2016 marks the 10th year for Cheers to Belgian Beers, a festival that was started to help introduce Oregonians to the breath of style and flavors of beers brewed in Belgium. Taking place Friday, May 13th and Saturday, May 14th, the festival will feature close to 70 beers from brewers whose beer color and strength was determined by a dart throw the first of February at Horse Brass. While there's plenty of room for interpretation, the results of the dart throw are a glimpse at what each brewer will be bringing.
As the festival nears the festival website will be updating the list with the specific beers, many of which utilize the featured yeast strain, Imperial Organic Yeast 58 Lioness. For the regular drinker the specifics might be more than they need to know but homebrewers may appreciate knowing the details, including temperature range, flocculation and attenuation. For drinkers the important parts are the dates, times, location and knowing that discounted advanced tickets are on sale through 5pm Friday, April 29th (make sure to use the code CTBB2016).
Friday, May 13th 1-9pm
Saturday, May 14th 12-8pm
North Warehouse, 723 N Tillamook St
Another thing to note is that parking is a bit challenging in that area so finding alternatives to driving and parking is recommended. Last year I walked to and from which offered a good chance to build up my thirst beforehand and a gentle transition after the festival to the rest of my day.
In general Belgian beers are not my favorite style, mostly because of the characteristics the yeast tends to impart to many of the beers. However that's exactly why this is a festival I (and others in the same boat) shouldn't miss. Here I have the opportunity to try a bunch of beers I'd probably never consider ordering in a larger format and there's a good chance I'll find a few that surprise and delight my palate. Then there are ones, Flanders Reds in particular and a couple using ingredients like peppercorns and papayas, which are likely to hit higher notes with me. Either way it's the spirit of a beer festival, of trying a variety of beers, that is what's important. Perhaps I'll see you there and we'll compare notes on favorites.