Hop on over to annual Brewfest

What: 11th Annual Maine Lakes Brewfest

Where: Point Sebago Resort

When: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Price: Tickets purchased after Sept. 24 will be $30, same price as ‘at the door.’

Also, there is a $5 parking fee.

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Everything has been coming to a head.

Area brewers have labored over the beer-making process, and wine-makers are poised to uncork their creations.

This last Saturday in September is the day to hop on over to the 11th Annual Maine Lakes Brewfest.

In the past few days, ticket sales have peaked, according to Sue Mercer, the executive director of the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event.

“We are selling tickets like crazy. I think everyone is seeing it is going to be a great day,” weather-wise and otherwise, Mercer said.

“We had 2,700 people last year. I think we will hit 3,000 people,” she said, adding that despite the ample outdoor space there is a limit to the number of tickets that can be sold for the event.

“We have all the brewers under a tent. We have told them to plan on 3,000 people,” she said.

We want to “make sure we have accommodations for everyone, and to keep it a good event,” Mercer said.

Per usual, the event is held at Point Sebago Resort. It kicks off at 11 a.m. and things wrap up by 4:30 p.m.

Thirty-one breweries and wine companies will be represented at this year’s Brewfest. While well-known names such as Sam Adams and Gritty McDuff’s will be present, brewers from the region will also wow the taste buds of beer connoisseurs.

Bray’s Brewpub and Eatery, located on the east end of the Naples Causeway, will prompt an age-old question.

Do gentlemen prefer Blonde?

The Blonde, an American-style wheat ale that for the past 19 years has tantalized beer drinkers of both genders, will be poured at the Brewfest.

In addition to its mainstay beer, Bray’s will be offering two other stunning varieties from its brewery: the Hoppy Blonde, a dry hops American-style wheat ale; and Black Ale, a rich, roasty ale, according to Sonja LaRochelle.

“Mike (Bray) has already brewed those beers, and we are offering our famous pulled pork sandwiches,” she said.

When ordering Bray’s pulled pork sandwiches, festivalgoers will get an abundant serving, but likely won’t have any leftovers. They are almost too delicious to share with anything other than a sip of ale.

Also from the region: Blacksmith’s Winery, of Casco, and Pennesseewassee Brewing Company, of Harrison.

The latter local business will be offering the Pennesseewassee Pale Ale, which is playfully nicknamed Penny.

Meanwhile, the longtime Casco winery is bringing to the table its Blacksmith Special Cranberry and its sparkling cider, Fatty Bampkins, according to Mercer.

In fact, Blacksmith’s has been so busy with production that it had to halt tours of its facilities this fall, according to the company’s website.

A Naples-based business, Crooked River Meadery, will bring forth its Crooked Tea for a second year. Crooked Tea combines the ingredients of tea, fresh ginger and hops — all fermented with honey. Agave provides the natural carbonation for this beverage, according to the Facebook page for Crooked River Meadery.

Certainly, tasting a variety of brews and sparkling wines is a big part of the event, Mercer said.

The lakeside entertainment includes two bands and a live disc jockey. Plus, there is something fresh in social networking for festivalgoers to try.

“A new company called Tap Snap from Portland will be there. They are going to have a kiosk to take pictures of group. People can draw a picture on a screen then post it to their Facebook accounts,” Mercer said.

All across the region, people are getting hopped-up about this month’s end event, she said.

“It is looking to be the best Brewfest ever. Come with a happy face,” she said.

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