My Picks for Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2016

I’ll be at the festival on Friday [this post and the top picks list updated Friday 9PM after attending], but going in, here are my recommendations for the Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2016. If you haven’t heard of the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, it is part of Portland Beer Week (as I wrote about earlier this week) and is taking place this year from Friday June 10 – Sunday 12th at the North Park Blocks (entrance on NW Davis between 8th Avenue and Park Avenue). This is a move from the past at Burnside Brewing’s parking lot to a 40% larger space, plus now there is shade! As before, the Portland Fruit Beer Festival is also all ages, though you have to be of legal age to drink beer or cider.
Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2016 Poster

    • The hours of the festival are
      • Friday June 10th 11:30 AM – 9 PM
      • Saturday June 11th 11 AM – 9 PM
      • Sunday June 12th 11 AM – 6 PM
    • Cost of the festival are
      • Free admission to non-drinkers.
      • Advanced General Admission $25 for a 12 oz official Portland Fruit Beer Festival cup and 15 drink tickets (those who arrive Friday before 2:30 PM get an additional 3 drink tickets). The cups are plastic glasses.
        Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2016 plastic cup Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2016 plastic cup
      • At the Door General Admission $25 for a 12 oz official Portland Fruit Beer Festival cup and 12 drink tickets, but it is cash only at the door
      • The sample pours of the fruit beers and the ciders will be 1-3 tickets for a 4 ounce pour. When I was there on Friday, there were 12 beers that were 1 ticket a pour, and most were 2 tickets with a few smaller kegs being 3 tickets.
      • You can purchase additional drink tickets for $1. Cash only.
      • Once you have your wristband and cup, you do not need to pay to re-enter any of the days – you only need to have bring back the cup and drink tickets to drink.
      • In addition, you can purchase 12 ounces of beer via $3 can of Burnside Couch Lager and $4 cans of  Burnside IPA from Burnside Brewing‘s Burnside Can Garden inside Festival. Cash only.

"4 Cider Riot taster at the Portland Fruit Beer Festival

My personal picks for the Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2016: note that although some of my samplers are modeled in last year’s festival glass, this year since they are in an outdoor park the 2016 glasses will be plastic similar to the Holiday Ale Fest.

I make my selection based on how appealing the combination of beer and fruit sounds, particularly rewarding uniqueness. When I taste the beer I look for balance but importantly also being able to clearly taste the fruit, and any fruity characteristics that come from hop or yeast doesn’t count it must be the fruit added in the brewing process. So many of the beers in the entire Festival lineup are decent beers I’m sure, but I’m looking for distinguishing fruit as a flavor thread as part of the beer. Here’s my top 10 list of what I look forward to…

  • The Commons: Butterflies Hovering a Saison with pineapple and kaffir lime leaves 5.9% ABV I’m a fan of The Commons farmhouse style beers. With the pineapple it may sound sweet, but was more lime.
  • Culmination Brewing: Sun Rey, a tea Radler brewed with Jasmine Pearl tea soda, lime and raspberries and kettle soured with lacto for a tart and refreshing summer sipper that offers tartness from the raspberries, citrus from the pineapple and lime, and additional depth of tea flavor. I tasted it at the media preview and wanted more! 4% ABV and 5 IBUs.
    Portland Fruit Beer Festival taste of a fruit beer as I pondered my Recommendations for the Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2016
  • Ex Novo Brewing: Cactus Wins the Lottery. Ex Novo felt that cactus deserved its day in the sun – or more honestly, apparently they heard the phrase on some Youtube video and wanted to brew a beer so they could use the meme saying. So this is reverse engineered beer to fit the name of a tart refreshing Berliner Weisse with the fruity punch of prickly pear cactus. They made 30 barrels of this so a few bottles may be found only after the festival at some bottle shops and New Seasons and Whole Foods. ABV 4.2%
    Ex Novo Brewing: Cactus Wins the Lottery. Ex Novo felt that cactus deserved its day in the sun - or more honestly, apparently they heard the phrase on some Youtube video and wanted to brew a beer so they could use the meme saying. So this is reverse engineered beer to fit the name of a tart refreshing Berliner Weisse with the fruity punch of prickly pear cactus.
  • 54-40 Brewing: Cucumber-Honeydew Bright Ale Crafted with nearly 400 lbs of honeydew melon and well over 100 cucumbers! I already love cucumbers as it is as I find them perfectly refreshing, and was really impressed as both the cucumber and honeydew truly comes through on this beer. 5% ABV 12 IBU
  • Fort George: Chasing the Dragon is a light bodied blonde Kettle sour with Dragonfruit, and black currant added post-fermentation. Slight sweetness with a tart finish where you start with a weird fruitness (maybe the dragonfruit) and finish with the black currant flavors. 5.4% ABV
  • Ruse Brewing: Patchwork (Strawberry Basil Tart) pours a pretty pastel pink and this tart ale is kettle soured then conditioned with a touch of basil and a copious amount of local strawberries which really come through in the nose and when you drink it, impressive since strawberry is so much work to get into beer with it’s delicate fruit! 4.8% ABV
  • 10 Barrel Brewing: Plum Spectacular, from Tonya comes a small batch kettle sour made especially for the Portland Fruit Beer Festival. It has a crisp, clean, assertive sourness with plums.  6.4% ABV and 10 IBU
  • 2 Towns Ciderhouse: 2 Thorns is a collaboration cider when 2 Towns Ciderhouse and Portland Thorns FC teamed up to create “Two Thorns”using fresh-pressed Northwest apples, Oregon grown blackberries, raspberries, & rose petals with a special Vinho Verde Portuguese yeast to create a striking floral and berry cider that I found refreshingly tangy. 6.2% ABV
  • Finnriver Farm & Cidery: Black Stave, special edition of Finnriver’s popular flagship Black Currant Cider, farmcrafted with organic Washington Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples, fermented dry, stave aged for depth and then married with an oaked, funky currant ferment for an extra special depth level of flavor. A limited release of the award winning, contemporary dark fruit cider made with wood. 6.5% Abv.
  • Portland Cider Co.: Boysenberry Hop blends Oregon boysenberry with an off-dry cider infused with citrus spice New Zealand hops. This is the first in Portland Cider Co.’s summer hop series limited release ciders and even though it looks very fruit forward like “screw the apples just me boysenberry is the star”, the actual flavors when we tried it were well balanced and not as sweet as it may appear as the hopped cider counter the fruit well.
    Portland Fruit Beer Festival taste of a cider as I pondered Recommendations for the Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2016
  • Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider: Spicy Mango Tepache (Pineapple Cider) is not actually a cider using apple at all, but all fermented pineapple, this year returning with a mango twist with the addition of Ghost Peppers and fresh mango juice to definitely make a spicy tepache with a great burn. Traditionally you mix this partially with beer so its’ 2/3 Tepache and 1/3 beer – not sure which would be the perfect beer mixer for this, though several of us at a media tasting also whispered how this would be so perfect at brunch with sparkling wine mixed in. 3.2% ABV

