Friday, June 26th, 2015

Portland International Beerfest recap

Ron Swarner

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Sure, you love beer.

When you head to the bar for happy hour with friends, you carefully consider the draft, can and bottle lists. You often order something you’ve never tasted, just to see what it’s like. You might have gotten into the habit of filling a growler at a brewery every weekend, or stopping by the neighborhood bottle shop two or three times during the week. Perhaps you’re comfortable with spending $17 on a special beer every now and again.

But have you stood outdoors in 96 degree heat for a four-ounce pour of some rare beer that either hails from a vast distance or is available in such a miniscule quantity in Oregon that it’ll be gone within half an hour?

Of course you haven’t … unless I just took a photo of you standing in line in front of me at the Portland International Beerfest at Holladay Park today. Then you were one of hundreds taking a personal day, shopping among 220-plus beers from 16-plus countries in Holladay Park, right next to Lloyd Center on the east bank of the river across from downtown, as a heavy downtempo beat blasted from an array of speakers.

The Portland International Beerfest is a high-end, three-day beer festival specializing in rare, hard-to-find, exotic beers. Like I said, more than 220 world-class beers from 16 countries were on hand, hailing from all over the planet, many from Oregon. The beers represented the gamut in the world of brewing — many quite obscure yet hold their own place in world history as the birth of a new brewing style. Volunteers poured the beers, so malt make-ups weren’t revealed. Also, some beers were valued higher than others. The Straffe Hendrik Heritage cost five tickets while I scored a deal of one ticket for an Ecliptic Hypernova Triple IPA.

I ran around the large park, snapping photos of cornhole players as I sipped a Double Mountain Devil’s Kriek. I captured hot table tennis action while juggling a Firestone Walker Sucaba. Sure, I documented a heated croquet game, but I lost half of my Plank Town Hobbit’s Little Helper.

Did I turn drinking great beer into work?

Indeed.

So for 15 minutes, I just … stopped. I transported my DeuS Belgian Strong Golden to a high-top table next to the park’s spraygrounds and sipped the incredibly crisp and lightly sweet beer under an umbrella. The redolent of lavender, bergamot, cardamom and other exotic spices transported me to another land.

Hey, wait! Did that guy just dive into the ice truck? I’ll be back. …

PORTLAND INTERNATIONAL BEERFEST, noon to 10 p.m. Friday, June 26-Saturday, June 27, noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 28, Holladay Park at Lloyd Center, Northeast 11th Avenue and Holliday Street, Portland, http://portland-beerfest.com/