In a little more than a month, the state’s largest beer event will return in all of its drunken, sweaty summer glory.
The Oregon Brewers Festival is set to reclaim its place at Waterfront Park during the last full weekend of July for the first time since 2019. The gathering was one of many that has been on hold for the past two years given the uncertainty of the pandemic, leaving normally packed greenspaces and arenas looking more like ghost towns.
Now that vaccines have been readily available for over a year, and OBF organizers successfully pulled off the new Hillsbrew Fest at Hillsboro’s Wingspan Convention Center in February, they’re finally bringing back one of the longest-running beer festivals in the nation.
Attendees can expect the event to operate in a similar fashion as it did when cramming thousands of people into the same space was only a mild annoyance—not a public health hazard. This year’s festival will feature 40 beers from 40 Oregon breweries, with 80% of the beverages made exclusively for the celebration or debuting there. Two cider producers are also set to join the lineup. And, as always, Crater Lake Root Beer will be flowing nonstop for designated drivers.
OBF started in 1988 after Art Larrance, former owner of Cascade Brewing, attended Oktoberfest in Munich. That inspired him to re-create a tiny slice of tipsy Bavaria here by launching the event. In its first year, there were only six breweries in Oregon, but OBF continually grew, drawing hundreds of participating businesses and tens of thousands of visitors every year.
For the first time ever, you can purchase tickets in advance online. A 12-ounce souvenir mug and 10 tasting tickets cost $30, before fees. You can also buy packages at the gate. Wooden coins from previous years are now being replaced by paper drink coupons, but you can trade in those tokens.
Organizers are also looking for volunteers to do everything from pour beer to monitor trash and recycling stations. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with plenty of beer and a festival T-shirt.
The 2022 festival will run from 11:30 am to 9 pm Thursday through Saturday, July 28-30.