Portland, OR - After a few days spent catching on work and such, we finally had a chance to sit down and reflect on the Oregon Brewers Festival from Thursday's tapping of Deschutes' Super Jubel Ale to our last day ending. Overall, the event was a hit with us again, especially the Buzz Tent.
Special mention, a tip our hat off to Preston Weesner, for the special limited edition beers that he tracked down. From the Maui Heaven and Hells Barrel-aged American-style Barleywine to the Widmer KGB Barrel-aged Imp. Stout, there wasn't beer on the list that we didn't avoid trying.
As with many things there is always a hiccup. Sometimes its the beer, sometimes its the service, sometimes on rare occasions it happens right at the gate. This year it was the Saturday start or the lack there of, since the event kicked off some 5 - 10 minutes late, depending on which truck you were standing at. These things will happen, you can't avoid them and speaking from experience as someone who has volunteered at a festival or two, its pretty much expected.
In regards to our picks that we had versus what we ended up with, we would only say that we were thankful for getting in on the 13 year old Full Sail Black Gold Imperial Stout. For us, the longest line had to be the Maui Coconut Porter, but who can blame the new guy being so popular (by the way the brewery was the furthest traveled hailing from Maui, HI). The shortest line in the beginning had to be Cascade Summer Gose, either because the beer has been an Oregon staple for over one month, or because the idea of drinking something that sounds like an adverb freaks people out. So without further ado here is how our picks turned out.
Special thanks to Oregon Brewer's Festival coordinator Chris Crabb for inviting us to the OBF Preview, where we had a chance to sample 12 beers (some of which were already on our list).
- (4oz) 10 Barrel Brewing’s India Summer Ale. A good interpretation of a Red Ale. Although whether the beer was sitting out too long or not, we felt like the hops were lacking, despite the IBU of 45.
- (2oz) Caldera Brewing’s Hibiscus Ginger Beer. This beer was definitely a curiosity, for those we spoke to. The balance was right there as well, nice work.
- (12oz) Collaborator Brewing’s Sunstone Pilsner. Definitely felt like a bohemian in the aroma and tasted great to finish out with this beer, given the temperature.
- Cascade Brewing’s Summer Gose. This was my first beer and given the lack of people in line I was actually thankful I could wrap my taste buds around this.
- (2oz) Great Divide Brewing’s Hoss. GDH had a great aroma and once the beer warmed up a bit actually worked well given the heat.
- (2oz) Green Flash Brewing’s Le Freak. Admittedly I have had this beer numerous times, so it was nice to see this beer featured at the OBF Preview.
- (6oz) Maui Brewing’s Coconut Porter. Another great addition to the festival and for those who had had this beer in cans, it tasted even better on draft.
- (6oz) Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout. A beer that never disappoints and given the weather, almost seemed like sacrilege, drinking this dark crude.
- (6oz) Rogue Ales’ 21. Nothing felt better than enjoying this Rogue’s 21st beer, while speaking with the ‘man’ himself (John Maier). Might have to get a bottle if I can track one down in Seattle.
- (2oz) Sierra Nevada Brewing’s Tumbler. A surprisingly good Brown Ale considering there are so few out there.
- (2oz) Terminal Gravity Brewing’s Single Hop Double IPA. Traditionally this brewery uses more than hop in their beers but this time they went with one. Regrettably this beer despite the 100 IBU moniker didn’t seem to meet the high hops expectations.
- (2oz) The Bruery’s 7 Grain Saison. Definitely one of the more unique beers with how many grains went into this. For some reason the more dominant one in our nose was the corn, but then again that’s the beauty of a palette, each person is different.
- (6oz) Upright Brewing’s Reggae Junkie Gruit. Nice job Alex on this one and the name fits given your guys’ taproom / brewery ambience.
- (2oz) Widmer Captain Shaddock IPA. Finally the last of the normal beers we had, was this grapefruit rind-fermented India Pale Ale. This beer definitely fit the beer and depending on who you spoke to was either a fan favorite or avoided.
Well that’s it folks, no sense rubbing your faces in the many Buzz Tent beers you missed out (10 words, Full Sail 13 year old Black Gold Imperial Russian Stout). But if you ask me nicely I might spill what I had.
Note, Preston if you are reading this, that Oude Tart from The Bruery was tasty, thanks again for putting that on.
If you want to see more photos, head over to the Northwest Beer Guide Flickr page.
About the photos’ author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned organization had provided me some free sample used for research, prior to writing this review.