Tag Archives: festivals

Oregon Brewers Fest 2017

The OBF is ramping up with what is, once again, a truly daunting list of beers to try. My hope is to get to the festival on the 27th, thus having a post up on the 28th for everyone to view & use as a guideline for my triumphs and mistakes!

However, instead of talking about what I’m interested in or disappointed by (looking at YOU, 21st Amendment with your x-year-in-a-row shoving of that shitty watermelon ale at us. You’re better than that. And we deserve better.) I’d like to highlight was is, for me, a new program: the Safe Ride Home.

Let’s be straight with each other: people get intoxicated at festivals. You know it. I know it. I am someone who has gotten drunk at a beer festival. Just so nobody thinks I’m getting high and mighty about the subject.

Which is why when I go to these festivals, I take the bus downtown and the bus home. Honestly, it’s a relief; I just don’t have to worry about anyone’s safety.

So I want to encourage readers to behave in a similarly safe and responsible manner and I’m really pleased that the OBF is highlighting methods for people to both attend the festival and have fun, as well as get home safe and sound.

See everyone on the 27th! (Or the 28th, if that’s when you read the blog!)

SheBrew 2017

Full Disclosure: I know some of the people who run this event and they’ve invited me to the fest.

That said, I think SheBrew is a really cool way to highlight women who are in the craft brew industry or have taken up brewing has a hobby! And, this year there are two new things about SheBrew:

  1. They’ve taken it national
  2. It’s now a competition festival

So women from all over the country can enter to get their beer evaluated and win stuff. Word is, they’re up to 84 entries already and that’s pretty cool! Plus, the proceeds go to the Human Rights Campaign and that is also something I like. The competition won’t be open to the public but the festival on March 4th sure will, so come check it out!

Portland Craft Beerfest Notes

So the first Portland Craft Beer fest seemed to kick off well! There were a lot of people and a great many beers to enjoy. The only criticism I have at this point is that for next year: provide more places with shade, and provide free water. Seriously, people need water. I was lucky because I got there early and camped out at a table so I had a place to write and some shade.

Other than that, I had some pretty tasty beers so let’s get to the notes!

BTU Brasserie Ghost Man White Lager-grassy nose, light, the beer is sweet and light, with virtually no aftertaste. It’s a solid starter beer, especially after standing in line for 20 minutes to enter the event.

Columbia ESB

Columbia Brewing ESB-floral hops on the nose: slightly funky. Smooth beer though, hint of chocolate sauce there, finish is very clean.

Gigantic Ume Umai Lager-nice rice silkiness. The nose is quietly floral and there isn’t much in the way of plum quality but it’s very light and very refreshing. I wanted more of this.

Breakside India Golden Ale-has a pronounced sweetness in the middle and the bitterness on the finish is a mild grapefruit. I can get behind this level of hop bitteness; once again Breakside does not disappoint.

Humble Lo & Behold-this is a saison sending me mixed signals. Initial scent is sugary, but…the beer itself is tart, shy even of a sweet tart candy but nicely so. There a bready note after all of that which I dig on. I could have a full pint of this and I can’t say that very often about tarter beers.

Royale Unicorn pale

Royale Unicorn pale ale-the nose of it totally reminds me of marijunana. The midrange is a bit thin and the finish goes malty first before rising up into hops and I like this but…I could do without the chocolatey note. Still, it’s a decent beer and I’d like to try it again.

Stormbreaker Red Storm Rider-This is malty and tasty. It also has a smoothness on the finish, because this beer is malt forward and it knows it.

Baerlic Eastside oatmeal pilsner-I should have potato chips to compliment this beer and I should have all of them.

Portland Brewing Rose City-this wasn’t on the menu, but apparently the beer is brewed for the Rose Festival. And it tastes bland and forgettable, I can’t pick up any flavors to make it worth talking about.

Overheard: “You never had haggis? Oh dude…” (There was no haggis at the festival that I was aware of).

Lompoc Saison de L’Evolution-smells like a saison, funky, hint of fireplace but it’s a saison. And it’s good. On the very, very end there IS a touch of dryness that helps but it’s not as thirst quenching as I might expect it to be. That said: Who cares? It’s a nice beer and very, very drinkable.

Pyramid H7

Pyramid H7 IPA-A solid beer and made for the masses. That is a detriment only insofar as where your expectations are set. It’s got a pleasant floral nose, the finish is bitter but not sharply so. All & all this is a nice beer that should be given a shot.

13 Virtues Rip City Red-this did not have a great nose and the taste follows; it’s hinting at vegetal and the mouthfeel is thin. Nope. A misstep from a brewery I usually like.

Great American Beer Fest

I know that I should want to go to the GABF and don’t get me wrong, it sounds like a pretty good time.

But for some reason I find it difficult to get pumped up about going to Denver. It’s less crowded than the big event I do attend, but for some reason I just can’t motivate. The Oregon Brew Fest is here. Portland is Portland: all these things come to us, eventually. Why should Mohammad go to the mountain when the mountain clearly wants to come to Mohammad?

Nevertheless, congrats to the Oregon breweries to took home medals!

Spring beer and wine festival

I enjoyed my experience at the Spring Beer and Wine festival and not just because I was able to have a beer while volunteering. Since I wasn’t pouring beer, just talking to people, I had an opportunity to walk around and sample a few wares. I arrived for a late shift though, so my selections were limited and became extremely narrow rather quickly.

One surprise for me was the lack of smaller breweries. Perhaps their slots were taken up by wineries? But I got the impression that there were a lot of crafts and service oriented booths and not nearly so many servers of the hootch.

