April showers bring crowds to Oregon Garden Brewfest
SILVERTON, Ore. — The 10th annual Oregon Garden Brewfest enjoyed vigorous crowds at this past weekend’s event, with 7,500 beer lovers in attendance despite rainy spring weather. Beer lovers came from all over the Northwest to sample from 130 handcrafted beers, ciders and mead, and to enjoy live music from a dozen regional bands.
“Oregon is known for its craft beers and ciders, but most of the big festivals celebrating them are in Portland, Eugene and Bend,” said Mary Ridderbusch, event manager. “It’s great to offer a festival in the central Willamette Valley for our neighbors, and at the same time introduce beer lovers from out of the area to the beauty of The Oregon Garden.”
The Oregon Garden Brewfest took place under twinkly white lights in the Frank J. Schmidt Pavilion on the grounds of the Oregon Garden, with spillover in an outdoor tent. Attendees were welcome to stroll through the lush landscaping of the Oregon Garden with drinks in hand. Crowds squeezed together to enjoy the music of a dozen regional bands, including Casey Neill & The Norway Rats and Tango Alpha Tango.
For the second year in a row, the People’s Choice – determined by votes cast at the festival – was Pirate Stout from Santiam Brewing in Salem. Runners up were Rusty Truck Brewing Cherry Chocoholic (Lincoln City, OR) and Cascade Brewing Oblique Black & White Coffee Stout (Portland, OR). Despite a large number of India Pale Ales being served at the event, it was the darker beers that won over the crowds.
Many attendees took advantage of Brewfest packages at the Oregon Garden Resort located immediately above the festival grounds. The Oregon Garden Resort, a Moonstone Hotel property, offered 103 rooms overlooking The Oregon Garden. Due to the popularity of the resort and its proximity to the festival, the 2015 Brewfest package at the Resort is already available online; packages start at $239 and include accommodations, breakfast, Oregon Garden admission, a 3-day Brewfest admission, and a voucher for the Oregon Garden Resort food booth. To book a package, visit www.oregongardenresort.com/Packages.htm.
Auxiliary events included the third annual Brewer’s Tasting Dinner held at the resort on the eve of the festival. The six-course tasting featured small plates paired with beers from six Northwest breweries. Brewing industry members mingled with craft beer aficionados at the intimate event, which featured a short introduction by each of the brewers about that particular beer prior to it being served. There was also a Brewer’s Brunch presented by Seven Brides Brewing in Silverton on the morning of the festival kickoff.
The Oregon Garden Brewfest always takes place the last weekend in April. The 11h annual event will take place April 24, 25 and 26, 2015. To stay informed, visit www.oregongarden.org/events/brewfest/