‘Craft Beer’ Category

  1. North American Organic Brewers Festival back with new dates!

    April 27, 2015 by Dukester

    This is by far one of my favorite festivals of the year.  The quality of the beer, the live music, the family friendly nature of the festival and the accessibility both via bicycle and mass transit really make this a must attend Portland beer festival.

    This year, the festival will move to August 13th – 16th to avoid a conflict with another festival that moved their dates to NAOBF’s traditional timeframe.  On the upside, the opportunity for beautiful Oregon summer weather just increased by an order of magnitude which should hopefully make for better attendance for NAOBF.
    Details below:


    North American Organic Brewers Festival

    announces new dates and adds import bottle garden

    PORTLAND, ORE – April 23, 2015 – The world’s only organic brewers festival, the North American Organic Brewers Festival will celebrate its 11th years with a new date: the event has moved away from its traditional June weekend to August 13 through 16 at Overlook Park in North Portland. Event hours are Noon to 9pm Thursday through Saturday and Noon to 5pm Sunday.

    “Another beer promoter chose to move his Portland beer festival to our June date,” explained event founder Craig Nicholls. “Since we share the same pool of volunteers, and in many cases attendees, we opted for another date to benefit both events. The good news is August gives us a much better chance of drier summer weather!”

    The NAOBF encourages brewers and beer lovers to “Drink Organic, Save the Planet, One Beer at a Time.” Designed to raise awareness about organic beer and sustainable living, the festival serves up 50 organic beers and ciders from more than 30 different breweries. Some of the breweries are certified organic, but most brew a one-off organic batch just for the event. Styles run the gamut from Ambers to Belgians to Wild Ales, with a bit of everything in-between. (A complete list of participating breweries in included at the bottom of this release.) The event also offers live local music, organic food and sustainability-oriented vendors and non-profits in a beautiful park setting.

    This year’s event will also feature an exceedingly rare opportunity to sample draft beer from Pinkus, the world’s first certified organic brewery. Along with Pinkus Ur-Pils and Münster Alt on draft, the festival is introducing the Merchant du Vin Organic Bottle Garden, featuring 11 bottled beers and cider from Pinkus in Germany and Samuel Smith’s from Yorkshire, England.

    “When Samuel Smith’s opened in 1758 and Pinkus in 1816, chemical fertilizers and pesticides didn’t exist – all beer was organic,” stated Tom Bowers, district manager at Merchant du Vin. “Viewing the beer world from this historic perspective, these brewers chose to become the trailblazers of organic brewing for the modern era. By including Samuel Smith’s and Pinkus in this year’s festival, NAOBF has expanded the opportunity for festival goers to not only experience amazing beers from the world’s original organic brewers, but to taste history.”

    Admission into the NAOBF is free. The purchase of a $7 reusable, compostable cornstarch cup is required for tasting beer, as are tokens, which sell for $1 apiece. A full cup of beer costs four tokens and a taste costs one token; select beers and ciders may cost double tokens. Patrons receive an extra token with a validated Tri-Met ticket or a ticket from the Hopworks Bike Corral (limit one extra per person).

    The NAOBF is a family friendly event, and minors are welcome with parents. A kids area offers art activities, face painting and a root beer garden with complimentary Crater Lake Root Beer for minors (and designated drivers). 

    The NAOBF 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. Electricity needs are met with biodiesel generators. Volunteers receive organic cotton t-shirts (returning volunteers can wear past T shirts and get extra tokens instead). Food vendors are required to employ sustainable practices, and onsite composting and recycling stations are provided for festival waste and are supervised by recycling czars.

    The NAOBF 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 (donations are appreciated and support the BC to Baja Bicycle Odyssey).

    Why brew organic? Today’s agriculture relies heavily on chemicals and often causes erosion and depletion of soil nutrients through loss of biomass. Organic farming is a growing industry that reduces erosion, pollution, and water shortages by using natural methods to fertilize crops and to fight pests and disease. A well-established organic farm can often produce higher yields than a conventional farm. Organic farming is typically more labor intensive and provides more agricultural jobs per acre than conventional farming. Workers on organic farms are also safe from the health hazards of working with pesticides and herbicides. Using organic ingredients to make beer produces a beer with the highest possible purity and also supports the small but growing industry of organic farming.

    For more information about the NAOBF, visit naobf.org.

