July - September Northwest Beer Festival Calendar

June may be the biggest beer festival month in the Northwest, but there are still plenty of great festivals in store as summer heats up. The granddaddy of them all, the Oregon Brewers Festival, is planned for the last week of July!

This is by no means a comprehensive list. If I'm missing anything (I'm focusing on annual, not one-time-only events), please send me the event details at info@notsoprofessionalbeer.com and I'll be happy to add it.  That said, here's a look at the upcoming festivals during the months of July - September. Check out my Beer Festival Schedule page for updates.

  • July 1-3:  Portland Craft Beer Festival, Portland    website
  • July 9:  Kriekfest, Parkdale    websiteevent overview
  • July 16:  15th Annual Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Brewfest, Hillsboro    website2014 recap
  • July 19-25:  Puckerfest @ Belmont Station, Portland   website2011 recap
  • July 23:  Rural Brewer @ Hawthorne Hophouse, Portland  — website
  • July 27-31:  Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland    website2015 recap

  • August 12-14:  Vancouver Brewfest, Vancouver, WA    website
  • August 18-20:  Bend Brewfest, Bend    website
  • August 25-28:  Organic Beerfest, Portland   website2015 recap
  • August 27:  Beaverton Craft Beer Festival, Beaverton    website 

  • September 10:  Gold Beach Brew & Art Fest, Gold Beach    website 
  • September 15-18:  Mount Angel Oktoberfest, Mount Angel    website 
  • September 16-18:  Southern Oregon Brewfest, Central Point    website 
  • September 24:  Hood River Fresh Hops Fest, Hood River   website 
  • September 30 - October 1:  Portland Fresh Hops Fest, Portland   website 
  • Hopworks Handmade Bike & Beer Festival   website2014 recap
  • Sisters Fresh Hop Festival    website  

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Portland Vegan Beer & Food Fest: Too Much of a Good Thing??

This is one of my "better late than never" posts...

On June 11, my wife and I attended the Vegan Beer & Food Festival. The event returned to Portland’s South Waterfront for the 2nd year. The festival featured over 50 vegan food carts / restaurants, vendors, live music, and lots of cold beverages! In addition to beer and cider, wine, craft sodas, cold brewed coffee, and komboucha were served. Can it get any better than that? Well, yes! The beverages were virtually unlimited with the purchase of one of several ticket packages. The General Admission ticket package, priced at $45 included a 4 oz. tasting glass and 40 tickets—each good for one pour of beer, cider, or wine! Komboucha, cold-brewed coffee, and craft sodas were filled for no tickets.

So let’s do the math. 40 x 4oz pours = 160 oz. That’s equivalent to 10 pints of beer! I don’t know about you, but I tend not to drink anywhere near 10 pints of beer at festivals. Anyway, if you consider that a pint of craft beer is priced at about $5 each, it would seem like the $45 entry fee is a no-brainer. The VIP package, priced at $65, provided 60 beer tickets in addition to some other benefits. In full disclosure, the festival provided complimentary VIP tickets for me and my wife. Regardless, of how you slice it, that’s a heck of a lot of beer! I’ll get back to the value in a bit…

Here’s what I liked about the event:
  • The food.  Over 50 vendors provided a huge variety of tasty plant-based foods. It didn’t think it was possible, but plant-based cheese CAN taste good.
  • The crowd. There were a LOT of people in attendance and the event had a mellow vibe. Are vegans mellow in general?  Maybe. Or perhaps the mellowness was a result of the dank and pungent aroma of a recently legalized substance that I noticed several times throughout the venue.
  • The komboucha!  I’ve made komboucha before, but I didn’t realize how well it melds with other flavors!  Tasty stuff!
  • The music.  We both really enjoyed Sweet & Tender Hooligans, a Smiths & Morrissey tribute band.
  • The breweries / cideries. Over 50 attended, and each poured at least two selections. But, there was a downside…

Komboucha galore

There were also a few things I didn’t like.  But I see these as opportunities.

