Billed as the largest outdoor beer festival in the country, the 26th annual Oregon Brewers Festival drew 85,000 people last month.
This is an amazing event held in a large park on the Willamette River in downtown Portland. Eighty-four beers were on tap.
The weather was good and the beer excellent. The beers were mostly from Oregon, but there were also brews from Washington, Montana, California, Missouri, Ohio, Delaware, Utah, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota and Florida. There was a large variety of beers: hefeweizens, cream ales, Belgians, IPAs, lagers and dark beers.
As a hop head, my favorite was an IPA from Gigantic Brewing (Portland) that had grapefruit, pineapple and tangerine juices giving it a very citrusy flavor. I'm a little embarrassed to say I also really enjoyed Peaches and Cream Ale from Fearless Brewing (Estacada, Ore.). It had a really nice peach finish to the hops and malt.
The festival organizers put up large U.S. and world maps for attendees to pin where they're from. At about 80 per cent of the way through the event there were 20 pins in Tucson and surrounding area.
This is a must event for serious (and not so serious) beer aficionados. And, you can't beat Portland summers.
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From the banks of the Willamette River to the playing field in the Kino Sports Complex, 2500 E. Ajo Way: The 27th Annual Great Tucson Beer Festival will be held at Kino (after being at Hi Corbett Field for many years) from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Sept. 28
Proceeds benefit Sun Sounds of Arizona, the organization that broadcasts readings over special radio frequencies to the visually impaired. Board member Don Phillips says there will be more than 100 beers and food from more than 20 local restaurants. The event has grown considerably over the years and the proliferation of Arizona craft beers gives the festival a real local flavor.
The $50 general admission includes beer and food (there is also an $80 VIP ticket). This should be a great event. Buy tickets at azbeer.com
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While I was in Oregon last month, Dragoon Brewery Co., 859 W. Grant Road, was featured in the Wall Street Journal in a story (with color photo) about the growing popularity of growlers. Dragoon's Tristan White told the Journal growlers comprise about half the brewery's sales.
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Sentinel Peak Brewing Co. was hoping for an August opening but plumbing got in the way.
Sentinel's Jeremy Hilderbrand said the entire plumbing system in the building (at Grant and Swan roads) had to be replumbed unexpectedly. The final build out is underway, with a September opening.
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Because Sentinel isn't yet in operation, Hilderbrand said the brewery's allotted keg of Heroes 19 was to be served at Tap and Bottle, 403 N. Sixth Ave., earlier this week. Heroes 19 is the American brown ale produced by Prescott Brewing in memory of the 19 wildfire firefighters who died in a wildfire in late June near Yarnell.
All 30 members of the Arizona Brewers Guild participated in the beer's production.
Hilderbrand said there were 19 hop varieties in the brew, it was 19 on the color scale and it was brewed on July 19. All of the guild members were to receive an allocation. Check with other Tucson brewers for their plans.
Paul Pedersen writes a monthly column on Tucson's beer scene. Contact him at email@example.com