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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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Three Pint Stance - Summer Session 2017: An embarrassment of riches

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Summer Session, the annual celebration of Maine craft beer at Thompson’s Point in Portland, has come and gone. This year, more than ever, it is clear to me that there is a LOT of very good beer in Maine. 

Like, a lot a lot. The final tally saw 92 breweries in attendance this year, with 60 coming from Maine, 20 more from “Away” and 12 Icelandic breweries as well. With most everyone pouring at least two different brews (and some booths pouring as many as five!), there is literally no possible way to have enjoyed every beer at the festival. Heck, even just one sample from each brewery would put you at just under three gallons of beer consumed!

Needless to say, even the most motivated and prepared drinker had her or his work cut out for them at this festival. This could have been a three-day festival and I still wouldn't have been able to try half of the beers available!

Beyond the massive numbers (and we didn't even mention the large-but-appropriate number of Porta-Potties!), there were a few things that stood out to me as I made my rounds through the booths at Summer Session.

•Rock Harbor Brewing’s new cans look awesome! They had them out on display at their booth and they are really eye-catching. The canning operation is all part of Rock Harbor’s recent expansion, and if you can find the time to get to Rockland this summer to check it out, I highly recommend it.

•Dirigo Brewing Company’s Berliner Weisse – the “Champagne du Maine” - is really something special. Three percent, slightly tart, made with all-Maine Malt. If you are into Berliners at all, keep your eyes peeled for the release of this one.

•Mo Nunez, aka mosart212, the DJ for the event, did a great job keeping the beats flowing while not overpowering the crowd with too much volume. I found myself bobbing to the beat multiple times while pouring at the Gneiss booth. In my experience, music can be a nuisance at a brew festival if the volume isn't appropriate. Mo struck a perfect balance.

•The wide-open field at Thompson’s Point is great for allowing festival attendees a break from the action. So many people were able to get away from the booths, grab a bite and chill in the sunshine while recharging for round two (or three, or four, or five…) Cornhole boards were plentiful and busy, and there were even a few mini-classes about beer to attend if you wanted to learn while taking a break

•I still really don’t like beers with lots of Jalapeños.

Beyond the massive amount of beer available, there was also a bountiful supply of smiles and happy people. There is something about the combination of Maine beer, sunshine, food trucks and just a touch of over-indulgence that really brings out the camaraderie and friendships that underpin the industry.

Can we shoot for Endless Summer Session next year?

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