Twenty years ago (okay, nineteen), the first Oregon Brewers Festival graced Waterfront Park. It was a slightly more meager event, but auspicious--attendance far outpaced organizers' predictions. Now, nearly two decades later, the celebration has expanded. Now there's a brewer's dinner, a blind tasting, a parade, and in the past, even a competing fest across the Willamette for all the small Oregon breweries whose beers were spurned by the OBF*.
And there's even a competing fest--the Portland International Beerfest, which kicks off at 4pm this Friday and runs through Sunday in the North Park Blocks. I'll put up a preview for PIB later this week, but I wanted to make a pitch now so the literally millions of readers of Beervana can plan their weekend accordingly.
You know the OBF. You know the heat, the sweat, the screams. You go partly for the beer, but partly because it has the feel of 20,000-person kegger. To PIB, by comparison, you go exclusively for the beer. Where else can you get a taster of Westmalle Tripel, Fantome Saison, Pinkus Ur-Pils, Monchshof Schwarzbier, and Deschutes Mirror Mirror barleywine all in one place. Nowhere! It's a bit more expensive than the regular fest, but with apologies to our friends from Belmont Station, have you seen what saison is selling for by the bottle? Plus, if you're dying for Oregon beer, Full Sail Old Boardhead and Black Gold--Burbon Barrel, Deschutes 18th Anniversary Pilsner, Rogue UberFest, Pelican Bridal Ale and more will be there (none of which, I'll hazard a guess, will be pouring at OBF).
If I could only make one beer event a year, it'd be this one. Don't miss it.
*Holler if this is happening and you have details.