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Your Guide to the Vegan Beer and Food Fest

Thursday, September 24, 2015


The Vegan Beer and Food Festival in Los Angeles.

The Vegan Beer and Food Fest is quickly becoming this year’s alternative Feast festival. Hosted by the Doug Fir, Herbivore Clothing, and the Bye and Bye, the Vegan Beer and Food Festival will be migrating north from Southern California for its first year in Portland.

The Vegan Beer and Food Fest stems from the minds of some of the most prominent West Coast herbivores, but its founders insist it’s for everybody.

GoLocalPDX spoke to Vegan Beer and Food Fest founder Nic Adler to get the inside scoop on the festival.

“It’s more important that we are tapping into artists, musicians, makers, chefs, roasters: anyone who is using their hands and making something,” Adler said.

“It’s a food and beer festival that happens to be vegan,” Adler continued. “In LA, our festival was about 60% non-vegan and 40% vegan. In Portland, our turnout is going to be more non-vegans than vegans.”

But let’s pretend you’ve never heard of the Vegan Beer and Food Fest before. What is there to see, what is there to do, and what is there to eat? After all, the festival is happening this weekend on September 26th at Zidell Yards from 1 PM to 7 PM. Note: if you buy a VIP ticket, you can arrive an hour earlier at 12 (this way you will beat the crowds).

Let us highlight what you should eat, see, and drink. 

What to Eat

Because the Vegan Beer and Food Fest stems from previous festivals in California, you can expect some of LA’s finest in attendance. However, event planners are mostly excited to incorporate some of Portland’s food scene into the festival.

Overall, the Vegan Beer and Food Fest will have 50 different food vendors for you to try.

“On the food side, we try to do two things: we try to make it (the festival) very Portland; it’s not our LA festival coming to Portland,” Adler said. But at the same time, we thought it was important to take some of our best vendors from our other festivals and bring them up with us.”

Though Portland already has The Grilled Cheese Grill, Los Angeles has its acclaimed, travelling Grilled Cheese Truck. The Grilled Cheese Truck will be one of the Los Angeles businesses coming to the Vegan Beer and Food Fest. 

“The grilled cheese truck is our most popular food truck driving all the way out here,” Adler said. 

Despite these new eats, Portlanders can rest assured that local businesses will also be contributing to the festival.

“Sizzle pie is doing a pizza. Sushi Love is doing vegan sushi. If you like a kind of food, it will be here,” Adler said.

Who to See

A festival in Portland of any type (even of the culinary persuasion) is destined to have some good background music.

Indeed, with your ticket you can see the likes of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Mimicking Birds, Lovebomb Go-Go Marching Band, Modern Kin, and Genders. The musical line-up was coordinated by Portland's own Doug Fir Lounge.

“Music has always been a third player in the festival,” Adler explained to GoLocal. “We are not a music festival: we are definitely a beer and food festival. But music is an important component. This is music you can enjoy beer and food to – nothing too heavy, nothing too hard. Good music.” 

All bands playing are local, except for Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, who are based out of San Francisco.

What to Drink

The Vegan Beer and Food Fest will mostly market local businesses, but organizers of the festival have also opted to showcase other areas of the West Coast.

“When we were first booking the festival, we got a bunch of feedback to keep the festival as local as possible,” Adler said. “People here try local beers all the time because there are so many beer festivals. We thought it would be exciting to see beers from other states.”

Expect a mixed bag of local beers and additional breweries being represented from California and Washington. Some breweries like Modern Times from San Diego will be visiting from out-of-state for the first time. 

Golden Road Brewing from Los Angeles is presenting an exclusive almond milk stout for the festival. 

And don’t forget the cider. Portlanders love cider.

“We have six ciders and they are all split between the states,” Adler said.

If you're questioning how filling vegan food can be, rest assured that the answer is very. According to Adler, “If you come to the festival, you will leave full.”

Fortunately, tickets are still available. If you wait until the day of the event you'll have to pay an extra $10 at the door. But if you want to save a buck, buy your tickets HERE now!


Related Slideshow: Ten Great Bars with Vegetarian Menus

Are you tipsy and want a cheeseburger, but with soy curls? Hopefully, you're drinking at one of these ten picks. 

