If you’re not one of the lucky lads or lasses who will be in attendance for the country’s biggest and baddest beer fests, aka Great American Beer Fest (aka GABF), fret not. The 29th installation of the GABF September 16-18 might offer over 2,200 beers to try which is more than you’ll likely find at any other single festival, but after all, who can drink 2,200 beers in three days (We’re imagining a few friends contemplating it).
This month, do what so many people around the country are doing, take a staycation. Yes, it’s that catch word you’ve likely heard promoted from advocates of living local, but it certainly is good for the economy, and in these rougher economic times, it might be just what you need to enjoy the fruits of the Pacific Northwest, in our humble opinion, one of the greatest places to live on the planet.
Here’s a look at some events coming up in September that you might consider attending if you love Oregon craft beer
Lucky Labrador Hop Harvest, September 2
One of the coolest community-oriented craft beer events anywhere, this informal shindig is a gathering of Portland, Oregon-area folks who gather to share not only in delicious craft brew, but the labors of beer making. Believe it or not, in the olden days (actually not too long ago), hops were picked by hand. In fact in some villages like Mt. Angel, Oregon, the entire community would gather during this time of year to hand pick the hops strobiles from the bines. It can be an itchy job since the hops bines have little prickers that leave behind acids that can irritate some folks’ skin. This is why long sleeves and gloves are encouraged. Also, the Lucky Lab encourages you to bring in your own varietals of hops to share. Last year’s harvest of 215 pounds of freshly picked hops shattered all previous records (double the previous year, and triple the year prior to that). Brewers Ben Flerchinger, Casey Lyons, and Abby Sherrill will be on hand with many of the beer geek faithful to make it a fun and festive environment. The result will be a massively hopped brew known as the Mutt featuring a hodgepodge of whatever is supplied. Complementary beer and food will also be provided to those who help out. Brewer Flerchinger says “Festivities start at 3PM at the Hawthorne Lab and continue until the hops are picked and ready for the next days brew. BBQ and brews will be served to help fuel the picking.”
The Hawthorne Lucky Lab is located at 915 SE Hawthorne Boulevard in Portland, Oregon. To read more about last year’s event, check out our review here.
Agragrian Ales and Crossroads Farm 3rd Annual Hop Picking Party, September 3-6
Much like the fun festivities at the Lucky Lab, the folks at Agrarian Ales in Coburn, Oregon and Crossroad Farms in Eugene have teamed up for a special community hops pickin’. This time, however, the adventure takes you into the fields where the hops grow. It is all out end-of-summer fun! Help pick some hops (in the shade) while enjoying some barbecue and an exquisite selection of ales and sodas. Bring the family, your appetite, and your camping gear…..you won’t want to leave this four day event early! Each Sunday September 5th will also include brew sessions so you can have your hand in the entire brewing process. There will also be live music on Saturday September 4th and horseshoes, darts, beer pong, and chili roasting throughout the week. All are welcome, however folks who plan to bring RV or 5th wheel are suggested to contact the organizers in advance.
Crossroads Farm is located at 31035 Crossroads Lane West, Eugene, Oregon. For more information, call Ben (541) 510-4897 or Lorene (541) 729-0323.
2nd Annual Little Woody Barrel-Aged Beer & Bourbon Festival, September 3-4
The Little Woody was created in 2009 to commemorate one of Central Oregon’s cultural hallmarks — beer — and it’s back thanks to popular demand. The one-day event drew more than 2,000 craft beer enthusiasts last year to sample brews from local breweries, meet the brewmasters and sing the praises of great beer.The Little Woody celebrates the ancient barrel brewing technique as adapted by craft brewers in Central Oregon and the Pacific Northwest including Deschutes Brewery, Ninkasi, McMenamins, Three Creeks and Bend Brewing.
Some of the beers these fine local breweries will be slinging include Firewater Red from Three Creeks, made by combining Firestorm Red and an ‘09 Barley wine aged in a Pinot Noir barrel for 9 months, and Barrel Head, the popular McMenamins Hammerhead aged in a Hogshead whiskey barrel for over 4 months and then cold conditioned for another 2 months, resulting in a hoppy ale with a hint of fruit in the nose but a dry and woody finish.
This year the festival will also feature oak barrel-aged bourbons from Basil Hayden, Weller, Jefferson, Bulleit and Evan Williams Single Barrel. The Bendistillery will also be sampling their line of vodka and gin as well as mixing a few cocktails, and a selection of Oregon wines will be available.
Little Woody takes place at Des Chutes Historical Museum lawn in Downtown Bend during Labor Day Weekend, September 3 from 5-10PM and September 4 from Noon-10PM. For more information, visit www.thelittlewoody.com
Belmont Station Imperial IPA Fest, September 4-6
In case you missed out on the handful of other imperial IPA fests that have been rocking Beervanian taste buds this summer, the folks at Belmont Station (they make every day a festival at this place!) are putting forth a spectacular array of DIPAs, IIPAs, whathaveyou to get you loopy on lupulin. Belmont Station owner Carl Singmaster informs us: “We’ll turn most of our Biercafe taps over to Imperial IPAs to hop up your Labor Day Weekend. Yes Sunday and Monday are extended from our usual Biercafe hours. Special tappings each day to be announced. Some to expect: Blue Frog DIPA, Double Mountain Molten Lava, Salmon Creek King Salmon IPA, Laurelwood Organic Green Elephant, Terminal Gravity Simcoe Double IPA, Pike Double IPA, Great Divide 16th Anniversary, Avery Maharajah, Bear Republic Racer X, Oakshire Perfect Storm, Russian River Pliny the Elder, Everybody’s Big Brother, Hales Seattle Beer Week…” Is your head spinning and your mouth watering yet? It should be.
