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Best & Worst of the 2014 Oregon Brewers Festival

Oregon is big on beers :)

the New School: Best & Worst of the 2014 Oregon Brewers Festival

Beers To Try, and Those To Avoid

Naturally, with 88 different beers represented, no one is going to get through them all, but I think I made a valiant effort. Like a man on a mission, I made it through 40 of them on Wednesday and Thursday, and that's not including the dozen or so I have had previously. I focused my attention on anything I had not had before, so my list will reflect that. For instance, Boneyard's Bone-a-Fide Pale Ale is a great beer, but has been readily available around town, as has Bridgeport Brewing's Aussie Salute IPA. With that in mind, here are my lists of the Best of the Fest, those Worth Trying, and the Beers to Avoid.

Best of the Fest

10 Barrel: Cider Weisse

The latest in Tonya Cornett's neo Berliner-Weisse experiments, this one merges a light tart Berliner with a cider and has expectedly refreshing results, showcasing the best of both worlds.

Caldera: Toasted Coconut Chocolate Porter

Just a great dark beer. I would call it a dessert beer, but it's not that sweet. It pretty much tastes exactly like you would think/hope it would.

Cigar City: Blood Orange/Dragonfruit Florida Weisse 

I love me a good Berliner-Weisse, and blood oranges add a desirable citrus twang, while dragonfruit gives a more soft and rounded kiwi-like fruitiness.

Ecliptic: Perihelion Crimson Saison

John Harris has successfully merged rhubarb into a beer where many others have stumbled. It works well with an understated saison with notes of berry and pepper. The rhubarb is subtle but noticeable, adding a tropical fruitiness and light tartness. 

Golden Valley: Young Franken Stein

Kellerbiers. I do not know why there are not more of them. Essentially young, unfiltered and unaged lagers, they are light, crisp, and refreshing, yet fuller bodied than most pilsners or stouts and sometimes have a light lemon character and always a bready fresh malt body. This one was like a breath of fresh air amongst all of the much more strongly flavored beers.

Logsdon: Straffe Drieling

When Logsdon head brewer Chuck Porter puts his mind toward classic Belgian styles, they come out with excellent results, as was proven by his Aberrant Belgian-style Blonde from last year. This Belgian-style Tripel is packed with fruity juice esters and subtle spices, but it ends with a dry finish that other brewers can't often pull off.

Payette Brewing: Blood Orange IPA

I love a good citrus and IPA combo, and I really like blood orange. This was a terrific example of both a fruit beer and an IPA, with the blood orange coming on like a freshly zested and juiced fruit, with all of the tannins, but also that distinctly bitter, pithy grapefruit rind character that the fruit has. It goes very well with the hops. This was by far the best hoppy beer of the fest.

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Wow! Why is beer so big in Oregon?

I'm not sure, but Oregon seems to have been on the forefront of the popularity of microbrews.  Maybe because Henry Weinhard's brewery was started around the Portland area in 1856, or maybe it's the fact that the Oregon Legislature legalized brewpubs in 1985.

In 2008 Oregon ranked 3rd nationally in craft breweries per capita.

Oregon is definitely a beer lovers paradise ;)

Every time I went to Portland there were microbrews everywhere.

You're right, Oregon loves its beer!

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