I've been visiting McMenamins' Cornelius Pass Roadhouse frequently over the years. It's located close to my work, and is a convenient spot to meet co-workers for Happy Hour. However, in all that time, I've never visited their annual on-site beer fest. That finally changed this past weekend when I attended the 13th Annual Roadhouse Brewfest.
They had 10 beers on tap. Not a large number compared to most brewfests, but the taplist was well thought out and offered a broad diversity of styles. Also, for the first time, they invited breweries from outside the McMenamins' family to participate. Vertigo, Heater Allen, Two Kilts, and Three Mugs were some of the guest breweries.
The space is what surprised me. Although I've been visiting the Roadhouse for years, I never ventured outside behind Imbrie Hall. They've got some large open spaces and beautiful landscaping in their backyard! This was a family-friendly festival and my kids had a great time playing on the grounds, while we supervised (with beers in hand, of course).
I enjoyed all the beers I tasted. A few of them are shown in a photo below. A special shout-out goes to my favorite beer of the day, the Roadhouse's own Grapefruit Session Ale brewed by Chris Oslin and Brady Romtvedt. This 4.6% ABV light-bodied blonde ale had plenty of bright grapefruit hop flavors, but without overwhelming hop bitterness. I don't know if grapefruit was actually used to make this beer, but I could taste grapefruit rind. My wife doesn't like overly hoppy beers, and she loved it.
Overall, it was a great evening! I'll be adding future Roadhouse Brewfests to my crowded summer beer fest calendar. If you'd like to learn more about the McMenamins' brewing philosophy, check out the short two-minute video at the end of this post. If you're into small-batch beers, it's definitely worth a view.