Brewfest veterans know the drill, but for those attending Bend Brewfest this weekend for the first time, I've created the definitive, unofficial preview of the 2019 Bend Brewfest.
- Kids are allowed at Bend Brewfest until 5 pm every day.
Every August, 70 breweries and cideries from all over the West Coast bring two different beers to pour on the banks of the Deschutes River over the course of three days. Most breweries send an additional special keg for the X-Tap. X-tap beers are extremely limited and pour only at the Brewtality tent at a specific time, so check the schedule ahead of time (or the Brewtality tent chalkboard) for what's pouring when, or you'll miss out.
Every year the beer lineup reflects current trends, and once again this year you'll see lots of fruited sour beers (14) and hazy IPAs (at least 17). Northwest-style IPAs and pale ales are as popular as ever, along with 13 different pilsners. Porters and stouts are a little harder to come by in the main tents but abound at the X-tap. In addition to all the beer, you'll also find seven cideries and a gluten-free brewery pouring.
Here are a few beers I'll be seeking out:
Barbarian Brewing, Juniper Gose:This Boise, Idaho, brewery specializes in unique sour beers and this German style Gose made with salt, a touch of coriander, juniper berries, cinchona bark, lavender and lime juice has the potential to be a complex and refreshing treat. Plus, I have no idea what cinchona bark is.
Block 15, The Dab Lab Desert High:A Bend Brewfest exclusive entry into the Corvallis-based brewery's experimental hop series is worth checking out.
Pfriem, North German Pilsner:Brewed for a pilsner competition sponsored by Bitburger and only available at Brewfest. I'd buy that for a dollar.
Sierra Nevada, Oktoberfest Collaboration with Bitburger:It's become somewhat of a tradition for Sierra Nevada to unveil its annual Oktoberfest collaboration at Bend Brewfest. I'm a fan of this tradition.
Oakshire Brewing, Smoke N Hell:A helles lager brewed with smoked spruce tips? Could be delicious or a disaster, but there's only one way to find out.
Goodlife Brewing, Man of the Hour (X-tap Only, Friday at 4 pm):This barrel-aged Flemish red was one of the last beers brewed by beloved Goodlife founder/brewmaster Curt Plants, who passed away in 2017.
Porter Brewing, Irish Redmond Ale:Keep it real with this cask-conditioned red ale from Redmond.
As always, it will be hot. It will be crowded. But it's a surefire good time if you follow these final tips for Brewfest success:
1. Hydrate: Drink lots of water. Seriously, you will be happy you did. Bring a refillable water bottle and take advantage of the water filling station.
2. Protect yourself from the sun. Hats and sunscreen are highly encouraged and almost a requirement.
3. Eat. Eat before you go and take advantage of the awesome food vendors featured at the festival.
4. Seek out the beers you want to try first to make sure you actually try them. Even the best-laid plans have a tendency to go by the wayside after a few tasters.
5. Be excellent to each other.
Go home safe!