Final Hours at Oregon Brewers Festival '15

The 28th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival is now a memory. For the first time in over a decade, I attended on Sunday only (the final day of the fest). I normally take the day off and attend on opening day, but family vacation plans conflicted. We flew back into Portland on Saturday night, so Sunday was the only opportunity I had to visit.

On the plus side, crowds were light, lines were relatively short, and folks were mellow. I was there from 3-6 pm, and never stood in line for more than 1-3 minutes. While I love OBF, I no longer attend on Friday evening or anytime on Saturday due to overcrowding and long beer lines.  

On the flip side, if you want to taste certain beers, there’s a strong possibility they’ll be gone by the final day. By the time I got to the fest, about half of the beers on my tasting list were tapped out. In fact, trailer #5 was completely closed by 3pm. In the grand scheme of things, I'm not bothered by this. After all, it was the final few hours of the event. No big deal as I went off script and tasted other beers. I ended up tasting 11, and you can see my recap (via Untappd) at the end of this post.

For the second year, OBF hosted the International Beer Garden.  This year, brewers from the Netherlands and New Zealand were showcased. During the few hours I was there, no Dutch beers were served, but I sampled three Kiwi beers. The International Beer Tent is a great feature of OBF and I hope it continues!

Finally, the tasting glass… It’s a no win situation, as it's impossible to please everyone. I expect everyone loved the glass vessels used from 2013-14. I sure did. Sadly, those were outlawed by Portland Police due to the actions of a few ne’er-do-wells. This year’s polycarbonate (plastic) glass was clear and didn’t exude a chemical smell.  However, it was  flimsy and felt like a throwaway. Maybe this isn’t an issue for most folks, but I like to keep and use OBF glasses from yesteryear. This glass doesn’t seem like it will survive for long. A minor issue…

Anyway, I’ll look forward to attending the 29th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival on OPENING day.  

Three Mugs Brewing Co.'s 2nd Anniversary Party

Three Mugs Brewing Company in Hillsboro is turning two! It seems like just yesterday when I visited and wrote about their opening. Three Mugs is owned and operated by the Jennings family. I first met the Jennings crew through Brew Brothers, their homebrew shop. They taught me how to brew and are the kind sponsors of my blog. They're awesome people, and they make excellent beer!

They're holding their 2nd anniversary celebration at their taproom on Friday, August 15. Swing by, enjoy the beer, music, and food (from PDX Monte Cristo)! For more details, read on...

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Three Mugs Brewing Company 2-Year Anniversary Blast
Three Mugs Brewing Company celebrates its second anniversary on Friday, August 14, 2015, with a day of special beers, music, food and fun. Three Mugs will have four special, small-batch beers on tap just for this event, along with 10 of its “regular” beers and 10 guest taps, including four craft ciders. The event will be held at the Three Mugs Taproom, 2020 NW Aloclek Dr, Ste 108, Hillsboro.
Entertainment kicks off at 3 pm with recorded music from Ultimate Entertainment DJs. Three Mugs was lucky to get Lace & Lead as the musical headliner for this special event. Lace & Lead ( is a Nashville duo with local roots. Their live performance begins at 7 pm.
Additionally, a delicious fare will be available from PDX Monte Cristo food truck starting at 4 pm.
This is a 21 and older event. There is no cover charge.
About Three Mugs Brewing Company
Founded in January of 2013 by Jay, Christopher (aka “Amish”) and Wendy Jennings, Three Mugs Brewing Company taproom opened its doors in August of 2013, offering a humble five guest taps. By November 2013, they boasted 20 rotating guest taps, and by late January 2014, they began brewery operations. Their first beers made their debut in the taproom during the Oregon Brewers Guild event, Zwickelmania 2014, on February 15th. Joshua Jennings—little brother—joined the Three Mugs team in June 2015, along with his wife, Cassie, making this a true “all in the family” brewery and taproom. Three Mugs beers range from tasty standards like Ample Amber Ale and Mein Schatz German-Style Hefeweizen to big beers like BIGGie D’s Strong Scotch Ale and Fiery Wench Imperial Red Ale. Experimental and small batch, limited release beers are also be a staple. 
The "Three Mugs" of the logo actually represents Christopher, the eldest son, on the left with his red beard, Jay, the father, in the middle with his stogie, and Joshua, the youngest son, on the right...the tongue doesn't do the real one justice.

