Oregon’s agriculture importance is something that shines far beyond the Pacific Northwest. Some of the country’s finest orchards sit a little over an hour east of Portland in and around Hood River in the scenic Columbia River Gorge. Just south of Hood River lies a small town, Parkdale that is in the midst of the Hood River County Fruit Loop. This is where the inaugural Kriekfest will take place on Saturday, July 9 beginning at Noon.
Kriekfest will live up to its name as only cherry beers along with a few cherry ciders will be served. The festival’s origin dates back to 2013 when festival founder, Brian Yaeger, was at Solera Brewery with Jason Kahler, its brewmaster and co-owner, sampling beers while taking in the scenic view of Mt. Hood to the south. With bountiful orchards all around while cherry orchards will be in full harvest, this will be the perfect spot to host Kriekfest.
With only five months to go before the inaugural Kriekfest takes place, tickets are now on sale. Advance tickets are $25.00 each ($27.54 after fees) and include a commemorative Kriekfest glass along with 5 drink tickets for 4 oz. pours each. Additional tokens for 4 oz. samples will be available on site. If available, admission will be $28.00 at the gate; designated drivers and minors enter free. Don’t delay ordering tickets here through Mercury Ticketing as tickets are limited to 500.
The brewery lineup has been evolving since Kriekfest was first announced on July 9, 2015. But don’t fret, this is a good thing as now there have been some intriguing additions including a collaboration from Cascade Brewing and The Rare Barrel. There will also be two beers from Austin, Texas’s Jester King Brewery. Then on the foreign front festival organizers hope to increase the Belgian imports from the current three breweries that include Cantillon, De Ranke and Drie Fonteinen.
As with any festival the brewery and beer lineup is subject to change. The complete list can be viewed at kriekfest.com/pouring-at-fest.html. Here is a list of 2016 participants.
Allagash (Portland, ME) – Nancy
Almanac (San Francisco, CA) – Dogpatch Sour aged on cherries and vanilla beans
Block 15 (Corvallis, OR) – Kriek
Cantillon (Brussels, Belgium) – Kriek
Cascade (Portland, OR) – Kriek
Cascade/Rare Barrel collaboration (Portland/Berkeley) – Forces Unknown (blended sour blonds aged on cherries and figs)
Culmination (Portland, OR) – Kriek 2015
De Ranke (Dottignies, Belgium ) Kriek De Ranke
Dieu du Ciel (Montréal, Canada) – Solstice d’Été aux Cerises
Since Kriekfest is being held in a rural setting along the Fruit Loop, festival attendees are being encouraged to camp in the area. If this is something that you’re considering its better to prepare early as the nearest campground, Toll Bridge Park is only a 2-mile walk to the east. There may also be closer camping options closer to the festival that if secured will be announced on the Kriekfest website. For other area info check out the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 20 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 Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter at @hopapalooza.