The 26th annual Oregon Brewers Festival starts this week, on a Wednesday for the first time ever! In addition to running five days this year, ending on Sunday the 28th, this is the first year also that they won’t be offering up plastic mugs: instead, they have actual glassware, a 12-ounce souvenir tasting glass that needs to be purchased for $7 (though remember, admission is free).
Everything kicks off Wednesday morning with the (sold out) Oregon Brewers Brunch and Parade (which starts at 11:30) from BridgePort Brewing in northwest Portland to the Festival grounds at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. (Police will assist with traffic.)
This year’s Grand Marshal is John Foyston, longtime beer writer who currently writes The Beer Here column in The Oregonian. John will join event founder Art Larrance, who will be chauffeured along the parade route in style courtesy of PDX Pedicab. We’ll also be accompanied by the funky sounds of the Transcendental Brass Band. The parade will leave from NW 13th & Marshall Street at 11:30 am sharp. The route is just shy of two miles. There is no cost or age restriction to take part in the parade.
Tasting tokens cost $1 as always, with 1 token good for a sample and 4 good for a full pour in the tasting glass. Interestingly this year, Jeff has reported (by way of Portland Food and Drink) that the pour size has changed this year: 1 token will get you 3 ounces instead of the traditional 4. However before there’s outcry keep in mind that “The shorter taster pour is the result of new OLCC rules that apply to all beer festivals in the state” and read Pete Dunlop’s excellent analysis here.
Also a big change this year: no more Buzz and Sour Tent! This is a pity because frankly I thought this was a great feature.
Sadly I will not be attending the OBF this year, but I’ll keep watch on the social media channels and drink some beers to commemorate from afar. If you are going, be sure to read my OBF Survival Guide which I posted last year: the only changes I would make are to add “Wednesday” to the “best times to go list” (and with Wednesday an option, those might only be Wednesday and Thursday this year), and obviously ignore the Buzz and Sour Tents section.
Coming up: my must-try picks of the beers being poured, if you’re looking for some guidelines.