It’s Friday and it’s a little hard to believe that a week has passed by since Oregon Brewers Festival laid waste to the park grounds of Tom McCall. Taking a moment to recall all the sights, smells, and sounds of the festival reminds me of how much busier this year’s festival was compared to year’s past.
And we just received confirmation that it was much busier than last year. More precisely the festival took in over 80,000 festival goers.
For those not actively following this or other Northwest ‘blogs’ the Oregon Brewers Festival was a celebration of not only local Oregon beers, but the craft beer spirit that rages in every person, willing to drink something other than light lager.
Starting on Thursday with the annual procession through Portland, 800 brewers and supporters walked to the one of Portland’s city parks, Tom McCall. We won’t recap the procession route, only to tell you that this year’s Grand Marshall Tom Dalldorf (Founder of Celebrator Magazine) enjoyed the attention.
Further rubbing salt into the wounds of those that didn’t go, we have the following stats. 84 different beers, including two gluten-free beers, with almost 15 different states participating. On top of this the buzz tent seems to have it most successful year yet, as they poured over 40 beers separated into either ‘buzz’ or ‘sour’ categories. Shockingly the Buzz Tent ran out of beer by Saturday Night, well before Sunday’s start.
The top five most popular beers had one thing in common: Fruit! Vertigo’s Tropical Blonde, 10 Barrel’s Raspberry Crush, Redhook’s Peach Trippel, Old Market Pub’s Cherried Alive and Cascade Brewing’s Razberry Wheat were top sellers. This year’s festival featured no fewer than ten beers made with an assortment of fruits, including key limes, cherries, raspberries, pomegranate, strawberries, peaches, plums and blueberries.
When asked where this surge came from the Festival Organizers had this to say.
The festival grows in popularity every year, and beer lovers came from every state in the nation, and many countries around the world, to join in the celebration. In addition to beer tasting, there was live music all four days, food from six area restaurants, homebrewers brewing beer on site, and a collection of beer-related vendors, ranging from hand carved wooden steins to glass blown pints to kilts.
The festival employed more than 2,000 volunteers to pour beer, sell tokens, and aid with recycling education; plastic mugs from this and past year’s festivals were collected at exits to be recycled.
It’s worth mentioning that historically this much like Washington’s Brewers Festival cater also to minors and those giving up drinking, to drive someone home.
Minors and designated drivers received complimentary cups of handcrafted root beer and free face painting in the Crater Lake Root Beer Garden. Staff from Everyday Prevention provided education on the potential dangers, risks, and unhealthy community norms associated with underage drinking in the same area.
Congratulations to the founders and brewers at this year’s festival. We look forward to stopping in next year.
About The Oregon Brewers Festival
The Oregon Brewers Festival 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, especially in Oregon, where 116 brewing companies operate 150 brewing facilities in 58 cities in Oregon. There are 51 breweries operating within the Portland city limits, more than any other city in the world; the Portland metro area is the largest craft brewing market in the nation with the most number of breweries at 64, according to the Oregon Brewers Guild. A recent survey of OBF attendees shows that the Oregon Brewers Festival annually generates an economic impact of more than $23.2 million for the local economy.
The Oregon Brewers Festival always takes place the last full weekend in July. The 26th annual event will take place July 25 through July 28, 2013. For more information, visit www.oregonbrewfest.com.