About Lace & Lead
Lace (Emi) and Lead (Trysh) met back in September of 2012 when they were both playing separately at a dive bar in Portland, OR, on the same night. They met up about a month later to jam, and have been playing together ever since. Different musical backgrounds have influenced their sound. To them, country music is more about the stories behind the songs than fitting into a certain mold of what country music is "supposed to sound like." Life happens, and there always seems to be something new to write a song about. The inspiration behind their music comes from the kind of songs you put on repeat over and over again. Writing clever songs that resonate with people while coming up with new ways to approach popular topics is their biggest feat. Their motivation comes from picturing their songs being influential in the lives of others. Music can be a voice for people who don't know how to express what they're feeling. It's changed their lives, and they want to create songs that sustain over time. 

Ninkasi's Mt. Angel Oktoberfest

Although summer is in full swing here in the Northwest, breweries are preparing to release their fall beers. So ready or not, here they come! I'm a big fan of autumn beers. Sadly, they are available for a relatively short window because they're sandwiched between the long summer and winter beer seasons.

So here's one you might want to keep an eye out for. Ninkasi is releasing a special German-style Oktoberfest to commemorate Mount Angel Oktoberfest's 50th anniversary. This limited release is brewed with local hops from Goschie, 4G, and Annen farms. For more details, check out the news release below.

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NINKASI BREWING COMPANY celebrates Mount Angel Oktoberfest with 50th anniversary beer, available august 2015
EUGENE, Ore.—July 23, 2015In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Mount Angel Oktoberfest, Ninkasi Brewing Company releases a specially-brewed German-style Oktoberfest this August to 12-ounce 6-packs and draft sold throughout Northern Oregon and Southern Washington. The beer will also be featured throughout the festival, happening Sept. 17-20, in Mount Angel, Ore.
The largest Oktoberfest celebration in the Pacific Northwest, Mount Angel Oktoberfest draws more than 350,000 people each September. Since 1966, the festival celebrates the harvest with a focus on the thriving local hop industry. Complete with four biergartens, world class entertainment, Bavarian treats, family-friendly activities, a car show and more, the Mount Angel Oktoberfest offers something for everyone.
“The opportunity to partner directly with local hop farmers and make a beer to celebrate such a big milestone with the Mount Angel Oktoberfest is a great demonstration of the things that make it so awesome to be a part of the craft beer industry in the Pacific Northwest,” says Ninkasi CEO Nikos Ridge.  “Our commemorative beer is not only brewed true to the Oktoberfest style, but also features hops from local farmers including Goschie, 4B and Annen farms.”
“A special lager graced with Ninkasi's creative, quality brewing will help us to provide the best possible experience for our beer drinking guests,” explains Peter Schmidt, Mount Angel Oktoberfest VP. “Ninkasi helps share the message that our festival is a harvest celebration, by using one of our local treasured crops; hops, harvested from fields just out of town.”
Mount Angel Oktoberfest takes place Sept. 17-20 in Mount Angel, Ore. – just thirty minutes east of Salem. Tickets can be purchased online at Ninkasi’s commemorative Mount Angel Oktoberfest beer will be available before the festival in 12-ounce 6-packs starting mid-August, and on-draft throughout the celebration weekend.
Mount Angel Oktoberfest Stats
Style: Oktoberfest
Available: Mid-August 2015
ABV: 5.5
IBU: 40
Starting Gravity: 1054
Malt: 2-Row Pale, Pilsner, Munich, Carahell
Hops: Sterling (Goschie Farms, Silverton), Crystal (4B Farms, Mount Angel), Sorachi Ace (Annen Farms, Mount Angel)
Packaging: 12oz. 6-Packs, Draft
Distribution: Northern Oregon and Southern Washington
Description: This commemorative beer marks the 50th anniversary of the Mount Angel Oktoberfest and is brewed with hops cultivated by local farmers. Crafted in Oregon with a nod to its German roots, this lager is light-bodied with a subtle toasty malt complexity. A distinct hop finish is achieved from a final dry hopping of Sorachi Ace. Raise your stein to the biggest Oktoberfest celebration in the Pacific Northwest!
About Ninkasi Brewing CompanyFounded in 2006 by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge, Ninkasi Brewing Company continues to grow from its first batch of Total Domination IPA, to two brewhouses, a 55-barrel and a 90-barrel brewhouse, located in Eugene, Ore.  Ninkasi’s Flagship beers—Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Dawn of the Red IRA, Lux Helles Lager, Oatis Oatmeal Stout, and Vanilla Oatis Oatmeal Stout—are sold throughout Alaska; Alberta; Arizona; California; Colorado; Idaho; Nevada; Oregon; Utah; Washington; and Vancouver, British Columbia. The brewery remains privately-owned and is committed to community support and giving. Ninkasi’s Beer Is Love program offers in-kind donations and support for organizations throughout its footprint.
For more information, call 541.344.2739 or visit

