Sunday, July 10

Highlights: Portland Cans Festival 2011

It was nice to finally have a weekend off where I didn't have to take vacation days to attend a beer event. Good timing on either the event coordination, or my job. I would like to give the credit to the event coordination. It was nice to be able to get out, drink some beer with some really cool people after not having a weekend off in two months.

I'm still drooling over the sight of the refrigerated truck which housed the hundreds of cans of great craft beer. I also wanted to sit down inside of it out of the sun.

I showed up to the festival around 3:00 PM. I wanted to give a friend a little time to show up from Beaverton on the Max, and I was just guessing that the crowd wouldn't quickly become a flailing of the elbows and sweat tossing mosh pit.

When I arrived, it seemed a little busy, and Ezra (Samurai Artist(designed the Cans Fest logo among many other artistic endeavours)) stated that he was a little surprised it wasn't more busy. He also said I should try the Ska brews. I assured him it would pick up as it was still a work day for many.

I will briefly go over the highlights of the fest, and the cons:


- It was very cool to see a lot of fellow beer bloggers hanging out having a good time together. Just in my short time attempting to beer blog, I have met a lot of great faces both in the business, and those supporting it. That was of course one of by biggest goals blogging about beer was to meet a more diverse crowd of people who share a common interest.

- I thought the available selection of beer was very good. I would also guess that a brewer wouldn't can a beer unless it was one of their best flagship brands.

- The volunteers were all very kind and courteous. One of those volunteers being Bill of the blog 'Its Pub Night', who is always the kindest and most easy going beer blogger around.

- I thought the location was great, and the blocked off street access on 11th and Burnside was a great spot and idea. I also had never been to The Guild Public House which I found to be a very cool place with some fantastic grub. The rotation 8 beer selection there was great too. I also didn't have any issue finding parking a few blocks away either.

- I liked the price. $5 for a mug, and $1 for a taste was a great price. I was able to only spend $15 and try 10 very good beers. I wanted to round out my consumption to about a 40oz. I liked that the beers were mostly rather light and sessionable. Great hot weather brews that don't get a guy sloshed.


- The cups. They provided the typical beer fest mug that is widely used in fests in the area, but they almost seemed as if they just popped off the press and hadn't even hardly had time to set. The flavors the cup gave off imparted some interesting character to each and every single beer. In a way it was almost fruity, but the chemical taste was a bit steep. Perhaps they should have purchased the cups much longer ago, and let them sit for a couple years.

- Since I am a very fair skinned guy, the bright sun was an issue for me. I was also stupid enough to leave the house without putting on some sun screen. I feel though that fests should provide much more covered seating. They did have a few tables set up by the Honey Buckets, but they were not covered. I thought it was funny how table cloths were loosely laid upon the tables. They may have stayed on the tables for a total of 3 seconds.

That's really about it for the cons. I will keep my personal opinion about the music to myself as I don't really want to offend anybody. It's nice anyway to at least have some additional flare to a beer fest. The radio broadcasts on craft beer were a nice touch, and the outdoor cooking was a very good idea. The food was fantastic. The water they provided outside for everybody apparently tasted like crap according to my friend. Perhaps that was the fault of the sun beating down on the plastic jugs.

After I spent a good 4 hours at the fest getting sunburned, I decided to stop in the pub for dinner with my bud. I was quite surprised that it wasn't even really that busy given the fact that there were a ton of people drinking beer in the hot sun just outside.

It was air conditioned. That was just amazing. Hot weather bugs the crap out of my Scandinavian self.

The place had a great deal of seating, and the service I experienced from a woman with a mohawk and glasses was quite stellar.

The food was very good and was a touch off the normal path of pub grub standards. I was also able to experience Beetje Brewings Flemish Kiss which I had read a lot about, but hadn't had the opportunity to try. It was very good.

After a good meal, some ice water with lemon wedges in it.. I was able to comfortably leave the festival without heat stroke, intoxication, and a headache. It was a great opportunity, and I would like to see it happen again next year.

The beers I had that I thought were great standouts are as follows:

Anderson Valley Summer Solstice - A very tasty drinkable brew with a slightly cream ale-like approach. Was very good.

Caldera Brewing Pale Ale - I have only had their IPA in the can, and thought the Pale was much better. A very crisp hoppy pale that caught me off guard with such great flavor and body.

Central City Brewing Red Racer IPA - A very unique and hoppy IPA. I even noticed only the slightest skunky character mixed in with a very unique malt profile. I thought it was great.

Ska Brewing ESB - A very solid and tasty ESB. It had the perfect bitterness. When a beer states it's a bitter, it better be a bitter like so many aren't. This one was... finally.

Two Beers Brewing Panorama Wheat - This was one of my favorites. A great wheaty grainy smooth sweet creamy brew. It stood out greatly for me, and I hope I see it distributed down this way in Vancouver.

I didn't try many of the others that I can easily get over here anyway. I know 21st Amendments Hop Crisis is very good as I had already had it on tap just a couple of days previous. To see it in a can is killer. Fort George is always great, but I can get it anywhere. I wasn't able to try all of them, but I was able to try all the ones that caught my eye.


  1. Dude you're making me blush. I'll see if I can get my grouchy side going a little better.

    Cans Fest was a great time. Quite a few choices were sold out by the time I got drinking, but two of the beers from Uncommon Brewers stood out for me: their Baltic Porter and Siamese Twin.

  2. I'm hoping to get a chance to try those.. I passed on the opportunity because of how heavy they were. I figure I'll get them at some point in the near future.