Belmont Station’s Imperial IPA Fest runs Saturday Noon-11PM,Sunday Noon-11PM, Labor Day Monday Noon-11PM. Belmont Station is located at 4500 SE Stark Street in Portland, Oregon. For more information, call (503) 232-8538.
Lompoc Oktoberfest, September 11
Pull out the Lederhosen, it’s time for Oktoberfest! The brewers at Oktoberfest Lompoc Brewing are welcoming autumn with a release party for their fall seasonal, Lompoc Oktoberfest. The gathering, which includes a German barbecue, will take place at the Lompoc’s Fifth Quadrant Brewery and inside the Sidebar tasting room. Staying true to the theme, the menu will feature a selection of German sausages with a variety of condiments and toppings. There will also be a traditional accordionist playing beer polka tunes from 2 to 5 PM.
Pale orange in color, Lompoc Oktoberfest is a Marzen Lager featuring a clean malt flavor artfully balanced by a touch of Perle hops. A portion of the grains used was roasted in the oven at Lompoc’s Fifth Quadrant restaurant, giving the beer a slight biscuity flavor. The beer is 5% ABV and 15 IBUs. Lompoc Oktoberfest will be on draft in all five of Lompoc’s pubs beginning Sept. 13.
Lompoc’s Oktoberfest takes place Noon-8PM at the 5th Quadrant Brewpub and Sidebar located at 3901 North Williams Avenue in Portland, Oregon.
Widmer Brothers 6th Annual Oktoberfest, September 11
Widmer Brother Brewing’s Oktoberfest returns for a sixth year celebrating Munich-style ales and German food and music.
Widmer Brother’s Oktoberfest is a tribute to the world-renowned celebration in Munich, Germany, which draws more than six million people annually during the 16-day festival. Widmer Brother’s version, although smaller in scale, is large in Oktoberfest spirit. The festival features a variety of craft beers, traditional German food, accordion players, and live music throughout the day including rock and roll accordion band, Those Darn Accordions, as well as local bands Amadan, Hillstomp, Sassparilla and Chris Margolin and the Dregs.
Admission to Widmer Brother’s Oktoberfest is free; however, a 2010 souvenir stein is required for consuming beer. Attendees can also bring steins from previous years to the event. All beer and food is purchased with tokens, which cost $1 each. Patrons pay five tokens for a souvenir stein, four tokens for a full stein of beer and food items are $2-$5. Sales of steins and tokens end at 10:30PM, one hour prior to the close of the event.
Widmer Oktoberfest takes place Saturday, September 11 from 3-11:30PM at the Widmer Brothers Brewery, located at 929 North Russell Avenue. Parking is extremely limited and public transportation is highly encouraged.
Silverton Septoberfest, September 17-19
Silverton’s Septoberfest–a tradition since 2010–will take place Friday through Sunday, September 17-19 on the grounds of the Seven Brides Brewing Tap Room. The outdoor festival will showcase the best of local restaurants, breweries, wineries and entertainment for the entire family. Proceeds to benefit SACA (Silverton Area Community Aid), Silverton Volunteer Fire Association and the Silver Fox Foundation Scholarship Fund.
“The Silverton area has so much to offer out-of-town visitors,” says Jeff DeSantis, one of the founders of Seven Brides Brewing, “from the Oregon Gardens, with more than 20 specialty gardens, including pet and children’s gardens, to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Gordon House, Silver Falls State Park–the largest in all of Oregon featuring 10 different waterfalls. Experience downtown Silverton as it bustles with galleries, antique stores and specialty shops as well as a variety of great restaurants. Septoberfest will give visitors–and local residents–a real taste of Silverton.”
Septoberfest takes place Friday through Sunday, September 17-19 on the grounds of the Seven Brides Brewing Tap Room, located at 990 North 1st Street in Silverton, Oregon.
Migration Fall Fest, September 18
Upstart brewery Migration has been honing in a variety of easy-drinkin’ palatable brews and want to thank their community by throwing a big ole party at their brewpub that opened just this year. Migration Brewing co-founder Colin Rath says “We are planning on releasing two new beers, at this event BBQ’ing, hopefully a whole pig which is fed by our spent grain by a local farmer here in town, as well as live music and a DJ closing the party in the later hours.” Try the Migration Pale Ale, Honey Dew ale, and the Golden Ale among other delicious guest taps readily available at the brewpub as well.
Migration Brewing is located at 2828 NE Glisan Street in Portland, Oregon. Migaration’s Fall Fest runs 1-11PM on September 18. See you there!
1st Annual Umpqua Brew Fest, September 18
Celebrate water and the end of summer at the 1st Annual Umpqua Brew Fest, hosted by Umpqua Watersheds on Sat., Sept. 18. Every adult over 21 is invited to raise a glass to water conservation, while enjoying great beer, great food, great music, and one heck of a great party!
This free admission event will run from 1 to 11 p.m. in the hardwood forest at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, and will feature microbreweries throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Ninkasi in Eugene, Caldera in Ashland, and our local McMenamins Roseburg Station.
Fresh barbecued oysters and other great food will be available.
This year’s theme is “It’s all about the water.” Festival goers can learn at information booths how our Umpqua River system provides many more benefits than just recreation. This wonderful source of clean and pure water is critically important to our communities’ health and many people’s livelihoods.
The Umpqua Brew Fest takes runs 1-11PM at The Douglas County Fairgrounds located at 2110 Frear Street in Roseburg, Oregon.
For a complete listing of craft beer events happening around Beervana and the Northwest, please visit our events calendar page.