In less than a month, the state’s largest drunken assemblage of local brewers is scheduled to get underway, and you can join their party if you act fast.
The WW-sponsored Oregon Beer Awards will return to its traditional home, Revolution Hall on Southeast Stark Street, on Thursday, April 6. That’s when the winners of the state’s only double-blind beer tasting competition will be announced along with the champions in a dozen categories, including best bottle shop and beer bar, who are selected by an academy of industry professionals in a two-round ballot system.
Tickets are currently on sale, and there are now two ways you can watch.
For the rowdiest experience, snag a seat in the second-floor auditorium, which is where most of the brewers wait to hear their name be called as they get increasingly buzzed. However, those tickets tend to sell out quickly, so there is now another option for folks who want to be on premises, but don’t manage to get theater tickets. Revolution Hall will livestream the ceremony inside its ground-level Show Bar, and those attendees can still rub elbows with the brewers since they’ll have access to the second-story Assembly Lounge bar.
Registration for the 2023 “Oscars of Oregon beer” closed at the end of February, and there are nearly 1,100 entries in 30 categories. As usual, the class with the most entries is the India Pale Ale, with 100 submissions. Normally, Hazy or Juicy India Pale Ale is the second-most popular category; however, this time Fresh Hop IPA or Pale Ale bumped that into third place, since it got 71 entries compared to 54. Lagers also saw a boost in submissions, reflecting its rise in popularity both among brewers and drinkers, who have gravitated toward beers that are more sessionable and refreshing.
Tickets for auditorium seating cost $20, and Show Bar admission is $15. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Mashing Barriers Program, an internship launched by the Oregon Brewers Guild last year in order to help usher in more diversity to a field that’s traditionally been dominated by white men.
Mashing Barriers partners one intern with a guild member brewery for 12 weeks. The detailed and rigorous syllabus has, in the past, included an introductory week filled with field trips to a variety of area businesses that contribute to the brewing process, like Imperial Yeast in Portland, Great Western Malting in Vancouver, Wash., and Woodburn’s Crosby Hop Farm. And this internship features a bonus you don’t often see these days when it comes to learning on the job: a paycheck.
Work on the program began in early 2021 in order to address inequities in the industry, and came to fruition thanks to the guidance of the nonprofit’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee.
The guild will partner with Deschutes Brewery in Bend for the next internship, which will begin this summer. The application portal opened March 1.