It's that time of the year again, thank god. The 20th Annual Oregon Brewers Festival is just around the corner. This year, 73 breweries are scheduled to appear and share their wares. If you can't find a beer to fall in love with here, you've mistakenly categorized yourself as a beer lover. Maybe you should try a wine tasting instead.

The transaction is simple: choose a beer (or a short line) and trade your token in for a taste.

Oregon Brewers Festival 2006

The festival is held from Thursday, July 26th through Sunday, July 29th. The most important advice we can give is: go early! Get there when the gates open on Thursday. We don't want to hear excuses like "But, I have to work." Take a vacation day. Call in sick. Quit. Whichever choice you make, you'll be happy. There are virtually no lines and you can hop from beer to beer, usually without waiting more than 30 seconds. Of course, there is more to see and do at night, but for tasting free of these distractions, get there early.

If you are only in town for the weekend, you should still go, but just be prepared for long, long lines. On the weekends, you can actually see the lines from across the river when you drive by at 70mph on I-5. Again, it's still worth it as long as you know what to expect. Last year, more than 55,000 attended.

The festival is only about 2 blocks from the Oak St. Max station. Driving and parking can be a hassle at this event--especially if you're planning to drive home. If you can, hop on the Max and take it to the festival. It's cheap, safe, sober, and air-conditioned.