The Brew Site

McMenamins 22nd Annual Hillsdale Brewfest

This Saturday, February 21st, the first and oldest of McMenamins’ in-house beer festivals, the Hillsdale Brewfest, is celebrating its 22nd incarnation. Fittingly, they will have 22 beers from as many breweries, and attendees have the opportunity to sample them and vote on their favorite—the ultimate winner of which will go on to represent McMenamins at the Oregon Brewers Festival in July.

More than 20 of the finest ales from McMenamins’ breweries are sent into battle, their brewers vying for bragging rights, the notorious championship belt and a berth in the annual Oregon Brewers Festival held in downtown Portland in July. Patrons order “trays” of beer samples, arranged from lightest to darkest. It is our guests’ official duty to decide who deserves the coveted title. The beers cover the spectrum of brew styles – from hefeweizen to oatmeal stout, barleywine to smoked amber ale and beyond. Each taster casts one ballot that lists his or her top three choices. (And beware the brewers’ shameless vote-mongering. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

The Hillsdale Brewery and Public House is the first and oldest post-Prohibition brewpub in Oregon, established in 1985 right after the Brewpub Bill was passed into law, allowing the on-premise sales of beer by brewers. (You can read about this in detail in Portland Beer by Pete Dunlop.) Not coincidentally, Hillsdale was also the first of what would be many McMenamins breweries and was the birthplace of many of their iconic beers.

This year’s beer list is on the event page here, and you can check out past winners on the main Brewfest page. But for easy scanning, here are the beers that will be pouring Saturday (arrange by “tray”):

Yellow Tray

  1. Thompson Brewery – Czech It Out (Pilsner) – 6.19% abv
  2. Concordia Brewery – Black Days Dark Lager – 4.9%
  3. Spar Brewery – Hot Break Habanero Extra Pale Ale – 5.05%
  4. John Barleycorns Brewery – Day Tripster Oatmeal Pale – 5.29%
  5. McMenamins on the Columbia Brewery – Apple Jack Ale (ale with “apple cider, apple spice, and oak infused with our own Aval Pota as well as Jack Daniels and cinnamon”) – 5.16%
  6. Hillsdale Brewery – Daydream IPA – 6.4%
  7. Roy Street Brewery – Confined Spaces DIPA – 9.16%
  8. Oak Hills Brewery – L-Train Cascadian Dark Ale – 6.32%
  9. East Vancouver Brewery – Cherrysh the Moment (Cherry? Porter) – 6%
  10. Edgefield Brewery – Cerberus Wild Ale – 6.58%
  11. Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Brewery – Death Star (Imperial Stout) – 11.09%

Blue Tray

  1. Roseburg Brewery – Vienna Lager – 5.7%
  2. Wilsonville Brewery – Lumber-Sexual India Pale Lager – 5.42%
  3. Monroe Brewery – Pepperhead (Golden Ale with chili peppers) – 4.27%
  4. Fulton Brewery – Lost Frisbee Dry Hopped Amber Rye – 5.29%
  5. Mill Creek Brewery – Blueberry Doughboy (Blueberry Wheat) – 5.42%
  6. Lighthouse Brewery – The Admiral’s IPA – 7.87%
  7. Old Saint Francis Brewery – High Top Double IPA – 8.2%
  8. High Street Brewery – Boysenberry Cream Stout – 5.16%
  9. West Linn Brewery – Nutella Porter – 5.16%
  10. Crystal Brewery – Boudicca’s Revenge (Braggot) – 9.67%
  11. Highland Brewery – The Spud-nik Russian Imperial Stout – 9.67%

Trays are $9 and you get 4-ounce tastes of each beer on the respective tray—and that’s a lot of beer, especially if you’re trying for all 22! As they say on their event page, “Pace yourselves, lads and lasses. And don’t forget to eat! This is really super-important!”

The Brewfest starts at 11am and runs all day long, so there’s plenty of time to sample.