Movie: My First Oregon Brewers Festival July 25th, 7:00pm Living Room Theater

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure to sit in on a panel discussion and mingle with the main men who made the Oregon Brewers Festival happen. Preceding the panel, they had the first showing for the Oregon Brewers Guild documentary: My First Oregon Brewers Festival which has held at McMenamin's Mission Street Theater.

The panel consisted of:

  • Art Larrance, producer of the documentary, co-founder of Portland Brewing Company in 1986 (now with Cascade Brewing), played a crucial part in organizing the very first OBF
  • Rob and Kurt Widmer
  • Fred Eckhardt, beer writer who wrote about the festival from the earliest days
  • Karl Ockert, former brewmaster for BridgePort Brewing
  • John Foyston from the Oregonian acted as moderator for the discussion

This was by far the best panel discussion ever. With a frosty Purple Haze (a delicious Marionberry (thanks @mmcooljam) Boysenberry Wheat) in hand I took my place as a "fly on the wall," so-to-speak. It was like watching a bunch of regular Joes reminiscing about the good 'ol days. There were only 22 breweries at the very first OBF and all of the volunteers were friends. Now fast-forward to the festival today and it consists on 2200 volunteers and pours over 80 different beers! One little factoid I was shocked by is the price of a token, it was $1 then and its $1 now—zero inflation! With all of the banter, the hazy recollection—if the festival was one or two days (it was two because they breweries were out beer!), and Mr. Eckhardt's father's first "homebrew" recipe (it was 10 gallons water, 10 pounds of sugar, and 1 pound Blue Ribbon malt flavored extract, in case you were wondering)—I couldn't help but feel proud-proud to be a craft beer consumer. I'm pretty sure I'll be inviting these guys to my next party—they're kind of a big deal.

Now for the documentary, while the cinematography is...interesting, the story is one to be enjoyed by craft beer drinkers and industrial swill drinkers alike. The documentary walks through the whole festival from the parade and beginning festivities to the down and dirty beer drinking, whilst interviewing the purveyors of such an iconic Portland festival.

Cheers to you Art, Fred, Karl, Kurt, and Rob! Because of you Portland gets to actually taste their beer and for that, I thank you.

If you want the opportunity to watch this little gem, it will be playing again on July 25th at 7:00pm at the Living Room Theater.