The Oregon Brewers Festival is pleased to announce "Oregon Beer Week," a weeklong celebration of craft beer by Oregonís specialty breweries. Oregon Beer Week will begin July 23 and feature a variety of special events taking place at craft breweries throughout the state, culminating with the 18th annual Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland July 28 through July 31. The OBF is recognized by many industry experts to be one of the finest craft beer festivals in the nation.
"There are so many beer lovers who come to Portland for the Oregon Brewers Festival, and there are so many other great beer activities that take place that week," explained Art Larrance, founder of the event. "It only made sense to tie them together in a celebration of all things beer, and promote Oregonís remarkable craft brew community as a whole."
Activities are still being planned, but currently Oregon Beer Week will kick off on July 23 with a Beer & Sausage Fest held at the Raccoon Lodge & BrewPub, owned by Larrance. Beer lovers can preview the secret concoction the Lodge has created for this yearís brewers festival, while tasting a variety of sausages and listening to live music. The event is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 7424 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy. (503-296-0110 or raclodge.com.)
Festivities will continue on July 26 as Rogue Ales presents a Beer and Chocolate Dinner and Tasting with Fred Eckhardt, the dean of American beer writers and a pioneer in the promotion of blending chocolate with beer. The event, which will take place at 1339 NW Flanders, begins at 5 p.m., and tickets cost $25. Additionally, Rogue Ales will be running "Brew Buses" to the Oregon Brewers Festival from its pubs in Newport, Eugene, and Issaquah, Wash. (503-222-5910 or rogue.com.)
July 27 brings the Oregon Brewers Dinner, a fundraising dinner for the Oregon Brewers Guild, held on the eve of the OBF. Attendance for this gathering is limited to 650 tickets. Some of the biggest names in craft brewing attend this informal gathering, which Oregonian writer John Foyston has called "the beer party of the year." The ticket price of $35 includes a barbeque dinner, a souvenir pint glass, and eight half-pints of Oregon beers that are not featured at the festival. Proceeds from the dinner help the Guild perform its mission of spreading the word about great native Oregon beers. (503-465-0013 or oregonbeer.org.)
The On the Edge Beer Festival will begin on July 27 and run through July 31. This event features Oregon craft beers and breweries not featured at the OBF, and takes place at a variety of local pubs including Horse Brass, Rose and Raindrop, Hedge House, and New Old Lompoc. (503-232-2202.)
On July 28, the inaugural Glen Hay Falconer BrewAm Golf Tournament will be held at the McMenamins Pub Course at the Edgefield Inn, 2126 S.W. Halsey St. in Troutdale. Participants will be paired with a professional brewer, including some of the best-known names in the craft beer industry. The $75 fee includes 18 holes of golf, a commemorative embroidered golf shirt, lunch, and beer. Proceeds go to the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation, which raises funds to send brewers to the Siebel Institute Chicago Campus Concise Course in Brewing Technology, and donates money to Eugene charities and causes in commemoration of the life, interests, and good works of a leading Pacific Northwest professional brewer who passed away in 2002. (sasquatchbrewfest.org.)
Later that day, the Oregon Brewers Festival will hold opening ceremonies at Tom McCall Waterfront Park at 4 p.m. The band will strike up as brewers on parade haul in a wooden keg ready to be tapped. This yearís theme celebrates the Corps of Discovery, which traveled 3,700 miles from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean 200 years ago. At the end of their journey, they discovered the beauty of Oregon and its abundance of natural resources. Beer fans that make the trek to the OBF will discover an abundance of fine craft beers at the end of the trail. The OBF is open on Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m. (503-778-5917 or oregonbrewfest.com.)
The OBF will continue on July 29, with beers pouring from Noon to 9 p.m. That same day will also bring free brewery tours and beer samplings at 3 p.m. at Widmer Brothers Brewing Co, located on the Max Light Rail Line at 955 N. Russell. The brewery known for popularizing "Hefeweizen" will also present tours and samplings on July 30 at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. (503-281-3333 or widmer.com).
The OBF continues July 30 from Noon to 9 p.m. and July 31 from Noon to 7 p.m.
Seventy-two breweries present as many handcrafted brews during the OBF. The festival is a non-judging event, designed to instead allow the public to sample and savor brews from some of the nationís finest breweries and draw their own conclusions. Beer is the focus of the event, and both classic and innovative beer styles are represented.
Joining the breweries are industry exhibits by hop growers, maltsters, homebrewers, breweriana collectors, and national beer writers. Seven local on-site restaurants offer light meals and alternative beverages, and the Oregon Beverage Works Soda Garden offers complimentary handcrafted sodas to minors and designated drivers. Live entertainment is featured throughout the event. Alternative modes of transportation are encouraged, with free bicycle parking available each day courtesy of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. The main entrance to the event (SW Oak St and Bill Naito Pkwy) is located one block from the MAX Light Rail line.
Admission for entry into the festival grounds is free. A one-time purchase 2005 souvenir mug costs $4 and is required for consuming beer. Mugs from previous years will not be filled. Tokens are required for purchase of beer. Tokens cost $1 apiece. Patrons pay four tokens for a full mug, or 1 token for a taste. Minors are permitted at the event when accompanied by a parent. Only ADA animals are allowed on the festival grounds.
The OBF was founded in 1988 as an opportunity to expose the public to microbrews at a time when the craft brewing industry was just getting off the ground. Today, that industry has succeeded, despite unpredictable ups and downs; especially in Oregon, a state that has more craft breweries per capita than just about anywhere else in the nation; 70 breweries in the state, and nearly half of those are in Portland Metropolitan area. The fact that the Oregon Brewers Festival is still drawing vast crowds is a strong testament to the publicís loyalty toward microbrews.
For more information about the OBF, call the event hotline at 503/778-5917, or visit www.oregonbrewfest.com. For visitor information and hotel reservations, contact the host hotel, the Portland Marriott City Center at 503-226-6300 or marriottportland.com; or visit travelportland.com or call toll-free 1.87.PORTLAND (1.877.678.5263).