Monday, July 2, 2012

North American Organic Brewers Festival Recap

Special thanks to guest writer Doug Smith for covering NAOBF for us this year. 

“Summer doesn’t start in Portland until July 5th.” That’s a common phrase heard around here, and the North American Organic Brewers Festival, held the last weekend of June, certainly reinforced that thought. 

Despite the rain, tons of thirsty fest-goers braved the elements to attend “the world’s largest organic brewers festival” at Overlook Park. In return, they were rewarded with 61 organic beers and ciders to try, all served in compostable cups. Lines were short thanks to the restructuring of the beer trailers (and possibly the weather), and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

A few of the standouts:

McMenamin’s Concordia Brewery brought their “School’s Out Organic IPA.” They used Pilsner malt and flaked barley to create a beer very light in color with a distinctive malt profile. Crisp and refreshing, the pungent citrus and evergreen notes kept me coming back for more.

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales featured their “Kili Wit” organic white beer. It is brewed with African Spice, Fuggle hops, barley malt, wheat, oats, and Egyptian coriander to create a complex, yet subtle balance. Good stuff!

Silver Moon Brewing was serving their “Hop Fury” IPA with organic Northwest pale ale malt and loads of Chinook, Centennial, Cascade, Summit and Nelson Sauvin hops. This is a beer that definitely stands up to its name. Hops, hops, and more hops!

Fort George offered their “Spruce Budd Ale.” This beer has NO hops, but instead it was brewed using nothing but Pilsner malt and more than 120 pounds of spruce tips (35 pounds per batch). Apparently, the brewers went through quite the agony in making this beer since they were constantly stabbed with spruce needles! Their hard work and suffering was worth it, though. It’s a very unique and refreshing beer, and a nice escape from the lupulin for a change.

The NAOBF is definitely a fest not to be missed. The festival’s creator, Craig Nicholls, improves the event every year, and continues to bring top notch beers, food, and entertainment to Overlook Park. If you haven’t been before, be sure to check it out in 2013!

Christian Ettinger and Jamie Rodriguez