When someone suggested we throw a craft beer festival in Portland, Maine, during the Hop Culture annual team meeting, everyone got excited. Portland is a place that we’ve all visited individually, either to check out breweries, sample the seafood, go hiking, or take advantage of the myriad other activities Vacationland has to offer. Going as a team sounded like a blast.

So Juicy Brews Island Getaway was born! Twenty-one of the country’s juiciest breweries, plus Noble Barbecue, Highroller Lobster, and A&C Grocery. We had a steel drum player, DJ Hi-Duke, and a six-foot inflatable beach ball, along with a whole host of other inflatables that turned the parking lot of Mast Landing Brewery into a tropical wonderland.

A special shoutout to Mast Landing Brewing Co., who hosted the event. The whole Mast Landing team went out of their way to make it a success, but we have to give a special shoutout to Parker Olen, Vice President of Brand Strategy at Mast Landing, who was instrumental in the event’s production. Parker, we’re sorry we took six years off your life and made you consider the logistical nightmare of covering your entire brewery parking lot in sand (maybe next year?).

Thank you also to our distributors, and particularly to the entire team at Vacationland Distribution, who went above and beyond by hosting us for a brewer’s barbecue at their incredible warehouse space in Westbrook. Novare Res, one of the top beer bars not only in Maine but in the entire country, hosted the official Juicy Brews afterparty.

We owe a huge thank you to our partners, from Northeast Charter (check out their brew bus!) to LiveME, an apparel and goods company for those who love the state of Maine. We also appreciate the continued support of Westrock and InTouch Labels, and our new friendship with the amazing crew at HighWire Hydroponics.

But the true heroes of the event are the consumers, the rowdy but respectful drinkers who braved the potentially disastrous weather forecast to support independent craft beer in Maine. We’re especially appreciative of those who came in tropical attire! The fan favorite beer? Easily Burley Oak Pina Colada J.R.E.A.M. However, my personal favorite was Seed from Bissell Brothers, a mixed-fermentation wild ale conditioned for six months on Maine-grown strawberries and raspberries from Bradbury Mountain Farm. Though I guess that’s cheating, because technically I didn’t try it at the fest. I just knew a guy with a bottle. (Shouts to Peter Bissell.)

Last but not least, we couldn’t have done the event without the support of the amazing independent craft breweries that made themselves and their products available. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Austin Street Brewery (ME)
Barreled Souls Brewing (ME)
Bissell Brothers (ME)
Brix City Brewing (NJ)
Burley Oak Brewing Company (MD)
Dancing Gnome Beer (PA)
Deciduous Brewing Co. (NH)
Definitive Brewing Company (ME)
Foreign Objects Beer Company (NY)
Garrison City Beerworks (NH)
Goodfire Brewing Company (ME)
Kinsmen Brewing (CT)
Magnify Brewing Company (NJ)
Mast Landing Brewing Company (ME)
New Park Brewing (CT)
Orono Brewing Company (ME)
Pretentious Beer Co. (TN)
Resident Culture Brewing Co. (NC)
Shacksbury Cider (VT)
Southern Grist Brewing Company (TN)
Trillium Brewing Company (MA)
Vitamin Sea Brewing (MA)

Our next event is the Juicy Brews Art Gallery at Marz Brewing in Chicago, IL, and then we have Hop Culture x Yakima Chief Hops Present: Beers With(out) Beards in Brooklyn on August 10th. See you there?

Stay juicy,
Kenny Gould
Founder, Hop Culture