Portland Fruit Beer Festival 2011
Portland Beer Week June 6-16 Events Calendar

It's great to be a beer drinker in Portland. When the sun begins to drive the rain out, Portland starts throwing huge beer parties: hundreds of thousands come to our festivals, there are month long events, week long events, and sporadically sprinkled day parties throughout the spring and summer. Not to undervalue our amazing cold and wet weather events, but Portland really goes crazy (and goes outside) for the sunshine and beer.

Portland Beer Week is a newer addition to the annual lineup of beer-centric activities. What sets it apart from the other Portland events is the thread of intimacy that runs through the events. No, unfortunately there aren't kissing booths on every corner, but many of the events do bring you face to face with big and small names in the West Coast brewing industry. Events like the Brewery Owner Summit and the Wild/Sour Barrel-Aged Beer Seminar really open up the personal side to the industry through casual conversations and great stories from people immersed in the industry.

There are also events focused on regions and breweries. Check out some great and exclusive beer pulls from Eugene at the Eugene Beer Summit or from Colorado during Colorado Beer Day. Stop by any of the single beer release events like the Double Mountain ClusterF#ck Release Party or the collaborative Breakside Brewery/Gigantic Brewing Portland Beer Week Bottle Release Party.

One fest that I keep missing is the Rye Beer Fest. I always have intentions to go, but inevitably, something gets in the way. As a homebrewer, rye is one of my favorite ingredients. Done right, it can add a great spicy character to any beer. For me, it reaches it's pinnacle when that rye spice can sit at the base of a nice, big earthy and citrusy hop character in a Pale or IPA. But if you really want to see what rye can do in all different styles of beer, the Rye Beer Fest is the place to be. It's not often to come across a rye beer showcase like this, so get out and explore your grains!

Also, in the alliterative category, you can catch the Beer and Boobs event: Travel by bus to Portland's other great industry—stripclubs.

Hmmm, I probably should have used the word boobs later in the article because now half of the readers have left and are now tangentially searching for boobs. And if they weren't before, they are now. Honestly, I lit that firecracker on purpose as that may create less of a crowd at one of my favorite events: the Portland Beer and Cheese Festival. Of course, I want it to be a success, but I also want it to be mine, all mine. Last year's event was awesome, with some amazing pairings created by Steve Jones, cheesemonger from the Cheese Bar. My only strange complaint was that there was too much cheese with each pairing. Believe me, that's a very hard sentence to write, as I was a firm believer that "too much" and "cheese" can never belong in the same sentence. With so many delicious pairings, I was completely stuffed by the time I got to the trance-inducing Stilton and Block 15 Figgy Pudding pairing. Stuffed sure, but I smashed that delicious pairing down. This year, if the portions appear to be a similar size, I'll nibble through half, pocket the rest, then make my own pairings after I've gone through the whole list.

With 50 events listed this year, you should have no problem finding a huge handful of beer activities during this year's Portland Beer Week! Plus, if you want two passes (with glasses and tasting tickets) to the kickoff party on Thursday, enter our contest by Wednesday for a chance to win!