Saturday, July 30

My Friday At The Oregon Brewers Festival

Living in Vancouver, WA., it was very nice that I could take a C-Tran bus, which is pretty much at my front door, and take it to the Max Yellow Line at Delta Park in Portland. Other than a few crazies, and a big guy with massive B.O. who liked to shove his hand down his pants and scratch himself, the trip was overall pleasant. A buddy of mine and I got off the Max at Oak st. downtown, and walked only a few blocks right to the entrance of the fest.

We arrived at about 12:30 PM just shortly after the fest had opened for the day. It first hit me that the place was way more packed at that time than I remembered it being the year before. I recall the first wave of OBF hoot'n'holler at about 1:00 PM which was way early. Last year I recall the chants starting at about 4:00 PM.

The weather was fantastic, and will remain to be for the rest of the event. In the beginning there wasn't much of a breeze, and the tents felt quite stuffy. I always like to complain about the heat, though, since I am a pale Scandinavian guy who's genetics require a cool and cloudy 60 Deg. F.

Overall there were a few good beers that stood out for me. I briefly made it into the Buzz Tent where I ran across a few really good brews. The entire lineup fell short for me. Yes, I know there are lots of people who haven't even been introduced to many of them, but to see the same regular offerings from some brewers there year after year gets a bit old. Some may think that 21st Amendment only brews Hell or High Watermelon.

But overall, it is a festival which helps our local economy as many who attend it are not from town. The fest brings in a lot of outside craftbeer geeks, and some other not-so-polite douche bags. The fest isn't like hanging out at a local SE pub with kind and polite people always. You get your mix of homies, thugs, jocks, sluts, and downright disgusting drunks... but hey, it's a festival to celebrate craft beer right?

I loved the little marching band that really seemed to help break up the groups of people that got in the way of those who simply wanted to get in line to get a beer. It was fun, and cool to see a line forming for those who needed to dance a little and have fun. Too bad the marching band didn't break up those etiquette-lacking groups of people who felt they had to form a beer clot right at the lines.

I always go with the intention on enjoying some good beer. And I do of course.. but get a little sidetracked with all of the beautiful women around. Being a 'leg' guy, my jaw is still taking time to fit back into place. Now if they weren't mostly trendy dumb jock sluts, but craft beer loving beer nerds.. that would have been much better. Just remember... personality. Right?

The buzz tent beers I tried, I had at the end of my regular beer tasting. I didn't get a chance to try all that I had wanted to, but I tried enough. I didn't want to walk out of the place totally hammered. I was lucky enough after all to get a ride home from my buddies wife, who I must say is totally cool. I envy him.

Here are the beers I tried, and recommend:

Buzz Tent:

- Cascade Winter Gose
This was a solid sour which I know many have probably had, but it was a nice start to what followed.

- Cascade Port Barrel Super Sour
I loved it. I love port barrel sours, and this was a solid port barrel-only red prior to it ever being blended with another.

- Fifty Fifty Brewing Imperial Eclipse Stout
This puppy was a fantastic stout.. so good I had 2 tasters.

(These probably won't be tapped again, or will still be rotating this weekend since there are no planned taps at the Buzz Tent.)

The Beers:

I will start with my favorite two that I had.

- Old Market Berried Alive
The Brewmaster Tomas is a bud of mine, and not the reason I really liked the beer. It was brewed with boysenberries, and aged in Pinot Noir barrels. It was light, refreshing, and very tasty.. probably my favorite. I feel Old Market doesn't get a lot of local credit or hype as they should. The sours there are fantastic as well.

- Burnside Brewing Gratzer
This Polish smoked wheat beer was delicious! The perfect amount of wheat and smoke. It really stood out from the other more 'basic' stuff at the fest.

- Boundary Bay Double Dry-hopped Glacier Pale
I just only first tried this brewers IPA a few days before, and thought it was fantastic. This Glacier-Hop only pale was a killer treat. Highly recommended.

- Columbia River Brewing Nyctophobia CDA
I was kind of on a Cascadian Dark Ale kick, and had to try most of them all. This one stood out above many of the others there that were offered.

- Elysian Brewing Idiot Sauvin
A great zesty and fruity IPA brewed with 4 additions of Nelson Sauvin hops. A must try.

- Great Divide Rumble Wood-aged IPA
This beer was solid, but overall didn't do it for me. It has a slightly meaty flavor to it.

- Hop Valley Alpha Centuari Binary Imperial IPA
Name is a bit long, and so was the line for this beer. I could see why, it was nothing short of great.

- Hopworks Evelyn's Imperial Sunshine IPA
I feel bad for never having tried this, but I finally did. It's a great IPA with the perfect balance and hop character.

- Natian Brewing CuDA Cascadian Dark Ale
A smooth and solid CDA. Worth the try for sure.

- Pyramid Discord Dark IPA
They might as well call it what it is.. a CDA. A very solid beer, and something I would like to see in a 6-pack. Didn't quite top the other CDA's though.

- Surly Hell (Munich Helles)
Solid, zesty, grainy, and balanced. Love the brewery. Get it.

- Upright Brewing Offen Weisse
Damn tasty, light, and smooth. Would like some chilled kegs please.

I think I had a few others that were not listed in the guide, but that is what I am going off of a day later. I only made it down for one day, and that's really all I plan to do. It's a fest that is nice to look forward to each year, and I always plan some vacation days for it.


A special thanks goes to Big Al's in Vancouver, WA for their kind gift and help with enjoying the festival.


  1. Great write up Perry. I made the mistake of getting there around 6:15 pm on Friday. The lines were so long it took about 20-30 minutes to get a beer. I had to get full glasses each time otherwise I would be too thirsty waiting in line for the next ones. Many of the beers I wanted to try were gone by the time I got there.

    The Gratzer was definitely unique. I think you enjoyed it much more than I did. I had to power my way through it just to finish. THe smokiness was way to overpowering for my liking.

  2. Thanks for the great comment!

    I try to make it early for 1 or 2 days each year. I am kind of sorry I missed Thursday.

    I thought the Gratzen wasn't overpowering at all. I have had some beers that tasted like I licked the inside of a freshly used smoker. :D