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Portland, Oregon claims to have the most breweries per capita with over 96 breweries in the Portland Metropolitan area and currently 206 brewing companies operating 246 brewing facilities in 74 cities across Oregon… that’s a lot of beer!

Since moving to Portland, I’ve learned to refine my palate courtesy of a range of craft brewers. They’ve introduced me to a diverse range of beer styles including Belgians, coffee beers, cream ales, gluten free, roadless, saisons and a wide range of IPAs.

Since 1988, the Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) has sought to introduce the public to the diversity of microbrews. Held every year at the end of July, this festival currently attracts over 80,000 beer lovers to downtown Portland. Here I can go and sample a wide range of beers, many of which are brewed only for this festival.

When and where is the Oregon Brewers Festival?

This year’s 29th annual OBF will take place from July 27 through July 31 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The gates will open at 11:30am daily and the taps are open from noon to 9pm Wednesday through Saturday and then from noon to 7pm on Sunday.

Over 88 beers from craft breweries from across the United States will be on tap during this festival which will include two gluten-free beers. A complete lineup of the beers featured at this year’s festival can be found on the offical website.

Oregon beer festival logo
The 2016 logo.
The lines can get a bit long with the crowds getting boisterous over the weekend with some taps running out by Saturday afternoon. Hence, I prefer to go on a weekday during the day, when I can savor my selections while relaxing at the waterfront at a time when the festival is more calm and peaceful.

What’s on offer?

For the past three years, the festival expanded to offer an International Beer Garden, featuring a selection of beers often not seen on these shores. This year’s selection includes six breweries from Japan – Baird, Iwate Kura Beer, North Island, Shiga Kogen, Shonan and Y Market; seven breweries from The Netherlands – De Molen, Frontaal, Maximus, Oedipus, Oersoep, Oproer and Van Moll; two breweries from Germany – Brauerei Nothhaft and Lang Bräu; and one brewery from China, Jing-A. For those who fancy themselves beer nerds, brewers from each country will be available each day to converse about their beer.

While the focus on this festival remains on celebrating beer, live music and homebrew demonstrations provide additional information. Food vendors provide a decent selection of food to supplement the beer while craft vendors can enable those who are interested to take home a souvenir of their time in Portland.

How much does it cost?

Admission to this event is free but one needs to purchase a 2016 12 oz. souvenir tasting mug for $7 in order to consumer beer. A wooden token costing $1 each is required to purchase beer with a taste costing one token and four tokens for a full mug. This event is cash only and while with ATMS are available on-site, it’s best to arrive with cash in hand to avoid paying additional ATM fees.

Hops at Oregon Brewers Festival
Hops at Oregon Brewers Festival

How to get there

Is possible, avoid the downtown traffic and take public transportation instead. A Tri-Met MAX Light Rail station is situated just one block away from the main entrance, and one can easily get to many Portland area hotels and neighborhoods with ease. Also, consider cycling to the area as the festival offers free bike parking courtesy of the Hopworks Urban Brewery secure bike corral.

For more information visit www.oregonbrewfest.com. Also follow the festival on social media at Facebook.com/OregonBrewersFestival and @OregonBrewfest on Twitter and Instagram, hashtag #OBF16.

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