The Oregon Brewer’s Festival (OBF) is more than just a beer festival, but rather a way of life for many people for the 5 days it takes place. Whether you work in the industry or just love good beer. OBF has made a significant impact in the local and national craft beer industry. A study estimated the economic impact of the 2015 OBF at $30.2 million for the local economy.
The festival draws in people all over the world. In fact, festival attendees can even mark where they are from with the giant map and push pins they have available at the fest.
This years fest boast 88 US craft beers, plus craft beer from China, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands. It can be hard keeping a festival fresh with new ideas and unique beers, but for the 3rd year in a row The International Beer Tent has been the highlight. The OBF has been collaborating with brewers from other countries ranging from New Zealand to the Netherlands. I’m especially excited that this year the fest will include breweries from Japan. Last year I had the opportunity to travel to Japan to check out their rising craft beer culture. They love anything Oregon Craft Beer Related.
With local, regional and international beers offered at the OBF, everyone can find something to enjoy. The list below covers picks for beer newbies to craft beer geeks.
Pelican Chongie Saaz (Bohemian-Style Pilsner) –
This refreshing Bohemian Pilsner showcases spicy Czech Saaz hops paired with Weyermann Barke Pilsner and Vienna malt to create an incredibly clean profile with snappy bitterness and excellent drinkability. Chongie Saaz gives a nod to Pelican’s brewery rep, Maia Chong, who described the perfect summer brew – and Pelican made it.
Zoiglhaus Birra Pesto (Experimental Beer) –
Birra Pazza al Pesto translates to “Crazy Pesto Beer,” according to Italian-born and raised Giuseppe Vaccarello, a friend of the brewmaster. In English: it’s a light American wheat beer infused in the whirlpool with the glory of pine nuts, parmesan cheese, basil, freshly crushed garlic and a dash of olive oil. It was also “dry basiled” with more fresh basil for your aromatic enjoyment.
Melvin Brewing 2X4 (Imperial IPA) –
2×4 DIPA has a stupid amount of CTZ, Citra, Simcoe and Centennial hops, particularly at the dry hop stage (Citra, Simcoe), layered on a light malt base that gives way to notes of pine, citrus and tropical fruit. While there are many great beer styles from the past, think of this as a beer from the future. Don’t hate, party.
New Holland Brewing – Dragon’s Mil Reserve: Mexican Spice Cake (Imperial Stout) –
Looking for a sweeter, less hoppy beer? Vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa nibs and chili peppers add sweet complexity to this brew, with a grist of two-row, black prinz, dark Munich and chocolate malts. Nugget, Willamette and Brewer’s Gold add flavor and aroma with little to no bitterness. It was aged for three months in bourbon barrels for an added kick of sweet vanilla flavor.
Iwate Kure Japanese Herb Ale Sansho (Herb and Spice Beer) –
With its nose of sage, papaya and pine forest, this unique beer smells as fresh as spring rain, even after its nearly 5,000-mile journey. The addition of sansho peppercorns – the berries of a spiny Asian shrub – lends floral and berry sweetness rather than heat or spice.
Event Information from the press release:
29th annual Oregon Brewers Festival
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, Oregon
Main entrance at S.W. Oak Street and Naito Parkway
July 27 through 31, 2016 — “Always the last full weekend in July”
Wed through Sat, gates open at 11:30am, taps are open from Noon to 9pm
Sun, gates open at 11:30am, taps are open from Noon to 7pm
Token & mug sales close one-half hour prior to the taps shutting off (8:30pm daily, except 6:30pm Sunday)
The OBF is not a ticketed event; admission into the festival venue is free. In order to consume beer, a one-time purchase of a 2016 tasting mug is required and costs $7. Beer is purchased with wooden tokens, which cost $1 apiece. Patrons pay four tokens for a full mug of beer, or one token for a taste. Cups and tokens are sold on-site; they are also available up to two weeks prior to the festival at select local locations, including Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub, Cascade Brewing Barrel House, Belmont Station, Deschutes in the Pearl, Rogue Ales Public House and the Green Dragon. The festival is cash only, and there are eight ATMs on-site.
The Oregon Brewers Festival is one of the nation’s longest running and best loved craft beer festivals. Situated on the west bank of the Willamette River, with towering Mt. Hood as a backdrop, it is the ideal venue for anyone who loves craft beer. With a laid back attitude and scores of award-winning beers, the festival reflects the essence of the city of Portland.
The Oregon Brewers Festival exists to provide an opportunity to sample and learn about a variety of craft beer styles from across the country. Eighty-five craft breweries from North America offer more than 30 styles of handcrafted beers to 80,000 beer lovers during the five-day event; an additional two taps are dedicated to gluten-free beer, and one tap is reserved for the Oregon Brew Crew Collaboration project. The International Beer Garden will feature another 14 beers served by breweries from Japan, The Netherlands and Belgium.
The festival also features live music, food vendors, beer-related vendors, homebrewing demonstrations, and the Crater Lake Soda Garden (complimentary handcrafted soda for minors and designated drivers). Minors are welcome at the festival when accompanied by a parent. Pets are not allowed unless ADA.
The Oregon Brewers Festival encourages responsible drinking, and urges patrons to take advantage of the MAX Light Rail line, located just one block west of the festival on SW Oak Street. Go by bus, train or taxi, just don’t drink and drive. The festival also offers free monitored on-site bicycle parking, courtesy of Hopworks Urban Brewery.
The Oregon Brewers Festival was founded in 1988 as an opportunity to expose the public to microbrews at a time when the craft brewing industry was just getting off the ground. Today, Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world, and the Portland metropolitan area is the largest craft brewing market in the US. A study estimated the economic impact of the 2015 OBF at $30.2 million for the local economy.