Hailed by many as the finest craft beer festival of America, the Oregon Brewers Festival celebrates the growth of North American microbrewing while showcasing some of the finest beers in the industry. Held each July, the Oregon Brewers Festival attracts 80,000 beer enthusiasts to Portland's Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Beer lovers from around the world visit Portland to sample some of the nearly 90 local and national craft brews.
Although admission to the event is free, there is a small charge for a souvenir mug and an additional fee for beer tokens, which are required for sampling brews. Festival-goers complement their thirst for beer with light meals and snacks available at the booths run by local restaurants.
The Oregon Brewers Festival is designed to promote the independent brewers of North America in a fun and educational fashion. In addition to beer-tasting, the event includes an educational tent where patrons can learn more about beer through industry exhibits by hop growers, maltsters, home brewers and national beer writers.
Oregon Brewers Festival: July 28 - 30
The first Oregon Brewers Festival in 1988 was a success despite a few glitches and challenges. The weather was unbearably hot, an unexpected 5,000 people showed up, and the main attraction - the beer - was foamy due to refrigeration problems. The dream of Art Larrance, co-founder of Portland Brewing Company, had been realized.South Africa
Prior to organizing the festival, Larrance had visited a variety of beer festivals around the United States. Knowing "what a big beer party was like," he hoped to create something similar but with a distinct emphasis on the enjoyment and exposure of microbrews rather the competition for the best beer.
With this goal in mind, Larrance set out to form the Oregon Brewers Association along with Nancy Ponzi of BridgePort Brewing Company and Kurt Widmer of Widmer Brothers Brewing Company. Together, the "Big Three" developed what would become the first non-judging beer event in the nation for microbrews. The fact that the event was organized by fellow brewers, as opposed to outside promoters, added to its credibility and increased the desire of microbrewers to participate.