28th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival: Fun Facts

The 28th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival opens its doors (and taps) in just 4 days! OBF draws brewers and beer lovers from far and wide. Here are a few fun facts about Oregon's biggest beer festival:

  • 28th year of the festival.
  • 90 handcrafted beers are poured in the main festival; 15 are poured in the International Beer Garden.
  • There are 102 participating breweries: 89 in the main tent (Deschutes has two entries, one Gluten-Free); and five New Zealand (with six beers) and eight Dutch (with nine beers) in the International Beer Garden.
  • Four countries are represented: Canada (1), Netherlands (8), New Zealand and United States.
  • 16 states are represented: California (11), Colorado (3), Delaware (1), Florida (1), Hawaii (2), Idaho (1), Minnesota (1), Montana (1), New Jersey (1), New York (1), Oregon (54), Pennsylvania (1), Utah (2), Washington (7), Wisconsin (1) and Wyoming (1).
  • In the main festival, Maui Brewing Co traveled the furthest at 2,566 miles. Three more were within spitting distance of each other: Dunedin from Dunedin, FL at 2,458 miles (although the brewers road trip their kegs, which is pretty cool!); Dogfish Head in Milton, DE at 2,449 miles, and Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn, NY at 2,442 miles away.
  • There are 18 breweries making their first appearance at the festival this year, including Ambacht, Bent Paddle, Buoy, Claim 52, Fremont, Garage Project, Kaapse, Melvin, Panhead, ParrotDog, PINTS, StormBreaker, Sunriver, The Lost Abbey, Tuatara, Uptown Market, Worthy & Yeastie Boys.
  • There are 47 official beer styles represented.
  • The lowest alcohol beer is Claim 52 Brewing’s Runnermass at 3% ABV.
  • The highest alcohol beer is Rogue Ale’s Imperial Smoked Lager at 9.5% ABV.
  • Number of volunteers at the festival: 2,000.
  • Number of anticipated attendees: 85,000 from all over the world.
  • Number of breweries that have participated in the Oregon Brewers Festival since inception: At least 388 (we do not have records from 1989 or 1990, so this is based on all other years).
  • The following breweries have never missed a festival: Bayern, BridgePort, Deschutes, Full Sail & Widmer.

OBF will be held from July 22 - 26. Don't miss it!

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14th Annual Roadhouse Brewfest

McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse is holding its 14th Annual Roadhouse Brewfest tomorrow (July 18th). New this year are tents devoted to barrel aged beers and ciders. Check out the detailed beer and cider descriptions here.  It's going to be great!

This is a family friendly event, so bring your whole crew. To get an idea of what you can expect, check out my recap from last year's Roadhouse Brewfest. For more details, including live music schedules, please see the brewery's event description below. 

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Photo courtesy of McMenamins

14th Annual Roadhouse Brewfest

We’re going big this year: More tents and more handcrafted beverages—you’ll probably need more tokens! We're featuring selections from McMenamins and guest breweries and cideries from around the region. Our barrel-aged selections will be indoors, ales will be in a tent and we'll house a new tent dedicated to ciders!

