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Oregon Brewers Festival Features 90 Different Beers, Kicks off with Parade

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Photo Credit: Oregon Brewers Festival Facebook page

Today is the start of the Oregon Brewers Festival. I have been to many over the years and learned that going during the day on a weekday is the way to go. By evening and all day on the weekend, the lines grow longer. Oh and only on the first day does it start with a ceremonial first tapping after a festive parade through Portland.

The OBF was founded in 1988, when there were just seven craft breweries in the entire state. The event was an opportunity to expose the public to microbrews at a time when the craft brewing industry was just getting off the ground. In 1998, OBF was a two day event and by 1991 it had grown to three days. In 2005 they added Thursday. This is the third year the festival will go an entire five days.

The days have been increased to meet growing demand. This year attendance is expected to exceed 85,000. Attendees come from around the world the last full weekend in July to experience beervana.  During the OBF, 89 craft breweries from North America will serve 90 different beers of more than 40 styles.

The Oregon Brewers Brunch, which has long been sold out, is the first event of the day, followed by a festive parade. The parade has a rich history and something every Portlander should experience at least once.

In the mid-2000’s after a brewers lunch, beer legends Art Larrance and the late Don Younger moseyed over to the festival site with a few musicians in tow. They were at a nearby watering hole. That short walk inspired plenty of attention and what has become cherished tradition. 

The second year parade the featured then-Mayor Tom Potter.” Breakfast had been served at Rogue Brewing (who still serve a brewers breakfast that has availability). While a march had only been permitted for the sidewalks, it quickly spilled out into the streets. With their boss at the helm, Portland Police played along nicely – and have since.

Today parade will start at 11:30am at Metalcraft Fabrication (723 N Tillamook St) and end up on the ground of OBF, where there will be a ceremonial tapping of the first keg. The beer, in a wooden barrel, is served by the brewer brunch host, which this year is Lompoc. They will be serving Pamplemousse Citrus IPA for the first beer. Anyone with this year’s souvenir glass can get a fill of the first beer for free. If you’re going to march in the parade, be sure to show up a few minutes early. You must be wrist banded (after having your identification checked) to parade onto the festival grounds.

When: July 22 through 26, 2015 – From Wednesday through Sat, taps are open from Noon to 9pm. Sunday ends at 7. Token & glass sales close one-half hour prior to the taps shutting off (8:30pm daily, except 6:30pm Sunday)

Cost: While admission is free in order to consume beer, purchase of a 2015 souvenir tasting cup is required and costs $7. Beer is purchased with wooden tokens, which cost $1 each. Please note that OBF is cash only. There are eight ATMs on-site.


Related Slideshow: The 7 Strangest Beers Around

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Upright Brewing Oyster Stout

Oyster Stout sounds strange, right? Just imagine your stout with a salty kick and a mineral taste at the end. It turns out to be very flavorful, time tested concoction. Locally, Upright Brewing makes a tasty one in their seasonal portfolio and looks like it will be released shortly after the first of the year.

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Rogue Ales Beard Beer

While most beer is brewed with carefully cultivated yeast strains, there are any number of wild yeasts that can be used, though this one is decidedly the strangest.  Somehow Rogue Brewer John Maier “discovered” a natural yeast ideal for brewing in his beard. Yuck. Stylistically, an “American Wild Ale, if you are really interested in trying it yourself, you can buy a bottle here.

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Wynkoop Brewery Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout

What started – and should have ended – as an April Fools’ Day prank led to the release of Wynkoop Brewery’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout. They only sell it in two packs. Get it? I won’t suggest where you might buy this one, dear reader, because I like you and would not do that to you.

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Rogue Ales Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale 

Rogue Ales Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale has been on the market for a while and is ubiquitous in Portland, as are the other mistakes they brewed to taste like Portland’s biggest tourist trap’s products. Good for Rogue for hopping on the tourist bandwagon by partnering with Voodoo Doughnuts on this uniquely Portland beer. This beer drinker has to admit that drinking this beer forced me to admit that not everything is actually better with bacon.

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Evil Twin Turkish Delight

Me: What does Turkish Delight taste like?

Beer store clerk: Um, it tastes like Turkish Delight.

Me: Um, okay. What is Turkish Delight?

Clerk: Just try it.

Tastes like put coffee and cardamom in my darker ale. Nuff said? I’m not chomping at the bit to try either Turkish Delight or the Evil Twin’s Turkish Delight beer again. It is available locally at Belmont Station if you are interested.

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Bison Brewing Organic Gingerbread Ale

Ginger. Nutmeg. Cinnamon. No I’m not talking about a dessert or even a hot beverage but Bison Brewing’s Organic Gingerbread Ale. Somehow, it works to create a great flavored porter. Yum. Rumor has it that John’s Market still has a few sixers of this one left. 

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Rogue Ales Sriracha Stout

Apparently 2014 was the Year of the Rooster, with millions more discovering Sriracha, a simple staple in Vietnamese restaurants (and a product that has stayed stocked in my fridge since at least 2005). Never one to miss hopping on a bandwagon, Rogue Ales brewed a stout with it. Shocking, right? It tastes exactly like you’d expect: like someone pranked you by sneaking some hot sauce into your otherwise tasty stout when you went to the loo. The only place to find this gem is at Rogue Hall until more is released after the first of the year.


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