SKOWHEGAN — Labor Day weekend might mark the unofficial end of summer, but summer went out in style on Water Street Saturday afternoon, with craft beer.

The second annual Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival went off without a hitch, as roughly 1,000 people came through to sample beer from 25 of the state’s breweries. The event, which is organized by the nonprofit organization Main Street Skowhegan, benefits continued downtown revitalization efforts. This year, the festival featured more breweries and brought hundreds more to the downtown.

Kristine Cannon, the organization’s director, said the second festival had been a great hit, with perfect weather and friendly patrons.

“It’s been awesome. It’s been amazing,” she said.

By 4 p.m., an hour into the festival, she said over 950 tickets had been sold, either in advance or day of the event. She said while last year there was some bottlenecking of guests trying to get into the festival, this year better organization had allowed for a smoother entrance. She said people from as far away as Canada had purchased tickets.

“The brewers are awesome to work with,” she said. “They’re excited to serve beer on a beautiful day.”


Jake Warner, who was pouring beer from Portland’s Rising Tide Brewing Co., said the day had been going great, with perfect weather and a good turnout. He said it was also great to see the other breweries from around the state.

“It’s always fun to see what people are showing,” he said.

Next to Warner’s stand was Nate Wildes, of Brunswick’s Flight Deck Brewing. Enough people had come to his stand that he estimated he would run out of beer well before the event ended. But he praised the festival as a way to showcase Skowhegan’s downtown and the craft breweries around the state, as well as bring people together. He said it was nice that the festival was downtown instead of somewhere such as a field, to bring attention to the town’s efforts to revitalize the downtown.

“We’re more than happy to come out and support a cause like this,” Wildes said.

While Cannon said there were plenty of out-of-state guests at the festival, it seemed a good majority of those enjoying the libations were locals. Beth and Daniel Bois, Fairfield residents, said this was the first time they had come to the festival, but they considered themselves beer fans. They said they live close to Bigelow Brewing Co. in Skowhegan, so they go there on a fairly regular basis.

“It’s unique stuff you can’t buy in a store,” Daniel said.


The two said a benefit of the festival was being able to find out about and sample beers they either hadn’t heard of or wouldn’t have access to.

“It’s nice to try different beers,” Beth said.

Tommy Anderson, a Portland resident, said this was the first time he had come to the festival. As he stood next to a mist tent designed to keep people cool on the sunny day, Anderson said he heard about the festival from his mother’s girlfriend.

“It’s been great,” he said, later adding that while there were many good beers to choose from, the Epiphany from Foundation Brewing Co. was probably the best.

Skowhegan residents Amy Rowbottom, Mike Stevens and Seth Cash all said they were having a good time sampling the beer. Rowbottom said she attended the festival last year, and that everything this year was going well. Stevens said it was nice to have access to all the fresh beer.

Cash said it was nice to see how communal the craft breweries were with each other, and how vibrant the beer culture in Maine is. He said all the breweries seemed to be working collaboratively with each other.


“It’s not a competition between the small breweries,” he said.

Participating breweries in the event included Bigelow Brewing Co., of Skowhegan; 2 Feet Brewing, of Bangor; Lewiston’s Baxter Brewing; Atlantic Brewing Co., of Bar Harbor; as well as larger Portland-based breweries such as Allagash, Sebago and Shipyard. Festivalgoers were also able to sample free food from local vendors, ranging from wood-fired pizza to authentic Filipino food, chicken wings, poutine, burritos and tacos, all with an emphasis on local products.

In addition to all the beer and food offerings, guided tours of Maine Grains at the Somerset Grist Mill and of Skowhegan’s section of the Langlais Art Trail were offered.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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