The Maine Brewers Festival

Maybe the early Nor’easter ruined your plans for late fall hiking. Maybe your town is a morass of darkened houses, tangled power lines, and dashed Halloween dreams. Or maybe you just really love beer.

Because what else is there to do in Maine in November?

These are all great reasons to head north on 95 this weekend for the Maine Brewers Festival, taking place November 4 and 5 at the Portland Expo. Old favorites like Allagash, Geary’s, and Shipyard will be there, as well as some new friends like Baxter Brewing Co., and some acquaintances I don’t know nearly well enough, like Sebago. Then there are the intriguing strangers, like Oxbow.

Tickets are $18 and give you 12 tasting coupons. With some 80 beers to try, it’s going to be a veritable Sophie’s choice for your beer-loving Ramblers. At the Boston Beer Fest last June, we narrowed our choices by a) trying to only taste out-of-state brews and b) sticking mostly to pale ales. This time, all the breweries will be from Maine and I’m seeing a lot of great porters and stouts on the list. My priorities so far: Oxbow’s Farmhouse Pale Ale and their Smoked Chocolate Stout; Sebago’s Bourbon-Barrel Aged Lake Trout Stout; Baxter’s Amber Road; and anything from nano-brews Sheepscot Valley and Run of the Mill.

We’ll be sure to let you know how it goes — that is, if we don’t see you there! For more info, visit learnyourbeer.com.

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