What is now the new tradition as a part of the Oregon Brewers Festival, each year the festival now features top breweries from a selected country. This began in 2014 when the OBF founder Art Larrance invited brewers from the Netherlands to be part of Oregon’s premier beer festival. This year the festival invited some of these brewers to return along with inviting an entire new group of brewers from New Zealand.
The exchange is a partnership between the Oregon Brewers Festival and Beervana, New Zealand’s preeminent craft beer festival. In August 2014 a select group of Portland brewers travelled to Wellington to attend Beervana. When describing their city’s passion for beer, the folks from Tuatara Brewery say, “It probably helps that we’re based in Wellington where beer appreciation is not so much a cult as a full-blown religion.”
Earlier this week Grow Wellington hosted a reception for the New Zealand brewers’ arrival to Portland. At this event all five breweries poured various beers that each of them shipped over. A few of theses beers are pouring at OBF while others we hope will make their way around town in the coming weeks. There are some fabulous beers being produced in New Zealand.
But this is not all that is happening this week while these brewers are here in Portland. Earlier this week the brewers collaborated with five local Portland brewers the brew a beer that us Portlanders will be able to taste in the coming weeks.
Here is a breakdown of the collaborations that took place.
When we spoke to Jos Ruffel from Garage Project, he was very excited to be here in Portland and to brew with a brewing legend John Harris at Ecliptic Brewing. The beer that this duo brewed is a big Pilsner using New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops.
Mike Neilson of Panhead Custom Ales had the opportunity to brew with Widmer Brothers Brewing at its pilot brewery in the Rose Quarter. The resulting beer from the brew day will be a dry hopped IPA in the 7% ABV range. Fortunately for those in New Zealand, Widmer plans on shipping some kegs back to Neilson’s homeland.
Parrot Dog Brewery teamed up to brew a beer with Gigantic Brewing on Monday of this week. For an added bonus the two breweries invited Robbert Uyleman of Het Uiltje from the Netherlands. These three breweries teamed up on a 3-way collaboration to produce an India Wheat Lager. Sun Never Sets is the beer’s name and is based on an American Wheat beer using New Zealand hops, German Pilsner Malt, and Czech Pils yeast.
The most remarkable story of these collaborations comes from Stu McKinlay of Yeastie Boys. On Sunday while roaming Portland on a bicycle McKinlay took a hard crash on his bike. Brushing it off he never went to the hospital after this crash. Then on Monday morning he arrives at Lompoc Brewing to brew with Bryan Keilty but could barely move his body. Keilty eventually took him to the hospital to find out that McKinlay broke both of his arms. Prior to getting himself checked out at the hospital the two of them brewed Pacific Ale, an unfiltered American Wheat beer using what else, New Zealand hops.
Come Meet the Kiwis when these five fine brewers are in town during the Oregon Brewers Festival and for a special event on Thursday, July 23 at Belmont Station. If you cannot make it to tonight’s event the Kiwi brewers will still be in town hanging out at OBF through July 26th at Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. Its well worth checking out some of the great beer that these brewers are crafting in its ever-growing craft beer scene.
Belmont Station 4500 SE Stark St. Portland, OR 97215
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.