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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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Three Pint Stance - Bangor On Tap!

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The America On Tap series of beer festivals is headed for Bangor!

This Saturday, March 3, the Cross Insurance Center will play host to the 3rd Annual Bangor On Tap Beer Festival. There will be two sessions, one starting at 1 p.m. and going until 4 p.m. and another beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 9 p.m. Tickets are $40 and are available at americaontap.com through Ticketmaster (fees most definitely apply, because that's just how buying tickets is). With the ticket you get access to the fest and a souvenir (plastic) glass - and you get to be entertained by The Mallet Brothers Band, who will be playing through the festival!

There is also a VIP option for $20 more, which will get you into the evening session an hour early, so you can drink from 5-9 p.m.; you will also get a hat, a food voucher and access to the Stonington's Furniture VIP Lounge during the festival. Not a bad deal if you ask me!

VIP or not, there will be plenty of beer to sample at the event. As of last check, there are about 40 breweries scheduled to be in attendance, and most everyone is bringing at least two styles to choose from, so yeah, there will be a LOT of beer to try. On top of the beer, there are a few cider makers scheduled to attend as well, so there is something for everyone!

*SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION ALERT* Gneiss will be there. More specifically, I will be there, hanging out by the Gneiss booth and talking beer with anyone who wants to stop by and chat. We are bringing Gneiss Weiss and Obsius, our wheat stout, along with us and are very much looking forward to it! *END SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION*

So, if you are a Bangor-area beer enthusiast with nothing on the schedule for March 3, consider yourself booked!

There's something else that I'd like to address as well. I've decided that I'll stop being a fence sitter and weigh in on the elephant in the room. Granted, it's an elephant that only people in the industry can really see but still, whatever. I'll talk about it.

The Bangor On Tap festival is part of a larger national series of festivals put on by Townsquare Media. Townsquare also owns radio stations in multiple markets around the country, including here in the Bangor area, where Townsquare owns Q106.6, Z107.3, 92.9 The Ticket, WDEA AM 1370 and I-95 (95.7FM).

I mention this because although Townsquare is a company with a local presence, they are technically "from away." I believe this to be a big reason why there aren't as many small, independent Maine brewers involved with this festival as you might see with others held in the area.

While I can understand the reasons that area breweries would want to work with locals only, to my mind, the tickets are being bought by and the festival will be attended by locals, and I want to sell beer to the locals, so who cares who is pulling the strings?

At the end of the day, I think the uneasiness toward groups "from away" is understandable, but ultimately counterproductive. The fact is that Townsquare is paying state-posted prices for all beer poured at the festival and they have been great about reaching out to me and my distributor about what we want to pour and the logistics of the festival. On top of that, they have volunteers from local non-profit agencies pour the beer at the festivals and donate a portion of the proceeds to that non-profit in exchange for the volunteer help. I don't care who you are, that is something you should be able to get behind.

People helping people, helping people drink. That's a win-win-win.

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