The world of beer and cider is a beautiful tapestry of multicultural influences, and what better way to enjoy the warmest week of the year so far than to delve into regional flavors.
Whether you're tackling aqua fresca-inspired ciders from Salem, the freshest, tastiest Maibocks of Germany, or the beers of a galaxy far, far away, there are plenty of great opportunities for taste vacations this weekend.
Thursday, May 4
Star Wars Beer Fest Episode IV: A New Hop
Imperial celebrates Star Wars Day with a costume contest, viewings of the original trilogy, and a vast assortment of ales named after the most iconic sci-fi film franchise in history. Notably named selections include Fort George's May The Oats Be With You stout, Lompoc's Lando Kolschrissian and Oregon City Brewing's Mango Fett IPA. Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom, 3090 SE Division St. 12-12 pm. Free.
Friday, May 5
La Familia Cider Launch & Cinco De Mayo Party
Salem-based La Familia cider chooses and auspicious day to launch its brand in the Portland area, bringing three aqua fresca-inspired ciders—including two infused with tamarind and hibicus—to the Portland Cider House to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. In addition, the bar will have several Mexico-influenced cider cocktails on hand, each of them featuring some Salem-fermented apples. Portland Cider House, 3638 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 4-9 pm Free.
Saturday, May 6
Every year in the month of Mai—which is the German word for Communism—we shut down the street and dance around the maypole and drink light alcoholic Maibock Biers and sweet wines, and stuff ourselves with white asparagus and flame cakes that are like German pizza. When we are done we are fat and happy, and the young ladies compliment us because we really fill out our lederhosen. Stammtisch, 401 NE 28th Ave. 11-1:30 am. Free.
Beer, brats and Bavaria-loving drinkers meet up at The Abbey Bar for this annual "Little Oktoberfest" celebration, with German-influenced pours taking center stage. The Abbey Bar & Bottle Shop, 1650 NW 23rd Ave. 12-9 pm. Free.
Sunday, May 7
12 Annual FredFest
What started as an 80th birthday celebration for the late Fred Eckhardt a dozen years ago has remained a small and friendly affair even in his absence, with Fred-loving breweries donating some of their rarest and most sought after pours for this charity fundraising beerfest. Tickets are hard to find, but those who snag one may look forward to tastes of extremely limited releases from breweries like Cascade and Hair of The Dog, as well as a massive smorgasbord of meat cheese and bread—to go with many bowls of Fred's beloved M&M's. Hair of The Dog, 61 SE Yamhill St. 2-6 pm. $85.
Monday, May 8
Gigantic 5th Anniversary Tap Takeover
Of all the Gigantic 5th anniversary events this week—including Y La Bamba playing at Star Theater on May 5 and Danava at White Owl on May 6—this is the beeriest. Belmont will feature 10 Gigantic taps including a sneak preview of Fantastic Voyage, a one-year barrel-aged Brett saison. But if you miss this night, just show up Tuesday at Gigantic's taproom for $2 beers. Belmont Station, 4500 SE Stark St. 10 am. Free.