This was one popularity contest in which even the losers and their supporters wound up feeling good.

Bissell Brothers repeated Thursday night as winner of the Industrial Park Challenge, a four-hour contest to determine which Portland-based microbrewery could sell the most beer.

A computer at the Great Lost Bear restaurant on Forest Avenue, the host of the beer bash, recorded each pint poured and gave the organizers a running tally.

By the time the contest ended at 9 p.m., Bissell Brothers had sold 206 pints of The Substance IPA, a hoppy beer with a lot of flavor and not a lot of bitterness.

Finishing second was the Patina Pale Ale from the Austin Street Brewery, which sold 155 pints. Rising Tide Brewing’s session beer, Skipper, placed third with 114 pints. A session beer has a low alcohol content, which makes for a “nice easy-drinking beer,” according to its brewer.

“There was a surge at the end, but Patina Pale Ale and The Substance were neck and neck for most of the evening,” said brew guru Dave Evans, who owns the Great Lost Bear.

The bar and restaurant was packed Thursday, a sight that made Evans very happy. “January is the slowest month of the year for me,” he said. “I’ll do anything to get people through that door.”

The Industrial Park Challenge began in 2003, when Evans invited three breweries that were operating in the city’s industrial park off Riverside Street to compete for a Unicorn-shaped trophy lamp that he had bought at a yard sale.

Evans said the challenge eventually grew to eight microbreweries, which on Thursday competed for a 12-inch-tall bear statue. Five breweries are based in the industrial park and three are located, as the organizers like to say, in Portland’s (Y)East Bayside neighborhood.

Though the prize is modest, Evans said the breweries really compete for bragging rights, to claim the title of the most popular microbrewed beer in Maine’s largest city. Evans admitted there was a lot of trash talking on social media before Thursday’s challenge.

“Come to the Great Lost Bear Thursday night and help us get the industrial park challenge trophy from the evil Bissell Brothers,” read a Facebook message posted on the Great Lost Bear’s website. Bissell Brothers won last year’s challenge.

“It’s a collaborative industry,” said Rob Tod, owner of Allagash Brewing Co., which invited its national sales team to the bash. “It’s not about who wins. It’s about the brewers getting together to celebrate Portland beer.”

Nathan Sanborn, the head brewer at Rising Tide, said the large crowd of beer fans at the Great Lost Bear on a snowy evening was a testament “to Portland’s craft beer industry and how popular it has become.”

Pete Bissell, the owner of Bissell Brothers, said there is no better venue in Portland for a beer popularity contest than the Great Lost Bear.

“Since 1976 it has been the institution to come to for beer,” Bissell said. “As Portland’s beer culture has evolved, the Bear has remained an institution.”

People who attended the challenge paid $2.99 per pint. The average price for a pint of beer on any other night would be $5.

John Barrett, 72, a retired civil engineer from Portland, has been going to the Great Lost Bear since 1997. During Thursday’s challenge, he was having trouble picking his favorite brew.

“I can’t choose because they are all good,” said Barrett, who was fortunate enough to find a seat at the bar.

Barrett said he patronizes the Great Lost Bear because it’s “one of the great beer bars in Portland.”

Another patron, Chuck Gardner of Brunswick, said he was liking the Patina Pale Ale.

“It tastes good,” said Gardner, who pointed out that he had ordered more than one. “That’s a good sign for me.”

Also on tap at the challenge were: Geary’s Pale Ale; Allagash Brewing’s White beer; Foundation Brewing Co.’s Epiphany; Bunker Brewing Co.’s Machine Pils and Oxbow Brewing Co.’s Farmhouse Pale Ale.

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