  • Three Mugs: Zesty Lass Grapefruit IPA
  • Fort George: Booty's Back Lager
  • Heater Allen: Heater Allen Pils
  • Vertigo: Tropical "Key Lime" Blonde
  • Ambacht: Pie Cherry Dark Farmhouse Ale
  • Hopworks: British Invasion UKIPA
  • Crystal Ballroom: Red Rhino Imperial Red
  • John Barleycorns: 2 Birds 1 Stone Double IPA
  • Oak Hills: Mexi-Revolution Pepper Porter
  • CPR: Sunbow Blonde

Barrel House (New!)
  • CPR BBL AGED: Crow Barrel-Aged Double IPA
  • Edge BBL AGED: Double Barrel Baltic Porter
  • Burnside BBL AGED: 
  • Ecliptic BBL AGED: Gin Barrel-Aged Orbiter IPA
  • Winery BBL AGED: Barrel Fermented Estate Cider

Cider Tent (New!)
  • Edgefield: Edgefield Hard Apple Cider
  • Edgefield: Edgefield Cherry Cider
  • 2 Towns:  Made Marion Marionberry Cider 
  • Reverend Nats:  Revival Hard Apple Cider

While you sip and sample, enjoy:

Grooving to live music:
Will West & The Friendly Strangers
Modern Folk & Roots: 3 p.m. ‘til 5 p.m.

Freak Mountain Ramblers
Hilltop Rock: 7 p.m. ‘til 10 p.m. 

Touring & chatting with our makers:  
Brewery Tours: noon, 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. 
Distillery Tours: 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. 

Kidding around: 
Facepainter and balloon guy: 2 p.m. ‘til 5 p.m.

Ecliptic Releases UltraViolet Blackberry Sour and Aurora Crimson Saision

Ecliptic Brewing has released two new beers, perfect for hot summer weather. UltraViolet is a kettle-soured ale with blackberries. This beer was first released at the Portland Fruit Beer Fest. I have not tried it, but have heard good things about it. Aurora Crimson Saison is a saison brewed with rhubarb. I tasted Aurora at the Oregon Garden Brewfest. While it's a very nice saison, I didn't taste the rhubarb or notice any tartness. In terms of appearance, it looked more golden in color rather than crimson (as mentioned in Ecliptic's description for Aurora).

Both are available now. For more information, check out the brewery's news release below.

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Ecliptic Brewing Releases UltraViolet Blackberry Sour Ale and Aurora Crimson Saison in Bottles

New releases promise a delicious and colorful summer ahead

PORTLAND, Ore. – Ecliptic Brewing, a craft brewery and restaurant in Portland’s Mississippi neighborhood, has released the two newest additions to its seasonal and specialty beer lines, UltraViolet Blackberry Sour Ale and Aurora Crimson Saison, available in bottles now.

“We’ve had a lot of fun creating these two new summer releases, both of which are great hot weather thirst quenchers,” said owner and head brewmaster John Harris.  “The response to both beers has been really enthusiastic, and we’re excited to make these available to our wider distribution network in bottles.”

About UltraViolet Blackberry Sour Ale
This beer is brewed with Oregon Blackberries, soured in the brewhouse and fermented with Belgian yeast.  The result is a tart and crisp sour ale, with ripe blackberry flavors radiating through it like cosmic rays traversing the universe. Available in limited edition 22 oz. bottles.
  • IBU: 11
  • ABV: 7.5%
  • GRAVITY: 16°P

About Aurora Crimson Saison
Aurora is named after the colorful cosmic rays seen in the northern sky. This Saison is brewed for summertime refreshment. A light malt flavor is accentuated by the spicy Belgian yeast flavors. The crimson comes from the addition of rhubarb, which adds a radiant tart character to the beer. Hopped to balance with Sterling hops. Available in 22 oz. bottles.
  • IBU: 28
  • ABV: 5%
  • GRAVITY: 12.5°P

Ecliptic beers are available in bottle and on-tap throughout the area, and distributed by: Maletis Beverage (Portland, Salem), Bigfoot Beverage (Eugene, Bend, Coast), Click Distributing (Seattle, Tacoma) and Dickerson Distributing (Bellingham).

About Ecliptic Brewing
Ecliptic Brewing is a venture from John Harris, an Oregon beer icon whose background is steeped in the state’s rich craft brewing history. The name Ecliptic unites Harris’ two passions: brewing and astronomy, and as such, the brewery celebrates the Earth’s yearly journey around the sun through both its beer and restaurant menus. Executive chef Michael Molitor rotates his seasonally inspired menu every six weeks in accordance with the old world calendar. Harris’ signature beers include Spica Pilsner, Procyon Pale Ale, Phobos Extra Single Hop Red Ale and Orbiter IPA. In 2014, Ecliptic Brewing was voted best brewpub by Northwest Brewing News readers, and the brewery’s Filament Winter IPA was named favorited winter ale by Oregon Beer Growler. For more information, visit:

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Homebrew #22: Hopefully Great Kate

I've had pretty good luck with the imperials stout I've brewed. The style is perfect for aging, and I love to see how they evolve over time. One of my favorites is Stone's 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. I brewed it three years ago and it still tastes amazing today! It's become more smooth over time and is a big hit with everyone that tastes it. Since my stash of this beer is dwindling (yes, I still have some), I decided it was time to brew another imperial stout.

