Fred Eckhardt in a peddle bike

Sporting the grand marshal hat Fred Eckhardt leads the parade from the brewers brunch.

If you were trapped in your office, another city or even another country, you might not know there was a large dose of fun and brews today. But fear not! The festival continues on for another full three days. So book the day off, cash in those air miles and get yourself to Portland.

This is the 24th year of the festival, and looks like it will keep going strong. After filling up on french toast, eggs, bacon and bacon infused porter at the Crystal Ballroom we navigated the streets of Portland with a full police escort and band. The ceremonial keg of beer, grand marshal Fred Eckhardt and many costumed beer enthusiasts paraded over to the waterfront park to kick off the festival.

Those who can’t make decisions will quickly find themselves overwhelmed by the 86 “regular” beers to pick from, spread out across 10 trailers. As expected the lions share of the beers fall under IPA, a style well represented in the Pacific Northwest.  Should you grow tired of the 86 regular beers (at a cost of 1 token per sample) there are an additional 51, you read that right fifty-one, at the Buzz tent where one-off beers are showcased randomly (at a cost of 2 tokens), so you never know what’s going to be on tap in there. Check back often!

Pouring Bacon Porter for breakfast.

Some of the beers to note at the festival:

Dogfish Head: Black & Red. This raspberry mint imperial stout had a line-up within minutes of people getting their tokens. Its strong ABV will quickly have you out on the grass but the flavors are deep and complex. I would run to do this tasting before it’s all gone.

Collaborator: Hopfinium. An unusual style, india pale lager. Everyone has their hobbies and this is the creative genius of a home brewer from Oregon’s Brew Crew, then ramped up and brewed by Widmer. A solid beer, I wish my hobbies came out this well rounded and great tasting.

Burnside Brewing: Gratzer. If you’ve picked up a smoked meat sandwich this lightly smokey beer should pair nicely. This apple wood smoked wheat beer is not over the top, leaving plenty of taste buds for your mid-afternoon IPA tastings.

Full Sail Brewing: Jimvar Bohemian Pilsner. Now I don’t generally like Pilsners. Often when I encounter them they are poorly done. With that out of the way, Full Sail lets their brewers lead on some of their own creations and this beer is a very well executed Pilsner. My hat is off to Jim Kelter who created this brew.

Devoted monk holds his prayer beads.

I finish off my recommendations with

Lagunitas Brewing: A Little Sumpin’ Wild. Strong Belgian pale ale. Complex flavor profile with mild fruit presence. Very clean finish and very good drinkability. Saddle up with your 4 tokens and enjoy a beer that will refresh you and make you a little wobbly.

Additional information:

– Always the last full weekend in July
– The world runs on cold hard cash, come prepared
– Samples are 1-2 tokens
– Full pints are 4 tokens
– Don’t forget to clean your palate & enjoy some of the best water in the country
– Complementary root beer for minors and designated drivers
– Bring your smartphone to scan the Microsoft tags at each serving station for more info about that beer

Oregon Brewers Festival

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NB: Coming soon more thoughts and experiences.