That aside; I got to talk to a bunch of people about homebrewing and after it was all over, I got a beer. No complaints. Now onto my notes.

The good:

Block 15 Pappy’s Dark
I’ve been hearing about Block 15 for awhile and they were on the short list of breweries to check out. Pappy’s dark is a super smooth 10% stout, like drinkable chocolate.

Calapooia Riparian
A bitter ipa with a solid but not overpowering pine nose. The lingering bitterness isn’t coating but lingers which means it’s for fans of the style.

The OK:

Everybody’s Brewing Country Boy IPA
Pine cone nose with a big bitter finish. The effervescence helps cut it but the balance is skewed. Not bad, just not a big impression.

Howe Sound Diamond Head oatmeal stout
A mellow oaty nose which was a touch overcarbonated for me. Served a little cold too. It might be a better beer than this is showing if served by a proper venue. Bonus; a Canadian brewery! I hope to see more of them in Portland as I had so many good beers while in Vancouver and Victoria.

festival glassThe glass:
Luck of the draw gave me a glass that changed colors when cold liquid was in it. I got more comments on the glass than I got on anything else-which I suppose is as good thing. At the very least it was a good conversation starter.

The bad:

Mateveza ale Yerba Mata IPA
Faint IPA nose and it was suggested that old hops were used, keeping this beer from really standing out. What followed was a thin beer with a green tea finish with bitter polyphenols a bit like the CDA beers. I just didn’t like it.

Jam Bands:

They suck.

OBF And Me

So, here I am pouring the Double Mountain India Red Ale. 

I heard many praises about this beer over the course of Saturday night as I ached my wrists, flexed my fingers and poured pitcher after pitcher for thirsty people. I did not get to drink it that night. Frankly, I was too busy. I’m told there were something like 40,000 people there and I’m pretty sure 20,000 wanted a beer from me. The plus side is that my shift went very, very fast. And it could have been worse: the people next to me were having trouble with their tap lines. Pouring beer for them looked like this:

Since it was pure foam coming out, I tried to help when I could filling empty pitches. Pitchers would sit for five minutes or more until things settled enough that there was pourable beer. The people serving it kept a good humor though and I’m sure that helped.

Personal rules for next year:
1) Eat. They don’t feed you, and after five hours I needed a double cheeseburger so bad I would’ve considered assassination for one.
2) Comfy shoes.
3) Silver bullets.

Now I can see you out there, looking at me like wha? so let me explain. Every so often, say every twenty minutes or so, a howl would start from somewhere on the grounds. No reason; the moon wasn’t even full that night but a howl would come up nonetheless.

I am taking the stance that it was werewolves, and next year am bringing precautions. Or, it could’ve been drunk assholes who thought that raising up their fists, one empty, one with their mug of beer and howling out a big ol’ WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO is ‘cool’ somehow. Assholes that look like ‘person’ in red in the pic on the left.

If you see someone who looks like this, do not approach him! He may be a werewolf instead of an asshole. It’s bad enough that we have to deal with drunks. Lycanthropy is just too much to ask of any volunteer and let’s all just admit that biting is uncalled for in at least 95% of all public situations. However, because it was daylight I think the disease can be ruled out, and he was just drunk.

Rules for going to the OBF as an attendant:

1) If you’re a lass and  have cleavage, thanks.
2) If you’re a guy and have cleavage, the opposite applies. Please button up your shirts. No, we don’t care how hot it is. 
3) If you are smoking a cigar at a beer event, you need to leave. You’re fucking it up for everyone else with the brown cylinder of cat ass coming from your mouth.
4) Never ask for a ‘good pour’. You’re being an asshole because you’re assuming that we’re out to short you, and trust me which we aren’t. We are being watched by security  though so maybe you could cut us some slack?
5) Complimenting your server when you get a nice pour is greatly appreciated.
6) When we say there’s no more beer for you, deal with it.  Don’t throw a fit or shoot us dirty looks, even if you can clearly see beer on the back tables. We’ve been our our feet for 4+ goddamn hours without food OR a beer, and the leftovers kept there are for us. We deserve a beer after our shifts are over, and you giving us some kind of attitude is pretty much shitting on people who have put out a lot of effort to make your experience enjoyable.  

Overall though the experience was fun, and went by really quickly. Thanks to the people who served around me and the supervisors for keeping their sense of humor, and thanks to everyone who was friendly or even just civil. I appreciate it.

Did I get to drink beer? Yes; I went back on Sunday.

Scrimshaw lager from North Coast brewing was a solid lager with that faint lager skink at back end. Very refreshing though, after I’d walked a mile to get to the festival.

3 Creeks Stonefly Rye had an OK nose but a very, very bitter back end. This, coupled with the rye malts made it quite unappealing for me. But I got a photo of it.

I also got to try the Double Mountain IRA. I found it to be crisp and easy drinking but it couldn’t wash the rye tastes out of my mouth so I’m didn’t find this beer to be that tasty. I want to try this when my palate hasn’t been torqued so badly.

Old Market Kraken IPA was my favorite beer and I wish I’d had enough tokens to buy a full one. It was an imperial IPA that was pretty well balanced, and from a brewery that apparently is in Portland but somehow I’d never heard of before. Time to look them up.

My last beer was Redhook’s tripel, which was the biggest surprise of the event for me because Redhook isn’t known for beers this adventurous, but it was a good tripel with just enough sour to keep the beer from going overboard. I hope Redhook continues with these kinds of interesting beers–I’ve always liked the brewery but they’ve gotten lost in the shuffle for me as of late.

As I was leaving the OBF I overheard: “They serve the best beer over there; it tastes like lemonaide!”