Oregon Brewers Festival '16: Dissecting the Beer List

The Oregon Brewers Festival recently released the beer list for the 29th installment of the event. You can download the spreadsheet complete with full descriptions and stats for each of the 112 beers. Take a look, and you'll see that we'll be treated to an excellent lineup!

In addition to enjoying beer, I like to analyze data (strange, but true). First, I identified the most popular styles. You can see the summary in the chart below. I omitted any variety or style that did not have at least two offerings. Here's what you'll find.

IPA continues to reign.    India Pale Ale (along with its variants such as Session IPA, Imperial IPA, etc) once again tops the list with 27 offerings! So if you're hankering for hops, you're in luck! Fans of Citra hops, known for its juicy tropical fruit flavors, will be thrilled to know that 16 of the festival beers use this hop as a featured varietal.

Fruit beers are perfect for summer. The cornucopia of fruit in this year's beer list includes mango, passion fruit, peach, grapefruit, blueberries, cherries, and even yuzu fruit! Your mom always told you to eat more fruit. Go to OBF and drink some.

Sour beers will take over the world.  I love sour beer and have even brewed a few. Just a decade ago, the Berliner-Weisse was nearly an extinct style. In a few weeks, you'll be able to taste eight at OBF. It's light, tart, plays nicely with fruit, and is an ideal session beer. In addition, five gose-style (traditionally made with coriander and salt) beers will be served. For the homebrewing geeks, you'll be interested to know that 9 beers mention the use of lactobacillus, and six mention the use of the kettle souring technique. It's my prediction (and hope) that the gap between the number of IPAs and sour beers will continue to narrow. Get your pucker on!

Session beers abound.  There are 41 beers with an ABV of 5.0% or less! I'm glad to see the continued popularity of session beers. You can try more of these beers, and still keep your wits about you.

Imperials:  If you'll looking to get loaded, there are a dozen beers with and ABV of 8.0% or higher. I tend to avoid these, but the Imperial Stouts look amazing!

Alcohol Range:  ABV content of the festival beers ranges from 3.5% - 11.0%, with a mean of 5.9%, and median of 5.5%.

IBUs:  Bitterness as measured by International Bitterness Units ranges from 1 - 102, with a mean of 35.1 and a median of 25.0.

So take a few minutes to check out some OBF fun facts, peruse the beer list, and map out your sampling strategy. As always, drink plenty of water in between tastes. More water = more beer! Finally, LEAVE YOUR CAR AT HOME. Walk, ride your unicycle, or take Tri-Met. See you at OBF!

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