Friday, October 9, 2015

More Than Just Another Beer Festival

A week ago I was stoked for the Willamette Week's Beer Pro/Am. This week has me already excited for next year's event and here's why.

The biggest reason is that this is one of the few, possibly the only, beer festival in town where you'll be able to talk to each and every brewer and they'll be pouring the beer. I'm not talking about just the amateurs. I'm talking about the professionals, too. Most festivals utilize volunteer pourers, many of which who have never tasted the beer they're pouring and I consider it a huge disservice to the beer and the brewer/brewery that made it.

A very close second reason is that this is a huge opportunity for both amateurs and professionals. On the amateurs' end, they collaborate with a professional and brew on a commercial system, things even well-seasoned homebrewers can appreciate. On the professionals' end this is a way to stay connected to the homebrewing and craft beer drinking community in a way that is increasingly difficult yet important to the heart of craft beer.

Beyond that the beers made for the festival rank right up there in creativity with those of the Fruit Beer Festival and tend to reflect the signature style of the brewers. For example, Capsaison from Upright Brewing and Ritch Marvin, was a barrel fermented saison with chili peppers. Saisons are in Upright's wheelhouse and anyone that knows Ritch knows his thing for growing and using chili peppers.

This year marked the third year of the festival and it's grown by leaps and bounds. Starting out in the Con-Way Warehouse in NW with a mere 12 Pro/Am pairs, last year it moved to Zarr Studios in SE where it filled the space to its gills and this year, now with 21 Pro/Am pairs, expanded to the former Metalcraft Fabrication location, now called The North Warehouse, just down the hill from Widmer. The space easily accommodated the event and I'm hopeful that it will be utilized next year. Regardless where it's held you can bet I'll be there to see what the Pro/Am pairs have brewed up.

In case you didn't attend or missed the subsequent coverage below are this year's winners and here is a full listing of the pairs:
Judges' Choice - 1st Place
13 Virtues and Bill Schneller
OG Stout, Historical 19th Century Imperial Brown Stout

Judges' Choice Honorable Mentions
Culmination and Jim Sullins
Kludde, Belgian IPA

Baerlic and Paul Key
First Crack Coffee Pale Ale

People's Choice - 1st Place
Coalition and Cullen Conway
Figtory! Saison with roasted figs

People's Choice - 2nd Place
Baerlic and Paul Key
First Crack Coffee Pale Ale

People's Choice - 3rd Place
Breakside and Larry Clouser
Palekaiko, Hawaiian Farmhouse Ale with Calamansi Lime and Habanero


  1. Truly one of the most unique and fun fests I've attended recently. I enjoyed the vibe. Nice seeing you there, too!

  2. Thank you for posting the winners of the competition! I have been looking for about an hour and your post has the most comprehensive and thorough list. Thank you!!