Destination Dining – Second Annual Portland Brew Festival Spotlights Massachusetts Beers

August 31-September 1 tasting event promises more beer, new PBF merchandise, and additional homebrewing displays.

Plans for the second annual Portland Brew Festival (www.portlandbrewfestival.com) have been announced, and the much-anticipated event is shaping up to exceed last year’s success. Owner and producer Mak Sprague says that the festive, beer-centric event ~ scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 31 – Sept. 1 ~ will feature more brewers, a specialty sampling glass, and additional space made available for tasting and home brewing demonstrations. The event returns to Portland Company Complex at 58 Fore Street in Portland, Maine.

Designed for beer, ale, mead and cider lovers of all levels, the festival will spotlight established and up-and-coming breweries throughout New England, including two of Massachusetts’ best: Clown Shoes and Harpoon.

More than 30 beer producers, including Maine favorites Gritty McDuff’s, Allagash, Kennebec Ciders and D.L. Geary Brewing, have already signed on alongside other regional standouts including Magic Hat, Long Trail and White Birch from Vermont and Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery and Moonlight Meadery from New Hampshire. Additions are being made regularly, and Sprague plans to have more than 75 different brew offerings on site. In addition, attendees interested in crafting their own brew will have the opportunity to speak with home brewing specialists and see up close how the equipment works.

“The response to last year’s festival was outstanding, and we really listened to the feedback to make this year even bigger and better,” explains Sprague. “The expanded event and demonstration space will provide a comfortable setting to explore, visit, eat and learn.”

Every attendee will receive a signature tasting glass with the Portland Brew Festival logo and have the opportunity to purchase additional glasses along with T-shirts, posters and other festival-branded merchandise.

The event will feature traditional scheduled sessions, each with a limited admission that will allow guests the time and space to peruse the purveyors, interact with the experts, and hone their tasting techniques. The first session is scheduled for Fri., August 31, 5:30 – 9 p.m., a fantastic way to kick off the holiday weekend. Additional sessions are scheduled for Sat., September 1, from 12 – 4 p.m. and 5:30 – 9 p.m. An expanded array of local food vendors also will be on hand to add to the event’s appeal.

In addition to commercial brewing operations, Sprague has invited a number of respected home brewing clubs and retailers to the show to introduce attendees to the increasingly popular hobby of home brewing. Sprague will once again display the impressive tractor-powered cidering equipment he built with his father.

“Home brewing is growing by leaps and bounds, and this festival really showcases the hobby and gives folks the confidence to get started,” Sprague says. “As a novice homebrewer myself, I find the exhibitors very helpful and encouraging.”

The second annual Portland Brew Festival promises to be a one-of-a-kind beer experience, and tickets, on sale now for $35 each at www.portlandbrewfestival.com, are expected to sell out well before the event. Event sponsors include Portland Yacht Services. Anyone interested in volunteering at the festival can contact portlandbrewfestival@gmail.com.