Opportunities for Improvement:
  • Taplist:  No detailed list of beers served was provided in advance or during the festival.  I can’t drink unlimited beer, so I like to see what’s available and pick and choose.
  • The lines:  People were stacked 25-40 deep as they waited for their pours.  This really isn’t unexpected for a Saturday afternoon at a beer fest.  However, many breweries only had one person serving at the jockey boxes. So if you wanted to sample many beers, you essentially had to stand in line most of the time.
  • Brewery Tent Layout / Map:   All of the breweries and cideries were located in a long tent along the river. Unfortunately, they were not clearly marked, so the act of finding a particular brewery was very difficult—especially given the long lines, which made navigating through the beer tent area challenging. I wanted to taste a few of Cascade Barrel House’s offerings, but I could not find them. There were a few other breweries that I couldn't locate.  If the breweries were clearly labeled, at least you'd end up in the right place.
  • Beer Availability: By the time I arrived at 2:30, many of the selections had already been tapped about.
  • VIP Goodies:  For me, the 20 extra tasting tickets were largely irrelevant because I couldn't use them. I physically can't drink that much. But if I was able to, I wouldn't stand in 60 long lines. However, the festival did open two hours early for VIP holders--a nice benefit which would have allowed us to avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, we couldn't attend at 11AM. I wish we did. Special tastings were also advertised in the VIP tent. However, when we arrived at the VIP area, nothing was being served.
  • Publication of festival closure time:   When I originally wrote about the event, I thought it was strange that the event closing time was not published.  I assumed it ended at 8 or 9 pm.  It was a Saturday, after all.  It turns out last call for beer was at 6 PM.

At the end of the day, I was only able to taste 6 beers / ciders. So if I paid $45 or $65 for one of the admission packages, I would not have found it to be a value. That’s just my opinion. I could have tasted more beer, but I didn’t want to spend the entire afternoon standing in line. I expect others felt the same way as unused beer tickets were being given away—and there weren't many takers. Either others had their fill of beer, or were unable to use them due to the factors I mentioned. Probably a bit of of both.

Tasting tickets: free to a good home

To be fair, this festival wasn’t just about beer—it had plenty more to offer.  I think the target market for this festival is vegans who like beer.  I expect they’d be thrilled because beer probably isn’t the primary draw.  However, I’m a beer lover that occasionally eats vegan food. For me it’s all about the beer.  From that standpoint, this festival missed the mark for me.

Did you attend the Vegan Beer & Food Festival?  How was your experience?

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Home Hop Garden: June Update

What a difference a month makes! There's been quite of bit of progress since my May hop garden update. But first, I was a bit disappointed to see no vertical growth in my 2nd year Willamette plant. It really hasn't done much since last month. Some of the leaves have started to turn brown, even though I have been watering it regularly. 

In a more exciting development, my first year Centennial and Chinook have nearly surpassed the Willamette in height. All are roughly 18'-20' tall. I didn't expect my first year plants to grow taller than 10' during the first year.

Since the Summer solstice has passed, each day's sunlight will gradually decrease. The shortening days signal the plant to stop its vertical growth, and begin development of the sidearms, from which the hop cones will develop. Each of my plants has started to form the sidearms. But surprisingly, the sidearms in my 1st year plants are further developed than my 2nd year plant. With continued good weather, and a bit of luck, I'll expect to see the formation of hop cones in the near future.

In related news, this year's hop harvest is shaping up to be a good one! That's great news for hoppy beer lovers!

Click here for August Home Hop Garden update.

My 1st & 2nd year hop bines

1st year Chinook sidearm

2nd year Willamette sidearms

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New Belgium and Ben & Jerry's Release Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale

New Belgium Brewing and Ben & Jerry's are launching their 2nd ice-cream inspired beer. This time, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is the inspiration. Last October, the duo released Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale. I tasted and wrote about it last fall. While it sounded great on paper, it wasn't well executed, in my humble opinion. You can read my Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale review here.

For more details about Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale, check the brewery's news release below. I'll be sure to write about it after I taste it.

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New Belgium Brewing to Release Second 
Ben & Jerry Ice Cream-Inspired Beer
Proceeds to Benefit Protect our Winters

Ft. Collins, Colo. – June 20, 2016 – New Belgium Brewing and Ben & Jerry’s are teaming up once again to create a new ice cream inspired beer while raising awareness about climate change. Inspired by one of Ben & Jerry’s smash hits, New Belgium has developed Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale, a special release beer to hit the shelves in the fall of 2016. Fifty-thousand dollars in proceeds will benefit Protect Our Winters (POW) a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness around climate change. As Fellow B Corporations beholden to stakeholders, including their communities and the environment, the two like-minded businesses have long championed similar causes.

“We are excited to be partnering once again with the good folks at Ben & Jerry’s and POW,” said New Belgium Director of Sustainability, Jenn Vervier. “The beer in development tastes amazing and we look forward to talking about climate change and climate action. With the upcoming election and a new administration, year two is even more important than the first round.”

The Colorado-based craft brewer and famed ice cream maker are both registered Beneficial or “B Corporations”. B Corps are held to performance standards that are comprehensive and transparent, measuring a company’s impact on workers, suppliers, communities and the environment.

“Working with New Belgium Brewing and Protect our Winters to be able to impact climate was a highlight of 2015, and so, we’re doing it again,” said Jay Curley, Senior Global Marketing Manager of Ben & Jerry’s. “This new beer is delicious and unique and the issue of climate change is still increasingly urgent.”

