North American Organic Brewers Festival 2010

It's that time of year again, and the 6th Annual North American Organic Brewers Festival is upon us.  What does that mean?   Beer, sun, music, and a bit of organic education.  This year, there are around 50 different beers that cover a huge variety of styles, including: Witbiers, Belgian-style Scotch Ales, Biere de Gardes, Blondes, Fruit Wheats, Spruce Ales, Bohemian Pilsners, Saisons, Browns, Lagers, Ryes, and on and on (see the beer list below).

The premise that sets this festival apart from others is the focus on organic production and sustainable brewing and festival practices.  From  "The festival goes beyond beer tasting by striving to be the most earth friendly beer festival in North America.  Festival attendees sample beer from reusable and compostable cornstarch glasses made from domestically grown corn by a zero-waste, solar powered company.  Electricity needs [for the festival] are met with a combination of biodiesel and solar generators.  Volunteers wear organic cotton, bamboo and hemp t-shirts, and all even signage is reusable."

North American Organic Brewers Festival 2010

My first visit to the festival this year was Friday at lunch time.  This is the best time to enjoy the fest.  While sampling around 10 beers, I stood behind one person in only one of the beer "lines".  That means that 98% of the time, I just walked right up to the server, put my token down, and got a taster with no one else in sight.  But, not everyone can escape from work on a Friday afternoon.   To see how the "other half" lives, I went back on Saturday around 3:00pm to see a totally different sight.  Several lines, 30 people deep, greeted me at the token booth.  Those same lines were at almost every single beer at the festival.  For the most part, the lines go pretty quick, five minutes at the most.   Besides, you'll probably have a beer in your hand anyway, so there's no real rush.  While in line, I rubbed elbows with a lot of people talking about the beer: taste, aromas, mouthfeel, style adherence, etc.  It's always nice having intelligent, snob-free conversations at Portland beer events.   Plus, I think everyone was exceptionally friendly after our 9 months of Oregon rain that finally ended.

One oddity, that will hopefully be corrected for next year, were the "Where's Waldo" beers.  If you're like me, you probably mark the must-try beers in your program and find the line under the correct brewery sign.   Unfortunately, there were a couple of beers that were placed sporadically around the beer tent, not assigned to their brewery area.   For example, I stood in the Upright Brewing line for the Rose City Seven only to find out that my time was spend in the wrong line and I had to get to the back of another around the corner if I wanted to try that beer.  This also happened with Oakshire Brewing's Mud Puddle which was not under the brewery sign at the front of the line, but around the corner at another are of the tent.

All in all, I had a great time, met a bunch of new people, and had a lot of great beers.  For about $25, I spent the afternoon in the sunshine with friends, ate, listened to music, and tried about 14 different organic beers.  I will do that as often as I can.

2010 North American Brewers Festival Beer List:

Brewery Beer Style
Alameda Brewhouse El Torero Organic IPA IPA
Ambacht Brewing Ambacht Golden Rye Ale Belgian RyePA
Ambacht Black Gold Porter Belgique Porter
Bison Organic Beer Reunion Belgian Style Scotch Ale
BridgePort Brewing Co BridgePort Blue Heron Pale Ale
Captured by Porches Invasive Species IPA IPA
Two Kats Kolsch Kolsch
Deschutes Brewery Green Lakes Organic Ale Amber
Eel River Brewing Co Organic Acai Berry Wheat Fruit Wheat Beer
Organic IPA IPA
Elliott Bay Brewery Organic Vanilla Bean Stout Stout
Organic Hop Von Boorian Belgian Style IPA
Fish Brewing Co Fish Tale Organic IPA American IPA
Fish Tale Organic Blonde Ale American Style Blonde
Fort George Brewery Vortex IPA IPA
Quick Wit Belgian Style Wheat
Hopworks Urban Brewery Organic Rise Up Red NW Red Ale
Organic HUB Lager Czech Style Pilsner
Kona Brewing Co Oceanic Organic Belgian Style Saison
Laht Neppur Brewing Co Strawberry Cream Ale Organic Fruit Beer
Peach Hefeweizen Organic Fruit Beer
Laurelwood Brewing Co Organic Free Range Red American ESB
Organic Green Elephant IPA IPA
Lompoc Brewing Co Flower of the Gods IPA IPA
Bald Guy Brown Brown
Lucky Lab No Pity Pale Dry Hop Pale Ale
Overlook Amber Amber Ale
MateVeza Yerba Mate Black Lager Black Lager
McMenamins Concordia Concordia Ryenoceros Rye IPA
McMenamins Crystal A Midsummer's Night Wheat Fruit Beer
Natian Brewery Makeshift Golden Ale
New Belgium Brewing Trip Orgone IPA
Mothership Wit Wit
Oakshire Brewing Mud Puddle Porter
Subtext Organic PNW Red Ale Red Ale
Pelican Pub & Brewery Heiferweizen Belgian Style Witbier
Pike Brewing Co Naughty Nellie Golden Artisan Ale Golden English Ale
Pike Dry Wit Wit
Rock Bottom Brewery Oregonic Amber NW Amber Ale
Roots Organic Brewery Gruit Kolsch Kolsch
Jimmie's Friend Imperial IPA
Santa Cruz Mtn Brewing People's Porter Porter
Witches' Wit Belgian Wit
Terminal Gravity Brewing Terminal Gravity Organic IPA IPA
Ukiah Brewing Cos Emancipator Doppelbock Doppelbock
Orr Springs IPA IPA
Uncommon Brewers Siamese Twin Ale Belgian Style Dubbel
Bacon Brown Ale West Coast Nut Brown
Upright Brewing Co Five Farmhouse Pale
Rose City Seven Barrel aged Saison with Flowers
Utah Brewer's Cooperative Squatters Organic Amber Ale Amber Ale
Wandering Aengus Cider Wandering Aengus Semi-Dry Semi-Dry Cider
Widmer Bros Brewing Co Teaser XPA Extra Pale Ale
Wildfire Cider Pirate's Plank Bone Dry Organic Estate Style
Ember Semisweet Organic Estate Cider

Check out the rest of the photos here.