It’s almost time again for residents and visitors to the Acadia area to taste the full spectrum of Maine brewing expertise. On Saturday, October 9 from 12 noon to six pm Smuggler’s Den in Southwest Harbor will be alive with hundreds of beer lovers in three huge tents. Last year, 4000 people attended and with good weather 2010 should equal that. This is not to say that rain and cold should affect anyone’s decision, the tents keep things dry and sheltered, at least until you have to make a run to the port-a-john (bring an umbrella just in case). This year’s list of brewers include the following:
- Belfast Bay Brewing Co.
- Allagash Brewing Company
- Black Bear Brewery
- Marshall Wharf Brewing Co.
- Maine Beer Company
- Sea Dog Brewing Co.
- The Shipyard Brewing Co.
- Sunday River Brewing Co.
- Atlantic Brewing Co./Bar Harbor Cellars/Bar Harbor Brewing Co.
- Kennebec River Brewery
- Sheepscot Valley Brewing Company
- The Liberal Cup
- Oak Pond Brewing Co.
- Sebago Brewing Company
- Peak Organic Brewing Company
- Penobscot Bay Brewery/Winterport Winery
- Blacksmith’s Winery
- Fatty Bumpkin’s Maine Draft Cider
- Andrew’s Brewing
$25 gets you into the brewtent with ten tickets for samples and a souvenir glass. Persons who want just to tag along for the music, food and mayhem can get in for $10. This year, the wristbands you get with your admission can be used for discounts at local restaurants.
The food is not to be missed either. Among the standouts are SW Harbor’s Chow Maine, Bar Harbor’s Mainely Meat BBQ and Nostrano. The food tent features the live music of Mark Kanter & The Bluesboy Review and The Mainly Country Band, each trading one hour sets throughout the day.
Finally, the third tent features crafts and art from vendors throughout Maine. I will be focusing on the ultimate India Pale Ale. Current favorites include Marshall Wharf’s Cant Dog Imperial IPA, which is unavailable in bottles. In fact, my only visit to the brewpub in Belfast required such a long wait I had to give up. I had high hopes for Allagash’s Hugh Malone IPA, which at over $16 a bottle should have been downright spiritual. The folks at Allagash are mostly inspired by Belgian style ales, which I think is great, but I must confess that I can’t handle much of the yeast bite/sourness unique to the style. Hugh Malone sounded like an exception, but I should have known that “Belgian style IPA” meant cloudy and sour. Without wanting to sound too judgmental, the two styles just don’t belong together. Atlantic Brewing’s Special Old Bitter is good–if they bring it. Geary’s Hampshire Ale is my standard, though not called an IPA it is full bodied with nicely balanced boiling and finish hops. I look forward to trying other highly hopped offerings from Marshall Wharf (Big Twitch), The Liberal Cup (Old Hallow), Sebago (Fry’s Leap and Full Throttle), and Peak Organic (IPA). See you there! I’ll be the one with the smile.