Craft beer festivals continue to thrill artisan beer fans and more continue to make their way to parks, stadiums, and other venues each year. Most of these craft beer extravaganzas are mere infants, often less than three years old at best. But there are a few granddaddies in the beer festival world and one of them is the Oregon Brewers Festival, now a five- day affair that ranks among the largest, oldest, and most revered craft beer festivals in the United States.
The Oregon Brewers Festival, scheduled from July 26 through July 30, 2017 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, is now in its 30th year. When the event began in 1988, it was only a two day festival and, most surprisingly, there were only seven breweries in Oregon and just 128 in the entire United States! Today, these figures have grown exponentially, to say the least, and the Oregon Brewers Festival is now a must- visit event for craft beer fans across the country.
This year’s Oregon Brewers Festival will feature 84 craft beers from different breweries across the nation. Each brewery can tap and serve only one beer, so it is common for breweries to showcase what they feel is their very best product. In addition, festival- goers will love knowing that the event organizers are bringing back the Specialty Tent, a place where attendees will find rare, experimental, and limited release beers. There will be at least 50 additional beers to sample here. A complete listing of participating breweries will be available by March 1 and can be accessed through the Oregon Brewers Festival website. Besides beer, the fest will, of course, offer food, live music, and souvenirs/gifts from various vendors.
One other fact that sets the Oregon Brewers Festival apart is that the event is not ticketed. Guests are free to enter the festival grounds and wander wherever they like. To get some beer, all you need to do is purchase a 14 oz. tasting mug and a supply of tokens. The mug this year sells for $7 and the toekns are $1 each, good for a small tasting. A full fill of the 14 oz. mug requires five tokens. Keep in mind that the Oregon Brewers Festival is a cash only event. They will have ATMs on site, but it is best to arrive with all the necessary cash you anticipate needing, for more efficient service.
To keep everyone safe, the Oregon Brewers Festival encourages guests to use the Tri-Met, which happens to have a station just one block from the festival entrance. If you like riding your bicycle, you can certainly do so, with complimentary bicycle parking provided in the Hopworks Urban Brewery secure bike corral. Designated drivers are also welcome and they are welcome to enjoy free craft soda at the Crater Lake Soda Garden. Minors, likewise, can also indulge in as much complimentary craft soda as they like.
Much has changed in craft beer over the past three decades. Festivals keep popping up with greater frequency and some have been around for many years, but few can match the longevity of the Oregon Brewers Festival. It’s one of the nation’s greatest celebrations of craft beer and it is a bucket list event every craft beer lover should try to attend at least once.
For more information on the Oregon Brewers Festival, visit online at OregonBrewFest.com or follow via social media at Facebook.com/OregonBrewersFestival in Facebook and https://twitter.com/oregonbrewfest in Twitter.