This week marks the 28th annual Oregon Brewers Festival, one of the oldest and largest beer festivals in the country, taking over Tom McCall Waterfront Park on the west bank of the Willamette River for five full days from Wednesday (July 22) through Sunday (July 26). This brewfest will see a staggering 85,000+ people attend over its five days and even for all that, it has grown gracefully over the years (adding the fifth day in 2013) and keeping prices reasonable ($7 for the mug and $1 per tasting ticket, though keep in mind they went from four-ounce samples to three-ounce a couple of years ago) and admission to the park is always free.
This year they also have 105 beers pouring, 90 from breweries from the United States and another 15 from brewers from New Zealand and The Netherlands, who will be pouring their beers in the International Tent—where many of these brewers will also be found, talking about their beers and whatever else they are interested in. The beer list itself can be found here, and as usual it’s a well-curated list of brews to appeal to a broad audience, from “everyday” beers to one-offs and specialties and unusual styles. There will be a printed program but also be sure to check out the online mobile-friendly version that you can pull up on your phone in real time.
The OBF is one of my favorite beer festivals but I haven’t been able to attend in the past several years nor can I attend this year. (I should be a go for next year!) If you are planning to attend, however (and you should), you might be interested in this post I wrote three years ago: OBF Survival Guide.
Things to bring or remember:
- Cash: Everything is cash-only, no cards. (Except for the souvenir booth, which takes credit cards, and there are ATMs on site.)
- ID: You have to get show your ID to get in, no exceptions.
- Notebook and pen/pencil. Alternatively, your 33 Beers journal.
- Sunscreen. Also consider hat and sunglasses.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Snacks. (While there is food on site, you can bring in your own food as well.)
It’s only slightly dated—the best times to attend now are early on Wednesday and Thursday, and the International Tent has supplanted the Buzz and Sour Tents—but everything otherwise still applies and you might find it valuable, particularly if you’re still relatively new to the OBF.
A couple of other important updates this year:
- Smoking of any kind is no longer allowed in public parks. Obviously the first kind of “smoking” people will think of this year is newly-legalized marijuana, but in past years you could smoke cigars. No more.
- This year’s tasting glass will not be actual glass like it was the past couple of years; it will have a similar look but be made of polycarbonate plastic.
And finally I should have a post on the OBF beers up in the next day or two—my picks of ones I think you should be on the lookout for, and perhaps the full list as well (though this has been posted extensively elsewhere).