AUGUSTA — Julia and Bryan Spellman had sampled beers from the United States, Germany and England.
Asked to name their favorites of the day at the Central Maine International Octoberfest, the Winthrop couple both chose brews from Belgium: Hoegarden for her and Leffe Blonde for him.
“We would like to be able to travel but we haven’t been able to, really,” Julia Spellman said. “This affords us a way to kind of do that without actually having to go abroad.”
She said they had been to the Portland Brew Festival but never an event with an international scope.
Co-organizer Jon Laitin said he and Joe Karter wanted to try something new and different and ended up putting together Maine’s first international beer festival.
Since 2009, the two have organized beer festivals in Augusta featuring Maine’s many microbreweries. Some of them were there on Saturday — including Baxter Brewing, Peak Organic and Shipyard Brewing — but their brews were among 35 offered from nine countries.
“The goal is to introduce people to microbrews and encourage them to try something different than what they normally drink,” Laitin said.
Brad Hopkins, an Augusta native visiting from Boston, said that while he favors beers with a strong flavor of hops, especially in the fall, he found a new favorite on Saturday in Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, from England.
“I generally will try anything,” he said. “I like all types of beers.”
For the ticket price, guests received a 4-ounce glass and could sample up to 12 beers.
The JT Lockwood Band played during the event and guests also had the chance to take part in the Samuel Adams stein-hoisting competition.
Participants were challenged to lift glass beer steins full of water to shoulder height and hold their arms steady and parallel to the floor as long as possible. As the seconds and minutes elapsed, arms shook, water splashed out of the steins, and one by one, the competitors gave in and set down their steins.
Dan Davies of Monmouth won his heat, outlasting a handful of men and one woman. He held on for nearly a minute longer than his nearest competitor to reach a time of 4:38. As it was early in the day, he didn’t know if the time would hold up to win him a tour of the Samuel Adams brewery in Boston.
“I didn’t want that woman to beat me,” he said. “Plus, my wife was standing there taking a picture, and I had to look good for her.”
Susan McMillan — 621-5645