The epicenture of the international craft beer world had to be right here on Munjoy Hill – both last night and all day today. Well before the afternoon session began at 1 pm., beer lovers formed a line extending way up to Fore Street to enter building # 2 at Portland Yacht Services. Inside the former industrial building now used to store yachts to be docked at the marina, craft beer brewers waited for them and an opportunity to provide them with samples of craft beer from all over the world. Both sessions today, afternoon and evening, were sold out; 1,200 tickets sold for each session at $65. a ticket. Last night’s session sold 900 tickets according to Festival organizers.
Mhn.com saw companies from Belgium, Spain, France, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland, Italy and more. There were also a surpring number of brewers from the New England area; Allagash, Rising Tide, Hill Homestead Brewery, VT., to name just several, among the many regional craft beers at the Festival.
“It’s very rare to have so many unique beers in one place at the same time,” said Doug Weber, owner of Downeast Beverage Co., just a five minute walk from the Festival itself at the Portland Complex. “Most of the beer Festivals here are regional beers. These beers would be extremely hard to find outside the Festival,” Weber added. They come from small breweries with limited production that can’t fill large orders. Last week he was able to take delivery of 30 different beers from all over the world and they’ve been selling like “hot cakes” Weber said. “The Festival is huge and I’m the closest retailer to it.” Downeast Beverage Co. is located at 79 Commercial Street on the waterfront. www.downeastbeverage.me
Back at the Festival, Portland resident, John Barrett, 71, said that he and his wife, Mary, have been making beer at home for almost ten years now. Every so often, they make five gallons at a time. “I think there are a lot of people in Maine with home breweries,” Barrett said.
Jessica and Josh Bluestein, came from near Boston for the Festival. “This Festival is a huge big deal. I’ve been taking notes on what I really like and will try to find them in Boston. One of his favorites is De Ranke, a Belgium beer and another is Greek River Ambrosia from western Massachusetts.
Joel and Heather Swift flew in from Houston, TX. “We are still learning about craft beer in Texas. In the past five years we’ve seen an explosion of small breweries. Saint Arnold Brewing Company is 19 years old and it paved the way for other small breweries. This trip to Portland is like a pilmigrage for us. Shelton Brothers distributes more than beer, they distribute good will,” Joel as his attractive wife agreed with him.
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