Beer aficionados know the numbers: Portland has more breweries than any city in the world (112 and counting). Oregon is one of the largest hop-producing states in the nation (producing 17 percent of the U.S. supply), and the state wins loads of national awards each year (22 medals at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival). When we celebrate Oregon craft beer, a single event doesn’t cut it. Oregon has set aside an entire month to show off the state’s suds scene. During the month of February, dubbed Oregon Craft Beer Month, expect more than 450 special events statewide — including new releases, pairings, tappings and more.
Here are some of the ways to experience Oregon’s craft-beer scene in February.
Mark Your Calendar
KLCC Brewfest, Feb. 7-8, 2020: More than 80 breweries from across Oregon and other states gather together for the KLCC Brewfest, which includes a homebrew competition and special collaboration beers. Enjoy local food, entertainment and even a music sale.
Zwickelmania, Feb. 15 & 22, 2020: Returning for its 12 year, Zwickelmania is a statewide celebration of Oregon’s craft breweries. For two consecutive Saturdays, 100+ breweries will host special tours, tastings and meet-the-brewer events. Find participating breweries in the Portland Region and statewide.
Festival of the Dark Arts, Feb. 15, 2020: With bold beers and entertainment, the Festival of the Dark Arts at Astoria’s Fort George Brewery often sells out — and 2020 is no exception. While you’ll be hard-pressed to find festival tickets this year, other brewpubs in the Astoria-Warrenton area will be celebrating Stout Month with special brews on tap.
Oregon Beer Awards, Feb. 18, 2020: Forget the Oscars — the real accolades come at the Oregon Beer Awards, held at Portland’s Revolution Hall. Oregon’s top beers are judged in more than two dozen categories in the only statewide double-blind beer tasting competition. No best-dressed list, just top tier Oregon beer.
Hillsdale Brewfest, Feb. 22, 2020: McMenamins’ breweries face off at Hillsdale Brewfest for the coveted best beer title and to represent McMenamins at the Oregon Brewers Festival in July. Attendees get to cast ballots for their top three choices. All month long, McMenamins locations across the state will offer $5 beer specials.
Cask Fest, Feb. 22, 2020: The first-ever Cask Fest premieres at Portland’s Away Days Brewing in partnership with Level Beer, Machine House Brewery, Upright Brewing, Baerlic Brewing and Gigantic Brewing. Learn about cask-conditioned beer, an English tradition, by tasting a variety of brews.
StormBreaker Brewstillery Festival, Feb. 29, 2020: Located in Portland’s Mississippi District, StormBreaker Brewing will host its annual Brewstillery Festival featuring craft beer and spirit pairings from local producers Baerlic Brewing and Shine Distillery, Breakside Brewery and Freeland Spirits, and more.
Eugene, Bend and Salem make it easy to explore Oregon brew culture. The Eugene Ale Trail takes visitors to 24 regional tasting rooms with a passport program and various prizes. The Bend Ale Trail includes a tour of 23 high-desert breweries and its own special reward for designated drivers. The recently minted Salem Ale Trail hits 12 stops, including three cideries. Oregon’s North Coast Craft Beer Trail includes 12 breweries between Astoria and Pacific City, while the Mt. Hood Territory Tap Trail introduces visitors to 16 distinct cider and beer crafters. Don’t miss the Breweries in the Gorge trail, which hits 13 hoppy stops.
Trial by Flavor
Many Oregon breweries enjoy experimenting with wild-yeast beers, including the Ale Apothecary, Crux Fermentation Project and Wolves & People. Others appreciate the quirky outcomes of brewing with fruits and vegetables, including Peche’n Brett from Logsdon Farmhouse Ales in Hood River made with organic peaches and Thai chili-infused ale from Eugene’s Agrarian Ales. The Bend Brewing Company infuses its Ching Ching beer with hibiscus and pomegranate puree. Learn more about Oregon’s wild ales and experimental breweries.
More Than a Pour
There’s more to good beer than just drinking. While many like to relax with a pint, the Yoga + Beer community takes it a step farther by featuring rotating yoga classes and après pints in the Willamette Valley and around the Portland Region. You can kickstart your home-brewing hobby with help from stores like The Homebrew Exchange in Portland, Mainbrew in Hillsboro, Falling Sky Fermentation Supply Shop in Eugene and The Brew Shop in Bend. Guided tours are available in many regions and offer insight into the fermentation process, beer and food pairings, and specialty brews from local craft beer makers.