    This year’s participating breweries include:

    13 Virtues Brewing Co.
    Agrarian Ales
    Alameda Brewing Company
    Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co
    Bison Organic Beer
    Coin Toss Brewing
    Eel River Brewing
    Falling Sky Brewing
    Finnriver Farm & Cidery
    Fish Brewing Company
    Fort George Brewery
    FOTM Brewing Co
    Gilgamesh Brewing
    Hopworks Urban Brewery
    Kells Brew Pub
    Lakefront Brewery, Inc
    Lompoc Brewing
    Loowit Brewing Company
    McMenamins Concordia
    McMenamins Crystal
    McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
    McMenamins Edgefield
    Natian Brewery
    Nectar Creek Mead
    PINTS Urban Brewery
    Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider
    Riverbend Brewing
    Samuel Smith’s
    Thirsty Bear Brewing Co.
    Two Kilts Brewing Co.
    Uinta Brewing Company
    Vagabond Brewing
    Viking Braggot Company
    Widmer Brothers Brewing

  2. Beer Bloggers Conference 2014. Day One.

    August 29, 2014 by Dukester

    This is my fourth year attending the Beer Bloggers Conference and it is an event I really look forward to.  It’s a great opportunity to meet people in the Craft Beer industry, allied trades, and of course those behind the beer blogs that many of you, including myself, read.  It is a wonderful opportunity to network with people inside and outside of the industry, hone your social media and blogging chops, and experience some amazing breweries and their beers, many of which can be difficult, if not impossible to find outside of the conference.

    This years conference was held in the California craft beer mecca of San Diego and it most certainly did not disappoint. The Beer Bloggers Conference (I’ll refer to it as BBC14 from here on out) typically starts off with a pre-conference excursion prior to the official start of the conference that consists of a tour of a number of fantastic breweries aboard a bus that starts at geographical point some distance from the actual conference location.  This years tour started in Los Angeles and wound it’s way down to San Diego.  Unlike previous years, I didn’t attend the pre-conference excursion, but you can find a link to the description and itinerary here.

    Instead of attending the pre-con excursion, I choose instead to head directly to San Diego for a tour of San Diego breweries sponsored by A Plus Limos.  This is a new venture for them, and, as this was their first tour, they were looking for our input to help them refine their product (see disclosure notice at the end of this post).

    As luck would have it, I was delayed getting to San Diego by a broken airplane departing Seattle and had the join the tour about half way through, so I missed the first few stops and joined up with the gang at AleSmith Brewing Company located just north of Miramar Airstation (Top Gun) thanks to the always impressive Uber.

    Stops prior to my arrival included Societe Brewing Company and White Labs. While at AleSmith, I had the opportunity to try samples of their Sorachi Ace Dry Hopped IPA, 2013 Speedway Stout aged in bourbon barrels and Speedway Stout brewed with Vietnamese coffee.  No surprise that they were all stellar but the Speedway Stout with Vietnamese coffee was the stand out for me.   I also had the opportunity to chat with General Manager George Allen about AleSmith’s operation and ongoing projects, growth, and distribution challenges.  No secret that I love talking shop so it was a blast getting a few minutes of his time on a very busy evening in the tasting room.

    Next stop was Council Brewing which was a short distance away from AleSmith.  Council is a small three barrel nano brewery located in an industrial warehouse area.  They have a lovely wide open tasting room that shares space with their small brewhouse with 12 of their brews on tap.  I grabbed a tasting flight of five of their beers, all very solid with the stand outs for me being their Pirate’s Breakfast (an Imperial Oatmeal Stout) and their Quorum IPA brewed with Jarrylo hops, which was new to me.  Great brewery, very nice people, and solid beers with a bright future ahead of them.

    Last stop of the night was Benchmark Brewing Company.  Another new nano brewery in San Diego that focuses on session beers.  There I tried tasters of their Blonde, IPA and Oatmeal Stout.  None above 5.1% ABV, and all very solid beers.  Definitely a place I would go back too as I am growing fonder of session beers and they do a very good job of them.

    That was our last stop, if you don’t count the small Mexican restaurant before heading back to our hotel.  While I didn’t get to do the full tour, we had a lot of fun.  The Cadillac Escalade stretch limo was very comfortable, well stocked with water and snacks, and they were gracious enough to accommodate me mid-tour even though I showed up directly from the airport with all of my luggage in tow.  I think they have a great product on their hands doing brewery tours in the San Diego area and I think the mix of well known stops and breweries you may not have ever heard of was a nice blend.  Our driver, Robert, and our host, Michael were extremely kind and accommodating and fun to boot.  Kudos to them for what I consider, after 23 years in the airline business, outstanding customer service.

    Day Two to follow…..


    The following is a list of our swarthy band of bloggers borrowed with permission from my friend Alan at GrowlerFills.

    The crew: Michael (A Plus Limos), Astrid (@BKLYNbeerbitch), Craig (@msbrewblog), Tom (@QueenCityDrinks), Ryan (@thirstynobeard), June (@nashbeergirl), Kendall (@beermakesthree), Cheryl (GrowlerFills), Alan (@GrowlerFills), Gina (@CraftBeer_Hound), Amber (@aljpeace), Amy (@CraftBeer_Hound), Ryan (@mtbeerfinder), Sean (@2beerguys) Ryan (@thirstynobeard), Tom (@Tom_Aguero) and (not pictured) Duke (@Dukester).

    Disclousure: While we tipped our driver generously for his efforts, A Plus Limos provided the tour to us free of charge so that they could garner feedback from us about their product and any suggestions to improve it before they launch it publicly and with the hopes that if we were satisfied with their service, that we would mention them in our posts about this.  I do so unreservedly and it is most definitely a service I would have gladly paid for and recommend to others.