Nichole Pelletier, center, and Dustin Fairbanks, both from Bridgton, enjoy a Ricker’s Hard Cider at the fifth annual Great Falls Brewfest at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Despite the rain, the fifth annual Great Falls Brewfest, hosted by local Baxter Brewing, boasted a crowd of 2,200 people Saturday at Simard-Payne Memorial Park.

“It’s bigger, it’s badder, everyone’s happy. It’s a lot more organized this year, which is good,” said Adam Platz, director of the brewfest.

He said he’d seen a lot of return faces in the crowd, and that the festival was at capacity as of 3 p.m.

“It’s nice, knowing this is an event that people look forward to every year,” he said. “It’s raining and not many people are leaving. It’s a testament to the quality of the festival and the quality of the breweries who are here representing their brand.” 

The rain made people congregate in the tents, which is where the beer was, he said.

This year they were up 25 percent in brewers, so there was more canopy space to accommodate them.

“It’s the same format, but we just keep growing,” Platz said. “I think we’ve dialed in a lot of the big pieces and are able to focus on the smaller things now.”

Kristina Moberg of West Paris said this was her first time at the Great Falls Brewfest and she was having a great time enjoying the beer.

“Craft breweries in general, that’s what drew us here, the different types of beer,” her friend Corey Poirier said.

The fest offered 150 brews from more than 50 breweries, including Lost Valley brewery, Bear Bones Beer, Gritty’s, Shipyard and Norway Brewing Co.

Darren Finnegan of Lost Valley Brewing said this was the company’s first time at the Great Falls Brewfest, let alone any beer fest, and it was exciting.

“To be in our backyard, it’s awesome,” he said. The Auburn brewery opened at the end of February, after about 16 months of logistics and planning.

Finnegan said people were telling him two things all day. “One, that they learned how to ski at Lost Valley. The second was, ‘I didn’t know you had a brewery.’”

He said their most popular beer was a blueberry ale, which ran out in 30 minutes. They also served an IPA, Belgian white and brown ale.

“We’re excited,” Finnegan said. “And a big thanks to Baxter. They’ve been very helpful to us and, of course, for including us in the brewfest.”

A sample of Lost Valley Beaver Brown Ale is poured at the fifth annual Great Falls Brewfest at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Paula and Mark Grondin of Sabattus enjoy the fifth annual Great Falls Brewfest at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston on Saturday while sporting homemade pretzel necklaces. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)


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