Back in June, I traveled to Portland, Maine, to drink beer. This is pretty common. The seafaring city is one of my favorite on the East Coast, the land where I married my wife and spent far too many hours shaking my tail father on this light-up disco dance floor at Bubba's Sulky Lounge. (Bonus: can you spot me in this video?)
But this trip was different. Over the weekend in a cavernous boatyard in Portland, ME, beer importers Shelton Brothers and 12 Percent combined forces to create The Festival, a humble name for a wildly ambitious notion: to bring more than 70 of the world’s best breweries together under one roof, with the brewers on hand to discuss their creations.
"You never see all these breweries in one place,” said Joel Shelton, gesturing to the sprawling room lined with brewers from Japan, Norway, Spain, England–basically, everywhere that better craft beer is brewed. And increasingly, it is everywhere. Craft beer is a global phenomenon, but you need not book a plane ticket to savor the best new breweries.
I spent the weekend sampling (and sampling and sampling) the latest crop of imports to touch down on American shores. For Bon Appétit, I reported on the best new international breweries to seek out. Check out my story right...here.