The Bend Brewfest returns for 2015 with 4 days

Bend Brewfest 2015

The Bend Brewfest returns again this year and for the first time adds a fourth day to its schedule. It starts this Thursday, August 13 and runs through Sunday, August 16. Here’s a quick breakdown by the numbers:

  • 71 breweries, cideries, meaderies, and wineries listed
  • Over 170 different libations will be pouring across regular taps and the XTap
  • Mugs are $15 which includes 5 tasting tokens
  • Additional tokens are $1 each, sold in blocks of 5
  • 1 token gets you a 4-ounce taste, 4 tokens for a full pour
  • Hours are noon to 11pm the first 3 days, noon to 8pm Sunday

It takes place at the Les Schwab Amphitheater down in Bend’s Old Mill District and is Bend’s largest beer event—and with the weather looking great for it this weekend, it’s going to be an incredible year!

There’s a great lineup of beers you’ll want to check out, and don’t forget the XTap, the rotating tap of limited, specialty beers that you can only find at the scheduled time. Brewers will be on hand as well to talk about their beers, so study that schedule (as well as the live updates at the Brewfest) and make sure to visit during a time you really really want to taste a certain beer. And for some ideas what to look for, I wrote a guest blog post for the Old Mill on the XTap.

Cheers and have a great Brewfest!

Fred Eckhardt, R.I.P.

Fred Eckhardt

It wasn’t until I got home today that I learned the news of the passing of the Dean of American Beer Writers, Fred Eckhardt, today, and tonight I’m enjoying beer in his honor and toasting his legacy.

Fred’s contribution to American beer cannot be overstated and probably will never be matched. He wrote a homebrewing guide, A Treatise on Lager Beers, in 1969, ten years before homebrewing became legal in the United States, and his 1989 book, The Essentials of Beer Style, was just as influential to American brewers as Jackson’s The World Guide to Beer. He continued to write about beer for years in Celebrator Beer News and All About Beer. Alan Sprints at Hair of the Dog Brewing in Portland created a beer in his honor, aptly named Fred, and every year Hair of the Dog hosts FredFest, a celebration of Fred’s birthday with proceeds going to the charity of his choice.

I never had a chance to meet Fred personally. I had an opportunity many years ago at the Oregon Brewers Festival, but I was frankly too intimidated to simply walk up and introduce myself as “only” a beer blogger. Some years later I saw him speak at the Portland Beer Bloggers Conference and loved it. To date my favorite beer quote of all time is probably Fred’s (paraphrasing): “My favorite beer is the one in my hand.”

Fred was 89 years old and passed peacefully in his sleep. He will be missed.

Other remembrances and tributes:

Cheers Fred, and good luck and safe travels, wherever you land.

Oregon Beer News – on holiday

No posted Oregon Beer News this week—summertime in August means taking some time off from the daily postings. However there are still a bunch of events going on this week, in particular some big beer festivals, so here’s a quick list from my notes:

Tuesday 8/11:

Wednesday 8/12:

Thursday 8/13:

Friday 8/14:

Saturday 8/15:

Sunday 8/16

Quite a bit going on! I might have some more detailed posts about some of these like the Bend Brewfest queued up this week but the daily news posts are on holiday.

The Session #102: The Landscape of Beer

The SessionThe first Friday of August means it’s time for another round of The Session, the long-running collaborative “Beer Blogging Friday.” This month’s Session is hosted by Allen at Active Brewer, and the topic is “The Landscape of Beer“:

Our topic this month is, “The Landscape of Beer“. How do you see that landscape now? What about in 5, 10, or even 20 years? A current goal in the American Craft Beer Industry is 20% market share by the year 2020. How can we get there? Can we get there?

Whether your view is realistic or whimsical, what do you see in our future? Is it something you want or something that is happening? Let us know and maybe we can help paint the future together.

Would it be cynical for me to imagine a future of increased fragmentation in the market? In this case I’m defining “fragmentation” to mean more and more nanobreweries (which seems to be the trend from what I’ve been seeing out here in the Pacific Northwest) leading to an ever-changing, sometimes random rotation of beers available on tap at any given time. Why nanos? Simple, it’s a much lower barrier to entry. And then the fact that the average American craft-beer-drinking attention span seems to be that of a hummingbird further pushes beer drinkers to constantly seek out new beers from new breweries, feeding this brewery growth in the marketplace, furthering the cycle. As the craft beer market share increases over the macros, it’s easy to imagine all of these thousands of small breweries chipping away at it, a few gallons at a time, with the monolithic brewing companies slowly dying the death of a thousand papercuts.

Yeah, it’s an odd mixed metaphor vision of things but right now the number of new breweries entering the market is growing at a furious pace and it’s a struggle to keep up with it all. I mean let’s be honest, here in Central Oregon alone we have 28 breweries (and at least four cideries) and as the “Bend Beer Guy” even I can’t keep up with all their latest developments—I’d have to be visiting (and/or drinking beer from) a brewery a day, every day, for a month just to keep in the loop! You go to bigger beer-active cities, and frankly I don’t know how any one person could keep up with it all on a reasonable basis.

I don’t see this as a bad thing; diversity is good for the market. I mean, if I can find locally-brewed beer in a random small town or region then I’m excited to try it. But it’s important to remember that quality and sustainability are important, too, and not every one of these breweries will survive long-term. And I’m not even getting into consolidation and acquisition, which is also playing a big part in shaping the future beer landscape.

That’s what I’m seeing: the macros, a few very big craft breweries, regionals, and the increasing fragmentation of the market by many nanos (punctuated by the occasional larger brewery—10 to 30 barrels). Naturally there will be cycles of shakeout and collapse as well, but I’m less inclined to try to predict those compared to what I see actively happening around us now.

Is there an upper limit to the number of breweries? That I don’t know, but I’m fairly confident we have a ways to go yet.

Oregon Beer News, 08/07/2015

Oregon BeerHappy weekend! Here’s the news in Oregon beer for Friday, August 7, and the rest of the weekend. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back often. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted as well.

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales (Hood River): Today is the opening day of their new Logsdon Barrel House & Taproom in downtown Hood River: “We are opening our doors to the public this coming Friday, August 7. Our opening draft lineup will include all of our current beers, which entails…of course…Peche ‘n Brett. In addition to our offerings we’ll be featuring Bockor Vanderghinste and Kwak (served in the appropriate proprietary glassware). Come one, come all! We’re excited to open this new chapter, and we’re excited to share it with you.”

Portland U-Brew & Pub (Portland): Today and tomorrow is their annual Westmoreland/Sellwood Summer Brewfest! It starts at noon each day and features: “6 local breweries on tap, cider from Bushwacker, live music all weekend, BBQ, fundraiser for Angelo’s Brian tumor foundation (Angelo and I will brew a special batch). Kid/pet friendly, outdoor events with tents. $20 for a mug and 10 samples.$1.00 samples. AND FUN!” The special beer brewed with Angelo of Brewpublic is “Grain brain apricot /peach pale ale.”