Oregon Brewers Festival 2016 – What you need to know

Oregon Brewers Festival 2016You probably don’t need me to tell you the Oregon Brewers Festival is taking place next week in Portland. This year marks the 29th annual iteration of this event, one of the oldest and largest in the country, and it’s pretty well known so I’ll dispense with the usual event details; you can find what you need on the website.

So how about some things about the OBF that you may not know? Fortunately I’ve got a few to share.

(Plus my usual disclosure: I will be attending OBF under media credentials, and I’ll be selling books on Thursday and Friday. The media credentials usually come with some free beer.)

There are 88 beers pouring from American breweries this year, and then the International Beer Garden pulls in additional beers and brewers from around the globe and looks pretty great:

The International Beer Garden will feature another 25 products, with six breweries from Japan – Baird, Iwate Kura Beer, North Island, Shiga Kogen, Shonan and Y Market; seven breweries from The Netherlands – De Molen, Frontaal, Maximus, Oedipus, Oersoep, Oproer and Van Moll; one brewery from China, Jing-A; plus two breweries from Germany – Brauerei Nothhaft and Lang Bräu. The brewers from each country will be available daily to talk about their beer. The International Beer Garden was incorporated three years ago as part of a cultural exchange of ideas, knowledge and the celebration of craft beer.

I think this is the first year that breweries (and brewers) from Japan will be there. And in fact on Thursday the 28th, Belmont Station is hosting a public meet-the-Japanese-brewers event from 6 to 8pm. (I will be attending the media-only version the hour before.)

So that’s 113 beers pouring, and there are a surprising number of German-style sours:

  • Gose: 5
  • Berliner Weisse: 8

Together these make up 11% of the total, which is pretty impressive to me. Some of the names of these are great too: Boom Gose the Dynamite (McMenamins Edgefield), Gose Gose Gadget (Stone! Who would have predicted they would bring a gose?), Disco Lemonade (Aslan).

And then there are the just-plain-unusual beers by style, or ingredients, or whatever. Such as:

  • Mango Helles from Base Camp Brewing
  • Cedar IPA from Burnside Brewing
  • Japanese Herb Ale Sansho from Iwate Kura Beer
  • Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Mexican Spice Cake from New Holland Brewing
  • Kentucky Refresh-Mint from Old Town Brewing (“Mint Julep Beer”)
  • Lemon Curd ESB from Pints Brewing
  • Luikse Vechter from Van Moll (55% spelt malt)

Among others. Go check out the online list; it’s pretty great. (And I’m sure Jeff will post his usual deep-dive style breakdown to get a sense of what hot (and not) this year.)

And there’s a new mug this year! Here’s the scoop, and a picture:

For the first 25 years of the OBF, beers were served in a thick, milky white plastic mug. In 2013, we switched over to a glass to better allow the color of the beer to shine through. That continued in 2014, but last year the Portland Police and Portland Parks decided to ban glass from all parks, so we switched to a high-quality, BPA-free plastic glass. This year, we are returning to a mug, but now it’s a 12 oz. clear styrene plastic free of BPA and phthalates.

Oregon Brewers Festival 2016 mug

See you at OBF!