AUGUSTA — The Kennebec River Brewfest drew hundreds of attendees and even more beer samples Saturday afternoon to Mill Park in Augusta for the sixth annual brewery-based event. 

Katie Doherty, president and CEO of the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, which runs the event, said about 400 people signed up ahead of the event, and as of Saturday afternoon, she expected the number of attendees to double in same-day ticket sales.

Tickets purchased ahead of time were $50 and those bought the day of the event were $60. Included with a ticket: A souvenir tasting glass to sample drinks from about 30 vendors from across Maine, 10 more than last year, who offered beer, wine, seltzer, cider, mead and cannabis. Mead is a fermented beverage made from water, honey, malt and yeast.

Doherty said the annual event is a “great way” to bring people to Augusta.  

“It’s a great way to bring everyone to Augusta and the Kennebec Valley to experience the fun atmosphere, band, games, food trucks,” Doherty said. “And since it goes from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., people can go downtown afterward to restaurants.”

To Doherty’s point, most attendees traveled from the surrounding area for the event.  


Christy Hemenway, right, pours a sampler glass Saturday afternoon of her Run Amok Mead, made in West Gardiner, during the Kennebec River Brewfest at Mill Park in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Morgan Rodgers and Deanna Phipps said they found the event while they were “looking for something to do” with their friends and traveled from the Topsham area. They liked the idea of trying different drinks, including mead, which was a first for Phipps, and sampling beer from many breweries in Maine.

“Moderation Brewing Co. is in Brunswick, and we were just talking about how we have never been there before,” Rodgers said. “We tried it and we thought we could go there tonight after this.”

Jacy Pohl attended the event for the first time, having driven over from Windsor.  

“It’s nice,” Pohl said. “We don’t have to drive pretty far.”

In addition to the breweries, which were popular among most attendees, the Kennebec River Brewfest had wineries, hard seltzers, cideries and a cannabis company, Highbrow, a co-sponsor of the event. 

Chris Nava, the wholesale manager for Highbrow’s THC-laced drinks, spoke on the growing popularity of cannabis-infused drinks, saying the Kennebec River Brewfest is a good way to educate people about the drinks and offer an alternative to beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks.


Nava added he can connect with other businesses in a way that is difficult in Manchester, where one of Highbrow’s stores is located. 

“This is our third year doing this, so you see a lot of familiar faces,” Nava said. “It’s great to meet people in the community and other businesses. We are in our own area in Manchester, and all these businesses, like The Liberal Cup — I go there all of the time — so I’m happy to meet the people behind the operations.” 

The Liberal Cup is in Hallowell and has a sister restaurant, Run of the Mill Public House & Brewery in Saco.

Geoff Houghton has brewed beers for the two restaurants for about 20 years, but has brewed beer since the 1990s. He attended the event with two of his beers and one seltzer on tap. 

What makes a good beer to Houghton? 

“I like a balanced beer, somewhere between the bitterness of hops and the sweetness of the grain,” he said.

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