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International Brewfest 2008

Fuz and I made our way across the Burnside bridge and to the Portland International Beer Festival. Let’s just get right to it and break this down into the good, the bad and the ugly, shall we?

The good:
Mark Lanegan was on the speakers.

Flyer’s Sick Duck French Oak/Vintage Rum Batch V2 was a really good stout, with sweet chocolate in front, and bitter coffee to finish, so it was like drinking a chocolate coated coffee bean.

Rochefort 8 was one of the densest looking beers I’d ever seen. I could see the particulates floating in the beer suspended as though in something that wasn’t water, and its spicy qualities made me want to chew it. A meal in a glass, I think.

BFM L’Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chen 2006 was a sour ale the way sour ales ought to be done. Tart instead of sour, I wanted to have this beer with some fruit-based Carribbean dishes; pineapple and mango sauces over tender meats, but I was able to easily drink it on its own.

In all three of these cases, I wanted more than a taste of this beer. I wanted to be able to sit down with a pint and really sink my teeth into them.

The Bad
Someone thought it would be a great idea to have a cigar stand in the middle of the event. ┬áSo there were smug assholes smoking cigars everywhere I went; it was unescapeable. They all had the same look on their faces, too: I’m better and wealthier than you and I’m going to go home and have sex on top of piles of money you plebians, so get away from me.

I was never for the smoking ban at Portland’s bars until I saw people with cigars smoking.

The Ugly
First, the PIB took place in a one block area downtown so not only did the event fill up, it overcrowded rather quickly. While there was plenty of shade, there wasn’t much space to sit down and I was always in someone’s way or they were in mine. The servings were about what I’d expect, and the servers were having a good time but more than once I got in the wrong line to get a beer because they didn’t have clear postings about where you could get what.

And damn, if some of the names of those beers weren’t really, really long. What a pain in the butt to say if you’ve had a pint! (Yes, I know I’m complaining about something really silly.)

Finally, I paid $20 for a small plastic glass (they’d run out of glass glasses) and ten tickets. Beers ranged from one ticket to six tickets, and if you wanted something that really was ‘international’, you had to pay more for it. So not only did I not get that many samples of beer for what I paid, but I was surrounded by cigars at every turn, screwing with my ability to smell and taste the beer. Yay!

Fuz and I left as promptly as was reasonable and walked to Bailey’s where for eleven dollars total we both had pints of good beer, relaxing away from the crowds and the smoke.