Oregon Brewer’s Fest 2010

Aaaaaaand….I’m back.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  Between traveling and craziness at work, I’ve had this saved in drafts for some time.

So the last weekend in July I headed up to Portland which just happened to coincide with the Oregon Brewer’s Fest.  I was pretty excited about this event as I had heard a lot of great things about it, and knowing how many great breweries were in Portland made it even more enticing!

We arrived in the afternoon and the event was already in full swing.  The location is idyllic, right along the Willamette River and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  They had tents all along the river with beer stations situated in the shade next to the tents.  There were definitely a lot of characters, including this band we saw below.

Here’s how the beers were set up.  You purchased a cup and tokens as you walked into the park and it was 1 token per taste.

The variety of breweries there was pretty impressive, although I felt that most of them brought their mediocre/well known beers.  Out of the more than 20 I tasted, only 3-4 were worth remembering. However I gather this is how most beer festivals work…and the best beer will always be tasted at breweries or beer bars.  My top two beers for the festival were Cascade Brewing’s Summer Gose/Summer Sour and Goose Island’s Sofie.

Above you can see Scott…likely double fisting the Summer Gose…he can’t resist the sour beers!

This guy’s “beer goggles” cracked me up so I asked him to pose.  He obliged.

To get a sense of what the tents were like, you can see below.  It was pretty crowded and I could only imagine what Saturday would be like.  They had some tables but most people ended up standing around in groups.

As you can see, PintMuse doesn’t particularly like getting her photo taken. 😉

Frank the Tank!  What you can’t really see in this photo was the kilt he was also wearing.  It was amusing to watch people walk past him.

Not having been to many beer festivals, I’m not sure how to rank this one.  I had a great time with my friends and checking out the scene, but realized that if I really wanted great beer, going to the actual breweries is the way to go.  Still, I would definitely head back to the Oregon Brewer’s Festival in a heart beat.  Clearly the love of beer is overwhelmingly felt there and Portland is a great city for any beer lover to visit.

Thank you Portland for being such a welcoming city for this beer lover.  Can’t wait to go back!

BreastFest: Good beers, good times, good cause!

This past Saturday I attended the 10th annual BreastFest at Herbst Pavillion at Fort Mason in San Francisco. This was the first year this event has made it across the bay to San Francisco, having previously taken place in Marin Brewing Company’s parking lot up in Larkspur.  This event was a combination of two of my favorite things…beers and breasts!  This event supported the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic dedicated to holistic healing for women suffering from breast cancer.  A good cause no doubt, and a great reason to bring together so many great breweries.

Many great breweries there, some of which I’d heard of and others that were new to me.  I’d have to say the highlights for me were Firestone Walker’s 13th Anniversary Ale and Nectar Ale’s Black Xantus, neither of which were being tasted, but lone bottles were opened at Firestone Walker’s table and I was lucky enough to try them.  Many mediocre beers but also some surprises like Anderson Valley’s Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema (a surprise to me as I have feelings of mundanity associated with this brewery) as well as Iron Spring’s The Crippla.

This event was a great opportunity to try many beers and for some of my friends, to be amazed at how many breweries there are out there just in Northern California.  I really hope this event comes back to Fort Mason next year, although I had such a good time I’d be willing to cross the bridge to attend!

Pictures below.

Tried Brenda and Jessica’s Bridal Ale – light, crisp and refreshing

Boys from Stone share their pale ale

Tried all of the above from local brewery, Triple Rock

One of the highlights from the day: Firestone Walker 13th Anniversary Ale

Joined by friends in partaking of the festivities

Another highlight: Black XantusRandom hair band rockin’ 80’s and 90’s music

Oddity of the day: Blanco Basura aka White Trash which was decent!

Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo pours 2008 Temptation aged in Chardonnay barrels

This photo about sums up the day