Sunday afternoon on Maine’s Higgins Beach, while I nursed both a hangover and my second Heady Topper of the day, a friend said, “I’m not exactly sure because I’ve never had one, but this might have been the perfect weekend.”
It was, friends. It was.
And in order to commemorate our time in Portland, ME, I asked my friends Jon, Roger, Heather, Lindsay, Erica, and Brett to each write a little piece about their experience. 8 people. 8 posts. 1 amazing weekend. Enjoy.
Somehow I managed to volunteer for two sessions at The Festival, and still, despite what those crudely written articles have to say, had one of the greatest weekends in recent memory. Sure, the volunteering situation wasn’t ideal, and certainly much different then what I’m use to in Massachusetts, but it all comes down to the people you surround yourself with. Luckily, I met amazing people, and had an outstanding group of friends to share the weekend with. Here are some examples.
Friday I was lucky enough to be pouring for Cantillon and even though my knees started locking up and my back was achy after three hours of non-stop filling attendee’s glasses, it turned out alright. I lucked out because the brewer himself demanded that we try his beer before the festival started. I wasn’t about to say no to Jean Van Roy. Sorry Maine State Laws.
Later that evening, I was lucky enough to run into Jean again while waiting for my friends. We spoke in a mix of french and english about spontaneous fermentation, he bought me a beer, and I learned a little bit about which American breweries he admired. He promised to take me around during the Saturday session so that I could try beers from his favorite brewers. That is exactly why I volunteer. Connections are made as simply as pouring a beer for a brewer with a smile on your face.
Saturday morning as I was out on my bike, I ran into my friends who were running to The Holy Donut. How could I not take a detour? We bought one of every flavor to share. When questioned about our donut carnage, Roger replied, “We’re beer geeks, sharing is in our nature”. And it couldn’t be more true.
The rest of my day and evening deviated from the group as I ended up going out for oysters with some local friends and German brewers. We laughed as the Germans, wearing lederhosen, got a bit squeamish during their first experience with steamers. They invited us out after the festival, where they taught us how to open beer bottles with knifes, I witnessed someone open a beer with their belly button (gross!), and we stayed up drinking and chatting until the sun rose. Now that I’m well past my college years, that doesn’t happen too often. So when it does, it’s always memorable.
I finally reunited with the rest of the group at Rising Tide Brewery. As soon as I was able to stand without needing to lean on a wooden barrel for support, we hatched plans for a trip to the beach to share some beers. Sunday turned into a marvelous end to the weekend, one that was nearly impossible to drive myself away from. In fact, as I write this I’m packing to go back.Thanks for the post, Jessica! And my sincerest apologies for previous versions that omitted your contribution. I suspect I will never live that one down…