PORTLAND, ORE – The Organic Beer Fest is celebrating its 12th annual event this summer with a new date and a shortened name. Formerly known as the North American Organic Brewers Festival, the truncated Organic Beer Fest will take place August 25 through 28 at Overlook Park (1599 N Fremont St) in Portland. Event hours are Noon to 9pm Thursday through Saturday and Noon to 5pm Sunday. And while the name has changed, the motto remains the same: Drink Organic, Save the Planet, One Beer at a Time!
“Everybody already refers to us as the organic beer fest, since we’re the only one in the world that we know of,” explained festival director Craig Nicholls of the name change. “It made sense to go with a name that still reflects the event’s mission, but is less of a mouthful to say!”
The Organic Beer Fest focuses on raising awareness about organic beer and sustainable living. The event serves up 55 organic beers, meads and ciders from more than 40 breweries. Some of the products are certified organic, but many participants brew a one-off organic batch just for the event. Styles range from traditional ambers, Belgians and IPAs, to products that are out of norm, including an ale made with wild grown Chaga mushrooms, an organic Mexican lager brewed with lime and sea salt, and a golden hemp shandy.
The event also offers live local music all four days, food and snack vendors and sustainability-oriented vendors, all in a beautiful park setting. The Organic Beer Fest is a family friendly event, and minors are welcome with parents. A kids’ area offers art activities, face painting and a handcrafted soda garden with complimentary Crater Lake Soda for minors and designated drivers.
Admission into the festival is free. The purchase of a $7 reusable, compostable cornstarch cup is required for tasting beer, as are tokens, which sell for $1 apiece. Most products cost four tokens for a full cup and one token for a taste; select beers and ciders may cost additional tokens. Patrons receive an extra token with a validated Tri-Met ticket or a ticket from the Hopworks Bike Corral (one discount per person).
The Organic Beer Fest is known as the most earth-friendly beer festival on the planet. Festival attendees sample beer from reusable and compostable cornstarch cups made from domestically grown corn by a zero-waste, solar-powered company; volunteers receive organic cotton t-shirts; food vendors are required to employ sustainable practices; and onsite recycling stations are provided for festival waste.
The festival encourages responsible drinking and urges patrons to take advantage of the MAX Light Rail; the Yellow Line Overlook Park Station is adjacent to the festival. Attendees can also take advantage of the Hopworks Bike Corral, where volunteers watch over bikes for free.
The Organic Beer Fest follows Oregon Tilth labeling guidelines to determine if a product can qualify for the event. “100% Organic” means the product contains 100% organically produced ingredients, excluding added water and salt. Any processing aids used must be organic; “Organic” means the product uses at least 95% organic ingredients, excluding added water & salt; and “Made with Organic Ingredients” means the product contains at least 70% organic ingredients, excluding added water and salt. The majority of the fest’s participants fall in the 95% category. The organic percentage of each product is noted in the complimentary printed program so attendees are aware of what they are drinking.