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Tap into summer

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First annual beer festival comes to Waterfront

BANGOR The Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau is bringing brewers galore to the Bangor Waterfront on June 22.

Bangor's Beer Festival Tap Into Summer will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on the Waterfront. There will also be a special VIP session running from noon to 1, featuring food, music by singer/songwriter Chris Ross, a special tasting session and a keynote address from Chris and Merideth Nelson, creators of the beer travel website

And then of course, there's the beer. Sixteen Maine brewers will be represented; ticketholders will receive a special four-ounce tasting glass and have the opportunity to sample the wares of brewers from all corners of the state of Maine.

VIP admission tickets cost $50, while general admission is $25. VIP passes can only be purchased in advance, either online or by calling the CVB. General admission tickets can be purchased in advance or on the day of the event, although day-of tickets will cost $10 more.

Visitors to Bangor's Beer Fest can also expect a Twitter-based contest and additional information to be released through a free app called Findmytap. Tap Into Summer will operate similar to other tasting festivals, where each attendee will receive a wristband and samples punch card. There will be no admittance to anyone under 21.

An afternoon spent on the waterfront sampling a vast variety of beers - hard to think of a better way to spend a summer day. Kerrie Tripp, executive director for the CVB, agrees.

'The idea for the event actually came from a group of CVB members,' said Tripp. 'They had gone to another festival and basically asked themselves, Why aren't we doing this in our own backyard?''

A number of local brewers expressed an interest, and before long, Bangor's Beer Festival was born.

'When you've got local business leaders passionate about making something like this happen, it makes all the difference,' Tripp said. 'It's really a testament to the CVB and the committee members that we were able to make this happen.'

Tripp also mentioned an interesting addition to the ticket possibilities.

'We're offering designated driver packages,' she said. 'Not everybody loves beer, so we wanted to make it easy for people who aren't beer drinkers to join us. [Designated drivers] all get a gift package, so they're getting something for being there.

'We just want everyone to have a great day and a safe day,' said Tripp.

One of the people making the push to make the festival happen was Mike Anderson of Penobscot Bay Brewing. Anderson was one of the driving forces behind making this event into a reality.

'This is an idea that I've been thinking about for a couple of years,' said Anderson. 'It's an opportunity for the CVB to really do a great thing for the Bangor area; something that would draw people in by the truckload.'

Anderson noted the level of participation was significant, especially considering that this is a first-time event.

'We're really pleased for our first year,' he said. '[But] it's an easy sell for a lot of breweries. There's a pile of breweries in Southern Maine; it's a chance for them to try and break into the Bangor market. And there's four of us right here in the neighborhood.

'Besides, brewers love getting together anyway.'

Those four local breweries Black Bear Brewing in Orono, the Sea Dog and Geaghan Brothers in Bangor and Penobscot Bay Brewing in Winterport will all be showcasing their wares, along with a dozen other breweries, all of whom are Maine-based.

'It's a chance for the Bangor region to share and open up,' Anderson said. 'Beer is very consumer-driven. [This festival] is a nice opportunity for non-local breweries to introduce themselves to the area, as well as a good chance for us locals to show off a bit in our own backyard.

'It's a win-win.'

Anderson's enthusiasm for the event is readily apparent.

'I think this is going to be huge,' he said. 'There's a lot of potential; there could be a lot of people here. It's a great fit timewise as far as the Waterfront. We've got a great view, a great space, we've got the city behind useveryone seems pretty excited. 

'It's one of the first festivals of the season,' he added. 'This weekend could be ours.'

And as Anderson notes, the quick turnaround time of the idea meant that a few Maine breweries were unable to participate due to prior bookings, meaning that there could be even more participants in the coming years of the event.

'We kind of popped this up out of nowhere. We wanted to get our ducks in a row before letting it out. So there are some breweries that want to be here, but are already booked for the time.'

Anderson goes on to credit the CVB for helping realize this undertaking.

'The CVB has been doing some great planning,' he said. 'By having their support, a lot of the hazards of doing this have been taken away. It'll be good for the city, good for the regiongood for everyone. The brewers will be happy, the public will be thrilled; the glass will be full all day.'

In fact, it seems like Mike Anderson can only think of one scenario where things don't work out.

'So long as it doesn't snow, we'll be all set.'

Participating Breweries:
  • Andrew's Brewing Co, Lincolnville
  • Atlantic Brewing Company, Bar Harbor
  • Baxter Brewing Co, Lewiston
  • Belfast Bay Brewing Co, Belfast
  • Black Bear Brewery, Orono
  • Boothbay Craft Brewery, Boothbay
  • D.L. Geary Brewing Company, Portland
  • Geaghan Brothers Brewing Company, Bangor
  • Gritty McDuff's, Portland
  • Kennebec River Brewery, The Forks
  • Oak Pond Brewery, Skowhegan
  • Penobscot Bay Brewery, Winterport
  • Sea Dog Brewing Company, Bangor
  • Sebago Brewing Co, Gorham
  • Sheepscot Valley Brewing, Whitefield
  • Shipyard Brewing Co, Portland

Bangor's Beer Festival - Tap Into Summer will take place June 22 on the Bangor waterfront from 12-5 p.m. For tickets or more information, please visit

Click here to read Allen's interview with Chris and Merideth of

Last modified on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 13:15
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