Portland’s Annual Waterfront Party Is About More Than Great Beers
When I tell you that the Oregon Brewer’s Festival – held the last weekend each July in Portland, Oregon – is one of the top craft beer events in the USA, then beer aficionados are likely to start wondering about what kinds of beer are served, the breweries, the varieties, etc.
In short, all things beer.
And while the Oregon Brewer’s Festival certainly has all that – more than 80 breweries are pouring at the 2013 event, which takes place July 24-28 – it’s really about a lot more than the beer.
It’s a party!
I know this from first-hand experience because several years ago, I stumbled upon it while in Portland.
I was with a group of friends – co-workers, really, who were in town to do PR for the sports car races at Portland Raceway – when we came across the event. It was a pleasant Friday evening and several hundred people were hanging out in a park along the Willamette River drinking those great Portland beers. We had found the festival!
And it turned out to be a blast.
Frankly, we were less interested in the beer than we were in socializing with the ladies of Portland (after all, we were on the road!) and here we had ample opportunities to try our craft while downing craft beers. Portland may not have the best-looking girls in America but the gals do have the compensating virtue of loving the outdoors and drinking beer. (And to be clear, there are some cuties in Portland, just not as many head-turners as we have here in Southern California,)
The place where the beer festival is held, Waterfront Park, covers a large space, so once we struck out with one group, we could easily disappear into another area of the grounds and start all over again.
Actually, everyone we met was fun and friendly, and we wanted to keep on the move to check out the entire scene, and also to have as many of those great Portland beers – Widmer Bros., Full Sail, etc. – as possible.
And here’s another thing that makes the Oregon Brewer’s Festival one of the best in America: It lasts for several hours. And several days, too.
So unlike most beer festivals, you’re not in a rush to try every single beer in a four-hour timeframe. You’re not running around sticking a four-ounce cup in front of a jockey box, not really caring what’s coming out of the tap because you want to get your $45 worth of admission price before the cutoff point.
You can take your time at the Oregon Brewer’s Festival and you can do it on Friday night, again on Saturday and then again on Sunday if you like. Plus, it’s free to enter; you spend 7 bucks on a full-sized plastic mug and buy tickets (full beers are $4) to purchase the beers. So you go at your own pace.
Needless to say, after a fun Friday night, all we talked about the next day at the track was going back on Saturday. Thank goodness we did not have any sponsor dinners that weekend!
So I highly recommend putting the Oregon Brewer’s Festival on not just your craft beer bucket list, but your fun festivals bucket list. too.