4th Annual Willamette Week Beer Pro / Am Recap

On October 8, Willamette Week held its 4th Annual Beer Pro / Am at The North Warehouse in NE Portland.  This is one of the more unique festivals in town because it showcases beers crafted by a partnership of professional brewers and home brewers. There was a lot to like about this event. Let’s run through my list:

The Beer:  A wide variety of styles were served—even a mead and cider.  Many beers featured unusual ingredients. Click here to see out the detailed beer list!

The Backstories:  The creators of each beer were on hand to talk about the beer and how they made it. As a homebrewer, I picked up a slew of tips & techniques that I’ll use in my future creations.

The Lines:  The serving lines were short. During the VIP hour, they were non-existent. While the venue filled up by  3pm and elbow room was tight, it still didn’t take long to get beers.  

Did I mention the Beer? Entry to the festival entitled the participants to three ounce pours of each of the 31 beers. That’s a lot of beer! It was served in a pint glass without a pour line and I'm fairly certain many pours were more than three ounces. I dumped a fair amount of beer—not because the beer was bad, but because I wanted to sample more. Each table had a dump bucket and people weren’t shy about using them. 

Water & Munchies:  More water = more beer. Plenty of water stations with bottled water were spread throughout the venue. The good folks from Kettle Chips were handing out free bags of tasty potato chips. Beer and chips are always a great pairing!

Non-Beer Entertainment:  Video games were provided in the Ground Kontrol Retro Gaming Lounge and the DJ was spinning good tunes (real vinyl). Heck, even the Unipiper was there!

Sadly, Dean Pottle, found of Dean’s Scene passed away just days before the event. If you don’t know about Dean, here’s a nice article from The New School that explains his impact on the Portland beer community. His offering, Barely Legal Hazy CBD IPA, was the first and only Dean’s Scene beer that I tasted. It was fresh hop CBD infused IPA. It had a quite a harsh bitterness that I found off-putting. While I wasn’t a fan of the beer, I’m glad I had the chance to taste it. RIP Dean.

I only had one gripe about the entire event—the glassware. It's minor, but I’ll mention it for the sake of offering constructive feedback. As I mentioned, the event glass was a 16 oz. shaker pint. This glassware is best used for making cocktails—not drinking beer. The reasons why are the topic of a post for another day. But in the future, I think a smaller tasting glass would be a better option. Again—a minor quibble.

Overall, it was an excellent event! Congrats to the team at Willamette Week for pulling off an excellent event! I hope they bring it back for 5th installment!

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