CRAFTY: Sample the beer and cider at Beaverton fest this Saturday
July was the official Oregon Craft Beer Month, but in the Portland area, beer is celebrated all summer long. The third annual Beaverton Craft Beer Festival, one of the only beer festivals in Washington County, is slated for Saturday, Aug. 26.
"People don't think of beer festivals on the West Side," said Michelle Mason, the organizer of the festival, which is presented by The Westgate Bourbon Bar & Taphouse. "But the suburbs can have fun. We can do things that are pretty cool."
This year, the festival will feature a lineup of 25 breweries — 13 of which are new to the festival — and 50 beers and ciders. If you have yet to hit a beer festival this summer, or ever, here are a few pointers for making the most of the day.
The basics, and more
The festival goes from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday at The Round, 12600 S.W. Crescent St., Beaverton. Parking will be limited this year — but fortunately, The Round is located right on the Beaverton Central MAX stop, accessible on the Blue line. That will come in handy for folks who plan to drink multiple beers.
"I highly, highly encourage people to use TriMet," Mason said.
At the door, festival-goers will pay $8 for a 16-ounce mug, and one dollar per ticket. One ticket will get you one four-ounce taster, while four tickets will get you a full pint.
If you want a more immersive beer experience, consider buying a pass to the VIP event. From 7 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25, The 9900 (9900 S.W. Canyon Road, Portland) will host a mixer for 75 guests and the brewers taking part in the festival. Fifty dollars will get you a beer flight, hors d'oeuvres, and the chance to rub shoulders with some of the most important names in Oregon brewing.
To learn more about the festival or buy a ticket to the VIP event, visit www.beavertoncraftbeerfest.com/.
Navigating the options
When selecting the breweries to feature in the festival, Mason tends to favor ones located in Portland's West Side and suburbs, as well as coastal breweries that are starting to receive a lot of attention.
"I try to showcase those that are on that growth spurt," she said. "Two years ago, Buoy (in Astoria) was just exploding. The awareness of Three Mugs (in Hillsboro) is really booming this year."
But with 50 brews to choose from, how do you make the decision on which ones to sample?
"If it's your first (beer festival), walk around first," Mason advised. "Take your map, read the descriptions on the map. See which beers you might be interested in, and only get samples. Do not get a full glass."
One of the things that sets the Beaverton Craft Beer Festival apart from its counterparts is that Mason invites representatives from each brewery to interact with the crowd. She encourages beer novices and experts alike to ask the representatives plenty of questions.
"Talk with people," she said. "Talk with the brewers. See who you're going to have the good experience with. Know that you're going to try some good new beers, and some ones that don't agree with your palette that day."
Bring the family — until 4 p.m.
The Beaverton Craft Beer Festivals allows attendees of all ages — until 4 p.m., when it becomes a 21 and up space. All-ages attractions include live music from four different acts and several food booths, including one from Beaverton restaurant Fireside Grill.
There will also be a soda station serving Crater Lake Soda, which donated all of its root beer on the condition that proceeds be donated to a non-profit. Mason selected The Chelsea Hicks Foundation, which provides monthly dress-up parties for seriously ill children.
Mason said she hopes the festival will continue to be a draw for people living west of Portland's downtown area, who might find commuting to Portland for a beer festival tiresome.
"Meet the brewers, taste really good upcoming beer, and listen to music," she said. "People don't have to go to downtown Portland if they don't want to."