With a motto to “Drink Organic, Save the Planet, One Beer at a Time,” the North American Organic Brewers Festival will host its seventh annual event June 24 through 26 at Portland’s Overlook Park. More than 18,000 beer lovers are expected to gather at the event, billed as the nation’s most earth-friendly beer festival.
Designed to raise awareness about organic beer and sustainable living, the NAOBF serves up more than 50 organic beers from 34 different breweries around the nation. There’s also an organic cider and an organic kombucha. Styles run the gamut from Belgian Whites to Cascadian Darks, offering something for every palate. There’s also live local music, organic food, sustainability-oriented vendors and non-profits, a soda garden with complimentary Crater Lake Root Beer for minors and designated drivers, and a children’s area. The NAOBF is a family friendly event, and minors are welcome with parents.
Festival attendees sample beer from reusable and compostable cornstarch glasses made from domestically grown corn by a zero-waste, solar-powered company. Onsite composting and recycling stations are provided for festival waste and are supervised by recycling czars. Food vendors are required to use compostable cutlery and plates and employ sustainable practices. Electricity needs are met with a combination of biodiesel and solar generators. Volunteers wear organic cotton and hemp t-shirts, and all event signage is reusable.
Event hours are Noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission into the event is free. The purchase of a $6 reusable, compostable cornstarch glass is required for tasting beer, as are tokens, which sell for $1 apiece. A full glass of beer or cider costs four tokens and a four-ounce taste costs one token; select beers cost double tokens. Patrons receive a $1 discount toward the tasting glass with a validated MAX ticket, a ticket from the onsite bike corral, or three cans of food for the Oregon Food Bank. The festival benefits the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and the Oregon Food Bank.
Why an organic beer festival? Studies show that the world’s population currently consumes 30% more natural resources than the Earth’s ecosystems can replenish. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, commercial agriculture is accountable for 70% of the pollution in our country’s rivers and streams. Genetically modified ingredients can be found in nearly every grocery store. The NAOBF believes that education and exposure leads to awareness, and awareness can translate to passion. If everyone becomes passionate about sustainability, as a whole we can make the planet a cleaner and healthier place for all of us to habitat. If the conversation starts with an organic beer, that’s even better!