Belgians, UFOs and Hefe Day: beer events for the week of May 13

Cans of Widmer Brothers Brewing Hefe above the Willamette River. (image courtesy of Widmer Brothers Brewing)
Just in time for Summer heat, Widmer is putting its flagship Hefeweizen in cans for the first time ever, and you can try them this Sunday at Hefe Day, a citywide celebration of one of the most popular craft beers in history. Better yet, if you’re one of the first 1,000 people to buy a can Sunday at Pioneer Courthouse Square, you’ll get a free Hefe koozy to keep the can cold. (image courtesy of Widmer Brothers Brewing)

Belgians, UFOs and Hefe Day a few of the upcoming beer events in and around Portland for the week of May 13.

10th annual Cheers to Belgian Beers
1- 9 p.m. Friday May 13, Noon-8 p.m. Saturday May 14, The North Warehouse, 723 N Tillamook St.; $20 for a souvenir glass tasting goblet and 10 tix, 21 & older only.
The popular festival features up to 70 Belgian-style beers all brewed by Oregon craft brewers, the majority of which use the same Belgian-style yeast strain, which produces white fruit esters that are balanced with clove phenolic aromas. Here’s the current list of participating breweries, beer names and styles 

Cheers to Belgian Beers takes place in The North Warehouse and in the tented parking lot. Food is available from Monk’s Deli and the Urban German Grill. Street parking is limited. And attendees are encouraged to take public transportation — the TriMet Bus Line 35 stops one block away and the Yellow Max Line stops two blocks away — or ride their bike, with complimentary bike parking available. (And thanks to the indispensable Chris Crabb for her eminently cut-and-pasteable press releases!)

McMenamins 17th Annual UFO Fest
Continues Friday May 13- Sunday May 15, McMenamins Hotel Oregon, 310 NE Evans St. McMinnville;
McMenamins fun and educational UFO Festival is now in its 17th year and is one of the most well respected, credible festivals of its kind in the nation. The event began as a way to honor the 1950 Trent case in which two local citizens witnessed and photographed an unknown craft hovering in the sky, images that are said to be some of the most credible images of UFOs to date. In 2015, more than 5,000 visitors convened in downtown McMinnville for the festival and parade. This year’s event the McMenamins UFO Festival will draw thousands of people from across the nation to celebrate and explore the largest reported mass UFO sighting in U.S. history: The Phoenix Lights of 1997 – On March 13, 1997, a massive boomerang-shaped object that was “several football fields in size” moved ever-so-slowly and silently over parts of Arizona as well as New Mexico. There were five spherical lights visible on the craft, possibly energy-emitting orbs of some sort. Many veteran pilots, air traffic controllers and astronauts concurred that no man-made aircraft with such attributes is known to exist. McMenamins will host key figures from the case, some who haven’t shared the same stage for nearly two decades or spoken publicly outside of Phoenix.

Wolves & People logo on the brewery doors. (photo by Cat Stelzer)
Wolves & People logo on the brewery doors that are made from reclaimed wood from Seattle’s famous Rainier Brewery. (photo by Cat Stelzer)

Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery Opening Day
2-8 p.m. Saturday May 14, Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery, 30203 Benjamin Rd. Newberg; 21 & older only, bring photo ID. No dogs or other pets allowed. Pets can be left in cars with windows wide open only. No parking on Benjamin Road.
Beer writer Christian Benedetti has been busy with his partners building a true farmhouse brewery in Newberg and after a two-years build out, they’re opening the doors to start pouring wild and farmhouse beers. They will be tapping six to eight beers by the glass ($5 each) on opening day and in the coming month plan to unveil the following on draft: a dry-hopped grisette, biere de garde, Belgian pale ale, assorted traditional and experimental saisons, wild ales, strong ales, a wild-ale/lager hybrid, an old ale, a wild farmhouse witbier, even a stout or two.

Widmer Hefe Day
Noon-5 p.m. Sunday May 15, Pioneer Courthouse Square; free and open to all ages; 21 and over can buy tokens for Hefe in cans.
By official proclamation, Hefe Day celebrates the 30th Anniversary of Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen, and recognizes the important role the beer has played in building the city’s now-booming beer industry, and introduces the new package to Portland: Hefe in bright yellow 12-oz. cans. Portland’s Blitzen Trapper will be headlining the event, and food will be available for purchase from Koi Fusion and PDX Sliders. There will also be a public toast with Kurt and Rob Widmer, Mayor Charlie Hales, and Commissioners Nick Fish, Amanda Fritz, and Steve Novick, who will officially declare the day as Hefe Day.
Here’s the Hefe history taken from the press release:

At the Portland City Council Meeting on May 11, Mayor Charlie Hales and the city commissioners will officially recognize the date 30 years ago when Kurt and Rob Widmer delivered the first ever keg of Hefe to the Dublin Pub.

In 1986, the owners of the Dublin Pub, Carl Simpson and Katie Bullard, were proud supporters of Widmer Brothers and carried the brewery’s first two beers, Altbier and Weizenbier. They were eager to expand their offerings and asked Kurt and Rob to make a third beer. This posed a problem, as the cobbled-together brewery had only two fermenters. To save space and time, Kurt and Rob decided to simply leave the Weizenbier unfiltered.

That improvisation was dubbed Hefeweizen, kegged specifically for the Dublin, and delivered on May 15, 1986. At first the Dublin’s patrons did not know what to think of the distinctive cloudy beer served with a lemon, but its unique appearance, bold flavor, and prominent citrus notes almost instantly shook up Portland’s beer scene.

Kurt and Rob created an entirely new beer style with Hefe, American-Style Wheat, which is officially recognized by the Beer Judging Certification Program (BJCP). Over the years, Hefe elevated Widmer Brothers Brewing to national acclaim, with the beer winning numerous Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup medals. It most recently won a gold medal at the 2016 Oregon Beer Awards, and is still the top-selling craft beer in Oregon.

Oregon Brewshed Alliance‎ Oregon Brewshed Brewfest

Oregon Brewshed Brewfest
5:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesday May 18, McMenamins Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave.; $25 includes glass, 10 tix, a Brewshed Brewfest Passport, one raffle ticket and entry.
Celebrate Oregon wildlands with great Oregon beers. All proceeds from the event benefit Oregon Wild, the environmental nonprofit working to protect Oregon’s wildlands. Taste great craft brews, vote for your favorites, enjoy patio games, learn about wildlands and watersheds across the state, and enter the raffle for great Oregon Brewshed Alliance prizes, including: one year of Widmer Brothers beer, a BridgePort Brewing beer fridge, pints & Growlers, hats, shirts and branded schwag and more.

Participating breweries include:

  • Baerlic Brewing
  • Base Camp Brewing
  • BridgePort Brewing
  • Claim 52 Brewing
  • Ex Novo Brewing
  • Falling Sky Brewing
  • Fort George Brewery
  • GoodLife Brewing
  • Hop Valley Brewing
  • Hopworks Urban Brewery
  • McMenamins
  • Migration Brewing
  • Ninkasi Brewing
  • Oakshire Brewing
  • pFriem Family Brewers
  • Portland Brewing
  • Stickmen Brewing
  • Uptown Market
  • Widmer Brothers Brewing
  • Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery
  • Worthy Brewing