Taking place this week is the 27th annual Oregon Brewers Festival at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon and I will be there for my 1st Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF). [Far more details below or see the OBF website.]
27th annual Oregon Brewers Festival at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon, July 23 – 27, 2014
Last year was the first year we could have attended but we had conflicts. This year my wife is the co-chair of the Library Instruction West conference, being extremely conveniently held at Portland State University all during OBF. Both of us will be at OBF Wednesday evening with a group of librarians going there for dinner and socializing. I will also be there Thursday at noon for a few to several hours and maybe back again with Sara on Thursday evening.
I am truly excited to be attending and am looking forward to quite a few beers. I do not know yet what will be in the Specialty Tent but I am following @OBFLTDTent on Twitter to keep abreast of what is pouring there. Of the 88 beers in the main fest I am particularly interested in trying many of the following, which are in a loose sort of prioritized order and then simply alphabetically:
- Cigar City Mangosteen Florida Weisse (lowest ABV)
- Dogfish Head Burton Olde English (Old English-style strong ale) (highest ABV)
- Sixpoint Barrel Aged 3 Beans (Baltic Porter)
These are my top 3 and should truly be reversed. Cigar City has the lowest ABV at the fest and is a fruit Weisse. There are, in fact, several Weissen at the fest. It is a style I am trying to explore a bit more and we don’t generally get Cigar City in Bend; no idea whether Portland does. The Dogfish Head is the Old Ale half of Burton Baton minus the IPA part. A big old ale. From Dogfish Head. That I simply cannot buy elsewhere. Yep. I am THERE. I have been wanting to try something from Sixpoint for a while now and this is my first opportunity (I believe) and it is a barrel-aged Baltic porter. Not missing this one either.
- Mazama Rasplendent (Raspberry Wit)
I really like Mazama and try to support them. Raspberry is not my favorite ingredient but I’m betting they can pull it off for my taste buds.
- Sprecher Abbey Triple (Tripel)
- Stone Witty Moron (Black Wit)
- The Dude’s Grandma’s Pecan Brown (English-style nut brown ale)
I have not had any Sprecher beer although I did love their root beer [I don’t drink soda anymore]. Want to give this a try. What the heck is a “Black Wit” but, hey, it’s Stone and it has a witty name. I enjoy a good English nut brown ale so I’ll see what The Dude’s can bring. Their website says it’s their flagship. Alrighty then! That’s different and perhaps bold and I respect that. Going to give it a try,
- Boundary Bay Double Dry Hopped Mosaic Pale Ale
- Bear Republic Grand Am (APA)
- Deschutes Ester the Farmhouse Maiden (Saison)
- Ecliptic Perihelion Crimson Saison (w/rhubarb)
- Full Sail Cascade Pilsner (NW German Pils)
- Gigantic Who Ate All the Pies? (Strawberry Rhubarb Gose)
- Golden Valley Young Franken Stein (Kellerbier)
- Logsdon Straffe Drieling (Triple)
- Natian Portland Fog (Org. blond)
- Old Town YoSteamite Sam (California Common)
- Rock Bottom Cascadian Kölsch
The above I want to try for assorted reasons: I like Mosaic hops and pales, I like Saisons, Deschutes Saison sounds tasty and has a silly name and I’m guessing it is from one of the pub brewers [Verified my hunch. Is a Portland pub beer as I suspected.]. Gose, Tripels, Kölsch, California Common, ….
- 10 Barrel Cider Weisse
- Anderson Valley Summer Solstice (cream ale)
- Bayern Amber Lager (Marzen)
- Collaborator Czech’d Out Pils
- Fort George The Optimist (IPA)
- Grain Station Brew Works Epernay Weiss
- Lucky Lab Hopperopolis (copper ale)
- Nimbus Red Ale (amber ale)
- Paradise Creek Huckleberry Pucker (Berliner Weiss)
- Pelican Phil’s Pils (Pre-Pro Am Pils)
- Upright Old News Saison
These I would love to try but there are quite a few before them and, as I wrote above, no good idea what is going to be in the Specialty Tent. Then there’s the issue of these all sounded potentially tasty a few days ago but what will in a few more?
Actually, I know there will be about 100 specialty beers that will rapidly come and go so, if you are interested, following that @OBFLTDTent account might be the best way to keep up. Also in the Specialty Tent will be 11 Dutch and 1 German brewery with up to 5 beers apiece pouring daily Wed.-Sat. [See more below. See also pp. 8-9 of the event guide for even more.]
