Plenty of bike parking available at the start of BIKETOBEERFEST

The fourth annual BIKETOBEERFEST was held last Saturday at Hopworks Urban Brewery in SE Portland under bright sunshine and blue skies. Even though this was the intended result of moving the event up over a month, I know some people would have preferred a bit cooler temperatures to enjoy some of the heavier beers. Of the 13 beers on tap, two were barrel aged (Kentucky Christmas Abominable Ale and Army of Darkness Imperial Stout) and two others were 8.5% ABV or more (Belgian Abbey Dark Strong Ale and Ace of Spades Imperial IPA), not to mention the Survival Stout. On the lighter side, folks found refreshment with the HUB Organic Lager, Bike Beer Kolsch and the Radler (70% HUB Lager and 30% house-made lemonade). Rounding out the tap list were Hopworks IPA, Deluxe Organic Ale, Velvet ESB, Belgian Pale Ale and Double Dry Hop IPX. The one miss out of the group, in my opinion, was the Radler. I felt like the percentages may have been flipped to 70% lemonade because that was all I tasted, but I am sure many enjoyed the thirst quenching aspect of it. The surprise hit for me was the IPX, a single-hop ale made with Cascades. Generally with the single hop ales, a brewer is showcasing some of the less well known or more distinctive flavored hops like Sorachi Ace or Nelson Sauvin. The venerable Cascade has been around since the 1970's and is a workhorse in many Northwest ales, but I really enjoyed the way the IPX put the spotlight on its flavor and aroma.

On the bike front, the event certainly did not disappoint. Ample bike parking was available as both the upper and lower parking lots were filled with the types of bike racks you would see at a triathlon. Bike N Hike set up their tent and had a tech onsite offering free repairs. Generally these services are limited to brake adjustments, chain lubes and the like, but the bike they were working on when I visited actually was missing its quick release axle on the back wheel. Luckily that bike was not in use during the BMX stunt demo or it could have gotten ugly. Kids and adults were entertained with test rides on custom bikes of all shapes and sizes, including a wheel chair converted into a hand cycle. I did not see the Hopworks Pub Runner rolling around, but this event may fuel more sales. The highlight for at least the testosterone fueled was the Huffy Huck. Last year's Champion returned shirtless to defend his title and his fanny pack did not hinder another stellar performance. Young and old, male and female, all took part in the toss and they may need to sacrifice a new Huffy next year after the beating it took this year.

The Portland beer scene in a nutshell: IPAs, beards and tattoos.

All in all, I think a good time was had by all. BIKETOBEERFEST probably is not for everyone with its decidedly family friendly focus (Sidenote: I almost got side-swiped a couple times by the bike monstrosity that was the equivalent of the cow train that any farm worth its salt has for transporting the little ones), lack of car parking and tap list limited to Hopworks beers. I don't know anyone that does not enjoy HUB beers, but I am sure there are plenty of haters out there. If they do stick with the August date, though, they may need to be stripped of the their title of 'The World’s Only Bike-In Oktoberfest Party'. The Bike-In part can be kept, but the weather and the beer selection do not exactly remind me of Oktoberfest. In their defense, they do serve a variety of sausages instead of the pizza they are better known for and you can enjoy your beer and sausage at long family style tables under large tents. Tipping the scales in their favor  would be the shotgunning of the 16 ounce HUB Pounders that Christian Ettinger led on the main stage and the modified beer pong Friends of Trees had in their tent. Keep sprinkling a little binge drinking into the itinerary every year and they can probably keep the title. Either way, I will be back next year to see how they top this year's performance.