Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Portland Brew Festival Reviewed

This past Labor Day weekend Portland Maine celebrated its 2nd Annual
Brew Festival on a picturesque New England summer day. It was held at
an old marina warehouse right on the waterfront of Oldport, which
added a unique and rustic feel to the event. Over 30 local breweries
were in attendance, including Allagash, Baxter, Shipyard, and Sebago
to name a few. The beer was flowing from 12-4pm, unfortunately the
selections from the breweries were a tad lackluster. The majority were
offering their staple brews without the added bonus of rarities or new

Allagash, however, was pouring their anniversary brew Fluxus, a
strong golden ale with a classic Belgian aroma and tart/peppery
finish. It was definitely a highlight of the afternoon. If you are a
Belgian beer fan, their beers always offer a balanced yet unfettered

Longtrail Brewery also surprised me by having their new Brewmaster’s
Series Imperial Pumpkin ale, which at 9% abv was amazingly smooth and
devoid of the canned pumpkin flavor. It was fresh and festive, as a
fall pumpkin brew should be.

One of the most distinct and satisfying beverages of the day wasn’t
actually a beer. Urban Farm Fermentary, based out of Portland,
specialize in ciders, mead and Kombucha, a Japanese fermented tea.
Their Ginger Kombucha was incredible. With aromas of pickled ginger, a
light effervescent mouthfeel, and refreshing sweet and sour flavors,
it was hard to believe I wasn’t drinking a Flemish sour ale. Kombucha
is derived by fermenting tea leaves with live bacteria and yeast,
sometimes including the ever popular strain Brettanomyces
Bruxellensis, which gives it that classic Belgian funk. Clocking in at
around 1.5-2% abv,  it isn’t exactly a party brew. In fact, you might
catch your parents drinking it within the next few years if it gains
popularity. The copious amounts of healthy bacteria in every bottle
are said to help ease indigestion and extract toxins from the body. 
Sounds like a perfect breakfast beverage after a late night out in one of 
the fastest growing craft beer cities on the east coast.

Reviewed by Dave Leshinski