Seems we’re looking at over 200 beers; how much over depends on how many beers each of the Europeans bring. Hard decisions will have to be made. Drink responsibly, folks!
I want to thank my friend, Jon Abernathy, for hooking me up with this opportunity. I am sorry he cannot attend this year. Here’s his post for this year and you can find previous ones at his blog.
Bits and pieces culled from the press kit I was supplied and from the festival website and the event guide [big PDF].
Info on the 27th annual Oregon Brewers Festival at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon
The OBF was founded in 1988 by Art Larrance, co-founder of Portland Brewing Co.; Dick and Nancy Ponzi of BridgePort Brewing Co.; and Kurt & Rob Widmer of Widmer Bros. Brewing Co. Along with McMenamins, these were the only microbreweries in Portland at the time, and there were just three more across the state. Today, there are 173 brewing companies operating 214 brewing facilities in 70 cities in Oregon. Portland alone has 56 breweries — more than any other city in the world. The Portland metropolitan area is the largest craft brewing market in the US with the most number of breweries at 76.
Venue: Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, Oregon. Main entrance at S.W. Oak Street and Naito Parkway.
Dates: July 23 – 27, 2014 — “Always the last full weekend in July”
Times: Wed through Sat, taps are open from Noon to 9pm. Sun, taps are open from Noon to 7pm. Token & glass sales close one-half hour prior to the taps shutting off (8:30pm daily, except 6:30pm Sunday)
Admission: The OBF is NOT a ticketed event, admission into the festival grounds is free. In order to consume beer, purchase of a 2014 souvenir tasting glass is required and costs $7. Beer is purchased with wooden tokens, which cost $1 apiece. Patrons pay four tokens for a full 12.8oz glass of beer, or one token for a 3oz. taste. Glasses and tokens are pre-sold up to two weeks prior to the festival at select local locations, including Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub, Cascade Brewing Barrel House, Belmont Station, Deschutes in the Pearl, Rogue Ales Public House and the Green Dragon. The festival is cash only, and there are 8 ATMs on-site.
Description: The Oregon Brewers Festival is one of the nation’s longest running and best loved craft beer festivals. Situated on the west bank of the Willamette River, with towering Mt. Hood as a backdrop, it is the ideal venue for anyone who loves craft beer. With a laid back attitude and scores of award-winning beers, the festival reflects the essence of the city of Portland. The Oregon Brewers Festival exists to provide an opportunity to sample and learn about a variety of craft beer styles from across the country. 86 craft breweries from all parts of the nation offer more than 30 styles of handcrafted brews to 85,000 beer lovers during the five-day event; an additional two taps are dedicated to gluten-free beer, and a tap is reserved for the Oregon Brew Crew Collaboration project.
In addition to the main taps, there is a Specialty Tent featuring uber-geek beers, cellared specialties, one-offs, and other brews you might never see again. These beers are highly prized, very expensive, and the selection is very limited in quantity (follow OBFLTDTent on Twitter). As part of this year’s specialty tent, the OBF is bringing in a handful of craft brewers & their beer from the Netherlands. #NLtoPDX is a natural progression in the evolution of craft brewing worldwide, a collective celebration of great craft beer. We will offer these Euro beers daily in the specialty tent and pour them until their allotment per brewery is exhausted.
The OBF’s focus is craft beer, but there’s more than sampling involved. The event features live music, beer-related vendors, displays, homebrewing demonstrations, and an assortment of food vendors. The Crater Lake Root Beer Garden offers complimentary handcrafted root beer for minors and designated drivers. Minors are always welcome at the festival when accompanied by a parent.
The Oregon Brewers Festival strongly encourages responsible drinking, and urges patrons to take advantage of the MAX Light Rail line, located just one block west of the festival on SW Oak Street. Go by bus, train or taxi, just don’t drink and drive. The festival also offers free monitored on-site bicycle parking.
- 27th year of the festival.
- 88 handcraft beers are poured in the main festival; another 100+ in the Specialty Tent.
- There are 86 participating breweries (Deschutes has two entries, one Gluten-Free), plus Collaborator, a project in which Oregon Brew Crew homebrewers create the recipe and have it made and distributed by Widmer Bros. Brewing.
- 14 states are represented: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin; plus British Columbia. In the Specialty Tent we also have Germany and The Netherlands.
- In the main festival, Maui Brewing Co traveled the furthest at 2,568 miles; Dunedin Brewing from Dunedin, Florida, was a close second with 2,483 (and the brewers actually drove their kegs on a road trip to the fest!); and Dogfish Head from Milton, Delaware was third at 2,434 miles.
