This Wednesday kicks off the biggest beer festival of them all for Oregon Craft Beer Month, the Oregon Brewers Festival, also nicknamed OBF. Held the last full weekend of every July, this year the festival is kicking off on Wednesday July 23 and goes to Sunday July 27. As always, OBF makes its home on the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, making is just a 1 block away from the Max lines at the SW First and Oak Street Max Station.
Admission to the Oregon Brewers Festival is FREE and is also all ages as long as you are the parent of the minor. To taste the beer you will need to purchase a 2014 souvenir Oregon Brewers Festival 2014 tasting glass for $7, and then from there tasting tokens are $1. It costs four tokens for a full glass of beer, or one token for a taste.
Oregon Brewers Festival, Photo Credit Timothy Horn
Purchasing the glass or tokens is Cash Only, though they do have ATMS on site. The six food/beverage vendors providing food and alternate drink also are cash only, but some of the vendors selling other items it may be up to their discretion. The message is, bring cash. You can also bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverage if you’d like, though it is subject to bag searching like all bags when you are entering. I always make sure I bring alcohol absorbents like a bread and cheese and charcuterie plate, and a bottle of water.
Taps close at 9 pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and at 7 pm on Sunday. I always try to go as early in the day as possible, as there will be less crowds in terms of finding seating, less lines in getting a beer, and less likelihood that a beer will have run out for the day (they will not tap the next keg until the next day). The best days will be the weekdays or early on the weekends, the worst lines are the weekend evenings.
Keep in mind that OBF spans multiple days, so I will sometimes walk in the North or South tent, get some beers in that area, and then leave and come back another day to do the other side, rather than walking back and forth between the two tents. When you get there, sit down and plan your strategy based on where the beers you have picked out and ranked are located. Read through the Beer List online and then when you get the list with trailer numbers upon entering the festival, start marking where everything is.
Here are a few of my picks of beers you might want to consider for your list, which you can even do on your mobile phone using coaster.me :
- 10 Barrel Brewing Co Cider Weisse, a Berliner Style Weiss blended with green apple cider
- Ballast Point Brewing Co Sculpin IPA, a solid IPA and Ballast is from San Diego, if you haven’t had Ballast before (they do bottle this beer year round, but still you may not have seen it before). They describe that their use of hops creates hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors, but still packs a bit of a sting, just like a Sculpin fish.
- Boneyard Beer Bone-A-Fide, an American Pale Ale that has high rankings on Beer Advocate and Untappd
- Caldera Toasted Coconut Chocolate Porter, because it sounds delicious just with the name alone, and I love chocolate candy bar like porters.
- Cigar City Brewing Mangosteen Florida Weisse, the Berliner Weisse style is always refreshing during the summer, andt his one particular Berliner Weisse has Mangosteen
- Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Burton Olde English, an Olde English Style Ale that is oak aged blend of an English Style ale and an IPA
- Dudes Brewing Grandma’s Pecan Brown is Toasted Nutty brown ale deliciousness. I enjoyed it last year and plan to get it again
- Ecliptic Brewery Perihelion Crimson Saison, a Saison brewed with Rhubarb which may be a one off for OBF as I haven’t seen this Saison offering before
- Ex Novo Brewing Co Black & Wheat, Ex Novo just opened this month and I haven’t had a chance to try any of their beers, so I’ll be glad to have this sample introduction with a Black Raspberry Wheat beer
- Firestone Walker Brewing Co Easy Jack, a Session IPA that uses hop varieties from Europe, New Zealand and North America for globetrotting hops all in one beer
- Gigantic Brewing Co Who Ate All the Pies?, this Strawberry Rhubarb Gose had me at the name including the word pie and the use of Strawberry and Rhubarb in a Gose style which promises a bit of sourness
- Logsdon Farmhouse Ales Sraffe Drieling, an organic Farmhouse Triple brewed with spices. If you haven’t had this Logsdon beer before, here’s your chance to try it out!
