Raise a glass because Portland Beer Week is here once again. While many of us locals would call every week Portland beer week, the annual event — which is actually eleven days — features a slew of festivities that are truly worth celebrating. Portland is arguably the best beer city in America, so why not dedicate an entire week (and plus some) to celebrating its greatness?
For its eighth year, the most notable change is the location of the Kickoff Party, which takes place Thursday, June 7. The 2018 edition will go down at the Oregon Zoo where you can tour animal exhibits with a beer in hand.
“I have been looking for the perfect venue and partners for our Kickoff Party since year one and I was inspired by the opening reception to the 2012 Craft Brewers Conference held at the San Diego Zoo. Until now, I didn’t think we were big enough for the Oregon Zoo and I was surprised when I reached out to them this year and they were very interested in a partnership,” says PBW founder Ezra Johnson-Greenough, who points to the unique amenities and attractions that make the Zoo more than just a place to sip a cold one. Because who doesn’t want to look at elephants and giraffes while drinking a locally made IPA?
“I love how you can enjoy a beer while walking around a multi-faceted park with everything from a simulated rainforest to a polar bear cave. It’s also all-ages with plenty of indoor and outdoor space, a large parking lot and easy to get to on bus or MAX train stops. The amount of space we have also will allow for all kinds of foods and activities from axe throwing lanes to photo booths, outdoor arcade games and giant Jenga to name a few,” says Johnson-Greenough.
And that’s just the beginning. Another first will be the one year anniversary party for Wayfinder Beer, which takes place Sunday, June 10. To mark that milestone, the brewery is serving special one-offs alongside delicious food and the brewery’s well-known crisp lagers and pilsners. Once you’re parked on Wayfinder’s spacious patio, it’s pretty hard to peel you from your seat. But motivation may come in the form of searching for the state’s next great beer maker who could be at the New Oregon Breweries Showcase. Meet brewers who’ve been operating for less than a year while sampling their beer Monday, June 11 at Bailey’s Taproom.
Of course, there will also be longtime favorite events to count on, some of which are their own themed celebrations. The always-popular Fruit Beer Festival runs Friday, June 8 through Sunday, June 10 at Burnside Brewing where there will be more than 50 exotic brews in a variety of styles. Hop heads won’t want to miss Masters of IPA Friday, June 15 at Ecliptic Brewing. And on Saturday, June 16, some of the region’s finest mongers and brewers will descend on Culmination Brewing for the Portland Beer and Cheese Festival. Take a break from binging and educate yourself. Some of the city’s beer experts will speak during the Seminar Series Monday, June 11 through Friday, June 15.
Ground zero for much of the action this year will take place at Loyal Legion. It also happens to be where you can taste the official event beer, a collaboration between Breakside Brewery and Dirty Pretty Brewing, the new venture from ChefStable that owns the beer hall. On Thursday, June 7 pFriem Family Brewers is scheduled to take over the taps to showcase rare and barrel-aged offerings.
While this week is about beer, hard liquor does get in on the action. Celebrate World Gin Day Saturday, June 9 at Loyal Legion with pairings of gin and beer. Keeping the spirits theme rolling, Beer Whiskey and Beer Pairing gives drinkers the opportunity to sample flights of booze that are distilled from beer alongside those brews. Try a Hopworks Pilsner with whiskey made from the same grain or Rogue Dead Guy Ale and Whiskey Monday, June 11 through Sunday, June 17.
PBW festivities culminate Sunday, June 17 at The Evergreen event space above Loyal Legion with SNACKDOWN! Loyal Legion’s Herb Apon describes it as “a fun and entertaining food and beer pairing event where 10 of Portland’s best chefs and 10 Oregon brewers are paired into 10 brewer/chef teams.” The duos then work to make their greatest snack and beer combinations for the crowd. Guests choose their favorite with the winners ultimately receiving the SNACKDOWN Belt!
It’s much rowdier than your standard beer dinner. Apon describes it as “a WWE-style SmackDown with brewers and chefs hyping their pairing on the mic — possibly while sporting wrestling-themed costumes.” DJ Rev Shines will be on the decks keeping the party live.
With so much happening in such a short span of time, the eighth annual Portland Beer Week promises to be one hell of a good time. For tickets to events and a detailed schedule visit pdxbeerweek.com. •