When we realized we were going to be able to attend the 25th annual Oregon Brewers Festival, we were pretty excited. After all, what better place to take in a a brew fest, than in Beervana aka Portland, Oregon? We knew it would be popular, but after a great experience with crowd control at the Blues Festival, we were looking forward to a great afternoon of brews. The reality was a bit different.
It may have been the time we went, around 2pm on a Saturday. We optimistcally bought $20 in tokens ($1 for a taster, $4 for a full beer) and planned on going to as many breweries as we could handle. We already knew we could skip some like Rogue, Deschutes and Bridgeport – after all, we live within blocks of those breweries. We also knew we could skip some beers that just didn’t appeal- but that still left us with a lot of ground to cover.
The problem with the setup was even though there were signs indicating what brewer was pouring where, the lines kinda zigged & zagged. So people were constantly asking what line they were in. There also wasn’t enough room for the lines and they repeatedly went beyond where they were ‘expected’ running into the tables that were set up. That left no room to try and navigate to another brewery line. Also, once you got your sample, there was no where to enjoy it before heading to the next line, because it was impossible to get to the tables and then to find a spot. People trying to cut lines and people complaining they weren’t getting drunk fast enough because of the crowds just added up to a rather miserable experience. After 3 tasters, we decided to just cash in the rest on a full mug (and that almost didn’t happen as we both were pretty frustrated by then)
The thing is, I am still glad we went. Why? It just reaffirmed that the way we usually visit breweries is our preferred method. Taking the time to go to the brewery, visit, soak up the atmosphere and drink a cold pint without the crazy lines and crowds. Chat with the bartender if it’s slow enough, or just relax and enjoy the brew. In fact, after leaving the festival and being rather dissatisfied, we went over to Tugboat and enjoyed a cold, perfectly poured Chocolate Porter. We sat in a dimly lit space with a bookcase full of books, a scattered, mellow crowd and decompressed.
One brew at a time is definitely more our style.