If ever there was an event that epitomized Portland, it's the annual Neighborhood Beer Challenge.

Organized by New Seasons Market for the second year in a row, the event — free and open to the public age 21 and older — is a way to taste a range of local craft beers and see how they stack up. It's also a peek at how our taste varies by zip code.

The challenge kicks off at all 13 New Seasons locations this weekend and continues over the next four weeks.

Hundreds of neighbors participated last year, picking one beer each weekend to qualify for the final taste-off. The challenge concludes with a tasting of the three finalists.

This year's breweries include: Goodlife; The Commons; Laurelwood; 10 Barrel (Bend); Heater Allen (McMinnville); No-Li (Spokane); Caldera (Ashland); Worthy (Bend); Oakshire (Eugene); Occidental (St. Johns); Klamath Basin (Klamath Falls); Breakside (Northeast Portland); Pelican (Cape Kiwanda); Fort George (Astoria); Logsdon (Hood River); Amnesia (Washougal); Loowit (Vancouver); and Schooner Exact (Seattle).

Last year there were 12 neighborhood winners from six Oregon breweries. Those 2013 Neighborhood Favorites include:

• Raleigh Hills Store — GoodLife Brewing, Sweet As! Pacific Ale, Bend

• Sellwood Store — The Commons Brewery, Urban Farmhouse, Southeast Portland

• Orenco Station Store — Logsdon Farmhouse Organic Ales, Seizon, Hood River

• Concordia Store — GoodLife Brewing, Descender IPA (CANS!), Bend

• Seven Corners Store — GoodLife Brewing, Descender IPA (BOMBERS!), Bend

• Arbor Lodge Store Fort George Brewery, Quick Wit, Astoria

• Mountain Park Store — Captured by Porches Brewing Company, Hefeweizen, St. Helens

• Cedar Hills Center Store — The Commons Brewery, Flemish Kiss, Southeast Portland

• Happy Valley Store — The Commons Brewery, Urban Farmhouse, Southeast Portland

• Hawthorne Store — Logsdon Farmhouse Organic Ales, Seizon, Hood River

• Progress Ridge — Fearless Brewing Company, Scottish Ale, Estacada

• Fisher’s Landing Store — GoodLife Brewing, Mountain Rescue Pale Ale, Bend

For details on this year's challenge to to

Oregon cider gets a weeklong celebration

Oregon craft beer had its week; now it's cider's turn.

June 20 to 29 is Oregon Cider Week, a celebration of the fastest-growing segment of the beverage market, according to the Northwest Cider Association.

The states of California, Michigan, Virginia and Washington also have their own cider weeks.

Portland is home to several cider labels, the newest being Alter Ego Cider, which chose this week to make its debut.

The urban ciderhouse is a project of winemakers Anne Hubatch and Nate and Kris Wall, who are using locally sourced apples and winemaking techniques.

Unlike other ciders, Alter Ego puts an emphasis on mouthfeel and aroma, characteristics commonly appreciated in wine.

The first releases of apple and raspberry ciders will first be available in kegs and on tap, with plans to bottle by the end of the year. Production will take place at Coopers Hall in Southeast Portland.

For Cider Week events, visit

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