LEWISTON — Hundreds flocked to Simard-Payne Memorial Park on Saturday to enjoy local brews, foods and music at the 14th Great Falls Brewfest.

Protected from the rain by three large tents flanked by several small ones, festivalgoers enjoyed beers, hard seltzer, ciders and mead from nearly 50 breweries ranging from Northwoods, New Hampshire, to the Down East region.

Norway Brewing Co.’s double IPA called Beach Rat debuts Saturday at the Great Falls Brewfest in Lewiston. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

The festival, organized by Baxter Brewing Co. in Lewiston, featured live music by the Silver Heels, Toby McAllister & The Sierra Sounds and the Jumpin’ Willys.

Food trucks included L/A Taco, Fahrenheit 225, Pinky D’s, Lucky Cat Coffee Truck and Bao & Beyond.

Former Lewiston resident Bob Dutil said he normally makes one annual trip back home from Florida, but made an exception to attend this year’s festival.

Dutil said he needed to fill out more of his beer tracker app to spread some love among the many small Maine breweries.


“I’m having a blast,” said Dutil, scrolling through some of the entries he made while at the festival.

Lucky Pigeon Brewing Co.’s Britt Bartlett said their 100% gluten-free dedicated brewery hasn’t just given locals something to rave about in Biddeford — visitors from upstate and out-of-state who come out for a beer (or two or more) often plan their trips around the brewery.

“It’s very rare to find good gluten-free beer and also have a variety,” Bartlett said. “Beer should be accessible for everyone. People should be able to come in and have a flight and have a variety, so that’s what we do.”

Lucky Pigeon founder Nick Bramer added that the gluten-free brews, which are made with rice and millet, are truly “the best.”

Norway Brewing Co. is in its seventh year at the festival. It’s a great event to stay connected to regulars from the area and to support the local microbrewing industry, said owner Charlie Melhus.

Charlie Melhus, owner of Norway Brewing Co., serves beer Saturday to Shari Crowell of Lewiston at the Great Falls Brewfest at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston. Crowell says she comes every year to the Brewfest. “I like trying them all.” Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“This is an important festival and it’s right in our backyard,” Melhus said. “It’s really important for us to represent in an area so close to where we are. We for sure draw people from Auburn to Portland and then people from out-of-state.”

Norway Brewing also launched Saturday at its taproom its first double India Pale Ale, called Beach Rat, which takes inspiration for the kind of skate and surf life Melhus and others at the brewery enjoy. The brewery brought enough to the festival to give people a taste before it starts hitting shelves.

“If you want to try a hazy IPA double, now’s the time to try Beach Rat,” Melhus said. “This one is so cool.”

For a list of the featured breweries at Great Falls Brewfest 2024, go to baxterbrewing.com/event/great-falls-brewfest/.

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