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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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Three Pint Stance - Great Falls, great fest!

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Last Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of pouring Gneiss beer at the fifth annual Great Falls Brew Fest in beautiful downtown Lewiston, Maine. Now, if you are from Maine and you know the, ahem, reputation Lewiston has, you might think I was being disingenuous. Fear not! Let me assure you, I am 100 percent serious when I say the Great Falls Brew Fest has become one of the very best festivals in the State of Maine.

Now, I was working this festival by myself, so I’d love to tell you about all of the different food trucks, vendors and local craft breweries that were in attendance, but I was pretty much stuck at the Gneiss table all day, so all I can really review are the people that came to my table for a sample of our brews, so here goes!

The crowd at the fifth GFBF was interesting to me in a couple of ways. First off, I was taken aback at the number of people who were actively seeking out and genuinely excited to find fruited sour beers. We poured a keg of our Barrel Aged Tweiss w/Peaches, which is a weizenbock barrel-aged with wild yeast and coal peaches. That was my first keg to kick and it happed quite early on in the fest. Five years ago, if I brought a sour to that festival, it would have been the slowest-moving keg of the day, no question. Really shows you where the collective beer palate is going.

The second thing that struck me about the crowd at Great Falls was the gender diversity. Every year I see more and more women at what have traditionally been male-dominated beer festivals. And before the “they’re just there because of their man hur hur hur” crowd chimes in, these are not women being begrudgingly dragged along by a significant other. They’re here for the beer. Groups of women are actively choosing brew festivals as their girls’ day/night out, and that is super cool.

Finally - and I would say most importantly - what makes the Great Falls Brew Fest one of the very best in Maine is the staff and volunteers that put so much time and effort into making it as awesome as it is. The crew at Baxter Brewing, who act as the hosts for this festival, truly think of everything when it comes to the logistics that really make a brew fest great.

The grounds are set up in a way that makes for an open feel, with no giant snaking lines and plenty of space to hang out in the shade (or out of the rain, as the case was on Saturday). The beer lists were accurate, so guests knew who had what and where to find it. The staff was attentive to the needs of both pourers and imbibers. Everyone there from start to finish looked to be having a great time, and ultimately, that’s really all you can ask for.

So, until next year - great job, Great Falls!


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