Northwest Spring Beer & Wine Festival 2008

Portland Travel Blog

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Birthday boy, Colin, and his lovely MelissaJean.

The Spring Beer and Wine Fest, held at the Portland Convention Center every year, was scheduled to span Friday, March 21st and Saturday, March 22nd this year. Since the 21st is my friend Colin's 25th birthday, a baker's dozen of us hit the Fest on Friday night.

$20 per person buys your entry, a beer mug to take home and several "sample tokens," each worth about an ounce of beer or wine. Usually, turning in 4 or 5 tokens equals a full mug. This year, the Fest featured 20 local breweries, 20 local NW wineries, 10 local NW stills (that's the hard liquor, folks!!), and tons of food and other fun stuff.

Just like every year that I've attended the annual Spring festival, the night progressed smoothly from one sample to the next...and each sample began blurring just a little more than it predecessor into faded memory.

The only photo the whole night of me and my husband in the same place at the same time was taken by Steven (and stolen off his MySpace page so I could have a copy). So. Here's Sherman and me, drunk & in love.
By the end of the night, our baker's dozen was a mass of drunken revelers, proudly singing off-key and making fun of Colin and his accomplishment of 1/4 of a century (even though most of us are older than he is).

If ever you have a thirst for beer - and I believe that most of the world does, in fact, have this thirst - I highly recommend a visit to my neck of the woods. Not only does Oregon have more breweries per capita than any other city anywhere else in the entire world, our beer rivals some of the best, traditional, hundreds-of-years-old recipies found in European beer drinking countries. And, unlike most of the rest of the US, in Portland, you'll find beers to suit any pallate - from the classic, light, mildly hoppy American pilsner (of which I am actually NOT a fan) to some of the BEST porters and stouts the world has to offer.

One the one hand: Rogue brewery. On the other: McMenamins brewery. ...I'm so torn!!!
...and Portland, if nothing else, is notable in the beer universe for *resurrecting* the IPA (Indiana-style Pale Ale) - a powerfully hoppy, lightly colored beer that was all but dead, not being brewed by anyone anywhere until the world got a taste of our Northwest hops...and wanted more.

As a final side - being proudly Irish, my favorite beers span the dark end of the scale, including porters and stouts. Guiness is not a stout (sorry, Ireland) - it is the global equal to American brews like Budweiser and Miller High Life. If your taste is anything like mine, and you're heading over to my neck of the woods, you'll find some impressive porters and stouts at 2 of my local favorites, McMenamins and the Rouge. Find both pubs in downtown Portland for your sampling pleasure:

Rogue Ales Public House     (503) 222-5910
1339 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR 97209             --- On Tuesdays, wear a Hawiian shirt and you get a FREE beer! Viva Tiki Tuesdays!

Mc Menamins Market Street Pub      (503) 497-0160
1526 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97201             --- Ask what's on Nitro. If you've never had a Nitro beer, you've never had a good beer.

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Birthday boy, Colin, and his lovel…
Birthday boy, Colin, and his love…
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One the one hand: Rogue brewery.
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