An announcement later this year will detail the focus of the campaign and the specifics around the partnership.

New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work and one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, and one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire, New Belgium brews thirteen year-round beers; Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Ranger IPA, Rampant Imperial IPA, Shift Pale Lager, Slow Ride Session IPA, Snapshot Wheat, Sunshine Wheat, 1554 Black Ale, Blue Paddle Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Ale and Trippel and a gluten-reduced line, Glutiny Pale Ale and Glutiny Golden Ale. Learn more at www.newbelgium.com.
As a social justice company, Ben & Jerry’s believes in a greater calling than simply making a profit. Ben & Jerry’s incorporates Linked Prosperity into its business practices in a number of ways including a focus on values-led sourcing. The company produces a wide variety of super-premium ice cream, non-dairy frozen dessert, yogurt and sorbet using high-quality, responsibly sourced ingredients. Ben & Jerry’s, a Vermont corporation and wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, operates its business on a three-part Mission Statement emphasizing product quality, economic reward and a commitment to the community and became a certified B Corp (Benefit Corporation) in 2012. Ben & Jerry’s products are distributed in over 35 countries in retail, franchised Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops, restaurants and other venues. The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation’s employee-led grant programs totaled $2.4MM in 2015 to support efforts to improve social and environmental justice throughout the United States. For the inside scoop on Ben & Jerry’s visit www.benjerry.com.

Full Sail Releases Capsize Imperial Pilsner

Today, Full Sail Brewing Co. announced the release of Capsize Imperial Pilsner, the latest in its Brewmaster Reserve Series. To me, an imperial pilsner is an oxymoronbecause when I think of a pilnser, a lighter bodied, easy drinking beer comes to mind. Capsize weighs in at 7% ABV and 60 IBUs, so I expect Full Sail is having a bit of fun with this release.

Capsize Imperial Pilsner is available now through October in bombers and on draft. For more details, check out the brewery's news release below.

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Photo courtesy of Full Sail Brewing Co.
Get on Board with Full Sail’s New Capsize Imperial Pilsner
Northwest hop varietals shine in this easy-to-drink seasonal brew
Hood River, Oregon – June 14, 2016 – Bon voyage boring beer. Full Sail’s new Brewmaster Reserve Capsize Imperial Pilsner is hitting the shores, or at least the shelves, for the summer. Capsize has intense aromas of pine and citrus balanced by a full malty body and a long, clean, hoppy bitterness.
“With an extra load of Cascade hops from start to finish, we have upended our Pilsner,” says Full Sail Brewmaster Jim Kelter. “Big hop flavors of citrus and pine abound, but with a smooth malt character this one is remarkably easy to drink.”
Building on its award-winning Cascade Pilsner, Full Sail’s new, dry-hopped Capsize Imperial Pilsner delivers even more Northwest hoppiness and summer happiness. Capsize is an aromatic hoppy delight. Its clean malt profile, well balanced with moderate bitterness, sets the stage for a blend of Cascade, Crystal and Citra hops to provide a spicy Northwest backbone to the full-bodied golden lager.
Capsize Imperial Pilsner is similar in style to the Full Sail brew with the same name from the early 2000s, but is brewed with a completely new recipe. Paired with burgers, steaks, BBQ, or spicy desserts like ginger bread and carrot cake, Capsize is the perfect brew to serve at summer dinners with friends. Capsize also pairs well with Roquefort, Stilton, Camembert, Taleggio and aromatic and pungent aged cheeses.
Full Sail’s Brewmaster Reserve series allows the brewmasters to put their creativity, innovation and passion into small, limited-release beers. These craft brews highlight the direct connection with Full Sail’s farmers, celebrate the art of barrel aging, and explore the effects of time. Over the years, Full Sail’s Brewmaster Reserve series has earned 18 gold medals. Brewmaster Reserve Capsize Imperial Pilsner is available June through October in 22 oz. bottles and draft. 7% ABV, 60 IBUs.
About Full Sail Brewing Company
Perched on a bluff in Hood River, Oregon, overlooking the mighty Columbia River’s epic wind and kite surfing and the snow-capped volcanic peaks of Mt. Hood, Full Sail is a true craft-brewing pioneer. Since 1987, Full Sail has been pouring pure Mt. Hood water, local ingredients and responsible processes into each and every pint. Full Sail’s brews and sustainable practices have garnered more than 300 national and international awards, including 150 gold medals and Beverage World ‘s “Craft Brewer of the Year” distinction. From Full Sail Amber and IPA to Session Lager and bourbon barrel-aged beers, Full Sail consistently strives to brew complex, balanced and ridiculously tasty beers. Learn more at www.fullsailbrewing.com.