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Sweet Hereafter

Sweet Hereafter has it all: a trendy aesthetic, an outdoor patio, and another, actually outdoor patio (with a fire pit and a smoking section), as well as really solid food. In fact, this really solid menu is also genuinely vegan. Suggestion: try the Eastern Bowl with avocado or the Blackened Tempeh Sandwich. Or both. Seriously, bring a friend or intimate friend and split these two things down the middle. 

3326 SE Belmont St.

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Hungry Tiger

Tiger? Wasn't that the name of the dog from The Brady Bunch? Well, it's also the second word in the name of one of Portland's best vegan bars. With a happy hour all day on drinks both Sunday and Monday mixed with some of the purportedly best vegan nachos known to man, Hungry Tiger is a great stop on your vegan Portland pub crawl this week. Also, on Tuesday, you can get 3 vegan tacos for $5. 

213 SE 12th Ave.

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Black Water Bar

Looking for greasy bar comfort good (almost a category of food in and of itself) that is all vegan? Black Water Bar is one of the rare birds that will satisfy your demands. Try the vegan mozzarella sticks and expect to spend only $10 per person, covering both food plus drank. 

835 NE Broadway

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Vita Cafe

Vita Cafe off Alberta is first and foremost a brunch spot -- also, a brunch spot with a comparatively tiny wait (if you're an anxious or impatient Portland bruncher). But most importantly, at least for the sake of this article, Vita Cafe is also a strictly vegetarian and vegan establishment. And somehow even more importantly, this place has a killer selection of organic and non-organic beer, biodynamic and vegan wines, and brunch cocktails as part of their full bar. So for those looking for drinks to combine with their leaf, check out this showstopper. 

3023 NE Alberta St. 

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White Owl Social Club

The $5 vegan burger at White Owl Social Club apparently dominated this year's burger week in terms of the "vegan angle," according to the Portland Mercury. Though White Owl's official bar slogan is "Lose Yourself With Us," we have a feeling that they want you to remain intact with your vegan self this week when it comes down to their cuisine. With a patio as large as time and a menu that is not only vegan-centric but also largely gluten-free, you can party comfortably here during Vegetarian Awareness Week. 

1305 SE 8th Ave.

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Yes, it's true; Harlow specializes in vegan food and juices - but did you also know that they have a booze menu? The Kingfisher cocktail is not only scrumptious but creative including ingredients like sailor jerry spiced rum, honey, housemade chai, and coconut milk - and it's served hot. Perfect fall drink, am I right? Harlow specializes in making the act of eating food "feel good," so one can only guess the act of drinking is not far behind. 

3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

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The Bye and Bye

Oh, The Bye and Bye, a.ka. Sweet Hereafter's funky, NE first cousin. Patio seating here is spacious in both front and back but the real draw is sheer ecstasy for those looking to collaborate with healthy vegan bowls and fruity, voluptuous cocktails. A couple of suggestions: try the BBQ Brussel Bowl because you can get the Eastern Bowl at Sweet Hereafter. And. you. must. try. the. Champagne. #4. 

1011 NE Alberta St.

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Casa Diablo

How about a good vegan menu at a strip club? Known as the Strip Club Capital of America, you can bet that Portlanders are going to want to make some of those menus green. We can't comment much on the strippers, but it's clear that Casa Diablo has got your back if you have finished your starter salad somewhere else and are in search of an entrée with a more fulfilling backdrop. 

2839 NW St Helens Rd.

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East Glisan Lounge

East Glisan Pizza Lounge has more vegetarian options than Sizzle Pie and also many more cocktails, wines, and beers to choose from while you do your vegan thang. Finding good vegan pizza (that is also gluten-free) is hard to come by, but somehow East Glisan Pizza Lounge is at the forefront of pioneering a product that will keep your good conscience in check. Also, a happy hour (from 4-6 PM) combo of a piece of veggie pizza and a cocktail will only knock you back 8 bucks. Sheesh. 

8001 NE Glisan St.

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With vegan nachos, vegetarian tacos with seitan for $3, and even a vegan cheese steak sub, Alleyway is a dive bar with a heart of lettuce. Located on trendy Alberta, this bar also has a large back patio that is especially lenient towards vegan smokers and vegans with dogs. Also, something for everyone: fries are $3 during happy hour. 

2415 NE Alberta St.


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