When talking about beer it is almost impossible not to mention beer and Oregon in the same sentence. Some even ask how beer makers in Oregon make their beer so well. First, malted barley is placed in hot water so that the release of malt sugars can begin. Next, those malt sugars are boiled with hops to add some seasoning. After that, the brew is allowed to cool and yeast is added so the fermentation process can begin to release CO2 as well as ethyl alcohol. Finally, when the process is complete, a little bit of sugar is added for carbonation and the beer, DIY style, is complete . Although this process may seem simple, there are around 170 different breweries in Oregon,74 of which are located in the Portland Metro Area alone, that would have a little something to say about that opinion. Lager, IPA, Wheat, and Amber are words thrown around pubs and taverns all over the world, but never quite as much as Portland, Oregon. Having the most breweries of any city in the world is something of a badge of honor for the city, and so Oregon and beer have become synonymous.
Since 2010 craft beer has been the item with the most money spent on it in Portland area grocery stores. The Deschutes, Laurelwood, and Cascade breweries are the primary producers of the top 10 most loved beers in Portland. At the top of the list is a beer called the “Bourbonic Plague.” It is aged in oak, wine and bourbon barrels then combined with another porter containing vanilla and cinnamon. After all that, Cascade Brewing thought to go a bit further and chose to age the beer an additional 14 months. Going down the list on the Portland Beer website, it continues to boggle the mind. For some, reading words like “lacticly fermented” and “Beckamoyces Aasskraquii”, can be a bit overwhelming. For many in Portland, however, these are well-known terms because of events like the Oregon Brewers Festival, taking place this year on July 23-27 in Portland’s beautiful Waterfront Park.
This year over 125 different handcrafted beers will be featured by 85 different brewers from all over the U.S, over 40 of which will be poured in the “Specialty Tent.” When people arrive at the park, tokens are purchased, each one for one glass of beer, and none of the brewers are allowed to serve customers beer without having a special glass purchased at the front entrance as well. No cash is handled except while purchasing tokens in the OBF glass and token tent.
The OBF is not the only annual beer event occurring in Oregon this year. The Portland International Beerfest is a similar event that begins not to long after OBF, on August 8-10. During this unique event, enthusiasts can come and enjoy some of the most expensive beer in the world for a fraction of the price, and great food as well. This year the PIB will take place in Holladay Park, a venue four times as large as previous the location. Events aside, beer in Portland is almost as much of a staple for the people who live there as the beautiful trees. Alongside Oregon’s amazing sights like International Rose Garden and Portlandia, tourists should also take a moment to sit and enjoy a taste of Portland as well.
Opinion by Phillip Schmidt