The Willamette Week Beer Pro/Am, now in it's fourth year, takes place this Saturday at the North Warehouse (down the street from Widmer). For those unfamiliar with the event it features brewing teams - part commercial brewery and part amateur brewer. "Amateur" is technical by definition only; these amateurs tend to be very accomplished homebrewers who have been doing this for years, entered countless competitions and taken home awards for their beers. The creations attendees will be sampling easily qualify as something the "pro" part of the team could turn out and who knows, maybe in the future you can say you were one of the first to have the beer that started out as a Pro/Am entry and has now become a beer the brewery makes.
Beyond the cool factor of the professional and amateur brewers collaborating, an aspect that keeps the connection between where most brewers started and where they are today, here are a few more reasons you should strongly consider scrapping any other plans for Saturday and attending.
#1 The beers made for this festival will be some of the most creative you'll run across. From a lavender and vanilla cream ale, the collaboration of homebrewers Jen McPoland and Jeremie Landers and Burnside Brewing's Natalie Baldwin (who won as the "am" part of a team in 2014) to Amprosia, a mixed culture Saison with local Chenin Blanc and Merlot grapes from Great Notion Brewing and Chad Graham (aka Before Noon Brew) to a barrel aged dry sparkling session mead from Oregon Mead & Cider Co. (formerly Stung Fermented) and Brewvana Brewery Tours to Purple Rain, a Brett fermented cider with pureed Oregon black currants from Swift Cider and Miranda Karson, the 30 collaborations showcase the skill these teams possess.
#2 Both parts of the brewing team will be on hand pouring their beer and will be more than happy to talk to you about it. Unlike big festivals where often volunteers, who may or may not have tried the beer, are pouring it you'll not only get your glass filled by someone who has had the beer but by someone who has played an integral part in its design and making.
#3 I'll be there and you know it's been too long since we last had a beer together. I've been fortunate to be asked back for a third year as a judge meaning I will be there for the entire time of the festival and will be trying every single entry. Even if you can only come for a few hours on one end or the other look hard enough (I am short) and I'll be there somewhere.
Willamette Week's 4th Annual Beer Pro/Am
Saturday, October 15
1-6:30pm (12pm entry for VIP)
723 N Tillamook Street
$25 general admission includes pint glass, enough tickets to taste all of the beer/mead/cider, pretzel necklace & free retro video games
$55 VIP tops those benefits with early entry, voucher for event food vendors PDX Sliders or Thrive Sauce & Bowls and event t-shirt