- Mazama Brewing Rasplendent, a Raspberry and Hibiscus Wit
- Paradise Creek Huckleberry Pucker is a Berliner Weiss with Huckleberries that one commenter on Untappd mentioned is “Tart n tangy like Pixie Stix”, while others mentioned Nerds. Basically it’s sweet and sour sorta like a candy. Sold.
- Sixpoint Craft Ales Barrel Aged 3 Beans, a Baltic Porter made with Mast Brothers Chocolate cacao husks and infused with fresh Stumptown Coffee Roasters cold brew, and then aged on oak. Yum right?
This year OBF will be hosting 88 different craft breweries from around the country plus another 100 in the Specialty Tent, which makes its return (previously called the Buzz Tent) after a hiatus last year. In the Specialty Tent there will be special European beer friends: 12 breweries (11 from the Netherlands and 1 from Germany!) so this is a special opportunity to try those beers and their unique flavor profiles compared to the 88 American breweries.
Plus, look how fun these brewer friends are that you can meet in the tent as you are tasting their beer! Each brewery will serve up to five of their beers in the Specialty Tent starting at Noon (Wed-Sat) and the brewers will be available for meet the brewer sessions those days as well as you drink their beer.
Do note that although there is no separate ticket to get into the Specialty Tent, only tasters are served (no full pours), and all beers are double tokens. I’ve highlighted the brewers and few example beers where I was able to see descriptions so you have an idea what you might be able to try!
- Bierbrouwerij Emelisse, I’ve had beer from this brewery before that I’ve enjoyed, and they are bringing their Smoked Coffee Porter as well as Black & Tan blend of Imperial Russian Stout and Double IPA and is barrel aged on an Isley barrel.
- Brouwerij Rodenburg has brought their internationally acclaimed Bronckhorster Nightporter stout with flavors of coffee, smoked malts and chocolate as well as their Midnightporter American Imperial Porter which is similar to the Nightporter but with more smoke peat and hops. Their Terra Incognita is their 100th Anniversary Brew and they will be barrel aging it to be available in 2015
- Brouwerij ‘t IJ
- Microbrouwerij Rooie Dop has me interested in their The Daily Grind coffee porter of which the description says “Using delicate ingredients like Guatemala Antigua coffee, brown malts and Saaz hops, we created this dark coffee-infused beer. It will be the smile you need to break the daily grind.”
- Brouwerij Maximus
- Brouwerij Duits & Lauret
- Brouwerij de Molen has a variety of beers they have brought, including representatives of the styles of English Barleywine, Russian Imperial Stout, Baltic Porter, Saison, and more!
- Oedipus Brewing – they have brought some unusually flavored beer, including Lekkerbek Saison with mustard seeds and dill. and Mannenliefde Saison with Lemongrass & Szechuan peppercorns and a Thai Thai Triple with Galanga Root, Orange peel, Coriander Seeds, Lemongrass, Chili pepper. A thai spice dish in a beer?!
- Het Uiltje has an interestingly named Uiltje Pepperspray Porter
- Oersoep has an unusual lineup of Saison and Sour Ales, a couple which they described as having hints of bubblegum (their Sergeant Brett Pepper Saison that has spice and bubblegum?) or sour candy (Brettanosaurus Rex Brett Ale), and a Pomme Bruxelles that is a dryhopped blend of an apple-cider and a one year old barrel-aged sour that is described as sparkling, tart and very fruity
- Ramses Bier, if you dare, has the Naar de Haaien Smoked IPA that is brewed with seaweed and seawater
- Brauerei Nothhaf
I’ll be there at the Oregon Brewers Festival 2014 on Wednesday evening, and also I’ll be following when beers tap at the Specialty Beer tent via their twitter @OBFLTDTent. If you are trying those beers from our European friends, also use or check for the hashtag #NLtoPDX.
Are you going to OBF? What beers sounded interesting to you?