By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,717)
Belgian beer lovers from all over the east converged on Munjoy Hill this afternoon to sample Belgian beers in their plastic souvenir glasses and connect with others who share the same taste in beers. One thousand people purchased tickets for the afternoon session at 58 Fore Street at the base of Munjoy Hill. .
The event was sponsored by Portland’s very own Allagash Brewing Company – the area leader in the Belgian style. There were 70 breweries with over 250 beers to sample. There was also an evening session from 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
Return of the Belgian Beer Fest was so named because Jason & Todd Alstrom (brothers) who are founders of BeerAdvocate, own the twenty-year old business took a break three years ago from hosting a Fest. Despite that break, the brothers’ expertise sparkled through brightly even on a sunny summer day on the waterfront. The Fest was well laid out, organized and food for the imbibers was in ample supply and perfect for the occasion. “We used to go to the Belgian Beer Fest in Boston for so many years…… It was nice to come to Portland to rekindle the tradition,” said Ossan Cooney, of Boston.
A popular beer came from Brasserie De La Senna, of Brussels, Belgium. Yvan De Baets,is Owner of the twelve-year-old brewery. He brews six permanent beers and three seasonal beers and several others. “It’s a very nuanced beer in a good way. Baets takes great care and it shows in the quality of the beer,” said Alex Coronoc. Baets comes to the US three times a year. This is his 5th trip to Portland.
Johan Kerkhove,is an authority on Belgian beer, because he discovered it when he lived in Holland a few years ago. He has a favorite style of beer. It’s Belgium Quad – brewed with four different malts.”There is a lot of that here today – everyone does it differently. Portland is a beer hub of the craft beer scene in Maine. It’s becoming a hub in the northeast because there are so many craft breweries.here. Beer is big with technical professionals such as engineers and computer scientists. It’s different. because the process is more technical than the more standard beers,” Kerkove said. (See top left photo of Kerkhove.)
“Beer people are super nice compared to wine people. Beer people say come on in to the table and wine people crowd around the table. Beer people are laid back, open-minded and friendly. They are looking to connect with each other. Not so with wine people,” said Anne Hayes, who is a wine drinker. She attended with her husband a beer drinker from Massachusetts.
Providing the food were Roxy’s of Boston providing sumptous grilled cheese sandwiches, the Waffle Cabin, ;providing waffles smothered in Belgian chocolate as an oprtion and of course Oysters from South Portland. Friendly security came from APS, Andover, MA.