Beer and Circuses
To quote Al Pacino, "Every time I think I’m out—they pull me back in."
For us beer drinkers, the weeks following the conclusion of the Oregon Brewers Festival is normally a time to renew our commitments to family, fitness, and drinking something other than fermented grains. This year, not so much.
As Allison Jones reported, we’ve got the debut of PDX Beer Week right around the corner. I chatted with beer entrepreneur and New School blogger Ezra Johnson-Greenough about this fledgling fest and he told me that it’s going to be more of a celebration of beer itself, as opposed to focusing on the locals. "We love Oregon Craft Beer Month, but we wanted to do something more creative, more curated," he says. "We wanted to actually curate a week of events that explored different aspects of beer and food."
To that end, Ezra and co-conspirator Lisa Morrison (aka The Beer Goddess, and the author of the excellent book Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest) have created a whole string of events at venues all over town. The following info comes from their press release:
Hopworks & Double Mountain Beer Brunch at Spirit of 77 (8/20) Brewers behind two of Oregon’s best breweries Hopworks Urban Brewery and Double Mountain have teamed up with Spirit of 77 chef and PDX Beer Week to concoct an epic individually priced beer brunch pairing menu available for one day only.
Beer Ice Cream’s at Salt & Straw (Daily Monday-Friday) Alberta Street’s acclaimed ice cream auteurs have teamed up with PDX Beer Week to design 5 different Ice Cream’s.
The Love of Beer Premiere at the Bagdad Theater (8/20) A documentary celebrating women in the craft beer industry. Featuring $3 beer specials from Deschutes Brewery and Bend Brewing and a panel of some of the most prominent women in Oregon craft beer speaking before the film.
Coaliton Brewing’s One Year Anniversary Party (8/20) This all-day celebration extravaganza has all the hallmarks of what Coalition Brewing is all about: Cheap Happy Hour priced beers, Cornhole Tournament, Live Music and specials from the Grilled Cheese Grill. To top it off they will be releasing a special small batch Cascadian Dark Ale.
Washington Brewers Night at Bailey’s Taproom (8/21) A special Sunday evening event featuring beers and breweries never available in Oregon before. Meet-the-Brewers and try the beers from Washington’s best: Elysian, Naked City, Odin, Big Al and Sound Brewing.
Beer & Sushi Pairing at Roscoe’s (8/22) Taplister and Behind the Pint have teamed up with Roscoe’s and Miyamoto Sushi to design a special beer and sushi pairing menu.
CDAbe Festival at Belmont Station (8/22) A benefit for beer writer Abram Goldman-Armstrong to help pay medical bills featuring an extensive lineup for the style he helped create: Cascadian Dark Ales.
Brewers Burger Brawl at The Hop and Vine (8/23) Five of Portland’s best brewers go head-to-head with their own burger recipes and one of their breweries beers in a battle to see who is the Brewer Burger Champion! Participating breweries: Hopworks, Burnside, Upright, Breakside and Laurelwood.
Barrel-Aging Beer Panel at Hopworks Urban Brewery (8/24) Breakside Brewer Ben Edmunds MC’s a panel of brewmasters skilled at the art of barrel-aging beer. Sit in and listen to the talk and ask your own questions of these masters while being served a selection of their finest barrel-aged brews. Featuring: Ben Love (Hopworks), John Harris (Full Sail) and Nick Arzner (Block 15) and more.
Breakfast Beers Night at Breakside Brewery (8/25) Brewers will tap a Breakfast Stout with coffee and a Whiskey for Breakfast Porter. Additionally a special breakfast menu will be presented for the evening and there may be a few more tricks up brewers sleeves.
California Brewers Night at Apex (8/26) One of Portland’s premier taphouses plays host to many of the best breweries and beers of California. Try a selection of beers not available in the state of Oregon and meet many brewers and representatives including Stone Brewing Vice President, Sierra Nevada and for the first time in the state Ballast Point, Magnolia, Telegraph, Craftsman and Beachwood BBQ Breweries. Plus many other fan favorites.
Mighty Mites – Session Beer Festival at Coalition Brewing (8/27) Jeff Alworth of popular local beer blog Beervana has teamed up with Coalition Brewing and PDX Beer Week to explore the underrated wealth of creativity and flavor of session beers (beers of 5 percent abv or less).
Ninkasi Brewers Brunch at East Burn (8/28) Brewers dinners are common but what happens when you take the same concept and apply it to Brunch? Beer Week organizers approached Ninkasi Brewing’s Jamie Floyd and the fantastic team at East Burn to take on just such a challenge and they have came up with 3 outstanding brunch plates and beer pairings. Tickets are $30.
Closing Street Party at Bazi Bierbrasserie (8/28) During the Hawthorne Street Fair PDX Beer Week and new European/Belgian inspired bier bar Bazi Bierbrasserie will be closing off 32nd street to set up an outdoor beer garden featuring many of Oregon’s best Belgian-styled beers including offerings from: Double Mountain, Upright Brewing, Beetje Brewing and Full Sail as well as ALL 5 beer ice creams from Salt & Straw and the beers they were made from.
As if this wasn’t more than enough to doom any thoughts you might have had for a possible return to sobriety—the circus is coming to town! And beer will be in the center ring. Even in a city full of seasoned drinkers we can’t help but wonder to ourselves after polishing off that second (…okay, fifth) IPA, "where is the whimsy?!" Well, fret no longer! Lagunitas Brewing and the PDX Bridge Festival have got it under control with the Lagunitas Beer Circus, a hoppy happening that combines beer with big-top-style entertainment by San Franciscan vaudeville troupe Vau De Vire Society and Portland’s own cabaret sensation Wanderlust Circus & Orchestra. The festivities take place under the east side of the Hawthorne (Salmon @ Water St.) next weekend, with a 21+, adults-only circus on Saturday (burlesque in the house!), and an all ages family-friendly carnival Sunday. Though we can’t make promises, we are all crossing our fingers for a beer dunk tank.