North American Organic Brewers Festival Looks to Save the Planet, One Beer at a Time
More than 15,000 beer lovers will converge upon Portland this summer to take part in the world’s largest all organic beer festival. The sixth annual North American Organic Brewers Festival (NAOBF) will take place June 25 through 27 in Portland’s Overlook Park at the intersection of N Fremont and Interstate Ave.
Event hours are Noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission into the event is free. The purchase of a $6 reusable, compostable cornstarch glass is required for tasting beer, as are tokens, which sell for $1 apiece. A full glass of beer costs four tokens (more for select beers), and a four-ounce taste costs one token. Patrons receive a $1 discount toward the tasting glass with a validated MAX ticket or three cans of food – preferably organic – for the Oregon Food Bank.
Designed to raise awareness about organic beer and sustainable living, the NAOBF serves up more than 75 organic craft beers from around the country. From summery Saison and Kolsch styles to rich and hearty stouts, the festival offers beers to please every palate. There’s also live music, organic food, sustainability-oriented vendors and non-profits, and a children’s area.
The festival goes beyond beer tasting by striving to be the most earth-friendly beer festival in North America. Festival attendees sample beer from reusable and compostable cornstarch glasses made from domestically grown corn by a zero-waste, solar-powered company. Onsite composting and recycling stations are provided for festival waste, and food vendors are required to use compostable cutlery and plates. Electricity needs are met with a combination of biodiesel and solar generators. Volunteers wear organic cotton and hemp t-shirts, and all event signage is reusable.
The NAOBF was established in 2005 by Craig Nicholls, who also founded Oregon’s first certified all-organic brewery, Roots Brewing Co.
“A lot of the thought process that went into making this festival sustainable was due to my kids,” explained Nicholls. “They made me think about the future and what it may hold for them. I researched the effects of global warming, carbon footprints and genetically modified organisms on the planet, and I didn’t like what I learned.”
Added Nicholls, “I don’t want my kids to grow up in this ‘world of plenty’ and have nothing because we have done a big part in destroying the planet.”
Studies show that the world’s population currently consumes 30% more natural resources than the Earth’s ecosystems can replenish. The NAOBF aims to bring awareness of sustainable living to its participants and attendees by encouraging brewing and drinking organic beers, using local and sustainable energy, and purchasing locally grown foods and locally made products.
The NAOBF is a family friendly event, and minors are welcome with parents. The festival benefits the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and the Oregon Food Bank. For more information, visit www.naobf.org.