Friday, June 28, 2013

NAOBF Is Not Your Average Beer Festival - Guest Post by Connie Umphress

I am a Portland native whose first keg purchase was Widmer Hefeweizen, when you could still only get it in kegs. I am married to a beer blogger. I have a long history of drinking amazing beer, from when I could drink beer. That being said I do not love everything about the Portland beer scene. I dislike beer festivals. I do not go. The scene can get loud and obnoxious, and due to the fact I barely reach 5'2" tall, people with tunnel vision tend to run into me. It's a real drag. I have given up on all but one, North American Organic Beer Festival. (NAOBF)

Don't mind if I do
NAOBF has been one of the smaller festivals, mostly because of the small market in prior years for organic brews, but the market has grown, as has the festival. The beer must meet organic labeling standards set by the USDA, from simply using organic ingredients for an individually produced beer to organic certification for the brewery and brewing with 100% organic ingredients. This year he event has a great selection of food carts, quite a few vendors and the children's area with root beer garden and face painting. I love the small size, I love the fact it is close to home in N. Portland and I love the sustainability objectives. I have had a two year absence from the fest, it has lost a little of the grassroots feel it had at my last visit, but the overall vibe and the crowd is much mellower then some of the other festivals. I appreciated the Thursday night visit, it was laid back with lots of families.

At an event like this I get to geek-out on something besides the beer, I get to geek-out on the sustainable features as well. Composting and recycling is a huge part of the festival organization. From the compostable cornstarch based cups, to the crew of people manning the compost/trash/recycling stations; the landfill diversion goals go along with the spirit of the festival. The beer is good, the green practices even better! The diversion rate for 2012 was 91%! Including nearly 900 pounds of recycling and 800 pounds of compost.

NAOBF will continue to be one of my favorite events and the only festival I attend. I love the fact that Portland can support this very "Portland" festival. Including families and the high level sustainability goals opens the door for many people like me who are turned off by the crowds and vibe at other events.