Well, its that time again folks. Portland International Beerfest in the Park-blocks. This is my personal favorite fest in Portland. Its not over crowded (yet) its in a nice shady area, its dog friendly and they have some amazing beers available. Not to mention a good old standby – full pints of Pilsner Urquell for 3 tickets.
Its a great way to spend an afternoon. I usually try to go with some friends on opening day, just to beat the weekend crush. This was a good year as well, beautiful weather they opened up a touch early, which is never a bad thing to this humble critic. Beautiful weather abounded, as did a delightful number of beers (my favorites and not-so favorites to come) but for now I wanted to spend a few moments and discuss this fest in general compared to some of the other that this city tends to host.
OBF is the elephant in the room, everyone knows about it, everyone goes and everyone has the same gripes. Its too hot, its too crowded and it tends to be a place to queue for a beer and swelter like pigs at the trough, hoping to get a taste of the new Ninkasi, or Dogfish Head brew that is on offer. It’s lost its charm, is what I am trying to say! But, that is why I love the PIB so much, it’s still easy to get in, and get the rare stuff on your list. It’s a well run and well executed affair, plenty of facilities to accommodate the slightly tipsy. Koi Fusion and a Jerkey stand which is always nice. I must admit I missed the presence of Albina City Nuts this year, I love what those guys do and nuts make a perfect snack to go along with beer.
I purchased the $35 dollar big deal, which netted me entrance into the fest plus 30 tickets. It was a much better deal than the 25 dollars at the gate for 10 tickets. Sometimes kids, it pays to be waiting for things to go on sale. The doors opened this year around 3:30 and taps opened about 15 minutes later.
Last call was just slightly after 9 and most of the goers seemed to have no problem getting to try what they wanted, although there was one beer (the name escapes me) that the Alchemist wanted to try, but it was already gone after about an hour and a half into the fest. It was on the bottled side, so it does pay to hit that area of the festival up first, if there is something you want to try that is. Things are winding down at the fest now, and the vendors pack up and the volunteers pick up the cups and dog crap I must reflect it was a great year. Next year, hopefully we will see you down there.
- Drink Plenty of water: It’s hot and you’re consuming alcohol. Water is a no brainer.
- Camp a spot early. Once you get a couple of drinks in you verticality becomes a problem and unless you’re cool popping a squat the tables go fast.
- Don’t stand in front of the taps after you get your brew. There seems to be a rank tendency to hover around the pour spouts with your beer and your friends. This creates a massive traffic problem for people trying to get a refill.
- Sample a bit randomly. Things that look good aren’t always great, and things that are great don’t always look fancy from the listing.