North American Organic Brewers Festival 2014

The 10th annual North American Organic Brewers Festival starts tomorrow! This year’s event (also nicknamed NAOBF) will take place Thursday June 26 through Sunday June 29.

NAOBF aims to raise awareness about organic beer and sustainable living, and serves up nearly 60 organic beers & ciders from around the nation. There are more than two dozen styles represented at the festival, running the gamut from Belgians and goldens to porters and stouts, with a bit of everything in-between, so you can “Drink Organic, Save the Planet, One Beer at a Time.”

This year, NAOBF will also be hooking up four flat screen TVs to show all the World Cup matches as well as the Friday Portland Timbers game. WOOOooooo! Of course, as in previous years, there’s also live local music, organic food and sustainability-oriented vendors and non-profits. Food that will be available from the various vendors include BBQ pork sliders, pizzas, Fifty Licks ice cream (YUM), samosas and curries, different German sausages like bratwurst, bierwurst, currywurst, and for any vegetarians/vegans one of the vendors has really great options (so vegetarian F tells me) including vegan cheesesteak, vegan bbq, and vegan reubens.

NAOBF also strives to be the most earth-friendly beer festival on the planet, and last year’s 2013 event recycled and composted 92% of the total of more than 2,000 pounds of waste, marking the second year in a row that more than 90% of the event’s waste was diverted from the landfill. Pretty impressive right?

Also, their festival logo is the best! I hope they will be selling tee shirts with their logo because I totally want one.
Logo for the  North American Organic Brewers Festival NAOBF

Event hours are Noon to 9pm Thursday June 26 through Saturday and Noon to 5pm Sunday June 29.

It is being held at the usual location of Overlook Park in North Portland (1301 N Fremont St, at the intersection of N Fremont St & N Interstate Ave. This is right across the street from the Overlook Yellow Line Max Station, so it is highly encouraged for you to take the Max down. There is also going to be a Hopworks Bike Corral where volunteers from Rotary Club of Portland-Westside’s Cycling 2 Serve Fellowship will watch over your bike. Bicycle parking is free, but donations are greatly appreciated and donations will benefit Rotary International’s “End Polio Now”.

Admission is free to the event.

However, to taste any of the brews you need to purchase the $6 reusable, compostable cornstarch 2014 NAOBF tasting glass and $1 tasting tokens.  A full glass of beer costs four tokens and most 4 ounce tastes costs one token (a few might cost 2 if they are rare or expensive brews)- tokens can be reused for future NAOBF festivals.

Remember how I mentioned riding the Max? You receive a $1 discount toward the tasting glass with a validated Tri-Met ticket (you also get the $1 discount if you show a Bike Parking ticket!).
North American Organic Brewers Festival NAOBF photo credit Timothy Horn
North American Organic Brewers Festival, NAOBF cup, photo credit Timothy Horn

As my usual strategy, I reviewed the beer list and marked off certain brews that I wanted to make sure I wanted to try. My list includes a lot of Berliner Weisse style as I happen to enjoy them when it’s sunny summer weather:

  • Alameda Kiwi Strawberry Berliner Weisse:  This sour mash Berliner Weisse features an added 95lbs of fresh kiwis and strawberries. A malt base of 2-Row and wheat malt gives a nice cereal finish on an otherwise tart beer. The finished product is a dry, tart beer with huge fruity character and a nice subtle sweet touch on the end to round it all out. Who needs Snapple when you’ve got beer?
  • Ambacht Bourbon Barrel Aged G+:  This is Ambacht’s Belgian Strong Golden aged in Bourbon barrels from Hair of the Dog Brewing. HOTD used these barrels to age its Cherry Adam from the Wood and left the Adam-infused cherries in the barrel. Ambacht stored its Strong Golden Ale in the barrels for nine months, resulting in a barrel-aged fruit beer that is complex yet surprisingly light; a higher-alcohol beer with a light taste for summer drinking.

  • Falling Sky Brewing Biopiracy Best Bitter:  So you want to save your own seeds? Yargh! Think your crop is safe from genetically modified contamination? Yargh! Scalawags using indigenous knowledge for profit? Yargh! Our uncertified best is made with 100% organic ingredients and features aromas of honeysuckle and pears with flavors of stone fruit and malt in the finish. Ok maybe this beer I just picked because the description is awesome…

  • Fort George , both their Spruce Budd Ale:  The brewers hand picked over 500 lbs of spruce tips for a 30 bbl batch of this extremely seasonal elixir. Spruce tips, two-row organic malted barley, slow sand-filtered water and yeast keep this beer simple and spectacular AND/OR their Pi Beer 3.14 IBU Organic two-row barley, organic wheat malt, organic strawberry & organic rhubarb make for a light, tart, fruity, slightly pink and completely irrational beer.

  • FOTM Brewing Company Shocks of Sheba:  This Northwest IPA is inspired by KBOO’s mainstay Reggae program, Shocks of Sheba. As strong as its inspiration, this IPA is made with 100% organic malts and copious amounts of Oregon hops.

  • Gilgamesh Brewing Sweet Potato Rye PA:  This beer has been taken to the next level with a mash consisting of 800 lbs of organic sweet potatoes, and 400 lbs of organic rye. After fermentation was complete, a small dose of organic blue agave was added to balance out the Belgian yeast’s semi-dry finish.

  • Golden Valley Brewing Wheat Tart: Wheat Tart is Golden Valley’s take on the Berliner Weisse style. The mash was equal parts organic pilsner malt and organic wheat malt, with just a touch of Tettnanger hops. Soured with Lactobacillus and fermented with our house Kolsch yeast, this brew is very low in alcohol and just tart enough to be supremely refreshing on a hot summer’s day.

