Oregon Brewers Festival: My Final Round

My wife and I went to opening day of OBF and attended a media preview where I sampled 15 beers.  I went back on Friday to volunteer and do some more sampling.  Here's what I tasted during Round 2:

  • Widmer Bros, Foggy Bog Cranberry Ales (Fruit Beer):   Beautiful reddish color, slightly tart with a mild sweetness. This was one of my OBF favorites.  I actually sampled this on Thursday and volunteered to pour it on Friday afternoon.  I can tell you that people absolutely loved this beer! During my busy shift, only two people said they didn't like itand one of them didn't like cranberry. I hope Widmer Bros. releases this broadly, perhaps as part of their Series 924.  It would be a great fall seasonal release.  I even had the pleasure of serving Jacob Leonard his first taste of Foggy Bog.  Jacob is a brewer at Widmer and was involved in its creation.  He even named it.  So Jacob, can you get us more Foggy Bog?

Me serving Jacob Leonard his first taste of Foggy Bog Cranberry Ale

  • Goose Island, Pepe Nero (Belgian Farmhouse Ale):  From my home state of Illinois, this black brew had a smoked malt aroma and pepper and clove in flavor.  
  • Vertigo Brewing, Razz Wheat (Fruit Beer):  This beer inspired my Raspberry Wheat homebrew. I like Razz's balance of raspberry and wheat.  It captures the tart raspberry flavor but without a lot of sweetness. 
  • Ram Restaurant & Brewery, Berry White (Fruit Beer):  Another raspberry wheat beer, but with a Belgian twist.  The Trappist yeast adds pepper and another layer of fruity character.  I think my wife is slowly turning into a Belgian beer fan.  That works for me!
  • Hollister Brewing Co.Altered State (German Sticke Beer):  I've never heard of this style, so I had to try it.  It had smoked malt and spicy noble hop flavors.  Try it if you get a chance.
  • Rock Bottom Brewery, Zombie Flanders (Flanders Red Ale):  I love sour beers, so this was on my must-try list.  It has that funky Brettanomyces aroma and a mild sour flavor.  I enjoyed it, but expect it will get even better (more sour) with age.
  • Cascade Brewing Barrel House, Imperial Stout  BUZZ Tent beer.  Dark tan head, with aromas and flavors of vanilla, chocolate, and espresso.  Creamy with stealthy alcohol.  Excellent!
  • Surly Brewing, Five (Sour Ale):  BUZZ Tent beer.  My last OBF taste.  I didn't know what it was but decided to try it because I never tasted a Surly beer.  I was elated when the server told me it was a sour.  I must have some good beer karma going on.  Reddish brown in color with a tan head, funky aroma great (strong) sour flavor with oak.  I'd love to drink this one again!  The perfect beer for me to end my OBF '11 experience.

It appears the Buzz Tent was quite a hit this year.  Late Friday night, OBF sent out a message stating that ALL of the Buzz beers had been consumed dryduring the first two days!  I'm glad I visited early.

So that's it for me.  I don't do OBF on Saturdays.  However if you still haven't attended, Sunday is good day to visit.  By the final day, all of the wild folks have had their fill and are long gone.  I've found the Sunday crowd to be lighter and generally more mellow.  Although Buzz Tent has been packed up for the year, don't despair.  85 "regular" beers will still be available for your sampling pleasure.  For more beer recommendations, check out BeervanaIt's Pub Night, Brewmance, and my three tasting flights.

Signing out from the 2011 Oregon Brewers' Festival...

What were your favorite and least favorite OBF beers?

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Me and Nico Freccia (co-founder of 21st Amendment Brewery)


  1. Thanks for the mention! Looks like you had fun, and tried a lot of beers that I didn't try! Did you get a chance to try the Old Market Berried Alive, or the Fifty Fifty Imperial Stout? Burnside Gratzen? Loved those 3..

  2. No problem. Yeah, I had a lot of fun at OBF. It's always a great time! I tried FiftyFifty and liked it. I thought Gratzer was very unique, but I didn't care for the strong smokiness. I missed Berried Alive because I tried a few other fruit beers.

  3. I went Friday night and wished I would have got there earlier. Many beers were out, the crowds were ridiculous. Waited in line 30 minutes for Bison Brewing Honey Basil and was finally 3rd in line and they ran out.

    I really don't like big crowds much so it definitely wasn't as fun as I was hoping for.

    The Fifty Fifty Doner Party porter was probably my favorite that I got to try. The Gratzen was definitely overpowering. I got a full glass, wish it was just a sample. First few drinks weren't bad, but I could hardly finish it.

  4. Yeah, I learned a few years ago to avoid OBF late Friday afternoon and all day Saturday. I was really surprised that Thursday was so crowded. Last year, it was fairly light.

    3rd in line when they ran out? That's bordering on cruel. My experience with Gratzer was similar to yours--except I started with a 4 oz. sample.


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