It’s Sunday, I’m on my way back to San Diego, and I’d like to leave you with some final thoughts on my visit to Portland and the Oregon Brewer’s Fest.
First, if you plan to go and want a chance to taste most if not all the beers, then go Thursday and Friday. I was able to taste all but nineteen of the beers in those two days. Here’s the full list of beers: http://www.oregonbrewfest.com/breweries_2008.htm
Saturday and Sunday have big crowds (read: long beer lines) and the festival turns into more of a social event. Because the lines were so long, most people were getting a full glass of beer (4 tokens-16 oz) rather than a taster (1 token-4 oz). Thanks to Charlie Scollard from Stone and Phil “the rubber chicken guy” Farrell both for the advance notice about the Sat/Sun crowds.
Of the beers I did not try, many were because it was a style I was not fond of. It seemed to me that there were a lot of summer ales, lagers, pilsners, and Kölsch’s represented. A few regulars from the fest that I talked with said that it was out of the ordinary to have so many summers and Kölsch’s. My summer beers are usually a good ESB, a pale, an IPA, and a Belgian Blonde (Devotion).
Of the other beers I did try, here’s my top twelve list (sorry, I couldn’t get it down to ten) in alphabetical order:
21st Amendment Hell or High watermelon
Amnesia Brewing Co Copacetic IPA
Bell’s Brewery Bell’s Porter
Boulder Beer Co Hazed & Infused
Deschutes Brewery 20th Anniversary Wit
Fearless Brewing Co Clackamas Cream Ale
Grand Teton Brewing Co Bitch Creek ESB
Lagunitas Brewing Co Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
New Belgium Brewing Co Mighty Pale Ale
New Holland Brewing Co Dragon’s Milk
Ninkasi Brewing Co Total Domination IPA
Russian River Brewing Co Pliny the Elder
I didn’t take copious tasting notes, just whether I liked it or not at the time I was drinking the beer. Also, the only one of the above I’ve had before was Pliny the Elder. I grabbed full pints of food friendly beer when I ate and these were: Hell or High Watermelon, Copacetic Ale, Clackamas Cream Ale, and Trumer Pils.
Overall, this was a great fest, well organized, good local and out-of-town patronage, and good local support. Volunteers were very friendly even when getting slammed with people. Special thanks to the folks I met over at Rogue (John, Geneva, and Mikey the bartender) for all of the info you gave me. And a quick thanks to my buddies/old roomies in Hillsboro, Fonzie and Orlando, for the awesome ceviche, spectacular fresh grilled oysters, incredible habanero salsa, and picking me up at the airport.