When we first moved to Portland, there was nothing we liked more than a good festival. And there were plenty of them. Neighborfair promoted the blossoming development of the city's neighborhood associations and the social service and improvement projects they undertook, regularly drawing 250,000 to 300,000 people to Waterfront Park over a weekend. The Zoo Concerts filled the performance lawn by the elephant display on summer evenings, and got so popular they had to be split into two nights. And Artquake shut down SW Broadway, the main street running through downtown, for a weekend to celebrate local artists and arts organizations.
Neighborfair is long gone, the zoo concerts now feature a very un-Portland-like "VIP Upgrade Program" where you can reserve a blanket (which you get to keep) on the lawn and waltz by the hoi-polloi (i.e. the rest of us) waiting in long lines for a spot on the grass. And the art festival has moved to the tony Pearl district and has been renamed Art in the Pearl.
I bring this up because yesterday we went to McMenamin's Edgefield for the somewhat lugubriously titled Oregon Bounty Fresh Hop Beer "Tastival." Even though I now find myself allergic to crowds, it seemed like an opportunity to sample some of the state's prodigious output of microbrews. And Dave and our neighbor needed a DD so they could imbibe freely of the samples offered.
Out of the 21 beers offered, we sampled 13, eliminating the other eight because we'd already tried them or just didn't get around to them before we pooped out. By far the best was Elemental Ale from the Pelican Pub and Brewery in Pacific City with it's extremely fresh, flavorful and gripping flavor of hops. Others we liked were Rogue Ales' Hop Heaven and Roots Organic Brewing's Hoppipotamus. By far the worst were Twisted Sister and Step Sister from Sandy's Karlsson Brewing Company, who should be arrested for beer abuse for the undrinkable messes of competing flavors they chose to bring.
My advice for those thinking about attending future event would be to go on the early side, since they ran out of several beers (like the Elemental) by mid-afternoon as the crowd grew. And the events are cash only, so don't expect to use your plastic.
Details: Full Sail Brewers Dinner; four courses and a special beer pairing. Every Thursday through Nov. 29; 4-8 pm; $20 includes beer. Full Sail Brewing Co., 506 Columbia St., Hood River. More info online or phone 1-888-244-BEER.
Fresh Hop Beer "Tastival" at Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene. Oct. 20; noon-9 pm; free. Ninkasi Brewing Co., 272 VanBuren St., Eugene. 1-877-764-6527.
Fresh Hop Beer "Tastival" at Deschutes Brewery Lower Warehouse in Bend. Oct. 27; noon-7 pm; free. Deschutes Brewery, 399 SW Shevlin-Hixon Dr., Bend.