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Tim Bissell Tim Bissell
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Three Pint Stance - Super quick Summer Session recap

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Three Pint Stance - Super quick Summer Session recap (edge photo by Allen Adams)

Holy cow, hard to believe that Summer Session has already come and gone! The annual Maine beer celebration at Thompson’s Point in Portland was much anticipated, well attended and perfectly executed!

Here are some of my takeaways, presented in a brief stream of consciousness because I need to get back to the brewery floor to help get this first run of Gneiss Weiss cans out the door!

(Editor’s note: Since I too was in attendance at this year’s Summer Session event, I will be sharing my thoughts along with Tim’s thoughts, because I’m the editor and I can do what I want.)

Once again, IPA is still king. But the subjects grow more and more restless by the day. I was again impressed with both the number of sour beers and the number of people seeking out sour beers. Let’s keep this trend going.

(Ed: The weather certainly made sours and other lighter options more attractive. I’m an IPA fan, but I definitely was looking for other flavorful choices in addition to my usual stylistic go-to – including the delightful Sonnenschein kolsch from Gneiss.)

Great layout. Might seem trivial to some, but as someone who has done a few of these festivals, it was great to have the breweries arranged by geographic location and not by alphabetical order. It gave us a chance to pour next to some new neighbors, and it gave attendees a chance to “tour the state” as it were. Great choice by the organizers.

(Ed: I agree 100 percent. It was fun to see, say, the Bangor-Orono contingent laying it down all in one space. Heard a LOT of good things about many of our local brewers. And having that sense of geography about the place made it easy for you to find the particular beers that you were looking for.)

Thirsty devils. We went through more beer than we figured we would, and I don’t want to be cozy and say it’s because our beer is the best (it is, but you know, I WOULD say that). No, I’d attribute our rapid pouring to the fact that the festival was sold out, and the crowd wanted to try as much as possible.

(Ed: I won’t go so far as to write down the number of different beers that I sampled over the course of the afternoon. It was a lot, and I barely scratched the surface. Of course, the hundreds upon hundreds of other drinkers did their part as well.)

Responsible devils. Also very impressed with the number of folks asking for half-pours, which may seem lame, but to me it shows me that they are looking to try as much as possible without getting ahead of themselves. My kind of brew-fester right there!

(Ed: I definitely did a handful of half-pours over the course of the day. One of the joys of an event like this is the chance it gives you to experience the new and different. However, trying new things means you’re likely to land on something not to your taste. With a half-pour, that beer is simply a fleeting memory. And if you like it? Get a full one.)

Class reunion. At the end of the day, I personally enjoy Summer Session so much because it always feels like a class reunion. It’s a great chance to get your beer in front of thousands of thirsty Maine beer fans, sure. But, more than that, it’s a chance doing the height of our busiest season to say hi, have a chat and raise a glass with our colleagues in the industry, and that in and of itself is worth the drive in to Portland.

(Ed: Even as someone who isn’t part of the industry, I could see the genuine sense of camaraderie amongst the brewers. There’s a real sense of community in the craft brewing world, and that community goes a long way toward making an event like this one such an enjoyable time. Well, that and all the beer.)

Thanks again to the organizers, the attendees and to all the brewers for bringing their best to Thompson’s Point. No doubt we are all looking forward to next year already!


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