After a Pandemic Absence, Portland Craft Beer Festival and SheBrew Will Return

Oh, yes, there will be glitter beer.

The festival that aims to bring as many Portland-based breweries together as possible at one event is returning this summer after a two-year hiatus.

Organizers behind the Portland Craft Beer Festival announced that the gathering will be back during its traditional time, Fourth of July weekend, in its traditional venue, the Fields Park on Northwest Overton Street.

The event was established in 2015 and kicked off what was then Oregon Craft Beer Month (it has since been moved to February). PCBF managed to carve its own niche by showcasing only beer from breweries located within Portland city limits. The inaugural festival proved to be a hit, starting with approximately 45 producers, and eventually grew to more than 70 just two years later.

The pandemic wiped out PCBF in 2020 and 2021, and with the out-of-state move of two of the founders—longtime hotel veteran Joseph Sundberg and his wife, Rebecca Rockom—there was uncertainty around its return. Fortunately, other co-founders, including Chris Rhodes, have decided to revive the event, giving Portlanders another option for outdoor Independence Day drinking.

This year, you can expect some old favorites as well as first-time participants.

“There will be a handful of newly established breweries we are excited to bring on board,” Rhodes stated in a press release. “And don’t worry, the celebrated beer/cider slushie [machine] will be back as well as a special selection of ciders, wine and spritz.”

In addition to the beer booths, food cart vendors will be scattered throughout the property alongside lawn games like corn hole, giant Jenga and Connect Four.

Entry is $30 in advance and includes a mug along with 10 tasting tickets. Admission goes up to $40 at the gate. Minors are barred Friday and Saturday, July 1 and 2, but Sunday, July 3, is family day, when children of all ages are welcome.

PCBF isn’t the only craft beverage-focused gathering that’s making a comeback this year. SheBrew, one of the only festivals around that features only female-identifying professional and amateur beer and cider makers, is scheduled to return Sunday, March 6, at Castaway Portland on Northwest 18th Avenue.

Some of the best-known names from around the state will be in attendance, including Breakside’s Natalie Baldwin, Lisa Allen from Heater Allen, Sonia-Marie Leikam from Leikam Brewing, Madeleine McCarthy from Von Ebert, Anna Buxton and Anne Aviles from the newly opened Steeplejack, and Tonya Cornett and Whitney Burnside of 10 Barrel fame.

SheBrew was one of the last beer festivals that actually took place before the March 2020 pandemic lockdown. COVID precautions will be in place for its return, including proof of vaccination for entry, mask enforcement and a reconfigured layout to accommodate more physical distancing.

General admission is $25 presale and $30 at the door, which will get you a glass, punch card to sample and vote for the People’s Choice homebrew, and an annual membership to the Human Rights Campaign. That organization receives all proceeds from the festival to help continue its mission to fight for equity.

If the return of communal drinking doesn’t have you feeling nostalgic and excited enough, perhaps this last detail will—longtime area brewer Lee Hegemon is bringing back the craft brewing 2018 trend of the year: glitter beer. Hers will be a green, gluten-free Belgian tripel called Welcome Back to Oz, Bitches.