The first Eastern Oregon Beer Festival, Saturday the 21st

Eastern Oregon Beer FestivalThe first-ever Eastern Oregon Beer Festival is coming up next weekend, on Saturday, June 21st, taking place in La Grande at the Union County Fairgrounds. As you’d expect there’s a good number of Eastern Oregon breweries represented, as well as some debut out-of-state ones. From their press release:

Sponsored by La Grande Main Street Downtown, EOBF will feature over beers from over 20 breweries, including craft beer stalwarts Cascade Barrel House and Hair of the Dog Brewing. A major focus of the festival is a highlight on Eastern Oregon’s emerging beer scene. Barley Brown’s, Prodigal Son and Terminal Gravity will be joined by neighboring Dragon’s Gate (Milton Freewater), 1188 (John Day) Bull Ridge (Baker City) and Beer Valley (Ontario). A number of other prominent Oregon breweries including Upright, The Commons, Breakside from Portland, and 10 Barrel, Bend Brewing and Good Life from Bend will also be participating. Also traveling to La Grande will be Buoy Brewing (Astoria), pouring in Eastern Oregon for the first time. A number of participating breweries have agreed to provide one-off or special beers to the event.

In addition to the above Oregon-based breweries, several out-of-state breweries will be pouring in Oregon for the first time. EOBF Beer Steward Jeff Dense, Professor of Craft Beer Studies at Eastern Oregon University has been able to leverage his contacts throughout the craft beer community to provide several surprises for festival attendees. Marble Brewing of Albuquerque NM will be pouring their World Beer Cup Gold Medal winning Pilsener. Comrade Brewing of Denver, CO, under the leadership of former Barley Brown’s Brewmaster Marks Lanham, has captured the imagination of the vibrant Denver craft beer scene. White Bluffs Brewing of Richland, WA, will be pouring Biere de Mars and their popular Red Alt. Dense promises a couple of last minute surprises for EOBF attendees.

I’m glad to see some nice beer representation hitting the underserved eastern part of the state, though for a festival they do have an unusual model, in that they pre-sold all of their tasting packages for the fest itself (which runs from noon to 8pm), and are now sold out. Unlike your typical brewfest which is open to general admission all day long.

However at 8pm they’re offering up an after party that’s open to the public with no entrance fee or cover charge, so even if you didn’t get passes for the main part of the fest you can still check some of it out afterwards.

All in all, nice to see a beer festival happening back east, as it were, and I hope it grows and turns into a nice regional fest. I won’t be able to make it this year, but hopefully in future years I will.