The 11th Annual North American Organic Brewers Festival kicks off this Thursday at Overlook Park and if you feel like something's different, you're right. The festival has historically taken place in June but due to some shifting around of other beer festivals it's taking place in August this year. That's hunky dory by me as there is so much going on in June with Fruit Beer Festival, Beer and Cheese Fest and Oregon Garden Brewfest that this may end up being a more ideal time for it to be held. The festival, which boasts 60+ beers, ciders, meads and a braggot from five states and four countries, expects attendance of around 12,000. With the move from June to August I'll wager attendance will exceed expectations but I still expect it to be the most chill festivals with plenty of space for everyone.
As due diligence requires, I've taken a detailed look at the tap line up, created my handy dandy "drinking list" and added those beers to my Untappd wish list. You're more than welcome to check out either of those lists but if CliffsNotes are more your style here are the top four I'm looking forward to.
Lakefront Brewery Growing Power - Lakefront still holds the trophy for my favorite brewery tour ever so there's definitely some nostalgia influencing me here. There's also in interest to see how bright and citrusy this 6.7%ABV pale ale is.
McMenamins Crystal Brewery Oaken Tower Barrel-Aged Ginger Beer - Raspberry-hibiscus ginger beer that's billed to have "tart acidity and muted funkiness"? Ummm, heck yeah!
McMenamins Edgefield Brewery Double Barrel-Aged Pavol the Collector - Some Baltic porters don't do much for me but I'm hopeful that this "dark, chocolately, organic lager bomb" will be a version that is right up my alley.
Pints Brewing Co Green Line Organic Radler - I'm already in love with their Hot Seismic Squeeze, a blend of Seismic IPA and Hot Lips lemon-lime soda, so I'm excited to see how the pale ale-lemon soda blend stacks up. If the weather stays warm I suspect this will be one of the biggest sellers of the festival.
None of these four are obvious choices for a lot of beer geeks. Lakefront isn't distributed out here, McMenamins gets a lot of flack (from me included but for things other than their beer) and Pints is in my opinion the most underrated brewery in Portland. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to those and at least another nine beers. Beyond that...well, we'll see how the day progresses and if I'm able to make it back for a second day. If you're planning to be there when gates open on Thursday, keep an eye out for me and let me know what you think of these four beers in particular, should you decide to give 'em a go.
North American Organic Brewers Festival
Thursday, August 13 - Sunday, August 16
Overlook Park, 1301 N Fremont St
Gates open daily at 12pm
$7 tasting cup, $1 tokens