Sunday, July 27, 2008

Oregon Brewers Festival 2008

Now I remember why we usually skip weekends at the OBF. By 2 PM on Saturday, there was only room for one single-file line through the tents in either direction. By 3 PM the lines for the most popular beers had backed up to the tables and made a right angle to continue down the length of the tent. And though the atmosphere remained friendly, the balance was beginning to tip towards smug preppies who couldn't answer simple questions like, "What do you like so far?".

Even so, with a good crowd of neighbors, regulars, and out-of-town guests, we had a good time. Our Texas guests Clark and Milena had arranged their Portland visit to include the festival, so I was glad it wasn't 95 degrees in the shade like it is some years. Dave got to the festival a few minutes before the rest of us, quick enough to stake out a shady spot where we could roll out a couple blankets where the kids could sit and play between dust baths.

When we bailed out about 3:30, there were a few beers I would have liked to try that I missed because I didn't get to them before the lines went crazy: Iron Horse Quilter's Irish Death, Bell's Porter, Standing Stone Almond Brown, and Hale's Kolsch, to name a few. Of the ones I did try, here are my favorites:
  • Lagunitas Hop Stoopid: awesome orangey smell and taste
  • Green Flash Hop Head Red: grew on me Saturday, caramelly and nice
  • Widmer Full Nelson: dark and syrupy, tangy grapefruit
  • Russian River Pliny the Elder: delish, of course
  • Boundary Bay Dry Hopped Pale: tasty
  • Roots Calypso: refreshing, light, spicy
  • Rock Bottom Congo Queen: tasty, fruity Belgian
  • Surly Coffee Bender: strong coffee, tasty
Jeff at Beervana thought the Widmer tasted like "cat pee" -- I can see what he's talking about, but I liked it anyway. Most of my friends disagreed with me. The roots Calypso has Scotch Bonnet peppers (a.k.a. Habanero), one of my favorite flavors in the world. In the past they've done a Chocolate Habanero Stout, which was good, but I think the peppers go even better with this really light beer. I'll be enjoying that while it lasts at the pub.

All in all, another enjoyable brewfest. I think I'll stick to the weekdays next year.


  1. I volunteered on Saturday, and when I walked in at 11am the Iron Horse Quilter's Irish Death already had the 'tapped out today' sign on it.

  2. Mary Sue: Irish Death was on when we were there 12-3 Saturday, maybe the sign was from Friday night?

    What beer did you like?

  3. I'm revising my comment on Full Nelson to "sweat," sort of like licking a Green Bay Packer. But hops are funny--of all the ingredients in the culinary arts, nothing has so many crazy acids and components. We litterally taste them differently. My Packer is another man's "tangy grapefruit."

  4. Funny, I see in my notes that we labeled the Bridgeport Hop Czar as "smells like cat pee". Heh.