Thursday, July 25, 2013

2013 Oregon Brewers Festival Kicks Off

For the first day of the 2013 Oregon Brewers Festival Portland put on its summer best - clear blue skies, warm temps and a refreshing breeze coming off the water. From atop the Morrison bridge the bright white festival tents beckoned.

In typical festival fashion, I arrived shortly before the gates opened and found a short line at the south entrance waiting in the cool shadows under the Morrison bridge.

As I made my way to the middle of the festival grounds to get my glass and tokens the tail end of the parade was making its way in. I had time to grab my first sample before the official toast and subsequent tapping of the complimentary Blueberry Belgian from BridgePort.

After that I got down to business, making my way from one end of the beer trailers to the others ticking off beers on my hit list while enjoying talking to the many, many friends I ran into along the way. Tops on my list were:
Boulder Beer Co Pump Up the Jam - Not as visually appealing as many fruit beers, there was a great berry/jam aroma, a surprising mouthfeel similar to drinking apricot juice and a flavor that was pleasantly fruity without being too sweet.
West Highland Brewing Mango Moon Ale - Have you ever had those peach rings candies? You know the gummy ones? This beer smelled like a mango version of that and followed with a fruity flavor that was slightly tart and overall very good. I don't know if I've had a mango beer or anything from West Highland before but this first experience with both was very good.
Old Market Pub & Brewery Dilution of Grandeur - While I've been to Old Market once, and with a huge sampler tray their beers were all over the board for me, their version of a berry Belgian lambic turned out quite well. Not as tart as some lambics but one of the better beers I've had from them for sure.

I didn't quite get through my whole list but there's still four more days of the festival. Perhaps I'll make it back for another round of drinking and chatting with friends. Perhaps I'll run into you and we'll talk about some of your favorites (or feel free to leave them in the comments).

Oregon Brewers Festival
July 24 - 28, gates open at noon daily
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland

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