Monday, April 30, 2012

Another weekend, another beer festival

On Saturday, April 21st, Greg & I volunteered at the sixth annual Cheers to Belgian Beers. The event took place at Metalcraft Fabrication in northeast Portland. Metalcraft specializes in building custom handcrafted equipment for the craft brewing industry. How appropriate!
Greg pretends to try out some Metalcraft equipment
I loved the open airiness of the Metalcraft warehouse and, because the weather was fantastic (sunny, 75F), we were also able to take full advantage of the gravel lot next door for bike parking, food trucks, a large party tent, porta-potties and even the Timbers Army No Pity Van.
the side lot before it got too crowded
Greg & I had signed up for the opening shift so we showed up at 11:30am. With the other 20-odd volunteers, we donned our festival t-shirts, pocketed our OLCC licenses, and were briefed by Oregon Brewers Guild Executive Director, Brian Butenschoen. Most people were assigned to serve beer, but I opted to work at the check-in table.
Brian briefs the volunteers
People were lined up at the entrance before noon so we started working right away. Greg's task (of pouring beer) was relatively easy, but he stayed busy during his entire shift. My job involved unpacking glasses and stuffing them with tickets & ballots, setting up & selling festival swag (t-shirts & hats), and eventually selling additional beer tickets. I also checked in subsequent shifts of volunteers, distributed their t-shirts, and made sure they had the necessary OLCC paperwork. Finally, I even had the privilege of cleaning up broken glass, emptying the trash cans, and dealing with other minor issues.
lined up for beer
The reward for our four hours of hard work was the t-shirt, a festival glass (worth $10, required to sample the beers), and 10 sample tickets. Unexpectedly, we were also given food tickets (worth $5 each) so we could eat at either of the two food vendors, Koi Fusion or Philadelphia's Steaks & Hoagies.
my free cheese steak
Our shift ended around 4pm and, since I hadn't gotten a lunch break, we immediately grabbed our first beer samples and headed outside so I could get a Philly cheese steak. Greg had eaten around 2pm but made the mistake of sampling some of the strongest beers (11% ABV) first and it wasn't long before he needed to soak up all that alcohol with more food. We decided to walk a few blocks north to Widmer Brewery's Gasthaus Pub where we each enjoyed some tasty grub (and I even ordered a beer!).
Abe Goldman-Armstrong
We returned to Metalcraft around 7pm and did our best to try as many of the 40 specially-brewed Belgian-style beers as possible. But considering that the average ABV was around 8% and each sample equated to 3.3oz of beer, that was a daunting task! We eventually surrendered at 9pm because we finally ran out of tickets and everyone was starting to pack up anyway.
always happy to volunteer for beer
The following day, we were supposed to be at Cocktail Camp at 10:30am as I had won tickets from PDX Pipeline. However I woke up with a migraine (can't imagine why?!) and had to delay our departure until mid-day. Still, we made it in time for the afternoon sessions on being "The Perfect Host" and the "Introduction to Aperitifs" and the requisite free cocktails, of course! I thought it was quite appropriate that my first drink of the day was called "Signs of Life!"
Here is the list of beers that Greg & I sampled at Cheers to Belgian Beers. I put an asterisk in front of my favorites. 
Alethea's beers: *Breakside Brewery Heet Blond, Columbia River Brewing Tripel Vision, FOTM James Bruin, Double Mountain Formidable, *Fort George ABCDA, Laurelwood Cascara Obscura, *Max's Fanno Creek St. Fanno, Upright Monk & Mingus, Occidental Voorjaar, Portland U-Brew Tiger Blood, Flat Tail 8, Track Town Swarm
Greg's beers: Block 15 Hellion, Cascade Chugit Pucker the Deuce, Ambacht G++, Hopworks Canadian Tuxedo, Lucky Lab Yadda Yadda Yadda, Rogue Donker Kong, Oakshire Zwarte Nacht, FOTM James Bruin, Coalition Smoke 'em if you got 'em, Green Dragon Digression, Max's Fanno Creek St. Fanno

No comments:

Post a Comment