Two years ago, I visited Portsmouth Brewery in New Hampshire. Tod Mott, their former head brewer, created Kate the Great, an imperial stout that was brewed once a year. Beer Advocate named it the best beer in America and the Kate the Great attracted a HUGE following. Although I never tasted this beer, I decided to brew it.

The original recipe from Tod Mott is widely available on many homebrew sites and message boards. It uses 11 different malts! I made a few tweaks to accommodate the hops and yeast I had on hand. The recipe I brewed is shown below. Although I brewed a 3 gallon BIAB (brew in a bag) batch, I've scaled up the recipe to 5 gallons. If you want to give it a try, be sure to modify to reflect the efficiency and other nuances of your system.

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 6.05 gal
Post Boil Volume: 5.30 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 4.80 gal
Estimated OG: 1.128 SG
Estimated Color: 54.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 82.0 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 76.5 %
Boil Time: 75 Minutes

18 lbs 9.7 oz (77.3%),  Pale Malt (2 Row)         
13.5 oz (3.5%),  Barley, Flaked         
13.5 oz (3.5%),  Wheat Malt          
13.1 oz (3.4%),  Special B Malt
11.2 oz (2.9%),  Carafa III        
9.7 oz (2.5%),  Aromatic Malt         
7.7 oz (2.0%),  Caramel/Crystal Malt - 45L        
7.5 oz (1.9%),  Roasted Barley         
3.7 oz (1.0%),  Black (Patent) Malt
3.7 oz (1.0%),  Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L         
3.7 oz (1.0%),  Chocolate Malt         

1.27 oz,  Magnum [14.90 %] - Boil 75.0 min  
0.88 oz,  Styrian Goldings [5.50 %] - Boil 75.0 min     
0.71 oz,  Fuggles [4.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min    
0.53 oz,  Centennial [11.60 %] - Boil 20.0 min      
0.53 oz,  Centennial [11.60 %] - Boil 15.0 min     
0.83 oz, Fuggles [5.60 %] - Steep/Whirlpool
0.33 oz, Warrior [13.70 %] - Steep/Whirlpool  
California Ale (White Labs #WLP001)           

Mash Schedule:
Saccharification: 149° F, for 60 min

Here are PDF files of the recipe in 3 gallons and 5 gallons.      

Brew Log:

Nov 16, 2014:  Brew day.  Even though I'm brewing just three gallons using BIAB, a lot of grain is needed for this beer--14.5 pounds, to be precise. Since I can't fit all of it and the water in my pot, I decided to mash in my 10 gallon cooler. I actually had planned to mash at 152°, but unintentionally ended up mashing at 149° F, the recommended temp. My mash tun was cold, and I didn't pre-heat it. So I expect that explains the difference. In the end, it worked out as it should have. Overall, the brew session went well. My post boil OG came in at 1.107 vs. the target of 1.128, so I was pretty happy about that. I racked this onto a yeast cake of the last beer I made (using WLP001) at 5:30pm. About 70 minutes later, I had airlock activity! That's a quick start to fermentation. This is a big beer, so I highly recommend a yeast starter or racking onto a yeast cake, if possible.

Nov 18:  Fermentation has really kicked into high gear in the past few days! Since I just have three gallons, I didn't need a blowoff tube for my carboy.

Nov 24:  Airlock activity has slowed dramatically. 

Dec 28:  I decided to pull a sample from the carboy. Full bodied with flavors of coffee, vanilla, and some alcohol heat. Very nice! Gravity of 1.019.

Jun 21, 2015:  Decided it's time to bottle. Gravity has leveled off at 1.018. According my Beer Smith, that makes this an 11.9% beer! Primed with 0.375 cup of sucrose and rehydrated BR-97 (American West Coast Yeast). Final yield = 22 x 12 oz. bottles.

