The Beer Days of Summer

Man, I sure do love the summers in Portland. That is, when they finally come around. Is it really 57 degrees and cloudy out again?

Anyway, what I love most about the summer besides all those beautiful blue skies and warm sunny days are the beer festivals. It’s truly absurd how many of them there are. It seems like every other week, somebody somewhere is putting 100 beers or more up for grabs. But with so many beer festivals on the horizon, it’s easy to miss out on the truly great ones, so for your convenience, I’ve put together a handy cheat sheet on this summer’s top festivals.

June 27-29: North American Organic Brewers Festival—Depending on who you ask, organic beer is either a healthier, more natural, and better-tasting beer or it’s a giant gimmick. I’m on the fence. But I do know that when solid local breweries like Double Mountain, Hair of the Dog, and Roots are joining forces with international sensations like Samuel Smith, Dupont, and Pinkus Mueller, it’s cause for celebration and experimentation. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what a foreign organic beer tastes like, in addition to finding some new west coast breweries that I could recommend to Geoff for the bar.

July 18-20: Portland International Beerfest—A mere staggering distance from Bailey’s Taproom in the Pearl, the International Beerfest is promising 130 beers from 15 different countries. I’m ashamed to say that my foreign beer knowledge is severely limited. While I love a solid German hefeweizen, a Belgian saison, or a Czech Pilsner, I’m a novice when it comes to which breweries are the best and who represents the styles most successfully. So, the opportunity to take three days and really get to know all the wonderful beer being brewed in the rest of the world is a really alluring proposition. But even better is tasting some of the truly unique and rare styles of beer that you won’t find anywhere else.

July 24-27: Oregon Brewers Festival—This is the big one, folks. Going on its 21st year, this is the beer festival to crush all others, held at the Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, less than half a mile from Bailey’s. This year is especially cool, because they’re celebrating the 21st amendment, which as any good beer fan knows, is the amendment that overturned prohibition. As usual, this will be the beer festival with the most breweries represented with the majority of those breweries hailing from the west coast. It’s the best party for craft beer out there and it goes on for four freakin’ days.

August 2: The Bailey’s One Year/Tons o’ Beer AnniBREWsary– What’s this? First you’re hearing of a special shindig going down at your favorite beer bar? I’ve said too much already, but stay tuned for more details…

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