Honorable Mention: Sixpoint: Raspy Sauce (Raspberry Berliner-Weisse w/ Raspberry-Jalapeño syrup) made a special variation of the Sixpoint Lil’ Raspy for this year’s Fruit Beer Fest using Sixpoint Raspberry-Jalapeño syrup. I enjoyed this beer. F and I debated whether it should make the cut because he thought it was a cheat to use the syrup. However, berline-weiss beers are served with syrups, so I think it’s ok that it gets it’s extra raspberry  and spicy kick. 4.3% ABV
Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2016 Sixpoint Raspy Sauce beer, a special variation of the Sixpoint Lil’ Raspy for this year’s Fruit Beer Fest using Sixpoint Raspberry-Jalapeño syrup Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2016 Sixpoint Raspy Sauce beer, a special variation of the Sixpoint Lil’ Raspy for this year’s Fruit Beer Fest using Sixpoint Raspberry-Jalapeño syrup
On the Rare/Rotating Beers and Ciders list (with small kegs rotating throughout – see the full beer list with the rare beers list here in pdf), I hope I might be lucky enough to be around to taste the Breakside: Bourbon Barrel Aged Sour Rye Beer with Coconut

Food options at the festival will include

  • Hot Lips Pizza will be offering their pizza as well as sodas. Their specialty pizza includes their limited edition PDX Beer Week specials pizza, Beer Bratlips, a pizza with Smoked Carlton Farms bratwurst simmered in Subcontinental IPA with Tillamook extra-sharp cheddar, fresh onions, mozzarella, and a garlic Parmesan base finished with whole grain maple mustard glaze that also has beer in the mustard.
    HOT LIPS Pizza's Beer Bratlips, a pizza with Smoked Carlton Farms bratwurst with Tillamook extra-sharp cheddar, fresh onions, mozzarella, and a garlic parmesan base finished with whole grain maple mustard glaze
  • BUNK Sandwiches bringing their famous Pork Belly Cubano as an option and they usually have a seasonal vegetarian option and a grilled cheese too
    Bunk Sandwiches, Tommy Habetz, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apple Chutney, Gruyere & Horseradish sandwich
  • Urban German Grill offering bratwurst and pretzels
    North American Organic Brewers Festival, Urban German Grill North American Organic Brewers Festival, Urban German Grill
  • Fifty Licks Ice Cream brings you dessert with ice cream and sorbetsThe best dressed ice cream man I've ever seen... Chad Draizin of Fifty Licks and his ice cream truck

Do you like fruit beers? Do any of the beers I listed intrigue you, and what would be your ideal combo for a fruit beer – what kind of fruit?
4 ounce taster pour at Portland Fruit Beer Festival

Disclosure: I attended a media event to sample some of the Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2016 beers and ciders, but I purchased my own admission/tickets to the festival, and have been attending and highlighting this festival for years! I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

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Comments

  1. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but the cucumber-honeydew beer is INTRIGUING!

  2. I love that you give us a “cheat sheet” for the event Pech! Unfortunately, I won’t be in town this weekend, but I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the beers you suggested.

  3. Fruit beer festival, how fun! Great local vendors, too! I’ve had ciders a lot more than fruity beers but these flavor combinations sound very interesting!

  4. I’ll be out of town this weekend otherwise would consider hitting it up! Have a great time!!

  5. Oh wow, I didn’t even know of this festival! Darn, I’m out of town, would have been awesome to check it out!!! Hopefully the weather says decent for the festival goers.

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