Another July is in full swing and I again find myself in the midst of another beer soaked Oregon Craft Beer Month. With so much to do on about any given day, a special month dedicated to beer in the best beer city on the planet is very exciting and can at times feel a bit overwhelming. By late June, I am often anxious for the big month to arrive, wondering Am I ready for this? Is this going to kill me? I swear I’ll take a break from all this craft beer come August (half knowing that I likely won’t). A few things I’ve learned over the past years during OCBM that I thought I’d share. I suppose much of this is just to remind myself, but still, I’ll put it out there anyways. I will call these the charters of how to survive OCBM.
Plan early – Even though July delineates OCBM, let’s be real, there’s always something new and interesting to check out when it comes to craft beer in and around Portland. With the handy Oregonian pull-out guide and several publications around town pointing to the importance of craft beer with more emphasis during this month, it doesn’t mean that OCBM is the only month of everyday brews. After all, we live in a city harboring around 45 breweries. You do the math.I’ve found it a necessity to map out the must-attend events early in the month and save some flex time for those that might pop up without notice. The Oregon Brewers Guild is an excellent resource for keeping up on events. For more details click here or check out our calendar with much of the same info and a few different items.
Water, and plenty of it – I really can’t emphasize this enough. Not only does one need to hydrate for obvious reasons of survival (you know the spiel about the human body being constituted of 70% H2O) but take into account the fact that July is often the hottest month of the year and you are drinking more craft beer. If you are beer geek like me, it might even be a barrel-aged beer or something big on alcohol by volume (ABV). This being said, just because you are drinking lighter beers, doesn’t mean you should go crazy. Do yourself and your live a favor. You’ll be glad you did. Not only because you will feel better, but you will probably be able to enjoy more beer if you regiment one glass of aqua for every glass of adult beverage. If you are even slightly questioning whether or not you should have another serving, you should not. No one ever wakes up the next morning with regret for not having that extra drink.
Don’t drink and drive – Portland has so many great spots for craft beer. And, with one of the best mass transit systems in North America, you’re safer to take Tri-Met (and so are those around you). When drinking, the first thing to remember is that alcohol first impairs your judgment. This could mean that you might think you’re over the limit when you certainly are. And just because you’ve not been affected by drinking and driving doesn’t mean that it could take a turn for the worst the next time. Be safe. The whole point of enjoying craft beer is to take it in with friends and loved ones. Having to take the extra time to find a safer way home or to the next pub might feel like an inconvenience, but it is much better than jail time, fines, or someone getting hurt or dying. Drinking locally usually helps curtail any worries of having to drive in the first place. It’s not only safer, but it keeps the money in your neighborhood and supports your immediate community. For fun, make a pubcrawl out of it. Get to know your neighbors and local businesses, even buy ’em a beer now and again. If you have to go across town to meet friends for a beer, take the bus, train, plan for a designated driver, or call a cab. It’s never a bad idea to drink at home while enjoying the great summer weather, either.
Have fun! – Remember what I’ve written above, but don’t let it serve as a buzz kill. I want you to enjoy many more Oregon Craft Beer Months. Have a great time. Sometimes the events you never suspect to be your favorite turn out to be the most memorable. Check out something new and expand your palate. Try to keep in mind that craft beer is a liaison to friendships and the experience of sharing delicious beers with friends should be the main reason you are out at the pub in the first place. Tip your bartenders and be thankful that you live in the best beer city on earth. Prost!