In recent years, no May passes in Portland without a blowout birthday bash for one of the city’s most iconic beers.
Although the pandemic will prevent crowds from assembling for Widmer Brothers’ Hefe Day this year, the brewery is celebrating the birth of its American-style wheat by giving back to others in the industry that have been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions.
This May 15, Widmer fans are encouraged to visit their favorite watering hole to order a Hefe, and for every pint sold the company will donate a dollar to the Oregon Hospitality Foundation—the nonprofit arm of the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association created to help the those industries survive the pandemic. The fundraiser will last through the end of the month.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, bars and restaurants throughout the state have been some of the hardest hit businesses,” Widmer brand manager Jake Neilson stated in a press release. “We wanted to do something to give back to all those places throughout this great state that really helped put Hefe on the map from the beginning.”
Also new this year is a special Hefe birthday pastry created by Delicious Donuts. From 10 am to 1 pm on Friday, May 14, the Southeast Grand Avenue business will provide both doughnut and beer samples, with a few lucky individuals nabbing a box of a dozen for free by looking for a clue on the Widmer Brothers’ Instagram account.
This is the fifth annual celebration of the nine-time Great American Beer Festival award winner. In 2016, the city of Portland officially declared May 15 as Hefe Day in honor of the 30th anniversary of Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen while recognizing the role that beer has played in building the city’s robust brewing industry.
Kurt and Rob Widmer created the new beer style in 1986 after the owners of the Dublin Pub asked them for a new beer. At the time, the brothers’ production facility only had two fermenters, so in order to save space and time, they left their Weizenbier unfiltered, resulting in the now well-known golden Hefe, traditionally served with a citrus wedge.
You can use a tracker on the Widmer website to find a pint near you, or create a walking Hefe tour if you really want to celebrate.