Afternoon at Pints in the Pearl

The Inaugural Pints in the Pearl was held last Saturday in Portland. After living in Portland for 18 years, and attending many beer festivals, I've become conditioned to expect something. In my mind, this expectation is an integral and inseparable part of the beer festival experience. For me, beer festivals are all about tasting small samples of many beers.

Then I heard about Pints in the Pearl. The name said it allPINTS. Here's a festival that planned to serve full pints of beer, with no option for small pours. Blasphemy! After all, any beer loving Portlander knows you can get a sample of beer at almost any fest for $1. Not here, every beer costs $5. Crazy talk!

You may recall that temperatures last weekend were north of 100° F. Since the Pearl District is essentially a big strip of concrete, I decided not to attend for fear that I might melt. However, I had about an hour to kill, was in the area, and the festival organizers invited me down to check it out.

I'll cut to the chase by saying I thoroughly enjoyed Pints in the Pearl. Yes, it was very different from what I expected, but that's not always a bad thing. It had more of street festival vibe than that of a beer fest. A live band, plenty of delicious food options, and activities such as volleyball, cornhole, and ping pong added to the event's charm. While it was was blazing hot, shaded tables and plenty of water stations provided temporary respite.

The food is worth special mention. All options, priced at $5 (a cost of a single token) were a great value. We (my seven-year-old) and I shared pulled pork sliders from Fat Heads and Grilled Adobo Chicken from Verde Cocina. Both were excellent!

Regarding the beer.  I'm a lover of the Berliner Weiss, so I opted for a pint of BridgePort's Pearl-iner Weiss. As it's traditionally served, they offered a few syrups to go with the beer, but I passed on those. Pearl-iner had a nice bready malt backbone and a mild tartness. Perfect for a scorching afternoon. I hope BridgePort brings this beer back for a wider release. I really wanted to taste Fat Head's Kettle Sour #4, but I didn't want to drink a another full pint.

Anyway, Pints in the Pearl was an unexpected surprise. It showed me there's more to beer festivals than tasting numerous small samples. Sometimes, it's nice to settle into just a beer or two...

But, for next year's Pints in the Pearl, I would humbly request that organizers offer a "half-pint" option. Old habits die hard...

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Vegan Beer & Food Festival, June 11

The Vegan Beer & Food Festival returns to Portland on Saturday, June 11 for the 2nd year. Held at Ziddell Yards in Portland's South Waterfront District, this festival is a showcase for, you guessed itvegan food and beer.

The festival's organizers are based in Los Angeles and have held similar events in LA for the past six years. However, since Portland is ever so vegan friendly, I expect this festival will generate its own local following. Here's how the event's organizers describe it:

Vegan Beer and Food Festival features the best of the region's craft beer, wine, ciders, kombucha, cold brew and craft sodas on draft. We curate the top vegan food carts, trucks, vendors and restaurants. Our "pop up" marketplace showcases vendors selling everything from clothing to ceramics to craft goods. And, of course, great live music from some of the best talent around.

The Portland event will feature 50 breweries (full list here), that will serve at least two beers. I didn't attend this event last year, but the organizers invited me, so I may check it out. For more details, including ticket packages, please check out the Vegan Beer & Food Festival website.

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June - August Northwest Beer Festival Calendar

The summer beer festival season has arrived in the Northwest! The number of excellent beer (and cider) tasting events continues to grow each year. To help myself keep track of them all, I decided to develop a rolling list of annual beer festivals in Oregon and the Northwest.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. If I'm missing anything (I'm focusing on annual, not one-time-only events), please send me the event details at info@notsoprofessionalbeer.com and I'll be happy to add it.  That said, here's a look at the upcoming festivals during the months of June - August. Check out my Beer Festival Schedule page for updates.


  • June 4: Inaugural Pints in the Pearl, Portland     website, event overview
  • June 10-12:  Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland    website
  • June 18:  Eastern Oregon Beer Festival, La Grande    website
  • June 10:  Rye Beer Fest @ Eastburn, Portland   website
  • June 10-19:  Portland Beer Week, Portland   website, event overview
  • June 11:  Vegan Beer & Food Festival, Portland    website
  • June 17-19:  Oregon Garden Brewfest, Silverton    website, event overview, 2015 recap
  • June 18:  Farmhouse Fest, Vancouver, BC  —  website
  • June 19-20:  Cider Summit, Portland    website, event overview2015 recap
  • June 22:  Sake Fest PDX, Portland   website
  • June 23:  5th Annual Fermentation Celebration, Bend    website
  • June 24-26:  Portland International Beer Festival     website 


  • August 18-20:  Bend Brewfest, Bend    website
  • August 25-28:  Organic Beerfest, Portland   website2015 recap

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