This past weekend was packed with beer events all over the city, making picking just one a near impossible task. One of the standout events however was Saraveza’s 6th Annual IIPA Fest. The festival featured 48 IIPAs rotating through 30 taps and a separate outdoor tent dedicated to 4 rotating Berliner Weisse handles. Admission for the festival was $20, which bought you a commemorative glass and 10 four oz. pours. For those uninterested in paying an admission fee, Saraveza continued to operate as it normally would; serving their full menu and offering full pours of beers served behind the bar.
As mentioned above this was Saraveza’s 6th year of holding their IIPA festival, and it shows. While the bar, sidewalk, and Bad Habit Room were packed with festival patrons, lines moved quickly and efficiently. For varying amounts of tickets customers were given the option to receive 4oz, 8oz, and 12oz pours of beers; allowing drinkers to either taste through the list or stick to large pours of a few favorites. The “Berliner Weisse Oasis” was another great option; possibly the only style that comes close to matching the intensity of American IIPAs with sometimes as little as a quarter of the alcohol.
The tap list was a well curated mix of classic, new, and festival unique IIPAs. Classic examples of the style such as Russian River’sPliny the Elder were served next to newcomers like Culmination and Wild Ride. The standout beers of the festival however were the IIPAs brewed specifically for the event. The Breakside and Saraveza collaboration Mic Drop didn’t disappoint with big tropical fruit and citrus notes and an underlying onion/garlic aroma. Gigantic Brewery’s “Triple Dry Hopped” Ginormous was another standout, which had such a huge grapefruit/orange aroma it was reminiscent of Stigel Radler.
Overall another well executed festival put on by one of Portland’s most respected beer bars. This festival not only allows drinkers to compare IIPAs from their favorite breweries but also a great showcase of new hop varietals and the constant shift towards a lighter, drier, “more American” IPA.
One of Brewpublic's more recent contributors, Ryan Spencer is also a bartender at Bailey’s Taproom and The Upper Lip. He was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and aside from leaving to attend the University of Oregon has lived here ever since. Upon graduation Ryan has worked in various breweries holding several positions throughout the Portland area including Gigantic Brewing, Hopworks Urban Brewery and Deschutes PDX Pub. He is a Certified Cicerone and Certified BJCP judge, and recently passed the Advanced Cicerone Exam.