Initial Thoughts: 2013 Oregon Brewers Festival in Review
July 25, 2013
by Scott Schwab
The first Wednesday ever of the Oregon Brewers Fest is now in full swing and I was able to partake in a portion of it. These tidbits may help others navigate some of the next four days of debauchery (for my preview, check here):
- Wednesday is no secret: Although I timed my visit after the paraders had most likely cleared out and before the happy hour crowd arrived, there was still a healthy turnout on Wednesday afternoon. Beer lines were mercifully short to non-existant, but most areas still felt 'full'. I imagine it will only get worse from here on out, so prepare for crowds.
- Bring your own water: The only substantial lines I experienced were at the water stations due to a combination of the heat and the low flow on the taps. Hopefully they adjust the water pressure, but if not you would be wise to bring your own and avoid at least one line.
- Glass is superior: The switch to glass this year is a very welcome change. Every aspect of the tasting experience (visual, aroma and flavor) is better with glass than plastic. I do miss the mug shape a bit, but I did not mind the three ounce taster portion - more than enough to get a feel for the beer in question.
- Southern front changes should be retained: The movement of the South Tent closer to the river and away from the beer trailers appears to be a smart move. In years past, many people have probably tripped over the tent stakes after getting their cups filled. With the tent pushed away, there is plenty of room around the beer trailers to figure out which line is the right one (as long as everyone practices appropriate Beer Fest Etiquette).
- The mobile app is not really an app: When the illustrious Chris Crabb pointed out the sign for information on the OBF mobile app, I blew her off thinking I could just go to my App Store and search out the app. Soon enough I discovered the only thing that turned up in my App search was the 2012 edition. Turns out that it is actually a mobile guide that can be easily accessed by scanning the QR code on the sign or on page 47 of the program. I would have preferred a stand-alone app for accessibility purposes, but the the QR option is a good compromise.
- Sleeves are optional: If you were questionning whether or not you could rock that vintage tank top from the 80's (which apparently is back in style), question no more and bust it out. I felt foolish wearing a short sleeve shirt.
In terms of the beer, opinions are like you know what but for what it is worth here are my tasting notes on the ones I got to on opening day (in alphabetical order):
- Boulder Pump up the Jam: The description states how the Oregon blueberries added during fermentation impart a 'juicy, jammy fruit flavor and aroma'. I enjoyed the flavor but was not a fan of the aroma. This is one that would have probably faired better in the plastic mug.
- Boundary Bay Double Dry-Hopped Bravo Pale Ale: This one was not on my must try list, but I was drawn in by the double dry-hopped and was not disappointed.
- Dick's Pulp Friction: Dick got the right mix of citrus from the orange peel and grapefruit zest with the hop appeal from the Magnum and Mt. Hood hops.
- Dunedin Chronicle 11: Subtropical IPA: Dunedin crossed the line from interesting beer to novelty act here. My palette is not advanced enough to isolate what turned me off on this beer, but I was glad I only had a taste.
- Gigantic & Juice: Gigantic calls this a 'beermosa' and I think that is a very accurate description. The aroma is full on juice (I got mostly grapefruit, but pineapple and tangerine most certainly contributed to the nose) but the flavor is a good balance between juice and beer. At 6% ABV, this one could be dangerous.
- Oakshire OBF 26: I had the good fortune of stumbling into a full pour on this one and could not be happier about it. I am not sure how they were able to so perfectly blend 26 different ingredients together in a 26 IBU beer, but they did a hell of a job.
- The Dude's Grandma's Pecan Brown: I really enjoyed my taste portion of the Pecan Brown, but I question The Dude's decision to make this their flagship beer. I think this beer would be overly sweet and cloying in a full pint. However, I know some people who cannot get enough pecan pie at Thanksgiving and this beer is for them.
Hopefully this gives you some intel going into the next four days of OBF. Enjoy the Fest!
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