s beer fans finding their new favorite beer or brewery, industry folks connecting and forging new bonds, or friends creating new memories at the events.”

The beer starts pouring on Thursday, July 21, with a number of tap takeovers at bars and restaurants around Greater Portland (details forthcoming). Mast Landing and Crosby Hops will co-host the Casco Bay Brewers Beer Cruise on July 22 from noon to 3 p.m. Tickets ($50) provide a catered lunch and Mast Landing beer. Mast Landing’s Freeport tasting room then will host the Wavy Days Lager Land(ing) Takeover after the cruise, at 5 p.m. It’s open to the public and will feature lagers from a dozen breweries (including lager specialist Schilling Beer Co., out of Littleton, New Hampshire).

The main event is the Wavy Days Beer Fest, to be held from noon to 4 p.m. July 23 at The Downs in Scarborough. Those with general admission tickets ($70) can enjoy unlimited samples of beer, cider and hard seltzer. Designated-driver tickets are available for $10 (which includes snacks and non-alcoholic drinks). A number of local food trucks will be on hand providing ample ballast for eager drinkers. This will be followed by an open-to-the-public afterparty at Novare Res in the Old Port.

Mast Landing Brewing Co. is holding a four-day beer celebration around the Portland area. Photo courtesy of Mast Landing Brewing Co.

The festivities wrap up with the Wavy Days Sour Brunch on July 24 at Mast Landing’s Westbrook tasting room, starting at noon. Sour beers from visiting breweries will be served, with breakfast sandwiches from Nighthawk’s Kitchen available as well. This event is also unticketed and open to the public.


The name “Wavy Days” is borrowed from Mast Landing’s Wavy Days IPA, a beer whose name “captures the feeling of Maine in the summer,” according to Buonaccorsi. And Wavy Days (the festival) will, conversely, inspire a number of new beers. Mast Landing will release a double IPA, Extra Wavy Days, just before the festival (where it will also be pouring). It comes out alongside Kodachrome IPA, a collaboration with festival participant Equilibrium Brewery, out of Middletown, New York. Mast Landing will also brew some new collaborations with visiting brewers, to be released in the coming weeks – virtually extending the festival through the remainder of the summer.

Putting on an event of this magnitude is no simple task. The festival planning team has been organizing since the fall, with help from Vacationland Distributors, vendors, local bars and restaurants, and many of the attending breweries. Planners have to make sure all visiting breweries are licensed in Maine, coordinate beer shipments, and even just figure out how to get everyone to locations to pour their beers.

But the benefits promise to be worth the effort, for drinkers and brewers alike.

In putting together a festival guest list, Mast Landing “aimed for just the right mix of breweries that locals know and love, along with beer that isn’t seen in Maine that often,” Buonaccorsi explained. Those include heavy-hitters like Nashville’s Southern Grist Brewing Co., Pittsburgh’s Dancing Gnome Brewery, Chicago’s Hop Butcher for the World, and Burlington’s Foam Brewers (just to name a few).

When talking to brewers, it quickly becomes clear how valuable festivals are to them, professionally and personally – and thus why they are bringing their beer to Maine for Wavy Days. Such events are fundamentally social and collaborative, said Dino Funari, co-founder of Vitamin Sea Brewing in Weymouth, Massachusetts. There’s a “sharing of information, technique, and processes … we’re all there together breaking bread.”

“Festivals help seed new relationships with other breweries and potential distributor partners,” said Iker Elorriaga, a co-founder of Tripping Animals Brewing Co., out of Doral, Florida, which just recently started distributing in Maine through Vacationland. These events also help cultivate company culture, according to Elorriaga, as brewery employees look forward to visiting a new city, hanging out with industry friends there, and pouring their beers for attendees.


Traveling to festivals is particularly meaningful today, given the disruptions of COVID-19. Vitamin Sea opened in 2019, “and then the world stopped after 13 months” in business, Funari recounts. “Craft brewing has had to hit the reset button,” he said. “We’re all lining up at the starting gate. We are earning fans. The model has changed.”

But this isn’t just about knowledge-sharing, business models and marketing.

“Over the years we’ve made a lot of friends in the Portland area, both on the industry side and the consumer side. It’s always great to have a reason to come back,” said Andrew Witchey of Pittsburgh’s Dancing Gnome. “The team at Mast Landing are all wonderful folks and take care in all that they do.”

“Mast Landing has always been an inspiration for us,” said Elorriaga. “It was one of the first guest beers that we brought in when we opened our tasting room.” That admiration would result in a collaboration between the two breweries. (The second iteration of that beer, a double IPA called Super Larger than Life, is currently available at both Mast Landing locations).

Vitamin Sea’s participation in the festival “comes from the heart,” Funari told me. He first met some of the Mast Landing team at the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, D.C., in 2017, before his brewery opened. “We hung out the whole time, really hit it off, and remained friends,” he said.

The two then collaborated on a beer before Vitamin Sea had even opened. “They helped put us on the map,” Funari recalled. “We were still basically basement brewers then.” They have since collaborated on a number of other beers.

Mast Landing’s Buonaccorsi echoed these sentiments: “We want to introduce our local audience to some of the folks in the industry that inspire and support us.” And if it all goes as planned, they hope to do it again.

Ben Lisle is an assistant professor of American Studies at Colby College. He lives among the breweries in Portland’s East Bayside, where he writes about cultural history, urban geography, and craft beer culture. Reach him on Twitter at @bdlisle.

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