I got over to the Portland Fresh Hop Beer Fest last night with Jeanette, Audrey and Mike. This was the 12th year for this beer fest but the first time me. This fest features all fresh hopped beer and only happens at harvest time. Generally the fresh hops are more aromatic then dry hops normally use in brewing. We sampled many pale ales and IPAs that were single or multi hopped. The single hop beers were nice in that it allowed you to see what a particular hop tasted like. So the event was a lot of fun and a good chance to do more education of my palate.
I was off to the Organic Brewers Festival yesterday. I went with low expectation based on past years experiences but was surprise at having an informative and good time. This year the festival was move to August putting it in better weather. I went early on the first day to be sure to miss the crowds and to be sure they were not out of any of the beer I wanted to try. Most aspects of the event were the same with a few exceptions that I noted in the photos. The part that really made a difference for me was having a brew tank manufacture there. It became a hub for home brewers to stop by and other folks in the craft brew industry. With a 15-barrel fermenter sitting there it became a spot to gather and get little bits of new info on brewing.
As for the beer samples it was mostly your normal summer brews being offer but done with organic ingredients so lots of IPAs and light ales. There was nothing to exciting but nothing to bad. The one exception actually came from McMenamins. Just when I thought these guys could not brew a really exceptional beer they had a barrel age porter that was a hit. If they actually had this porter in their pubs, especially St. Johns, I would have to start going there again. The other items that I found interesting to try was a mead and a couple of ciders. Ciders are turning up in more places and often it is cheaper to sample then at a beer fest then any other event.
So this year there was enough new and interesting for me to put this festival on my list to return to next years.
Jeanette and I got over to the Portland International Beerfest to sample some beers at the new location at Holiday Park. This new location was much better then last year’s location in the Park Blocks. There was lots of room for folks to move around and they spread out beer sample pouring tents and vendor tents through out the park. This event gives a chance to try both domestic micro brews and international beers. Sampling can be expensive with a few sample costing as much as seven dollars. But they do have a number of samples for a dollar or two. We found many excellent beers with one of our favorite being a German doppelbock. The new location should give this event room to grow in the future.