Jeanette and I went to the Oregon Brewer Festival. I was looking forward to going as this had been the last beer festival that still emphasized the education and sampling of micro brew beer. For many years they have not changed the festival structure but this year there was change and not for the better. A staples of the festival like 4 oz. samples and that was cut down to 3 oz. So now even $5 would buy you a pint of beer. We were also surprise to find the extensive show brochure explaining the beers was no more. This time we got a single sheet of paper with a list of beers available at each trailer and told to look up on line if we want more info. This made the process of trying to figure out what we wanted more difficult. So if you are older and old tech don’t bother going. And the special guest beers has ended. This reduces the beers available to sample. But the biggest change was the number of people arriving early. It use to be if you went the first day, early, you had a quit time to sample beers and discuss what you thought of them but not now. This time number of folks was like the 7 pm crowd. So I guess if you are bring in so many people you don’t have to provide as much and education is no longer need as you have reach market saturation. So overall it does look like the craft brewing in Portland has reached the mature market phase with breweries closing and Festival events just becoming money makers for promoters.
As for the beer itself still mostly the same. Some breweries were brewing gose beer. Jeanette and I hatted them and talking to a few other folks and they felt the same. So these brews ended up being declared festival beers and got dumped. The hazy IPA trend continued. There were three stouts and a brown and that was it for dark beers. It used to be able to always find at least ten. One of the stouts by Hecetic Brewing that we felt was the best beer at the festival and they are from California not Oregon.
So beer festivals are now events and not a place to learn about beer. It has reach a point where it is cheaper and you can have a more relaxing time and learn more doing a pub crawl and sample trays then doing a festival.