The Oregon Brewfest expands to five days, adds tasting glasses

Oregon Brewfest logo, 2013This year’s Oregon Brewers Festival is in its 26th annual iteration (the first one took place in 1988) and to celebrate—and better support its growth year after year—this year the Brewfest is expanding to five full days, beginning on Wednesday, July 24 and ending on Sunday, July 28. And that’s not all: this is also the year that the OBF switches from the ubiquitous plastic tasting mugs to tasting glasses. From the press release:

“The festival continues to grow in popularity every year, especially with tourists,” said festival owner and founder Art Larrance. “Due to space constraints, we can’t expand our footprint, so we decided to instead add a day to accommodate more beer lovers. Portland’s role as the ‘Cradle of Craft Beer’ had led our city to be one of the premier beer tourism destinations in the United States, and the Oregon Brewers Festival continues to support that movement.”

In 2005, the festival expanded from a three-day to a four-day event; that turned out to be a huge success, and ever since, festival purists have declared Thursday to be the best day to attend due to shorter lines and a full beer selection. Festival organizers are now hoping Wednesday will become the new Thursday.

Another big change to this year’s event is the introduction of a tasting glass. In an effort to improve the tasting experience for the guest and to be more environmentally responsible, the Oregon Brewers Festival will now sell a tasting glass in lieu of the traditional plastic mug. Admission into the festival grounds is free. In order to consume beer, purchase of a 2013 souvenir 12-ounce tasting glass is required and costs $7. Beer is purchased with wooden tokens, which cost $1 apiece. Patrons pay four tokens for a full glass of beer, or one token for a taste. There are no advance tickets sold to the festival; all purchases are made on-site.

A 12-ounce glass: that’s nothing to sneeze at; the first thing that came to mind for glassware that I’ve seen from festivals are the 4-ounce types, like you might typically find on a brewery’s sampler tray. But you need to be able to accommodate the full 12-ounce pours—nearly full-sized. The first type of thing that pops into my mind is something like this:

Beer glass
A 12-ounce glass like you might find here; not the actual OBF glass

So $7 for something like that is a great deal. Unfortunately the glasses themselves aren’t selected yet, so we’ll have to wait for the reveal.

And, despite the benefits of the glassware, I do see the possibility of a drawback (though I can’t say how likely it might be): summertime, in the park, you may well have people (including kids) running around barefoot; what if there’s broken glass? (But then again, it’s mostly grass and sand, not something a dropped glass would shatter on.)