Thursday, July 28, 2016

Observations from Day 1 of the Oregon Brewers Festival

One of the many beautiful & tasty
beers to be had
Wednesday dawned overcast and dreary but by the time the parade was marching across the Hawthorne bridge to open the 29th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival the skies had cleared and a stunning summer day was upon Portland.

During the couple of hours I was able to attend I sampled 16 beers, starting off with Berliner Weisses and fruit beers before moving to a couple of hoppier beers and settling into the area of the International Beer Garden to try as many of the beers on tap at the time that were on my list, knowing there would be a good chance they wouldn't be available tomorrow.

Of the Berliner Weisses I tried (about half of the ones I hope to), Uber Osten from Terminal Gravity was my favorite. The 4.8% beer is balanced and just right for the style. Along a similar style vein, Nancy Cherrygan from Sasquatch offered up a bit of tartness, plenty of cherry flavor and was a beauty to look at. At 6.9% I might get myself into trouble if I were allowed to drink as much as I want of it (which would be plenty).

While I didn't have much in the way of hoppy beers I was impressed with Organized Love IPA from Riverbend, one of the newer breweries on the Oregon beer scene. In the International Beer Garden both the IPA from North Island Beer and No. 10, a 7.5% imperial IPA from Shiga Kogen Beer, are worth trying (if they're available when you're there).

Finally, two big, dark beers that were on my list were definite winners: New Holland Dragon's Milk: Mexican Spice Cake and Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout. The former is just what it sounds like, a liquid version of a spiced cake, and it is stunning. Serpent's Stout is a blended beer, with a portion being aged in bourbon barrels, which comes across without being overpowering and finishes with a coffee/dark chocolate aftertaste. Both are 11% beers so drink with caution but if I was looking for something to slowly sip while wandering the grounds I'd splurge on a full glass (4 tokens) and enjoy every last drop.

- Bring water (it's allowed), use the rinse stations or buy a bottle from one of the food vendors.
- Drink water. My rule is "drink your swill" and by that I mean that I carry a water bottle so that I can dump some in my tasting mug between each sample. It not only rinses it but drinking that beer-ish flavored water helps keep me hydrated.

- Visit the International Beer Garden early on and continue to check back periodically as the beers will rotate.
- If there is a line for New Holland or Lost Abbey (both in trailer #2) the wait is worth it.

- It's going to be a warm one so take advantage of the shaded areas and/or the "free rain."

No comments:

Post a Comment