Day one of the Oregon Brewers Festival has come and gone. We didn’t get into Oregon until late on Thursday afternoon so I was unable to attend the Brewers Dinner on Wednesday night or the Widmer Brunch on Thursday morning (that is followed by a “parade” of beer brewers and lovers that kicks off the festival). We did make it into the brewfest as the sun was beginning to set and I started in the IPA section. Ninkasi Brewing Company, Laurelwood Brewing, Terminal Gravity, Amnesia Brewing, and Hazel Dell all had IPAs pouring (listed in the order of my preference from favorite to least favorite). Surly Brewing Company is presenting Coffee Bender – a coffee flavor American Brown. It’s very good and appeals to my love of coffee – but it is a very special release and they steep only 20 gallons at a time, so don’t expect to find this on the super market shelves.
Beerfest: As I’ve mentioned before, Oregon does brewfests right. There is no cover charge, just purchase a mug and some pogs and you’re good to go. Mugs are $5 and pogs are $1. A pog is worth a taste, 4 pogs will fill your mug. The show special includes 2 mugs, a program, a festival pen (for taking notes) and 37 pogs for $50. In the early days of the festival, it’s easy to taste and taste again, in the later part of the festival, I anticipate the lines will grow long and brew-festers will choose to fill their mugs to avoid waiting in line more often than necessary. You might also want to load up on pogs before the festival gets crowded as last year the lines got extremely long for purchasing pogs (in fact, I had a friend who bought $100 worth of pogs and sold them at the back of the line for $150.
Beer Buzz: Each year at the festival, a “Buzz Beer” is born. This is the beer that everyone is talking about, and inevitably, runs out before the festival comes to an end. I wasn’t able to determine just which beer had the buzz this year, but one prediction pointed to Quilter’s Irish Death by Iron Horse Brewery.
Beer Gear: I wasn’t overly impressed with the brewfest merchandise this year, but you’re bound to find something that fits your style if you look hard enough. That said, Beer Northwest Magazine has a booth at the festival and is offering a year’s subscription for only $10 (4 issues). This is a great deal for a good Northwest brew magazine.
The brewfest runs through the weekend (July 24 through July 27) and the weather is as perfect as Rogue beer is balanced. If you are in the Portland area or are able to get here; the Oregon Brewfest is the place to be this weekend. Otherwise, the CrapMonkey video from last year’s festival is located here and I will continue to update my Flickr Brewfest Set through the weekend.