- There are 17 breweries making their first appearance at the festival this year, including Ashtown, Central City, Cigar City, Coronado, Crux, Ecliptic, Ex Novo, Fitger’s, Grain Station, Kells, Mazama, No-Li, North Rim, Payette, Sixpoint, Viking Braggot and Wild Ride.
- The following breweries have never missed a festival: Bayern, BridgePort, Deschutes, Full Sail & Widmer.
There is a Mobile Guide “app” www.coaster.me that I have played with some. It is an app in that is a website that does a particular job. It might be useful if you have a good fast (and cheap) data connection. Otherwise it seems to me it would seriously tax your battery. Then again, maybe heavy use of Untappd also seriously taxes a battery. Bottom line is the more you use your phone the faster the battery drains. I think it is a good stat but not as good as I would like. Give it a try and see what you think.
There is also an intriguing color code used. It is used throughout the event guide for each individual beer and all are collected from lightest to darkest in the last few pages of the guide. So if, for whatever reason, you want to choose your beers based on color you have some help.
Brewers from the Netherlands and Germany
See page 9 of the event guide.
… for the first time in the festival’s history, nearly a dozen brewers from the Netherlands will join in the celebration.
The Oregon Brewers Festival is flying over both beer and brewers from Brouwerij ‘t IJ, Brouwerij Rodenburg, Microbrouwerij Rooie Dop, Brouwerij Maximus, Brouwerij Duits & Lauret, Brouwerij de Molen, Oedipus Brewing, Het Uiltje, Oersoep and Ramses Bier. Bierbrouwerij Emelisse is also sending beer as well, although no brewer representation.
Each brewery will serve five of their beers daily in the festival’s Specialty Tent, an area where vintage, barrel aged, blends and esoteric one-offs from participating breweries are also offered. The brewers will be available for daily meet the brewer sessions at the event. They will also be doing a special Meet & Greet and beer tasting event at Belmont Station, a local bottle shop, on July 24 from 4 to 8pm.
Dubbed NL to PDX (#NLtoPDX), the program started when festival director Art Larrance learned that Portland has a Friendship City relationship with the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Upon visiting, he discovered a growing craft brewing movement that reminded him of the Northwest craft beer industry in the 1980s; brewers who are just beginning to explore new flavors and styles.
“Featuring international brewers is a natural extension for the OBF,” explained Larrance. “We want to develop a long term cultural exchange and share our passion, knowledge and friendship with these brewers as part of a collective The Dutch brewers will join Portland brewers while they’re in town to collaborate and share information. Portland breweries including BridgePort, Ecliptic, Gigantic, Portland, Laurelwood, Hair of the Dog, Upright, The Commons, Hopworks Urban Brewery and Upright have all stepped up to host their Dutch counterparts.
- Bierbrouwerij Emelisse (http://www.emelisse.nl)
- Brouwerij ‘t IJ (www.brouwerijhetij.nl)
- Brouwerij Rodenburg (www.brouwerij-rodenburg.nl)
- Microbrouwerij Rooie Dop (www.rooiedop.nl)
- Brouwerij Maximus (www.brouwerijmaximus.nl)
- Brouwerij Duits & Lauret (www.duitslauret.com)
- Brouwerij de Molen (www.brouwerijdemolen.nl)
- Oedipus Brewing (www.oedipusbrewing.com)
- Het Uiltje (www.brouwerijhetuiltje.nl)
- Oersoep (www.oersoepbrouwerij.nl)
- Ramses Bier (www.ramsesbier.nl)
- Brauerei Nothhaft (German)
Each brewery will serve up to five of their beers in the Specialty Tent starting at Noon (Wed-Sat); the brewers will be available for meet the brewer sessions those days as well.
There will also be live music throughout the event. The schedule is also in the event guide.
Visiting Portland? Be sure to check out Travel Portland to learn about restaurants, attractions and more. You can also download a concise visitor guide.
Want to learn more about Oregon craft beer? Visit The Oregon Brewers Guild.
Want to learn about the history of the Oregon Brewers Festival? Watch a video of founder Art Larrance.
The map which is also in the event guide.
I am truly looking forward to my 1st Oregon Brewers Festival and to being there mostly when it isn’t massively crowded and in full-on party mode. I will report back with some kind of after action report about the tasty beers I had and the cool people I met. Maybe I’ll see you there. Cheers!