AUGUSTA — Geoff Houghton will serve up one of his favorite ales Saturday at the Third Annual Central Maine Brew Fest.

The Hallowell brewer said his State Budget Red Ale is a perfect addition to the festival.
After all, balancing the state budget is a major topic these days.

“The topic in this state is the budget, which is in the red,” Houghton said Thursday. “It’s sort of a cross between pale ale and a brown. It’s a well balanced beer with a lot of malt and a lot of hops and it has a nice amber hue to it.”

Houghton, who owns Liberal Cup on Water Street in Hallowell, said he also plans to bring his IPA Old Hallowell Ale, which he said is more of a hops-flavored beer with a floral, citric taste.
“It’s not super bitter like a lot of IPAs,” he said.

The festival, 2 to 6 p.m. at the Augusta State Armory, will feature 15 microbrewers, ethnic foods, live bands, souvenirs and raffle prizes. Tickets are $30 at the door or $25 at The Liberal Cup in Hallowell, Fat Toad’s Pub in Farmingdale, and Jokas’ Discount Beverage and Mainely Brews Pub, both in Waterville.

Participating brewers include Shipyard, Allagash, Casco Bay, Geary’s, Sea Dog and Sebago.

Jon Laitin, co-owner of Central Maine Festivals and beer fest organizer, said the School Street Band and Pat Pepin Blues Band will perform.

He said more than 1,000 people attended last year.
 “We’re going to have 15 brewers — most of them are the same ones who come every year — but we’ll have a brand new one, Baxter Brewing from the Bath-Brunswick area. They’ll bring different flavors from all over the place, from Portland to The Forks.”

Laitin said the festival exposes people to the microbrewers in an area that, up until three years ago, did not have a beer fest of they type that were held elsewhere in Maine.

“This area was under-represented, so this is a chance for the brewers here to get their beer exposed a little more,” he said.

Don Chandler of Oak Pond Brewery in Skowhegan plans to have on tap his Somerset Lager and Storyteller Doppeldock.

Chandler said he is looking forward to the new venue.

“Previous to this, it has been held at the civic center,” Chandler said. “We’re hoping that the armory will be a better venue, a more relaxed atmosphere.”

Laitin said because the civic center is owned by the city, law enforcement officers must patrol building and grounds whenever alcohol is consumed at an event.

“It was totally unnecessary, and we had to pay for it,” Laitin said. “The police were bored out of their minds. It was costing us a lot of money and making everybody feel uncomfortable. It was really ridiculous to have that kind of security.

“People are not coming to get drunk. They’re limited to what they can drink. They spend $25 and get 12 tickets only to taste the beer.”

Mechele Cooper — 623-3811, ext. 408
[email protected]