Oregon Brewers Festival 2013

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by wo87810, Jun 3, 2013.

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  1. wo87810

    wo87810 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 Florida

    I'm attending the Oregon Brewers Festival this year for the first time. I was just wondering about impressions from previous years and information about what to expect. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. John_M

    John_M Moderator (5,590) Oct 25, 2003 France
    Beer Trader

    Tip number one is to go early. In the past that meant go on Thursday if you can, and this year I would say try to go on either Wednesday or Thursday. If you can only go on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, then try to go as early in the day as possible.

    I go every year (well, since 2005), and the fest remains one of my favorites. The weather tends to beautiful, and crowds good natured (assuming you go during the times I mentioned). That being said, I'm not sure someone from out of state will appreciate it quite as much as a local. Breweries only bring a single beer, and they don't always bring something rare or unusual. Also, expect a pretty sizeable local/regional presence, with a lot of beers from Oregon, California and Washington.

    Let's see, what else... if you can, leave your car at home or at the hotel. Parking can sometimes be difficult to find, even though there are plenty of lots in the downtown area. Portland has excellent mass transportation, so getting around without a car really isn't all that much of a problem. If you do drive and can't find a place to park downtown, a lot of people park on the street on the other side of the Morrison bridge. Usually you can find parking over there if all else fails.

    Lastly... relax and enjoy!
  3. msubulldog25

    msubulldog25 Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2005 Oregon

    I'm curious which day(s) you plan to attend. Like John says, earlier almost always is best (I say 'almost' because occasionally a beer or 2 may not be available at opening). This is the first year that OBF is 5 days, so all the advice about 'going on Thursday' is now probably 'go on Wednesday AND Thursday'. If you can get there on Wednesday early AM, I suggest joining in the parade (free to follow along) that starts at Bridgeport at around 11am and goes through the gates a bit early for a ceremonial first tapping). The brewers brunch that is affiliated with parade has been sold out for weeks, however.

    Other advice: look for the Buzz Tent for some of the rarer 'one-off' beers. The tapping schedule varied in the past, so following OBF on twitter or Facebook provided decent info (but not always)

    Also new this year: real glassware, not plastic mugs. I think price went up by $1, but all tokens ($1 = 4 oz pour) are priced the same.

    I'm scheduled to volunteer on Wednesday and Friday, maybe I'll see you there!
  4. eatabagofbooger

    eatabagofbooger Initiate (60) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    What to expect: a lame frat party with okay beers. Aright, maybe we're a bit spoiled in Portland and the beer list would seem amazing in another town, but there are dozens of events with way better taplists in town, including a couple that occur within a week or so of OBF. Also, people will say that the crowds are better if you go on Wednesday or Thursday afternoon. While it's a little bit less of a zoo, it's still just about the worst crowd I've come across at a beer event in town.
    chimneyjim likes this.
  5. Spaceloaf

    Spaceloaf Initiate (165) Nov 27, 2008 Oregon

    I kind of agree with booger. OBF is the only fest that I deliberately skip each year. Most of the beers are blander "crowd pleasers," there's a ton of "frat boy" types that are just there to get wasted, and the lines get so long on the weekend that you can't even tell what you're in line for.

    The Portland International Beer Fest is my much preferred July festival (it's way more expensive, but it actually has interesting beer and the cost helps limit the crowd).

    If your goal is to try the best Portland has to offer, you would be much better off just hitting up breweries and some key bars (Bailey's Tap Room, Apex, etc.).
    eatabagofbooger likes this.
  6. pintplease

    pintplease Initiate (0) Dec 20, 2008 Oregon

    I understand that Preston has confirmed that the Buzz Tent is taking a breather this year. :slight_frown:
  7. wo87810

    wo87810 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 Florida

    Wow, thank you all for the tips. I was planning on attending Wednesday and Thursday most likely, it sounds like that may be enough for me to get my fill. After OBF, I'll be in Oregon and Washington for the better part of two weeks, so I plan to check out plenty of breweries, as well as state and national parks.

    I was thinking about seeing Cascade, Hair of the Dog, and a few others, but these are the ones I have heard about in Florida. It seems certain that there are some awesome smaller breweries/brewpubs that I haven't heard of, so if any locals have a suggestion, I'm all ears.

    Thanks again!
  8. msubulldog25

    msubulldog25 Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2005 Oregon

    Read through this thread, which was started about 2 months ago, re: breweries, dining and things to do/see in and around Portland.
  9. RedMedicine

    RedMedicine Aspirant (237) Jun 3, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Add National Forests to that list. Some of the best camping and hiking can be done outside of the typically more restricted National/State Parks.

    Portlandhikersfieldguide.org is a great site. Check out the trip reports forum.

    Some of my favorite breweries in OR:

    pFriem in Hood River.
    Everybodys in White Salmon, WA.
    Boneyard, Crux and Goodlife in Bend.
    Fort George in Astoria.
    Solera in Parkdale.

    But there are plenty of threads on here with recs for Oregon and Washington. You will really have to do some digging, I visited a few times and never even found what are some of my favorite places now.

    Also, I think you will have a great time at OBF. I love it every year despite some of the warnings above being true.
  10. wo87810

    wo87810 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 Florida

    Fantastic suggestions! You guys are awesome. Thank you so much.
  11. skourtis

    skourtis Initiate (138) Sep 1, 2006 Oregon

    Also, a strong recommendation is to bring some awesome Florida beers to share with Oregon BAs. If we are sharing our beer with you, you must return in kind :slight_smile:

    In all seriousness, a lot of BAs come in to town for OBF and there are often a few bottleshares around town if you are interested.
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