Jul 11:  First carbonated taste.  Well, it really didn't carbonate fully. I heard a hiss when I opened the bottle, but as you can see from the picture, there wasn't much carbonation. I stored it in a fairly cool place for the last few weeks.  I'll move it to a warmer location to help speed the carbonation process. Aroma and taste of coffee and chocolate. Vanilla, roast, and some moderate alcohol heat also come through in the taste. It's full bodied and has a sweet finish. It's a bit difficult to drink without the carbonation, but a great start overall. Hopefully Kate will taste better soon!

More updates coming...

Oregon Brewers Festival '15, July 22-26

It's almost here...  In just 12 days, Oregon's biggest, baddest beer festival opens for its annual 5-day run of beer, music, food, fun, and sun! A whopping 90 beers will be served in the main tent and an additional 15 beers from the Netherlands and New Zealand will be served in the international tent. For more details, check out the complete news release below.

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Oregon Brewers Festival toasts 28th year, features 90
North American breweries plus a Kiwi contingent from New Zealand

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:

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

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Kriekfest Kicks Off in 365 Days!

It seems like every few days, I learn about a new beerfest in Portland. Many are announced with relatively short notice, so it's hard to plan and impossible to attend them all.

I'd like to give a hat tip to Brian Yeager for his proactivity. Today, he announced that his latest project, Kriekfest, will open one year from today. I'm glad he did, because I'm reserving a spot on my calendar to make the trek to Parkdale on July 9, 2016.

Krieks are tart, Belgian-style beers. The handful I've tasted over the years have been amazing! For more details, check out the news release below. See you in Parkdale—in a year!

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Kriekfest Begins One-Year Countdown to Celebration of Cherry Beers and Ciders in Oregon’s Hood River Valley
Inaugural, family-friendly event takes place on “the Fruit Loop” among cherry orchards

PARKDALE, ORE – July 9, 2015 – As sour and wild ales grow in popularity, Lambic-style krieks are the showstoppers both among beer aficionados and those who proclaim, “I don’t usually like beer.” The inaugural Kriekfest will take place in one year—Saturday, July 9, 2016—in the small, rural town of Parkdale. Situated between Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge that separates Oregon and Washington, Parkdale lies sixty miles east of Portland. Highway 35, which runs from the riverside town of Hood River, is nicknamed the Fruit Loop for its fertile farms including abundant cherry orchards. The festival’s setting next to host Solera Brewery offers striking views of iconic Mt. Hood and the surrounding orchards. The festival joins others around the state during July-long Oregon Craft Beer Month. Tickets go on sale February 9, 2016. The $25 cost includes five tickets and a commemorative glass with additional four-ounce sampling tickets available on site.

What is kriek? The word is Flemish for cherry and Kriek beers are a traditional style since at least the 17th century. They are spontaneously fermented lambic ales brewed in Belgium aged with local cherries (pits and all). World-class examples available at Kriekfest include Brasserie Cantillon and Brouwerij Drei Fonteinen. Today, beers soured with wild yeasts and bacteria are created the world over. Cherry-growing regions are natural birthplaces for such beers and ciders. Driving along the Fruit Loop passengers are treated to pastoral views of cherry trees protected against inclement weather by Mt. Hood. Combined with the fecund Willamette Valley, Oregon cherry farmers harvest over 13,000 acres of cherries and although seasonal harvests vary greatly, the overall value of production within the state has a five-year average of over $55,000,000.

The seed for Kriekfest was planted in 2013 when local beer author Brian Yaeger was talking to Solera brewmaster Jason Kahler at the rustic brewpub in Parkdale. Kahler mentioned that he had three different barrels of wild Kriek beers aging. Noting that two other nearby breweries make world-class Krieks—Logsdon Farmhouse Ales and Double Mountain Brewing—Yaeger suggested throwing a kriekfest behind the brewery. Solera co-owner John Hitt, who helps organize the annual SoLog festival, is instrumental in making Kriekfest not just a celebration of cherry-laced libations but a family-friendly event that supports farmers, culinary artists, and the whole hillside community.

