Nick Tamblyn took a healthy swig Saturday from a glass of That’s What She Said, a milk stout made by Tree House Brewing Co. of Monson, Massachusetts.

Tamblyn swished it around his mouth, swallowed and grinned before pronouncing it well worth the one-hour drive from his home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“It’s delicious,” said Tamblyn.

Tamblyn and his friends were among the hard-core beer aficionados willing to pay $60 each for a private tasting at the Summer Session: The Maine Brewers’ Guild Beer Festival at Thompson’s Point in Portland. They and a couple of hundred others were able to sample some of the 200 different craft beers on tap for an hour before the gates opened to general admission ticket buyers, who paid $55 each to attend the afternoon festival.

In its fourth year, the summer beer festival had sold out a half-hour before it began, all 2,000 tickets snatched up by people hoping to sample some of the beers available from more than 50 different breweries, snack from a dozen food trucks and peruse the kiosks selling beer-related paraphernalia.

“This far exceeds anything we have done in the past,” said Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Maine Brewers’ Guild.

Craft beer is a big business in Maine, which ranks sixth among the states in the number of breweries per capita, according to the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colorado, organization that represents 2,600 breweries in the United States. Vermont ranks first.

Maine’s 52 breweries produced 289,646 gallons of beer last year in a state that annually imbibes 9 gallons of beer per capita (ages 21and older), ranking seventh nationally. The Maine craft beer industry contributed $328 million to the state’s economy in 2014, the Brewers Association reported.

The summer festival is the only beer festival in Maine hosted by local brewers to support local brewers, Sullivan said. All of the proceeds from the festival go toward the promotion and development of the industry in Maine.

The festival included mostly Maine’s breweries, as well as 16 breweries invited from out of state.

Self-proclaimed beer lover Jeromy Washington of Buxton was at the festival with his wife, Christine, not a beer drinker, who would be the designated driver at the end of the event.

“It’s a match made in heaven,” Washington said.

Washington sampled Peak Organic Brewery’s Summer Session ale. He described the Portland-produced quaff as s “hoppy, bubbly and summery.”

Kevin and Lauren Burke of Cumberland, who go to several beer festivals a year, were sipping beers from Portland’s Foundation Brewing Co. and Bissell Brothers Brewing Co.

“It is good to be able to try beers that aren’t available in stores,” Lauren Burke said.

Steven Lee of Portland was trying out a Jam Session India pale ale by Funky Bow Brewery of Lyman. Lee said he had worked out a strategy for the festival in advance.

“Try all the stuff that is not usually available first,” said Lee.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.