  • Hi-Fi Brewing Thai-Fi: For this pale ale brewed with Thai basil, the brewers took a page from the recipe book of Washington home brewer Mark Griffin. With basil and citrusy hops front and center in both aroma and flavor, this beer makes a great pairing with Italian or Thai food.

  • Hopworks Urban Brewery IPX Ahtanum: Fresh from the Hopworks Urban Brewery science lab, comes HUB’s latest creation, Ahtanumous Prime. Made with only organic Ahtanum hops from Perrault Farms in Toppenish, WA. This dual purpose hops contributes a bright, orange peel-like character.

  • Lakefront Brewery Fuel Café Coffee Stout: This unique stout combines the flavor of organic roasted malts and Milwaukee’s renowned organic Fuel Café coffee. It pours a deep, dark color with a beautiful creamy tan head. Coffee aromas dominate the nose, with a background of roasted malt. The fine balance of mild organic hops, gentle brightness of choice coffee and the full mouthfeel from roasted malted barley make this an unforgettable brew.

  • Logsdon Farmhouse Ales Seizoen Bretta and Seizoen– if you haven’t had these beers before, you might consider trying them, although both these beers are available by the bottle from them

  • Loowit Brewing Co Gaiabolical: Gaiabolical is a tribute to the seductive and destructive beauty of Mother Earth. Made with an amazing balance of 100% organic malts and 100% certified Salmon Safe hops, this pale ale is perfectly suited for a volcanic eruption, catastrophic landslide, massive tornado or any sunny day.

  • Natian Brewery Elder Jazz Man Organic Festival Blonde:  This blonde ale entices the nose with sweetness that comes from cold brewed Jasmine tea infused into the beer after the fermentation process is completed. Earthy notes of elderflower dance on the palate with a flowery tea finish as if to the tune of an experienced jazz musician.

  • Pints Brewing Bio-liner Weisse:  Brewed true to the traditional Berliner Weisse methods (Schultheiss-style), this “bio” (“organic” in German) exemplar is made with certified organic malts from Bamberg, Germany, and with the yeast and bacteria brought to Oregon via Berlin by PINTS’ Brewmaster (who received his Brewing Science Degree in Berlin in 1998). The Lactobacillus strain creates the mouth-puckering tartness and some wonderful fruity esters, Saccharomyces drives down the sweetness and a splash of Brettanomyces rounds out the flavor profile.

  • ThirstyBear Brewing Co. Panda Bear Ale:  This is a unique easy drinking ale, lightly hopped, then dry-hopped with pounds of whole vanilla beans and TCHO cocoa nibs to infuse the beer with flavor and provide an incredibly aromatic sensation.

  • Two Kilts Brewing Saison De Poivre: This light, crisp saison was brewed with French saison yeast. It has a light to medium body with a small amount of wheat to give a full mouthfeel and slightly hazy appearance. It was finished with crushed peppercorns and sprigs of thyme to add an accent of spice to the flavor and aroma.

  • Upright Brewing Marble Tulip Juicy Gruit:  The Marble Tulip Juicy Gruit is an intensely aromatic beer made with wild lettuce, galangal, calendula and white willow bark – all in place of hops. Made with the brewery’s house saison yeast, a light fruity character sits under the botanical elements while the copper colored beer drinks light and finishes soft.

  • Widmer Brothers Brewing Gruit to It! : a light, sessionable golden ale brewed with yarrow for bitterness and flavor, rosemary and lavender for aroma, and unmalted spelt to add some bready notes. This unhoped brew is floral and slightly spicy with an almost tea-like quality. So, Gruit To It for a refreshing summer beer!

North American Organic Brewers Festival NAOBF photo credit Timothy Horn
North American Organic Brewers Festival, NAOBF cup, photo credit Timothy Horn

The event is cash only. Minors are only allowed into the festival if accompanied by a parent (must be a parent, not just a guardian) and there is a special Chipotle Kids’ Zone zone geared towards them, including free activity books, grow pots and Chipotle kids’ meal cards, plus face painting and a root beer garden with complimentary Crater Lake Root Beer for minors and designated drivers. Note animals are not allowed on the festival site except for service animals.

They do have some tables and chairs set up, but in good weather I have also seen plenty of people just spread out a blanket and make it a picnic. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen as there is no shade except if under a tent or under their one big tree in the park! If it is indeed rainy, I wear hooded rainwear so a hand is not lost to holding an umbrella,  and look for a seat in the tent. If a chair is propped leaning up against a table it’s a sign it’s occupied but otherwise enjoy at group tables like the beer halls in Europe!
North American Organic Brewers Festival NAOBF photo credit Timothy Horn
North American Organic Brewers Festival, photo credit Timothy Horn

Find out more about the North American Organic Brewers Festival or NAOBF at www.naobf.org, their NAOBF accounts on Facebook or Twitter @NAOBF account and check hashtag #naobf! And, happy 10th year anniversary NAOBF!

Have you heard of NAOBF before? Are you aware of organic beer? What beer calls out to you as interesting from their beer list?

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Comments

  1. So smart of them to be showing the World Cup and the Timbers game there. How many people will be parked there for the whole four days? 😉 Love your list. There are some new ones I’ve never heard of that sound really interesting. I hope you do a recap and let us know which ones you liked the best!

  2. Great recap!! Thanks for the info

  3. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but I did always enjoy all the beer festivals held in Portland during the year!

  4. I’m not a beer person, but I can totally get behind these festivals – I love your event recaps! Now I’ll know which ones to go to next year 🙂

  5. That sounds like fun, even if it’s damp outside. 🙂

  6. If we weren’t going to the Timbers game (my first!!!), I’d want to watch it at this festival. Organic brews and soccer—a perfect combo!

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