Most participating breweries and cideries hail from Oregon. Several revered breweries from around the country and beyond will provide kegs. Some of the beers available will be highly limited annual releases while others pouring at the festival will debut at the event. Ticket sales will be limited to 500 while designated drivers and minors will be admitted free. Attendees coming from beyond the gorge are encouraged to camp at nearby campsites or find local lodging, found on the website For more information about Kriekfest, visit and follow at @Kriekfest

About the organizer:
Brian Yaeger is the author of Oregon Breweries (December, 2014), a comprehensive guidebook for the state known as Beervana. He is a frequent contributor to national and local beer publications and contributor to the Oxford Companion to Beer. He lives in Portland where, along with his wife and son, he welcomes vacationing beer pilgrims Inn Beervana. Follow him on Twitter at @Yaeger

About Solera Brewery:
Solera Brewery is where brewmaster Jason Kahler has been creating excellent farmhouse ales, IPAs, and more including several wild cherry beers since 2012. It resides in an historical building that was built and operated as a movie theater from 1930 to the 1950s. Join owners John Hitt and Jason Kahler for a pint, delicious food and the most spectacular view of Mt Hood’s craggy North Face from the back patio. The brewpub is located at 4945 Baseline Rd. in Parkdale. Follow Solera on Twitter at @SoleraBrewery

About Kriekfest:
An all-cherry beer and cider festival was initially conceived in 2013 over a Solera beer. Awe-struck by the view of Mt. Hood’s glaciers looming over neighboring orchards, Yaeger suggested to Kahler that they their own festival of krieks. In 2015, Hitt, soon to present the 2nd annual SoLog Brewfest in collaboration with Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, tackled the festival’s logistics. Attendees are encouraged to camp in the valley for the weekend and explore the breweries, cideries, and farms along the Fruit Loop highway and throughout the Columbia River Gorge. Follow updates on Twitter at @Kriekfest

Breweries featured at the 2016 Kriekfest*:
Allagash, Portland, ME
Almanac, San Francisco, CA
Big Horse, Hood River, OR
Block 15, Corvallis, OR
Cantillon, Brussels, Belgium
Cascade, Portland, OR
The Commons, Portland, OR
Culmination, Portland, OR
De Garde, Tillamook, OR
Dieu du Ciel, Montréal, Canada
Double Mountain, Hood River, OR
Drei Fonteinen, Beersel, Belgium
Everybody’s, White Salmon, WA
54-40, Washougal, WA
Full Sail, Hood River, OR
Jester King, Austin, TX
Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, Hood River, OR
Lompoc, Portland, OR
Oakshire, Eugene, OR
pFriem, Hood River, OR
Solera, Parkdale, OR
Upright, Portland, OR
Wolves & People, Newberg, OR

Cideries featured at the 2016 Kriekfest*:
12 Ciders, Hood River, OR
Fox Tail, Hood River, OR
Hood Valley Hard Cider, Parkdale, OR
Reverend Nat’s, Portland, OR

*Subject to change.

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My Cheap Hop Trellis

I recently bought a Willamette hop plant and planted it next to my kids' play structure. After a few days, I realized that the play structure (made out of 4" x 4"s ) was not conducive to climbing hop bines (that's not a typo, bines are different from vines).

Hops grow up to 25' high. I've seen home hop growers string up twine all the way to their roof and attach the trellis to the gutters. I originally wanted to do this, but I live in a two story house, and don't have a ladder that's tall enough. I also didn't want to add any extra weight to my gutters.

Since my latest plan failed, I went back to the drawing board. I figured the next best thing would be to attach them to a second story window. When I looked at a window on the south side of my house, I noticed a tiny hole drilled into the window frame. Bingo! Add some twine and a carabiner, and we have a hop trellis!

  1. I affixed a short loop of twine around the hole in the window frame.
  2. Attached a carabiner to the loop.
  3. Tied twine to the carabiner.
  4. Threw the spool of twine out the window.
  5. Cut the twine at the bottom.
  6. Repeated steps 3-5 two more times. That gives me three ~20' sections of twine. 
  7. Tied empty beer bottles to the bottom of twine sections to serve as weights. It fits the theme, doesn't it?
  8. Gently wrapped bines clockwise around the twine. Those in the southern hemisphere should wrap them counterclockwise. True story.

So far so good. Let's see how they come along in a few weeks. If this works out well, I'll add more plants next spring.

7/26 update: The plant is doing very well as the spot gets a lot of intense sunlight each day. The longest bine is now over 6 feet tall. Since I planted it so late in the season, I don't expect to get any hop cones. But hopefully, with a little luck, I'll get a few.

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