Kasey Lupo of Mossy Ledge Spirits of Etna speaks to a customer at Blackfly Brewfest in Houlton. Credit: Joseph Cyr / Houlton Pioneer Times

HOULTON, Maine — The Black Fly Brewfest is buzzing with new offerings for this Saturday’s annual event in Houlton.

Held at the John A. Millar Arena, 94 Randall Ave. in Houlton, the event starts at 1 p.m. for VIP ticket holders and 2:30 p.m. for those with general admission tickets.

The Black Fly Brewfest attracts vintners and craft beer makers from all over Maine. This year, there will be more than 100 samples of beers, wines and spirits, according to the event’s planners.  

“We are expecting between 300 and 400 [attendees],” said organizer Jane Torres, executive director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce. “All the brewers bring four or five selections for sampling.”

This year, Torres said two distillers are expected: Mossy Ledge Spirits of Etna and Doom Forest of Portland. The distillers often bring 20 different selections for sampling, she said.

Additionally, two wineries are added to this year’s list.

The Brewfest will feature these Maine companies: Hidden Spring Winery of East Hodgdon; Lone Pine Brewing, Portland; Threshers Brewing, Searsmont; Bangor Beer Co.; Fogtown Brewing Co., Ellsworth and Bar Harbor; Bigelow Brewing, Skowhegan; First Mile Brewing, Fort Kent; Winterport Winery, Blaze Brewing, Biddeford; Penobscot Bay Brewery, Winterport; and Marsh Island Brewing, Orono.

All ticket holders, with the exception of designated drivers, will receive a Black Fly Brewfest tasting glass, and in addition to trying many new creations, attendees can talk to brewers and vintners about their products.

Last year was the first year the brewfest returned after a three-year COVID-19 hiatus. Last year saw 14 breweries, and this year will be even bigger.

DJ Les Rhoda is providing the music, but Torres said it can’t be too loud so people can talk to the brewers.

Timberwolves Restaurant will be at the event with barbecue and lobster rolls.

Brewfest tickets are $50 for VIP and $35 for general admission. VIP perks include early access from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and snacks, special pours and a T-shirt. Both VIP and general admission include a tasting glass. Designated driver tickets are $10 with free bottled water.

Tickets are available online, at the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, County Yankee Grocer, and The Thirsty Dawg.

Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli is a reporter covering the Houlton area. Over the years, she has covered crime, investigations, health, politics and local government, writing for the Washington Post, the LA...