The long-running Oregon Brewers Festival is celebrating its 19th year by adding an auxiliary event to the schedule. The inaugural Oregon Brewers Festival Blind Tasting & Test, a benefit for the Oregon Blind Commission, will take place on July 26 from 5 to 9 p.m. on the festival grounds at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Tickets cost $40, which includes the 2006 souvenir festival mug, and are limited to 5,000. The event is for ages 21 and older. The Blind Tasting & Test is a prelude to the famed Oregon Brewers Festival, which will run July 27 through 30.
“The Blind Tasting & Test showcases the complexity and quality of Oregon craft beers, and we are excited to add the event to our festival lineup,” stated founder Art Larrance. “The best part is we have pledged $5 for every ticket sold to the Oregon Blind Commission, with an overall goal of donating $20,000 to the charitable organization.”
The Blind Tasting & Test begins with the tasting portion, in which a total of 24 different beers will be served: 12 IPAs brewed in Oregon, and 12 Pale Ales brewed in Oregon. Beers will be served on a tasting tray in two-ounce samples. Patrons will be encouraged to vote for the “People’s Choice,” one vote for each of the two styles. Following the tabulation, the winning brewery from each beer category will be announced, with the two winners receiving a trip to a European Beer Festival for the brewer and a guest.
For the Blind Test, patrons will be asked to identify each of the 24 beers served. Votes will be tabulated, and a winner from each category will be selected. The two winners of the identification test will also receive a trip each to a European Beer Festival for themselves and a guest.
At the conclusion of the blind test, all 24 of the beer taps will be opened and the attendees will be invited to sample beer in their souvenir mugs until the taps close at 9 p.m.
The Oregon Brewers Festival will open its gates the following day, July 27, from 4 to 9 p.m. The event will continue Friday through Saturday from Noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday from Noon to 6 p.m. Admission for entry into the festival grounds is free. A one-time purchase 2006 souvenir mug costs $4 and is required for consuming beer. Mugs from previous years will not be filled. Tokens are required for purchase of beer. Tokens cost $1 apiece. Patrons pay four tokens for a full mug, or 1 token for a taste.
Seventy-two breweries present as many handcrafted brews during the OBF.
In addition to beer, there are industry exhibits and demonstrations; food booths; vendors; live music; and a complimentary rootbeer garden for minors and designated drivers. Alternative modes of transportation are encouraged, with free bicycle parking available each day courtesy of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. The main entrance to the event is located one block from the MAX Light Rail line. Minors are permitted at the event when accompanied by a parent. Only ADA animals are allowed on the festival grounds.
The Oregon Brewers Festival takes place during Oregon Craft Beer Week, a weeklong celebration of craft beer by Oregon’s specialty breweries. This year’s Oregon Craft Beer Week begins July 22 and features a variety of special events taking place at craft breweries throughout the state, culminating with the Oregon Brewers Festival. The popular Oregon Brewers Dinner, a ticketed prelude to the festival, will take place at the festival grounds on July 25.
The Oregon Brewers Festival was founded in 1988 as an opportunity to expose the public to microbrews at a time when the craft brewing industry was just getting off the ground. Today, that industry has succeeded, especially in Oregon, a state that has more craft breweries per capita than anywhere else in the nation.
The Marriott Portland City Center is the festival’s host hotel. Reservations can be made directly at www.marriottportland.com or call 800-228-9290. For visitor information or other hotel reservations, visit www.travelportland.com or call 1.87.PORTLAND (1.877.678.5263).