The granddaddy of beer festivals in Oregon, the one that started it all, the Oregon Brewers Festival, kicks off next Wednesday. Celebrating its 28th year, it was started in craft beer's infancy, when there were just seven craft breweries in the state.
Expected attendance at this year's festival is 85,000, with beer lovers from Oregon, across the U.S. and all around the world converging on Portland's waterfront. Similar to last year when Art Larrance brought nearly a dozen Dutch brouwerijs to town, the festival is hosting 13 brewers from New Zealand and The Netherlands as part of a cultural exchange.
As is my M.O. I'll be heading to the festival early during the five-day run, early in the day. Of the 105 beers that will be poured in the main festival and International Beer Garden I've compiled a list of 29, 18 that I definitely want to have and an additional 11 that I'm going to do my darnedest to get to.
Of those, the ones I'm most excited about are:
Burnside Brewing Co. Smoked Berliner Weisse - I don't understand it but have high hopes.
Claim 52 Brewing Runnermass - Essentially a radler blending a Kolsch style pale ale with lemon-lime soda, I'm intrigued to see how well they pull it off.
Fort George Summer Stout - A stout with secondary fermentation on organic peaches?!?
Oedipus Brewing Vogelen - An international offering, I'm down to try a dry-hopped Berliner Weisse.
Oersoep Brettalicious - Another international offering, let's see what they do with Brett
Sixpoint Brewery Little Raspy - I'm a sucker for a Lacto beer with raspberry puree.
Uiltje CC: Porter- Even if it wasn't one of the international offerings, a coffee beer described as liquefied Mounds bar sounds delish.
For those of you that are social media geeks like me, you'll appreciate something new that was included in the press kit I received this year - a spreadsheet of all of the participating breweries' Twitter accounts. And speaking of social media, what I'll be doing and what I encourage others to do, is to utilize the Wish List feature of Untapped for easy-peasy check-ins at the festival.
Finally, in reviewing the lineup there were some listings that popped out to me, some because they are debuting at the festival, some for personal, warm fuzzy reasons.
Ambacht Brewing, OR - Debut; profiled in my Dec 2014 piece for the Oregon Beer Growler.
Bent Paddle Brewing Co., MN - One of the newer MN breweries, impressive to be selected & able to produce the number of kegs required to participate.
Collaborator Project - From Oregon Brew Crew member Jodi Campbell (the first solo female winner) & Widmer, offering Valley Vanilla Pale Ale.
Fremont Brewing, WA - Debut
PINTS Urban Brewery, OR - Debut; rock on, Alan!
Sprecher Brewery, WI - Not their first OBF rodeo but it makes my Midwest heart happy.
StormBreaker Brewing, OR - Debut
The Lost Abbey, CA - Debut
Wednesday, July 22 - Sunday, July 26
Beers pouring daily at 12:00 pm
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
$7 tasting glass, $1 wooden tokens