Organic Beer Fest

Organic Beer Fest
Friday June 8 (3 - 9:30 pm)
Saturday June 9 (Noon - 9pm)
Overlook Park (Fremont and Interstate)

Admission is free, $5 for a mug (a dollar off if you show a Tri-met ticket or bring a can for the Oregon Food Bank). A 4-oz taster is a dollar.

For the first time in over a decade, I self-consciously decided to skip the Spring Beer Fest. There has been an ever-growing tendency by that fest to include random vendors (last year's review here). At first it expanded to vintners (fine), then to some vendors more or less distantly connected to food (eh), then to random peddlers (bad), then to guys who sold vinyl windows (very bad). So I blew it off.

There arrives this year the third installation of a new beerfest that I expect to jump in the hole left by the SBF in my four-season calendar (in Oregon, Spring runs through June): The North American Organic Brewers Festival. It is headed by the boys of Roots, which is a good start, and it includes 25 breweries and 40 beers (even better), and will be held this year in the beautiful Overlook Park (hot damn). I anticipate a rocking good time. Keeping in mind that I rarely am a bandwagon promoter, I regard this as the most interesting beer event this year, and a definite must-see.

Normally, I would offer a preview of the beers here, but I have tried exactly three of them. This is mainly because organic beer is yet hard to brew. Organic hops and malt are specialty items, so most breweries (Roots, Fish Tale, and Wolaver's excepted) don't have regular organic offerings. So you get things like Deschutes Organic Carbonic Red (5.2% abv 44 IBUs). There will also be an appearance of a beer from Christian Ettinger's as-yet unopened new brewery (Hopworks Urban Brewery).

In fact, it is festivals like this that create the interest in, and subsequent market for, organic beers. It's by no means a totally obscure market, and the more brewers ask for organic malt and hops, the more growers will devote acreage to it. So by attending this fest, you help the cause of organics (and also Oregon Tilth, Oregon Food Bank, Doernbecher Children's Hospital, who will receive some of the proceeds.)

The link above is to John Foyston's post, and he has a more detailed summary of the event. I'll include a short list of the interesting-looking beers I'm hepped up for (no promises!). For more, check his site out (it's better than the official site). And plan to set aside an afternoon. See you there!

A Few Interesting-Looking Beers
  • Crannog Ales (British Columbia) - Backhand of God Stout
  • Deschutes Brewery - Organic Carbonic Red Ale
  • Elliot Bay Brewing Co. (Seattle) - Klondike Gold Belgian IPA
  • Fort George Brewery (Astoria) - Quick Wit Belgian White Ale
  • Hopworks Urban Brewery ( Portland) - Hopworks Organic IPA
  • Lakefront Brewery (Milwaukee, WI) - Organic ESB
  • Brouwerij 't IJ (Netherlands) - Natte, Zatte [both are 2 tickets]