(Originally published in Maine Today Magazine on July 31, 2014.)
Remember in 2012 when Mumford and Sons thundered into town with their Gentlemen of the Road Tour? Portland was one of only four U.S. tour stops. The most powerful Americana band in the world turned its eyes on our city for a night. The event was as magical as we could have hoped. It was a once in a lifetime event in Portland.
But what if I told you epic festival lightning could strike twice?
This August 1st at Thompson’s Point in Portland a second colossal lightening bolt will strike us. Hard.
The iconic brewers at Sierra Nevada have put together a rock and roll style tour called Beer Camp Across America to celebrate the opening of their new brewing facility in Mills River, North Carolina. And they have decided to make Portland one of its seven stops.
As of right now, over 100 breweries from New England and beyond will be pouring on August 1st. I know, Maine already has some great beer festivals throughout the year. What makes this one so special?
Frankly, the list of brewers for Beer Camp reads like the star-studded roster for the 1985 smash hit, ‘We Are the World.’
When the gates open, this beer writer is running straight for the following brewers: Russian River (mmm…Pliny the Elder), 3 Floyds (Zombie Dust, please), Firestone Walker (give me some Parabola), and finally, like a school girl screaming for Justin Bieber, I’m going to pay homage to Sierra Nevada, whose 1981-born Pale Ale ushered in the age of the American craft beer.
In addition to the impossible-to-get beers that will be at Beer Camp, Sierra Nevada collaborated with twelve of the best brewers in this country to create a one-time only twelve pack. God, I hope you got your hands on this. It’s a brilliant box of beer genius. It contains a range of styles from stouts to ales to bocks.
Drinking this twelve pack is like watching the 1976 rockumentary, The Last Waltz, where The Band backed up the greatest singers of their generation for a night. The music was a wonderful blend of The Band and whoever was singing at the moment. That’s what’s going on in this twelve pack.
Of course, our hometown hero, Allagash, was part of this beer collaboration with their Belgian-Style Pale Ale, Myron’s Walk. This Pale Ale has the sharp bite of Allagash’s signature yeast and spicy coriander with a hop zing finish of Sierra Nevada-inspired Citra and Mosaic hops. It’s a true marriage of Belgian and American brewing styles, and I want it year round!
As August 1st approaches, look for special events around town related to Beer Camp Across America. There’s a good chance we’ll get a tap-takeover at a local bar where we can try the collaboration beers on draft.
Most importantly, buy, barter, or steal a ticket to Beer Camp, because like the Mumford and Sons festival on the Eastern Prom in 2012, this event will be talked about for years to come.