PORTLAND, Ore. — One of the nation’s longest-running and best-loved craft beer festivals, the Oregon Brewers Festival is considered a destination, and 85,000 craft beer lovers annually make the pilgrimage to Beervana to drink up what the festival has to offer. The 28th annual event will take place July 22 through July 26 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. Event hours are Noon to 9pm Wed. through Sat., and Noon to 7pm Sunday.
The event will kick off with a parade on Wed. July 22, leaving at 11:30am from Metalcraft Fabrication at 723 N Tillamook St.; folks who want to take part can gather in the fenced in area on the corner and get their ID checked by the security guard on-site starting at 11 a.m. (Minors are welcome in the parade, but will not be allowed into the festival without a parent. Everyone with a wristband will walk straight into the festival and not be carded at the festival entrance.) More than 500 craft beer lovers and a small brass band will cross the Steel Bridge over the Willamette River, joining up with another group from Rogue Ales at NW 3rd and Davis; all groups will eventually ending up on the grounds of the festival for opening ceremonies, which will begin around Noon. This year’s Grand Marshals are Kurt and Rob Widmer, founders of Widmer Brothers Brewing Co., who were also part of the original Oregon Brewers Festival committee.
In the two main tents, the Oregon Brewers Festival will serve 90 beers from 89 craft breweries from the U.S. and Canada; each brewery sends one beer to the event (Deschutes sends two, including one gluten-free). Another 13 brewers from New Zealand and The Netherlands will serve 15 more beers in the International Beer Garden as part of a cultural exchange of ideas, knowledge and great craft beer. A full lineup of the beer is available here: http://oregonbrewfest.com/index2.php?p=beers
The Oregon Brewers Festival offers a wide variety of styles ranging from from Belgians to braggots, pales to Pilsners, radlers to reds, and saisons to stouts. The event also features five days of live music, food booths, craft vendors, homebrew demonstrations and industry displays.
The Oregon Brewers Festival is not a ticketed event, and there is no admission charge to enter the festival grounds. In order to consume beer, the purchase of a 2015 souvenir tasting cup is required and costs $7. Beer is purchased with wooden tokens, which cost $1 apiece. Patrons pay four tokens for a 14-oz beer, or one token for a 3-oz taste. The purchase of cups and tokens is made on-site, although there are a handful of local businesses that sell them up to two weeks prior to the event, including Rogue Ales, Green Dragon, Cascade Brewing, Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub, Deschutes in the Pearl and Belmont Station.
The Oregon Brewers Festival encourages responsible drinking and urges patrons to take the Tri-Met MAX Light Rail, which has a station just one block away from the main entrance. Attendees can also take advantage of the Hopworks Bike Corral, where volunteers from the #BC2Baja Bicycle Tour will watch over bikes for free. The Crater Lake Soda Garden provides complimentary handcrafted root beer and soda to minors and designated drivers; minors are allowed into the event all hours when accompanied by a parent.
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 flourished, especially in Oregon, which currently has 234 brewing facilities operated by 194 brewing companies in 72 cities across Oregon. Portland alone has 61 breweries — 91 if you count the Portland metropolitan area. The economic impact of the festival on the local economy is around $32.5 million annually. For more information visit www.oregonbrewfest.com.