5 Picks for Food and Beer Matchups During Portland Beer Week

Here are WW’s favorite pairings.

Snackdown! Photo courtesy of Portland Beer Week.

This city has always been awash in beer events, but few encapsulate our status as the craft beer mecca like Portland Beer Week.

Started in 2011, Portland Beer Week has expanded its footprint across the city and now takes place across a sprawling nine days from June 14 to 23 at breweries, taprooms, bottle shops and pubs. Amid the sudsy celebration is a dizzying number of events: brewery-tap takeovers, mini-fests dedicated to styles like Kölsch and rye beer, and tournaments.

Then there are the food events, which make Beer Week so appealing…or appetizing. Whether you’re a serious beer nerd or a beer-curious foodie looking for your next great pairing, this is your chance to dive headfirst into Portland’s mélange of culinary and brewing talent. The best part is that most food events during Beer Week are individually ticketed, so you can hit one or hit them all. Here are a few highlights:

Pizza Party Kickoff

Pizza Thief, 2610 NW Vaughn St., 503-719-7778, pdxbeerweek.com/schedule/pizzapartystandoff. 5 pm Friday, June 14. Free.

To kick off Beer Week, Pizza Thief is teaming up with three breweries to collaborate with each on Sicilian-style slices and pints, letting the public decide which is best. Instead of just one brewery, we get Corvallis’ Block 15, Tillamook’s de Garde and Hood River’s Ferment all coming together for a casual slice. You can count on beers that are sour, hoppy and crispy to accompany your pie. You can even order a flight of all three pizzas and vote for your favorite, so you might want to bring your buddies along for the ride. Come for the pizza and beer, stay for the Q&A with the brewers. The winning pizza will then be featured as a special for the entire 10 days of beer week.

Snackdown VI: Snacking Never Dies!

The Evergreen, 618 SE Alder St., 503-476-1811, pdxbeerweek.com/schedule/snackdown-vi-snacking-never-dies. 1 pm Sunday, June 16. $49.

Sunday Sunday Sunday! Step into the ring for the sixth annual snackdown edition taking place on Father’s Day! Eight of Portland’s best chefs and Oregon brewers butt heads in the ring to see who can wrestle up the tastiest snack-and-beer pairing in town. Expect luchador masks, spandex, capes and tassels to accompany yummy bites from tag teams of Gigantic Brewing and Morchella, Von Ebert Brewing and Pizza Thief, Vice Beer and El Viejón, Block 15 Brewing and Loyal Legion, Brujos Brewing and Machete, and Breakside Brewing and Salt & Straw. From salty and sweet to hoppy and sour, this event is sure to have you piledriving into an arena of flavor. Guests will choose their favorite pairing, and the winners will be awarded the snackdown belt!

Mussels From Brussels

Wayfinder, 304 SE 2nd Ave., 503-718-2337, wayfinder.beer/events-1. Wednesday, June 16. $45.

Get pumped on this crustaceous celebration of seafood and beer returning for its third year. Heavy hitters include Block 15, pFriem, Foreland, Breakside and, of course, master lager purveyors Wayfinder, which also plays host to the event. Each pair a beer of its choosing with a steaming bowl of tasty bivalves, a pile of frites (fries) and five different sauces to complement them. Sip your beers while dipping your mussels and fries in each sauce to see which one is the top culinary contender. Count on one if not more of the beer offerings to lean into the Belgian saison style as well.

Brewers Burger Brawl

Brujos Brewing, 2377 NW Wilson St., pdxbeerweek.com/schedule/brewers-burger-brawl. Noon Saturday, June 22. $60.

Burgers! Beers! Brawls…well, sort of. One of Beer Week’s most popular events is making its triumphant return, and this time it’s going down at Portland’s newest brewery, the black metal-themed Brujos Brewing. This year’s edition features breweries from both sides of the Columbia River joining forces with their own culinary team or on-site partner to make a burger to rule them all. Eat your way through five slider-size burgs crafted to pair just right with a beer or two from each brewery, or try just one or two if you’re not feeling burly. This year’s edition pairs Brujos Brewing with St. Lovejoy’s, Great Notion with Pizza Thief, Steeplejack with its own kitchen, Vice Beer with El Viejón Taqueria, and new-to-the-scene Vancouver outfit Irrelevant Beer with Goon Burger. The best burger will be crowned victorious by the judges and audience in this not so healthy competition!

Portland Beer and Cheese Fest

Bauman’s on Oak, 930 SE Oak St., merctickets.com/events/153950259/portland-beer-and-cheese-fest. Sunday, June 23. $40.

If you make it a point to make beer and cheese an essential part of your diet, then this event will take your game to a new level. With 10 different beers and ciders paired by master and world champion cheesemonger Steve Jones, you can get a real sense of actually matching beers and cheeses all within the span of a leisurely afternoon. This year’s event is also a final send-off to Jones (formerly of the beloved institution Cheese Bar) as he bows out of the game and hopefully passes on the cheesy torch, with no shortage of delectable pairings to take it all on home.

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