This was now my 4th year in a row heading down to the OBF, and this visit was just as enjoyable as the previous years.
- This is one of the most well-run festivals that I attend each year. They’ve been doing this for 22 years, and it shows. The lines to get in aren’t bad and move quickly, they’ve got a great selection of beer (especially to those of us from out of state), the food selections are enjoyable, the layout and setup is perfect, and the location is easily accessible via public transportation from just about anywhere around Portland or the suburbs. I don’t have much to complain about. As long as you go early in the day on Friday/Saturday, then the beer lines aren’t too bad at all.
- Beers that topped my list from the festival included the Widmer KGB Russian Imperial Stout, Rock Bottom Eat a Bale O’ Hops IPA , Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout, Collaborator Saison Christophe, Fifty Fifty Manifesto Pale Ale, and the Boundary Bay Amarillo Double Dry Hopped Pale Ale. There were plenty of beers in the regular lineup to keep me interested for 2 afternoons.
- The “Buzz Tent” was indeed buzzing. It looked like they had plenty of people making use of this year’s new Buzz Tent format. They had some nice beers on the list both days I looked at the board, but I had plenty to keep me busy with the regular lineup w/out spending the extra $20. If I could have gotten a couple of single samples for, say two tokens, from the tent, then I would have done that for sure.
- The open house at Hair of the Dog on Friday was a highlight of the weekend for me. First of all, I’ve been meaning to make the trip to HOTD for the past few years, but it just hadn’t worked out. It was nice to see the humble home of Alan’s laboratory where he creates all of his ass-kickin’ beers. The crowd ranged from well-known local brewers and beer scene regulars, to some beer geeks over in the corner sharing a few extra bottles they brought themselves, as well as a few people just looking for something to do after leaving the festival. Alan had four different versions of Fred on tap: Regular Fred, Fred From the Wood, Fred Flanders, and Bourbon Fred From the Wood. That’s in addition to Blue Dot Imperial IPA, Doggie Claws Barleywine and Greg, a beer made from squash that is only available commercially at Higgin’s in Portland. While all of the beers were great, the Bourbon Barrel Fred From the Wood was the hands down star of the weekend for many visitors. Take the already awesome Fred and throw in smooth, nutty bourbon, lots of vanilla and oak, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Look for this in bottles sometime next year at one of HOTD’s dock sales. The Fred Flanders was also a welcome addition to the Fred lineup. Cheers to Alan and his volunteers for putting on a great event and extending his kindness to the rest of us.
- Friday found us also visiting Bailey’s Tap Room, Amnesia Brewing, and the Horse Brass. These three places have pretty much become my favorite spots in Portland. Bailey’s is a comfortable pub with a well-thought-out tap list, Amnesia is tucked into an attractive neighborhood in the NW part of the city and has a couple of fantastic IPAs and plenty of outdoor seating to go along with their simple BBQ sausages, and the Horse Brass never disappoints with the offerings on their draft list (Although, I’m not sure I needed that Scotch Egg at 11pm…)
- On Saturday after visiting the fest for a couple of hours, we had planned to hit the Full Sail Smoker to partake in good beers & cigars, but we were dragging after our time in the mid-day heat and needed some therapeutic AC. So, we headed over to the shiny Deschutes pub over in the Pearl district. After a nice meal and beers there (Streaking the Quad, a Black IPA, and some Abyss) we eventually made our way to a place called the Moon & Sixpence in the NE part of the city (easy to get to from the MAX). This is a charming British style pub that entices you to pull up a seat at the bar and have a few pints, or you can grab a table in their large outdoor patio out back (seriously, Seattle, get some more outdoor seating…). The tap list is modest in size, but it had a few very solid offerings in the Upright #5, Terminal Gravity IPA, and a cask of North Coast Red Seal. After that stop, we had had enough beer for the weekend…it was off to see Public Enemies in the cool AC of a theater near our hotel, and then off for a good night’s sleep.
All things considered, it was another stellar trip. As always, I’ll look forward to my next trip down….which probably won’t be too long from now.
Thanks to Intrepidation on Flickr for the photo (mine aren’t online, yet).